I am an avid reader, nothing makes me happier than cracking open a book. I have been that way since I was very young when in the summertime, my mother used to take me and my brother on weekly trips to the local library. I LOVED it! My mother and I would be in that little local library for hours, picking out books. I couldn't wait to rush home and spill out the books from my bag and curl up in my little corner with my dolls and read. I am still that way to this day...when I went to London the first time, I accidentally stumbled upon a street lined with second-hand bookstores, and I went hog wild. When I used to order books off of Amazon, I would stalk my mail carrier (we were friends so I literally would call her) to see how soon she would be delivering my new book. I usually have one in my purse wherever I go. In my mind, what if my car breaks down and I have to wait, or if there's an emergency somewhere and I have to wait. I can only scroll on my phone for so long...I'd rather be reading.
Yet, with all that love of reading the Bible was a book that I found hard to pick up. I said previously, I was scared of my children's bible because of the graphic illustrations, but it was easy to read. Then when I graduated to an adult bible, I think it was the King James Language that was used that made it hard to read. There are a lot of "thou's and thee's" to navigate and I didn't know the history behind it yet. Also, I didn't really understand the concept or rather the benefits of reading my bible. I didn't know that reading the bible was one of the many ways that God speaks to us. I didn't know the bible was "a manual" on how God expects us to live. I didn't know studying the Bible and meditating on its passages and keeping them close to my heart and my mind was protection against the attacks of the adversary and the issues we face in this world. So, needless to say in the last few years I have become more intentional about reading and studying my bible.
I think it is possible to say that some people probably think the Bible is boring, or a long condemnation against us. I thought something similar, probably based on the way it was being taught to me, but I heard one Pastor put it like this "The Bible is the only book that as you read it, it reads you." He wasn't lying. Reading my bible has checked on more than one occasion about something I did or said or the way I was thinking about situations. If that is not enough to get your attention, the Bible reads better than any novel I have ever read, and I have read A LOT of them. There is war, romance, murder, scandal...anything that you have experienced as an individual living on this earth, you can find a passage and/or story about it in the Bible, and what's more, it's all true!
I have a few favorites that I like to turn to when I am experiencing rocky times in my life. 1 Samuel is one. It tells the story of a man with two wives, One who had given him children and one who was barren. Her name was Hannah, and she was heartbroken over not being able to conceive, and she poured her heart out to God and she had a son named Samuel. And because God had given her this son, she gave him back to God by taking him to the temple to be instructed in the ways of God.
When I feel overlooked, I think about David, yes, who killed Goliath. But that's not the part that gets me. It was when God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a new King. And Jesse paraded all of his strong, good-looking sons in front of Samuel and David didn't even get an invite to the party. He wasn't even in the room to watch the parade, but yet he was God's chosen one. You don't need the world to approve of you or qualify you. If God has chosen you, that's the end of it.
When I need a recharge in the area of wisdom, I go to the book of Proverbs. That's a reality check for you if nothing else is. I have many others, like the book of James, and Galatians where we learn about the fruits of the spirits, but my favorites are the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John because Jesus is teaching and speaking. I love the parables because they have a point and a lesson to them. Kind of like Aesop's Fables. The bible is not a bunch of stories put together for entertainment, to make a great movie, to be twisted and manipulated to fit one's own ideas, or for a church to put the fear of God into you and shame you...it really truly is a life manual. It will transform your heart and mind in ways that you have to experience to truly understand.
I am a witness to this and I will give you an example: I used to work in a place where I was the only African-American. In a small town, that is predominantly caucasian and small-minded...meaning they live a very routine and simple life. These people liked picking on me, and making off-hand remarks because I would always react and get very angry. I will be transparent and say, I used some very colorful language I would have to repent for later. As I started waking up an extra 15-20 minutes earlier to spend that time in prayer and the devotions from my bible app, before I went to work, which was a big sacrifice for me because I am not a morning person...they weren't getting any reaction out of me. I would be literally in my own little bubble and verbal altercations would be happening all around me and all kinds of problems, and I would find out about it later and not even know. I was insulated. If I missed my morning prayer and devotions, or I went a few days without praying and spending time with God, it showed. I would be all angry and bothered and worked up and had no rhyme or reason for it. Then it would dawn on me, "when was the last time I prayed?"
So I encourage you to spend some time in God's word. The Bible app on your phone is a great resource. It has all kinds of plans and bible translations if you can't get with the "thou's and thee's." Also, get a physical bible in case your phone crashes or breaks. If for no other reason than to let God speak to you through it. If you draw closer to him, he will draw closer to you. James 4:8