This past weekend I was the keynote speaker at a women’s conference in Crystal Lake, Illinois. What a meaningful time it was to hear powerful testimonies of God’s sustaining love while being challenged to abide, persevere, and trust God in the various seasons of our lives. It was a beautiful time of worship and surrender in the presence of a King.
After the two day event, I was invited to sing during First Church’s three services on Sunday morning before my concert that afternoon. I read an excerpt from my journal as an introduction to the song, “To Live is Christ” (to die is gain). During one of the services the kindergartners were invited to come forward to receive brand new Bibles. Perhaps for some it was their first. One by one they reached the platform, their teacher handed them a Bible, and they returned to their seats with their parents. All the while, congregants watched and smiled accordingly. Kids sure can be cute sometimes. Especially a particular little blonde-haired boy.
He bounded up the steps to the platform and when handed his Bible he spun around to face the crowd hoisting it up with both hands high above his head in sheer delight, as if he had just received the best gift ever. His apparent zeal for the new Bible prompted joyous laughter and applause from a loving church family. I smiled at the thought of how precious God’s Word had become in my own life and said a quick prayer for the little ones, that they would grow in the faith and desire to serve the Lord one day.
The pastor jokingly responded, “Apparently, his big sister already received her Bible and now it’s his turn!” Thus, the enthusiasm. I suppose it doesn’t matter when or how or under what circumstances you come by the Holy Book, so long as you do. For it is life.
Back home in Nashville, I had the opportunity to hear pastor and author, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, speak on “when the State becomes God.” Reading from the Book of Daniel, he referenced the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to illustrate how, in these difficult days, we must fear God more than we fear the fiery furnace. To remember there was a fourth man in the fire. That the fire that purifies us is the fire that sets us free. That we ought not to regard our lives, as some things are more important than living.
And, of course, we know how it ended for these courageous men…their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them. They trusted in God and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own.
Admonishing believers to pray for national revival, Dr. Lutzer spoke of how political correctness is killing us and persecution should be expected. He encouraged reading biographies to our grandchildren, stories of believers who have kept the faith through opposition, of those even martyred for their Christian beliefs. He stated, “there may come a time when the only thing we have left is God’s Word” and challenged us to trust in His promises alone, reciting the words of Martin Luther who said, “If I had a thousand heads, I would lose them all rather than to recant.”
It was a sobering and informative evening. Four pages of notes attest to that.
So, Little Blonde-Haired Boy, lift that Precious Book above your head. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Regard it, study it, cherish it, memorize it. Let it comfort you, convict you, transform you, and embolden you. Learn to speak it, believe it, claim it, and live it. And like your teacher said, “it’s O.K. to write in our Bibles.” As you write in yours, He’ll be writing on your heart. With a Love that endures.
Little Blonde-Haired Boy, whatever tomorrow holds, don’t give up. Jesus loves you and has a plan for you. To prosper you and not to harm you. To give you a hope and a future. As Lutzer put it, “time is short, eternity is long.” Stand firm. Stand fast. And stand on the great and precious promises of God.
You’ve inspired me, Little Blonde-Haired Boy. Not only to write this blog, but to continue studying God’s Word, and to live courageously for His Kingdom’s cause, no matter the cost. Thank you for that.
Your big sister and fellow lover of the Word…