Testimony of Blessings Found in God’s Word (Part 1)
One of the most important ways of growing as a Christian and becoming what God wants us to be is through the study of God’s Word. As I look back through my life, I see how differently I view God’s Word today than when I was a child. One Christmas I received a book of Bible stories. I was about six years old, and had been in Sunday School all my life. I can remember my daddy reading stories from that book. It is a precious memory. When I was a little older, I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but a man and his wife and daughter came to our little country church to hold Bible School. It was truly Bible School for I don’t remember any other activities, not even refreshments. I do remember we were encouraged to memorize the 23rd Psalm. My brother Sam and I both learned it. We had an opportunity to buy a Bible for 50 cents, which we did.
At our little Sunday School, the one piece of information that was asked and recorded each week was “How many chapters of the Bible have you read this week?” I didn’t want to say none so I started reading my Bible on the way to church. I learned that the Psalms contained a lot of short chapters so I always read from Psalms, and I could truthfully say how many I had read that week. Maybe two or three, depending on how fast Daddy drove to church. However, even with that shallow type of reading, I was hiding God’s Word in my heart. I specifically remember looking up at the stars one night when I was outside alone and the verse from Psalms came to mind:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
When I became a senior in high school we moved to the big city of Chickasha, Oklahoma, and we attended the First Baptist Church. (I learned later that George W. Criswell had been their pastor before the current one. I wasn’t too impressed because I didn’t really know who Dr. Criswell was, although I later learned he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas.) While I was attending that church I went to Vacation Bible School, and the Intermediate Class I attended was encouraged to memorize the Thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. I memorized it and learned that it is the Love Chapter; it became an important part of my Christian understanding of love.
In later years we moved to Dallas, Texas, and I taught a group of young intermediate girls. Our department head was Juanita Dance. I learned so much from her. She happened to be the sister of Guy Newman, who had been the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Denison when I attended Denison High School. She challenged the group of teachers in her department to memorize the Sermon on the Mount. That happened to be chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew. I had never tried to memorize that long of a passage, but I accepted the challenge. I learned that I could prop my Bible in the window over my sink, and learn several verses easily while I washed dishes. Mrs. Dance gave me a devotional book on the Sermon on the Mount as a reward.
A few years later, we moved to Richardson and joined the First Baptist Church there. Our boys were getting to be old enough for Royal Ambassadors, so I started helping in Girls’ Auxiliary. Each summer the GAs had a day camp where the girls learned the scriptures related to their steps in becoming a Queen. As I helped them learn those scriptures I memorized the verses I was teaching. I was also attending Sunday School with young adult women and I began to notice a difference in the teachers I had. Some of them, although they were lovely people, evidently taught from the Sunday School book and while they seemed to know the content, I sensed that they didn’t necessarily know the whole story. Now and then a certain teacher would teach our class, and it seemed that her knowledge of the Bible came overflowing out of an abundance of studying God’s Word and knowing it so completely. I felt like that first teacher, like one who knew the Bible on the surface and just what I had heard from sermons and Sunday School books and those few scriptures I had memorized.
To be continued . . .