Thanks to Jacqui and Fred for the encouragement they gave me to get back to blogging. So here I am again! There are a lot of things I’d like to post about but I’d like to begin with a new book I bought just today: Reading the Bible with Heart & Mind by Tremper Longman III, published by NAVPRESS and sells at only P 250.00. Buy it from your local PCBS.
In the preface to the book Longman quotes Calvin’s one-sentence endorsement of Bible reading:
Read Demosthenes or Cicero; read Plato, Aristotle, or any others of that class; I grant you that you will be attracted, delighted, moved, enraptured by them in a surprising manner; but if after reading them, you turn to the perusal of the sacred volume, whether you are willing or unwilling, it will affect you so powerfully, it will so penetrate your heart, and impress itself so strangely on your mind that, compared with its energetic influence, the beauties of rhetoricians and philosophers will almost entirely disappear; so that it is easy to perceive something divine in the sacred Scriptures, which far surpasses the highest attainments and ornaments of human industry.
I have found Calvin’s words to be true in my own experience. I have done a lot of reading through the years (including a little of Plato, a little of Aristotle, and a good number of Star Trek novels!) , but nothing beats Psalm 23 and John 3:16. In the Bible one can “taste and see that the Lord is good!” Just a couple of days ago I visited my father’s grave. I remember his testimony of how the Bible changed his life. At the age of 39 he was almost on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He had difficulty going to sleep and was becoming dependent on tranquilizers. But one day he set his eyes on a verse from the Bible which was written on a small signboard hanging on the wall of his bedroom. The verse was Isaiah 26:3: “He will keep in perfect peace those who trust the Lord.” I remember my father telling me how this verse just hit him. He offered a simple prayer to God. He told God that he did put his trust in him and he asked God to give him this perfect peace that the verse talked about. And before he knew it he was sound asleep. I can still remember the joy and gratitude in my father’s face when he told me about how he woke up the next morning realizing that a miracle had happened. He told me that tears streamed down his cheeks when he realized that he had experienced first-hand what it meant to be loved by a good God. He was a changed man after that – not perfect, but certainly changed. God used a verse from the Bible – just one verse – to save my father’s sanity. And that was just the beginning…