The good stories are the kind that last forever and the kind worth reading over and over again.
I was reading a great story the other day and I wanted to share it with you. It involves miracles, an evil king, a pregnant virgin, a man with vision-like dreams, a group of rich men that follow a star, some stinky shepherds, a crazy Baptist preacher who lives in the wild eating grasshoppers and a baby that would grow up to save the world. Oh and we can't forget the angels. There are lots of angels in this story.
Sounds like a great story, right? That's because it's the greatest story ever written and it's not a fairy-tale, or make-believe, or fiction it's 100% true.
Here's another story. There was a very good man who was trying to live a good life when everybody else around him (except for his family) was being wicked and doing very bad things. He talked to God about it and God told him to build an enormous boat and collect all the animals in the world. When the man and his family and all the animals were safe on the boat, it rained non-stop for over a month and flooded the earth and killed all the bad people.
How about this one? There was a girl who was forced to marry the king (along with many other girls) and she was picked to be the queen. This king was very bad and he was going to kill an entire race of people. He didn't realize that this new queen of his was of that very same race. This girl was very afraid but her uncle told her that she had to talk to the king and try to get him to change her mind. She didn't really have anything to lose so she gathered up her courage, talked to the king and got him to change his mind. It helped being able to point out that the king's right-hand guy was running shady deals behind the kings back.
And of course we can't forget the very first story ever written. The one about how earth was created and the first man, and then the first woman. When everything was perfect and God walked on earth. When there was only one rule and nothing else was off limits. How everything fell apart when that one rule was broken and pain and sin entered the world and things weren't perfect anymore. That without this story then there wouldn't be any others.
They sound like exciting stories don't they? Stories that you would want to read over and over again, and to listen to others tell them, and to tell them to little children. The kind that movies are made about and lessons are learned from.
Then why is it that after we are done with the coloring pages in the church nursery, after we outgrow singing songs in 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School, after we're too cool for anything by the time we're in 7th grade, after we graduate from highschool and enter the "real world" that we are quick to forget the stories or say that they're only for children.
How many adults do you know who love the movie Tangled about Rapunzel? Beauty and the Beast? How about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty or the classic Cinderella? Those are stories that both kids and adults love and they're mostly or completely not true. Yet, we still love to watch them! Then why are we so quick to dismiss the greatest story of all time (and all the other really great stories) that are not only entirely true but also hold important truths about our life and tells about the great war that is taking place right now with us being caught in the middle?
Well, I just answered my own question right there. Because there's a war going on. That baby I mentioned in the second paragraph of this post? The one that grows up to be a hero? Yeah, that one. He's God's son, Jesus and he saved the world by getting himself killed so that we wouldn't have to die since the human race has broken every single one of God's rules. All we have to do is believe, turn away from our sin, an follow God. And Satan is the enemy who wants us to believe that this is all just a fairytale, a good story for kids but should be thrown out like Santa Claus when we get old enough to "understand".
It's really that simple. It's the greatest, truest, most amazing story out there and it can be found in the Bible. Start in Matthew. Or Genesis. Or Esther. Start anywhere you want and read the stories. The long stories and the short stories. The serious stories and the funny stories. the hard-to-believe stories and the stories they tell to the little kids in Sunday School.
Read them and remember this: You're a part of that story too.
Next time you pick up your Bible, ignore your "good Christian" checklist. You're not a good Christian for reading the Bible everyday if that's all you do with it. You just read it so you can check it off your to-do list for the day and tell your parent, sunday school teacher, or pastor that you read it when they ask. Read it because it's the best story ever. Read it and imagine what it must have really been like to have been told you're pregnant with the son of God, or imagine David killing Goliath with a slingshot, or how disappointing it must have been for Jesus to go to his hometown and have nobody listen to him.
Get excited about this. Write about this. Don't settle for just reading a few chapters every day for "devotions" read just one chapter, or just one story and think about it. Or read several chapters or a whole book and imagine yourself in that story. Change your perspective and it will revolutionize your Bible reading. It did for me. Have fun!