Saturday, March 04, 2006

the hunger for a heavenly book I just started reading the autobiography of a persecuted Chinese house church leader. When he first trusted Jesus, he desired to know "the words of Jesus." But there were no Bibles to be found in China at that time; his mother told him, "All [of Jesus'] words are gone. There is nothing left of his teaching." The boy walked a long way to another village to beg an old pastor to let him just see a Bible. The pastor told him, "The Bible is a heavenly book. If you want one, you'll need to pray to the God of heaven. Only he can provide you a heavenly book. God is faithful. He always answers those who seek him with all of their heart." The teenage boy knelt on a stone in his room and prayed over and over for a Bible, but no Bible appeared. He went back to the old pastor to beg again. This time the pastor said, "If you're serious, then you should not only kneel down and pray to the Lord, you should also fast and weep. The more you weep the sooner you'll get a Bible." For months, he fasted and wept and pleaded with God for a Bible. His parents were afraid he was losing his mind. But then, in a miraculous way (read the book to find out how), God gave him the heavenly book he had so been longing for. He didn't let the old Bible out of his site, and he read it all day every day whenever he had a chance. This is how he explains it: In the beginning, reading my Bible wasn't easy because I had only received three years of education. Furthermore, my Bible was in the traditional Chinese script, while I had learned the simplified characters. I found a dictionary and painstakingly looked up one character at a time as I advanced through the Bible. Finally I finished reading through the whole Bible, so I started to memorize one chapter per day. After 28 days I had memorized the whole Gospel of Matthew. I quickly read through the three other Gospels before preceding to the Book of Acts and started to memorize it. What? You've got to be kidding me? How lackadaisical am I? How much do I take for granted? Not only do I have several Bibles here with me in Taiwan, I have several back in the States in storage. And, not only do I have many of them, I have never once in all my buying and receiving of Bibles thought anything close to the fact that the only way I could get such a heavenly book is if God, in his sovereignty, provided one for me. (Of course he has/did--he has blessed me with many, but have I ever once given him the credit for me being able to have his teachings to read? No, rather I have just purchased them as I would have any other book at a bookstore. Oh,...

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