At the National Prayer Breakfast in 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced that the year had been declared National Year of the Bible. He had been authorized to do so by a Senate joint resolution, which recited that the Bible has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation.
That resolution also acknowledged a national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, quoting President Andrew Jackson, who said, "The Bible is the rock upon which our republic rests."
"Can we resolve to reach, learn and try to heed the greatest message ever written: God's Word, the Holy Bible?" President Reagan asked. "Inside these pages lie all the answers to all the problems that man has ever known."
There has been so much that has changed in our nation since those words and since that resolution was made. As we continue to journey through 2020, there is no doubt that we need to return to the Holy Scriptures. With so much divisiveness, instability and challenges around the world, we need a plumb line of God's truth to give us guidance and direction. We also need to find, together, the answers that we need to solve the problems around us.
That is why I'm joining leaders around the globe—along with friends, partners and affiliates of the ministries I am connected with—in recognizing 2020 as the Global Year of the Bible.
On December 31, 2019, I was processing and praying in preparation for the New Year. During my early morning devotion time, I was reminded of a quote by Charles Spurgeon, "A tattered Bible is evidence of a life that is not." Now, obviously, just because someone's Bible is tattered, isn't proof that their life is perfect or without challenges. But being in God's Word changes us, renews our minds and gives us a footing upon which we can stand and build when our world is shaken.
Ephesians 5:26 and Romans 12:2 remind us of the importance of meditating on the Word to renew, refresh and wash us clean from all the external influences of the world around us. There really is a battle for our minds and hearts.
Pray the Word
We are in an important season. In the midst of difficult and troubling times throughout the world, we must be a people of expectation in the Lord. We have the answers, and we find them in the Word of God. As we meditate on the Word, it not only will renew and wash our minds, but it brings us peace and guidance in the midst of whatever challenges or storms we may face. And, when we don't know what to pray, let us pray the Word (Scriptures). Yes, the Word works!
The late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole, founder of the Christian Men's Network, used to say, "Prayer produces intimacy, to whom you pray, with whom you pray in agreement, and for whom you pray."
Speak the Word
Scriptures tell us about the power found in God's Word:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
"...the seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11).
"For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
"Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him" (Prov. 30:5).
Philippians 2:16 speaks of the Word of life. It says in the NET Bible: "by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain."
Isaiah 55:9-11 says: "For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts, then your thoughts, for as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from my mouth, says the Lord. It shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it will prosper and the thing for which I sent it."
When I was a teenager, I was sometimes a part of "sit-ins" for various causes as a way to make a statement that we shall not be moved until our demands were heard. Today, I have a far greater reason to say I shall not be moved. No matter what trials, storms or winds of life come our way, we can be unshakable when we build upon the right and solid foundations of the Lord.
"For the word of the Lord is upright, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth" (Ps. 33:4-6).
There's something powerful about praying the Word of God and speaking His Zoe life over our circumstances and our families. Isaiah 55 declares that His Word will not return void so we can have confidence of its effectiveness. It gives us a hope and a vision beyond our current circumstances.
Spread the Word
We must also be those who know the Word if we are to spread the Word. How can we spread the Word if we don't have a relationship with the Living Word Himself?
The Word works. It is a seed that does not come back void. God's Word teaches us the way we should live and the way we should go. In fact, God says in Psalm 32:8-11, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule that are without understanding, that must be restrained with bit and bridle, or they will not come near you. Many sorrows come to the wicked, but lovingkindness will surround the man who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you righteous one; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart! How can we know God's heart unless we know His Word?"
We need the manifest presence of God like never before. We need the renewing of our mind like never before. We need to call upon the name of the Lord, be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and understand who the Lord really is. We need a renewed sense of the work of the cross and the power of the Resurrection. It starts with us getting back to the fundamentals, getting back into the Word of God, letting it change us, and then going out and being a tangible expression of the living Word to those around us.
It also starts with a posture of humility before God. We need to come before a holy, holy, holy God, saying, "God, do whatever You need to do, to do a work in me, so You can do a work through me." We need a renewed corporate awakening of our hearts, renewing of our minds and understanding that we are all equalized in His presence.
We desperately need the gift of discernment more than ever before. Too many things today are working to separate us, divide us and conquer us. But when we have a humble posture before God and let the Lord work in us through His Word and Spirit, He unites us so He can do a work through us.
A New Season
We need an awakening in the church. We need a revival across the land. We need a generation grounded in God's Word, to rise up as a prophetic generation, preparing the way for revival and the coming of the Lord.
The Word works. It does not come back void. It is our Word in season. It is the Word of life!
Let us meditate on the Word to cleanse our mind, and pray the Word, which is powerful. Let us speak the Word over our lives, and spread the Word to be a tangible expression of God's love.
God is about to do what only He can do. But it's amazing when we participate with Him!
Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network bringing hope and healing to communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches and cooperative efforts. He is the author of numerous books, including In Search of a Father's Blessing and Leadership Awakening: Foundational Principles for Lasting Success.
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