The power of reading prescribed texts

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses the simple practice of following a daily scripture or devotional reading plan to speak a timely word of encouragement.  Yesterday was no exception.  It was a big day for me as I had to report to the hospital at 5:30 AM for surgery to remove a cyst from my neck.  Despite being in a time crunch Susan and I took a few minutes together to read to one another our respective appointed readings for June 28. 

Amazingly, my assigned text in the Bible reading plan I have been using was Isaiah 53.  That chapter describing the suffering Messiah contains the most powerful passage of scripture on healing in the entire Bible.  Faith leaped within me as I read “surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” and “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)  What better message and encouragement can a man receive prior to surgery than that one? 

And the devotional book Susan has been following had an entry for June 28 on this verse “Now the Lord of peace himself, give you peace always by all means.” (1 Thessalonians 3:16a)  Again, it was a word in season for both of us.  As Susan and I prayed together, an incredible peace settled over us and took root in our souls. 

I can honestly say that the impartation of faith from those two readings cocooned me in God’s healing love throughout the entire day.  Prior to the surgery the doctor told me that I would have to stay in the hospital over night; but things went so well they released me before noon.  Joy of joys, I was entrusted to the best nurse in the world, – also referred to as my “responsible person” by hospital staff –  and to home health care.

The practice of reading prescribed texts using scriptures, meditations, prayers etc. is an established spiritual discipline dating all the way back to the founding church fathers in the first centuries after Christ.  Those who make it a daily practice position themselves to hear God speak to them and strengthen themselves in their faith.  It gives God an opportunity to tangibly impart direction, correction and comfort. 

Many people feel as though they do not hear God speak to them.  But most of the time it is because they are not taking advantage of the means He has established to do just that, by reading His Word.  May I encourage you in this regard today? 

If you have not already done so, please consider making a commitment to a daily reading plan and stick with it for at least 30 days.  I can guarantee that it will make a positive difference in your life.  Check out these two blog posts for more on this topic:  “No Bible No Nothing” and “Devotional website favorites.”

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