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God’s word speaks to us

God’s word speaks to us God’s word speaks to us
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: John 14:25-26

Devotional text: 2 Peter 1:20-21

Last week, I wrote about the living and active word of God that reaches out to us by the Holy Spirit. I told how I came to know God by reading the Bible and found that the scriptures spoke to me personally, just as they do for each individual person.

After becoming a believer in Christ, I worked at memorizing the scriptures that spoke to me the most and have discovered since that time that it is the Holy Spirit who brings to mind scripture to us that fits our individual needs just when we need it.

In John 14:25-26, Jesus spoke to us all when he said, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all the things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

I have found these words to be absolutely true. Whether I have gone through troubles or have reason to celebrate, the words of scripture come to my mind.

As I have gotten older, I have found I don’t remember scripture as well as I used to. However, because I have the Holy Spirit living within me, I have also found that when I need God the most, that is the time the scriptures come back to mind, and they are the very ones I need.

Today, with the internet and smartphones, we are able to look up scripture that fits all times and occasions by the push of a button. Whether it’s looking for prayer or seeking the word of God, there’s much to choose from.

Reading 2 Peter 1:20-21, we find the Bible was written by ordinary men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that same Holy Spirit dwells within all believers helping us to understand the meaning of scripture.

Here are some of the remarkable ways the Holy Spirit presents himself to us: sent by our Father God, the Holy Spirit testifies (teaches us) about Jesus as our Savior (John 15:16); the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus by taking what he knows about the Lord and giving this truth to grow our faith (John 16:14); and God reveals himself to us through the Holy Spirit who “searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10).

It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us what the words found in our Bibles are saying to us for our faith, comfort and guidance in how to live well and help in times of trouble. We read the words found in the Bible for ourselves, but it is with help of the Holy Spirit who speaks the words to our minds and hearts that enables us to understand what God has intended for us.

We know the truth of God because of the Holy Spirit living inside us telling us the truth. In 1 John 2:27, we learn that the Holy Spirit teaches us what we need to know. The Holy Spirit always teaches the truth about God, and the Holy Spirit never lies.

When we are in troubling times, it is the same Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts and minds, urging us to do the right thing, revealing to us the important message found in scripture, giving us faith in God as we come against various trials in our lives.

As we read through scripture, both Old and New Testaments, we read the stories of the Jewish people, the Prophets, the Psalms and Proverbs, as well as the gospels about the life of Jesus, the Acts of the Apostles, the many letters that were aimed at new believers written by Paul, James, Jude and John. There will always be certain scriptures that particularly stand out to us both personally and individually.

By focusing on these scriptures in a time of silence with our God, we can ask God to open up our understanding of them, as we essentially begin to pray using our scripture readings to learn God’s truth.

As we read the word of God, the word becomes more and more a living word in our lives. As we ask God to speak to us as we read, to help us understand what he is saying to us, the words of scripture do become even more meaningful and clearer to our understanding.

This is nothing new among believers. It has been the way God has spoken to men and women of God since the beginning. It has always been true that as we read God’s word daily, our relationship with God grows closer and our understanding deeper.

Taking part in a weekly worship service also does much to increase our growth in God’s word. Meeting together in the ways we are able to in these times encourages us as we are around fellow Christians with all us of seeking the same thing: to learn from the living word of God.

Even the worship music that we read or sing is mostly based on scripture. Starting with scripture, the lyricists transform God’s word into hymns of joy and expectation. From the glorious alleluias of Christ’s birth, to the somber hymns of his passion and again to the hosannas of resurrection and new life, we find the basis in holy scripture.

Does God speak to us? Yes. He speaks to us every day through scripture, through the leading of the Holy Spirit to understanding the deeper meaning of scripture, as we pray to our God using scripture sources and through the scriptural verses transformed into hymns of worship.

Our basis for the living word is in scripture itself. As we grow in faith, God opens many doors to us. Sometimes, God uses other people to enlighten our understanding. That is why our friendships are so important as the fellowship of believers.

As a pastor, I try to encourage and enlighten the word of God to the congregation. We also have Bible studies where we dig deeper into God’s word, taking a portion of scripture at a time. Hearing the thoughts and opinions of one another increases the faith of us all.

As we have been speaking about the living word of God at church, and how the Holy Spirit is the active person of our trinitarian God who nudges us into action, people have come forth with some of their own stories of how they have answered his nudge.

Next week, I will share some of their stories with you.