The Book of Ages
I fingered the crisp pages one by one. The smell of new paper wafted over me as I caressed each colorful illustration. The book was so new that no one had touched its pages before. I never had my own new book before. I felt special indeed.
Clutching it to my chest, I vowed that I would keep this book forever. Claiming it as my own, I pulled out my favorite colored wax crayon and decorated the inside of its cover with all the care I could muster:
It was important to me somehow that anyone who saw that book would also know that I got it for my 11th birthday. As if it gave some significance for my life. It followed me through my first discovery of God’s love just for me and trailed along as I faced my teen years.
It gathered dust during my attempt at rebellion and accompanied me from house to house as we moved around.
Some years later, I was rummaging through all my personal boxes in storage as we prepared for our first trip overseas to go full-time into the work of ministry. Digging through worn out books and old notebooks, its bright, red cover winked at me from underneath the pile.
I lifted it out and ran my hand over its worn golden title. The spine cover had ripped off and its pages were now dog-eared. Paging through it again, I noticed food stains, the occasional finger print and a few hand scribbled notes.
As if opening it for the first time again, its illustrations triggered me to hours spent hearing the rain pour outside as I devoured each story until I knew them by heart.
It was an old friend that had got me through so much. I looked up to see my daughters playing hide and seek in the mess around me and I smiled. The time would come, when I could impart to them everything that I received in that book.
It was at that point in my life, that the Lord started teaching me a powerful truth about His Word.
It was never just about the words on the page. It was not just about the lovely pictures or the good and bad endings. As I closed my book for the last time, I realized that every well written word was now neatly inscribed on my heart.
No longer were they words on a page. The Word had begun to live now. It had begun to live inside of my heart.
The Word is Alive
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God. (AMIV)
How could it be that a well written book could have such power in our lives? It has survived wars, typos and men intent on destroying every last page of it.
Sitting in Sunday School I learned the stories. I knew them all and they entertained me. As a teenager they were just something that was fact. Something that God said many years ago.
As I became and adult and grew up as a believer, the Word had solutions for my daily problems.
As a prophet, the Word was the only thing to keep me on the straight and narrow.
As an Apostle, the Word was my standard to back up the mandate God had given me.
As an Evangelist, the Word had the power to bring conviction.
As a Pastor, the word gave people instruction for daily living.
As God lead me into the Teaching ministry, I thought I had it all together. I knew the Word. I knew its power. I knew what to expect.
What I did not expect however, is that the Word was a lot more than a solid foundation in my life. The Lord took me back to basics.
“Remember that 11 year old? It is time again my child, to fall in love with the Word. For I am the Word.”
It blew my mind. I somehow saw the Lord separate to His Word. He was God and the Word was His instruction to us. Sort of like a pretty cool manual for life.
I Had Only Half the Story
The Lord told me that I had missed out on an entire part of His nature. He told me, that if I wanted to know Him, that I had to find Him in the Word.
So day by day my adventure began. I was that 11 year old with a picture book. Only now that picture book was more like a treasure map.
Each time I face a conflict and ran to the Lord, instead of giving me and answer, He showed me a treasure map.
He said to me, “Here is where to look, now go and find your solution in the Word.”
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (AMIV)
“Seriously Lord? How does that passage help me deal with the stress I am facing right now?”
“Lord just answer me …”
Ok, I got the point. The Lord was not going to relent. So I started to study. Then I started to be amazed.
Paul, a servant. Wow! Here is the greatest Apostle of all time and his grand title of recognition begins with, ‘servant.’
I began to see that servant hood was the first and most important qualification for true leadership in the Body of Christ.
“Is that why I am facing so much pressure Lord? Teach me more!”
Day by day as I pored over each passage, His will opened up to me.
“Read the Word with intent!” He told me “Expect to find what you are looking for.”
And so I did. Before me a picture started to form. A picture of the Lord in His glory. A picture of the church in all of her power.
I came to see, that the Word was not words slapped together in an interesting order. The Word was truly living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Get Thirsty All Over Again
When I first learned that it was healthy to drink 8 glasses of water a day I tried it out. I thought I would die! I could not do it! The first few days it nearly killed me. All it seemed to do was make me run to the bathroom every five minutes.
However as I kept it up, things started to change. Instead of getting sick of water, I started to get more thirsty. If I missed drinking often enough, my body would begin to cry out for it and I would feel parched. In the natural, you would say that my body was good and healthy!
I read that one of the worst things that happen when you are dehydrated is that you no longer thirst. That this is a bad sign and that it takes some discipline to get your body back to order.
When I see the Body of Christ I see a dehydrated Body. It is so dry and in desperate need for what the Word has to offer, but the worst part is, is that it does not hanker after it. It is self satisfied.
What is even worse, is when you feel that way. You get up and start running on your hamster wheel all day until you fall into bed. Through the day, your spirit no longer thirsts for the water of life. You have to promise yourself to ‘get into it later’ or you try to remember to ‘make the effort.’
When your spirit is healthy, I promise that you will not need to remind yourself. That thirst will kick in automatically and you will go anywhere you can to get that thirst quenched.
And so the teachers have a big job in the Body of Christ. It is their job to make the church thirsty. However before you throw up your spiritual lemonade stand and start handing out your bubbling brook of refreshment, how about you take a sip or two yourself?
Do you know that God has more for you? He wants to make you so thirsty for Him that you become like a sponge that is always ready to take in a little more.
You Powerhouse You!
Now there are a few things that you need to know about this living Word. With each letter that you take in, it begins to add to your spirit.
If you have only a mustard seed of faith inside of you, it is the Word that will begin to build on that seed until it is a full blown tree planted by the waters.
This Word has the power to take your little portion of anointing and to transform it into a latter rain that will heal the sick and raise the dead.
With just some of this living Word, you can hold up to the Lord the small portion of authority that you have and make it into such a strong tower, that many can come and lean on its walls.
The Word of God holds the secret that you have been looking for.
Forget about Reading the Word
Now you might think that I am telling you to read the Word. No, that is not what I am telling you to do. You have been reading the Word since you got born again. After all it is the first commandment a new convert hears right after “Tithing and Offerings”
It is time to stop reading the Word and it is time to start living and eating it! As a child I read the Word and I understood all the stories in it.
As I grew up I started to live the Word and then suddenly they were not just words on a page any longer. They were something I WAS.
I will never forget the time that I read the book of Romans and thought, “Paul how did you know? That is exactly where I am at right now! It was not dry doctrine any longer. It was the reality of where God had me”
That was still not enough though. There is more to the power of the Word for you to discover.
The Protagonist Wins Again!
Every good book or movie has the same elements in common. The one element is the Protagonist.
He is the good guy. He is the one you like and want to be like. You root for this guy all of the way.
Then there is the antagonist. He is the bad guy. He is the guy you love to hate. He does everything in his power to overcome the good guy. Of course, in the really good books, he loses every time.
In every good book, it comes to a part in the story that they call the “All is Lost” part. This is the part of the story when the Protagonist reaches a point along his journey where everything goes wrong.
He loses everything and for the reader it feels as if he cannot get out of this mess. Again, of course, in the good books something incredible happens and the good guy wins in the end.
What really blew my mind as I read the Word is that it is one book. Go figure. That many years in ministry and I only just got it. I think that because there are so many different books in the bible, you tend to chop it up a bit.
However the reality is that it is one book. It has a beginning and an end. It has a protagonist and it has an antagonist. In every page you read, through every verse you ponder, never forget that they have all a single purpose:
To tell us the story of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.
You see, He is the good guy! From Genesis, you will find Him there and each chapter builds on the other, giving us the full picture of what it means to be saved. It gives us a fully illustrated treasure map of what Jesus did, what it means to us and how we can use it to overcome.
No matter where you open up, know that the ‘all is lost’ part is coming soon. It is a time when our greatest hero was nailed to the cross while everyone else laughed in his face. He was dead and pierced. All life was taken from him.
After living such a sinless life, suddenly every single sin done by everyone else, was blamed on him. He was both accused and sentenced for a myriad of crimes he never committed. It was not fair. It was cruel and brutal.
As his head hung in defeat and he drew his last breath all was lost. Only a miracle could turn this age-old story around.
After three days of mourning, a mighty shaking began to take place. Having been into the pit of hell, Jesus stole back from satan the keys he had stolen from mankind and He rose up to a higher level than he ever had before.
Because he was accused and paid the price for all sin, He took those keys and opened a door for us to walk through. As believers we now have a lot more available to us than just forgiveness of sins.
The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, the same spirit that gave Samson strength, the same spirit that rocked the walls of Jericho, the same spirit that parted the Red Sea, the same spirit that breathed upon creation – this same spirit dwells in us.
The Word of God is just the fire that you need to ignite that power inside of you.
How about it? How would you like to flow in the kind of anointing that raises the dead? How would you like to flow in abundant wisdom?
How would you like to have the kind of authority that shakes the dead to life? You are going to find it in the Word of God.
You are going to find it in his Living Word. So I hand over to you right now the treasure map God gave me. Sure, you do not get all of the answers up front. Some of the drawings are cryptic and some of the directions misleading.
However one thing will never change. There is much treasure to be found when you follow this map. Together, we are going to uncover the secrets that have been hidden for years. You are going to find the gold hidden there and you are going to dust it off.
You will drink and be satisfied and then you will thirst again. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started together and see where it takes us next.
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