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FIRST-PERSON: A Bible in his pocket

EASLEY, S.C. (BP) — I sometimes wonder if God ever smiles and says to an angel, “Watch this!” Many days we follow God out of obedience. Then there are other days when we get a glimpse at what God routinely does behind the scenes. Those are the days that make you shake your head in amazement!

A few months ago, a man named JD started the daily process of reading Psalm 143:8: “Let me hear Your loving kindness in the morning; for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul.” Each day JD seeks to live out that verse and prays that God would show him what to do that day to express His love. JD said it has been an amazing journey the last few months watching God work.

Not long ago he stopped at a gas station to use the restroom as he traveled toward Columbia, S.C. On the way to the door of the gas station he was approached by a man seeking help. The man asked for 80 cents. He said he needed it to catch a bus to a new job he got downtown.

JD found out that the man’s name was James. Remembering his daily prayer, JD went back to the car and found some cash, and gave James $8 or $9.

At that moment, James started to weep. He told JD how his life had been changing a lot lately. James told JD that he and his 19-year-old son had been homeless, but recently things have begun to look up for them.

“First, I get a job. Then my mom gives me a trailer for us to live in, and then someone buys me breakfast today, and now you give me this money. We are really trying hard, and I can’t believe how we have been getting blessed.”

Then James said, “It all started when a man gave me this.” He pulled a small Bible out of his pocket and showed it to JD. James continued to cry as he thought about how good God had been to him lately.

When I first heard that story, I quickly realized that this was more than just a story about a man named James who was down on his luck. This is the story of three men — and the Bible.

First, there was an unnamed man who believed the Bible is so powerful that he gave a copy of it to a total stranger. Then there is a man who decided a few months ago to start praying and living out the promises of the Bible. Finally, there was a man in a desperate situation who discovered that the Bible is life-changing.

God connected these three men together as only He can. One had the Bible in his hand, another had the Bible in his heart and the third man had the Bible in his pocket.

What is it about the Bible that makes it such a powerful book? I think the answer is found in Psalm 119:160: “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” The Bible doesn’t just contain truth, it is truth. A thousand years ago it was true, and a thousand years from now it will still be true. Truth, by its very nature, does not change, and that’s why it can change us.

James doesn’t have very many earthly possessions, but he has truth in his pocket. Suddenly his life is changing for the better.

This might be a good day to pick up your copy of truth, and begin to find out what God is capable of doing in your life.

    About the Author

  • Keith Shorter

    Keith Shorter is pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in the Baptist Courier (www.baptistcourier.com), the convention’s newsjournal.

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