I've had this NIV devotional for so many years, I can't even recall when I got it. I know it was before college. It was a gift from my dad.
Like many Christians I know, I'm not as disciplined with reading the Bible as I should be, as I want to be. There have been seasons throughout my years where I've had a very solid routine of seeking and studying Scripture. Likewise, there are times - like those of late - when this pink paperback gets pretty dusty.
For the first time in a long, long while I opened my Bible. I like to play what I call Bible Roulette. I open up to a random page and hope for a Scripture that will inspire me.
For the record, Bible Roulette can be as dangerous as any game of chance. Sometimes I happen on a life changing verse; other times, I open to a rambling list naming someone's many sons. I don't think that means anything about the effectiveness of God's Word, it's just the reality of this game I play...and God and I are fine with that.
I was hoping to find some perfect story or verse that would immediatly transform me into a grounded, grateful and purposeful person. Alas, I did not instantly find that.
What I found instead, though, where notes that I had scribbled and important phrases I had underlined and dated throughout my many years of opening this Book.
I kept opening and closing my Bible and every page would reveal some old marking.
I can read a verse I've underlined and recall what I was feeling when I noted its importance. I love that about this old Bible.
While this round of Bible Roullete did not reveal any new, magical Words, it did show me all the old ones on which I've meditated, prayed and found peace. It reminded me of how fulfulling using these Words as a resource can be. I also recalled , quite quickly, that as telling, assuring -sometimes even as scary- as a verse can be, it is often most effective after it marinades in one's mind, one's heart for a while. Unlike in Vegas, even when one wins at this game of roulette, the pay out is rarely instant.
What I realized with all these old notes, also, is that I need a new Bible.
These markings represent some hopeful times, but also some dark days. I don't want to ever throw away this Bible. Still, I need -and I want- a new one.
As I work to bring myself back into a disciplined place spiritually, it is clear that God has blessed my life with a new chapter. My new chapter needs its own Book.