2000-04-19 - The Dog-Eared Bible
Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.
Recently while cleaning out some bookcases in my study, I found an old and worn pocket Bible. The pages are dog-eared and the cover is black vinyl with crayon marks on the back cover. It's a very special Bible and it brings back many memories. You see, this is not just any Bible; it is the first Bible I ever owned. When I was only two weeks old, my mom wrote on the inside front cover, "Given to David Massey March 12, 1959." Underneath this she wrote, "see page 313." On page 313 a verse is underlined and at the bottom of the page, she pointed me to another page. My mom took Proverbs 22:6 very seriously. I want to take you on this journey through the Bible that my mom took me on many times with her penciled-in puzzle. Many of you have probably been shown this journey. Some of you may have never seen it. Go down this road one more time or for the first time, because I do not want you to miss the culminating point.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.
(At the top of this page my mom has written, "Pray a prayer like this.") Luke 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.'
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
On the day of salvation, I helped you."
Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation.
And finally my mom had written the most poignant question, "Now will you accept Christ?"
Somewhere along the way, I prayed that prayer and I accepted Christ. I can't tell you the exact day or time. That used to bother me, particularly when I would hear people name the exact date and time that they prayed a prayer for Jesus to come into their lives. Billy Graham can tell you the exact date he accepted Christ, but his lovely wife Ruth cannot. She, like me, seems to simply always remember knowing Christ as her Savior.
I remember being baptized at age 12. I felt at that time a huge change in my life, but I never really truly understood what having a Savior meant until I understood what happened on an old wooden cross nearly 2,000 years ago. It was not until then, that I grasped the true meaning of Easter; it was not until I realized that Christ suffered and died willingly in my place. He did not just suffer and die for me. He died instead of me. I should have been beaten and hung on that Cross. But He stepped up and took my place and He took your place also. When I internalized that realization, my Christian walk took a huge leap. Everything I do, everything I am and everything I want to become flows from my deep sense of gratitude and love for what He did for me. Do you really understand what happened three days before Jesus rose from the dead? Do you really appreciate that first Easter?
Father, We praise You, we thank You. We have trouble understanding why Your Son would die for us, but we are so thankful that He took our place on that Cross. Thank You for moms like my mom, Father. Place in each of us a passion for those of us that have children -- a willingness to show others the journey to eternal life. Increase in us our understanding of Easter. Increase in us thankfulness. Increase in us the desire to tell and show others about Your Son. Increase in our lives the love and gratitude that flows from Your perfect love. In Christ's precious and Holy name we pray, Amen.