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Journey with Scripture

I have always enjoyed reading scripture.  When I was a little girl I remember playing "church" with my friends.  We would open up our family Bible and read for hours. Of course we had one of those Bibles that took up a whole end table, with the classic pictures of David and Goliath, Samson and Delilah and even vivid pictures of Jesus on the cross. This was a two-handed Bible for sure, and it was the King James version.  The way it would go is that my friend would read a scripture and then I would explain it.  Being about eight or nine at the time, you can imagine that my interpretations were quite colorful.  

As I recall, it was also early on that I developed a habit of reading scripture regularly.  Even then I knew that it was important to continue reading scripture.  Soon I discovered the Bible in easier to read translations like the New King James version and the New International Version.  I remember making the switch and realizing how different God's word was when I read in those translations; it was like opening my eyes to a new language.  For me, re-reading all the stories I had read in the King James version helped the stories come alive.  

Also during this time I developed the habit of reading the Psalms and Proverbs every month.  An old pastor helped me develop this habit.  He showed me that if I started on the first of each month by reading five Psalms a day, along with one Proverb, I could get through both books once a month.  I found this useful at that time of my life.  It helped me to get a good foundation of the basic Godly principles found in these books.  

As an adult I often find myself quoting the King James (KJV) or the New King James versions of my youth, but I almost exclusively read the New International Version (NIV).  I Love the NIV because I feel it's a great mix of the more traditional KJV and modern language.  I do, however, reach for the different translations often, especially if I find myself wanting to get a better understanding of what I am reading.

Of course, over the years I have had several different "favorite scriptures."  I feel like it really depends on what leg of my life's journey I'm on.  As a young teen I found myself desiring grounding so I looked to the Epistles for guidance.  As a young mother I really wanted my children to develop a love for God's word so I switched to a Children's Bible and we read the Old and New Testaments.  I read them all the stories of the greats like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And then we walked through the life of Jesus and the disciples.   We would act out different parts and discuss how we would have reacted in different situations.  As a mom, doing her best to raise her kids knowing God’s word, I discovered going through the Bible was not an easy read.  Culturally there are many differences, but instead of skating around them I tried my best to talk about them no matter how uncomfortable it was.  

Currently I find myself using Bible apps to connect with scripture. I have been using the YouVersion app which also has access to free Bible studies by some really gifted teachers.  However, recently, I was introduced to the Logos Bible app and I am loving the different tools that I can access there.  The word meaning tool is a great one because it gives you the Greek and Hebrew translation just by highlighting any word.  

The scriptures that I find myself clinging to right now are the ones that remind me of God's amazing hand of providence.  I imagine that I am not alone in this reach.  Being reminded of scriptures that encourage me that God is in control (Romans 8:28) and that his plans for us are good (Jeremiah 29:11) are the life vest that I am using to stay afloat right now.  But if I had to pick one scripture that God has used to speak into my life time and time again it would be Psalm 23.  I know, I know, you are probably thinking, "Ursala, can't you dig deeper?" And to that I would say, at least I didn't pick John 3:16 (HA!).

I love Psalm 23 because it helps us to recognize an important characteristic of God's leadership.  So often we come to God when we are in need, or when we are desperate.  We know God as our father and our great defender, but when it comes to allowing God to lead us or direct our steps, well that's a little bit more tricky.  Allowing the Lord to lead requires us to give up control.  I will be the first to admit that giving up control is not my strong suit (my husband would be the second).  In this Psalm, David says it loud and clear from the beginning, “the Lord is my shepherd.”  The rest of the Psalm describes where the Lord leads us and how he leads us which have always given me peace and comfort in any season.  

Below is Psalm 23 taken from the NIV translation.  My prayer is that you will read it and you, too, will be reminded of the goodness and mercy of God in your life.  Also, if you find yourself in a scripture reading rut, I would encourage you to try reading in a different translation.  Reading the Bible in new words may be the fresh set of eyes you need to move to the next season in your life.    

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,  he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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