50 Reasons to Open a Bible

There’s fresh bread…
Elijah’s given up. He wants to rollover and die. He did his best and look – nothing. No hope, no change, no revival. He’s had enough, collapses and falls asleep on the desert floor. What’s that smell? Fresh bread? Where did that come from? He sits up, sees an angelic baker, boy that bread looks good…
1 Kings 19 vv 1-8

There’s construction…
There’s a hot sun today, sweat forms quickly on the backs of the two builders. One goes for the quick option, easy solutions in order to be out of the heat. The other plods on, suffering in the swelter, but refusing to build something that will drift away in the first storm.
Luke 6 vv 47-49

It has unexpected witnesses…
At his birth ‘unclean’ shepherds and outsider wise men searched him out, at his death a couple of enemy soldiers and a dying renegade glimpsed what was really going on.
Luke 23 vv 39-42, Matthew 27 v 54

It’s full of grace and truth…
He’s 100% about Grace, so he can be 100% about Truth. Totally dedicated to uncompromising, honest reality, because he’s totally dedicated to compassionate, generous, welcoming grace. He can pull no punches because he knows the way is not through the door of unbending correctness, but on the road of forgiveness, encouragement and weakness.
John 1 v 14, 1 Corinthians 1 v 25, Psalm 85 v 10

There’s a good father…
Willing to give his son the freedom to explore, ready to welcome him back after the adventure has collapsed. Willing to look a fool, running like no other father would run, hurling himself, undignified, to hug his broken son and show he cares. Protecting his child from the insults of anyone critical. Gracious and compassionate, warm and encouraging.
Luke 15 13-24

It’s hopeful…
Two in a garden, one in a desert, all three facing temptation.
One encounter leads to dark collapse, the other to hope and redemption.
Romans 5 vv 15-16

It’s friendly…
Smiling as he surveys their earnest faces he beckons them a little closer. ‘I’m no longer going to call you servants,’ he says, ‘from now – you’re my friends. Because I’ve told you so much, entrusted you with so many precious things.’
John 15 v 15

It has gardens…
Eden, that blank canvass of wonder and creativity, anything possible. Gethsemane, that place of utter gloom, red splashes of pain, dripping from nailed flesh, washing across the earth. Resurrection, that burst of surprise, that feelgood ending, that new start, kick-starting a history of new starts. For all time.
John 20

There’s a good father…
Willing to give his son the freedom to explore, ready to welcome him back after the adventure has collapsed. Willing to look a fool, running like no other father would run, hurling himself, undignified, to hug his broken son and show he cares. Protecting his child from the insults of anyone critical. Gracious and compassionate, warm and encouraging.
Luke 15 13-24

There’s conversation…
When Jonah’s asked if he’s angry about God’s compassion, he daren’t reply. When asked if he’s angry about a dead plant, he says, ‘You bet!!’ And God then steers the conversation back to the issue of his compassion.
Jonah 4 vv 1-11

It’s down-to-earth…
The glory of gold and silver, splendour and jewellery may have filled the people’s minds, but the glory of God with grit under his fingernails, that’s what filled the mind of the Creator.
John 1 v 14, Haggai 2 vv 7-8, Philippians 2 vv 5-11, 2 Chronicles 9 vv 20-24

It’s newsworthy…
Elizabeth hits the headlines and word travels fast. The neighbours come running to see if it’s true. Pregnant? Really? After all these years! Meanwhile her husband is speechless, struck dumb. Then he scribbles on a board and a prophet is born. John. Hope has come to town…
Luke 1 vv 57-80

There’s instant travel…

Phillip stands in the desert heat, listening to the distant rumbling of wheels on the road. A broken man in a carriage reads of another humiliated person. Sees himself on the page. Phillip eases close, introduces one to the other. The broken traveller finds himself coming back to life. Phillip finds himself somewhere else entirely…
Acts 8 vv 26-40

It’s loving…

We have stolen God’s heart. He has risked loving us and now is besotted, totally committed. Thinks of nothing else, has spent everything he has on us. Love as strong as death, never can be washed away or swallowed up. Love that cost everything, an un-buyable gift.
Song of Songs 8 vv 6-7, Psalm 139 v 17

It’s human…
On the outside we may need a little tweaking, a little patching up. Day by day the ship sinks a fraction more. But inside, in the places where it matters, the spirit of God does the work, day by day. Renewing, refreshing, forgiving, cleansing, inspiring, urging, strengthening, rewiring…
2 Corinthians 4 v 16

It’s introspective…
Suddenly aware of themselves in a way that had not concerned them before. Life once extraordinarily blissful, became extraordinarily stressful. They hide from the one made sense of it all. Thankfully plan B is already in place.
Genesis 3 vv 6-7, Ephesians 1 vv 4-8

It’s shocking…
If ways don’t change and hearts don’t yield, there’ll be strange things on the table. Desperation in the land and lives lived in the dark will lead to turds and wee on the menu. Yikes! #urine-a-bit-of-a-fix. But there is a way to life.
2 Kings 18 v 27, John 4 vv 10-13, John 7 vv 37-38

It’s enlightening…
‘If we try to understand ourselves, by ourselves, then we miss most of ourselves.’ The light shines in the darkness of our minds and we discover there is so much more to discover. To see ourselves as God sees us, to walk in the steps he has set before us. Psalm 139 vv 1-3, 1 Corinthians 2 v 12

It’s science-defying…
Can’t measure it, can begin to perceive it, but can’t quantify it. Can see it at work in the lives of others, but can’t bottle or test tube it. The Love Of God. Broad deep long extraordinary. Pinned on a cross and leaking from an open tomb.
Ephesians 3 vv 17-20

There’s unfinished business…
The battle once sacrificially settled, continues with each passing day. The war won with nails still raging in too many dark places. The colours of victory still absent from too many shadowy corners, the news of the peace still coming down the wire. The war lingers. Won yet raging.
Ephesians 6 vv 13-18

It’s understanding…
‘I haven’t come for those who think they are all sorted,’ says Jesus, ‘I have come for those who are struggling, those who find life hard, those who face struggles and fears. I have come to help them.’
Luke 5 vv 31-32

It’s alive…
Can’t be contained in a box, or locked in a church. Or kept in a tomb. He’s escaped and running free – in the streets and the strange places. The Living Word won’t be hemmed in. May not look the way we expect, God in disguise.
Acts 17 vv 22-28

It’s refreshing…
A fountain, life giving water, and the invitation to drink. Food that truly nourishes and satisfies. Thoughts way beyond anything we might dream up. Our minds renewed and the rubbish emptied. Money not required. Just the desire, the hunger for more…
Isaiah 55

It’s real…
They are frightened… and confused. They’ve followed Jesus for 3 years, and they know the stories about his resurrection, but still they hide away. Unsure of the meaning of it all. Doubt collides with faith in their minds, love clashes with fear. Fortunately he understands, brings peace in their confusion…
John 20 vv 19-20

It’s furious…
When Job was a well man, before his life fell apart, he refused to suffer oppressors gladly. Standing up for those on the margins, the rejected and lost, he confronted the perpetrators of evil, and broke the jaws of tyrannical powers.
Job 29 vv 11-17

It’s financial…
If only Herod knew he would go ballistic. He’s bank rolling the work of another king. Joanna, her life and priorities radically changed, now spends her husband’s money on the vagabond king. The servant God.
Luke 8 v 3

It’s a challenge…
Three men. Three bags of money. One challenge. What will they do with what they’ve been given? The race is on while the boss is away. Two will take what they have and use it well. One will be reluctant and resentful of the one who gave it to him. Grab a spade and bury it. Oops.
Matthew 25 vv 14-30

It’s back!
The people gasp, their hearts trembling as if the very ground beneath their feet was giving up its dead. The grating of the stone rolling back, the footstep within the cave – a dead man wakes, yawns stretches. Lazarus. Standing where he should not be. Breathing. Alive!
John 11 1-44

It values people
Merely a long list? Or something more. A vital story of ordinary people going down in history. Recorded. Remembered. They matter. Normal is the new celebrity. They played their part. As we play our part. No one overlooked. VIOP.
Matthew 1 vv 1-17

It’s absolutely fabulous…
The kind of caring that stops you dead in your tracks. Makes your jaw drop and your eyes explode. The best news ever. Life will never be the same. He cares. He’s not a capricious old man with a big stick. He’s a God with dirt under his finger nails. A God ready to embrace us.
John 3 v 16, Matthew 18 vv 12-14

It’s inclusive…
He does what no religious teacher did back then, he takes both sexes on his missions. And then Tells stories of God aimed at both groups. Men and women hunt high and low, as the Good Son has come hunting high and low for us.
Luke 8 vv 1-2, Luke 15 vv 1-10

There’s recognition…
A people weary of doing good while the wicked prosper. Feels like forever trekking up hill, to live differently, to be unique, set apart while others fly in the face of that and thrive. So a book of remembrance appears. A record of the faithful. Not forgotten, but treasured and precious. Worth keeping going.
Malachi 3 v 14-17, Matthew 25 v 21

It’s mysterious…
He comes out of left field. This stranger-king, crashes in to Abraham’s epic journey. Who is he? Where has he come from? Brings Abraham grace and blessing. Totally unexpected. God breaking into our lives from an unexpected source.
Genesis 14 vv 18-20

It’s controversial…
Those who thought they were not good enough discovered something – they weren’t good enough, and yet they were invited to join anyway. The party heaving with the kind of bodies not normally seen at religious get-togethers. The love of God punching through boundaries.
Matthew 9 vv 9-13

It’s honest…
In this world, in this life, it won’t be easy. It’s a hard choice, a road less wide, and not only narrow but one that often feels as if it is strewn with rocks, pot holes and broken glass. His yolk is good, his way of being is life itself.
John 16 v 33, Matthew 11 vv 28-30

It’s eye-opening…
Without vision, people can falter and fade. Let us refocus as we run this race and set our eyes on the One who is the beginning and resolution of all things.
Hebrews 12 vv 1-2, Proverbs 29 v 18

It’s about you…
Paul falls on his knees for you and I, praying that the scales will fall from our eyes as they did from his. Praying that we might get a fresh vision of the God who gave everything for us.
Ephesians 1 vv 1-19, Acts 9 vv 17-19

It’s fast…
They run like the wind, desperate to get back and tell the others. Their hearts blazing with wonder and hope. Not too long ago they trudged away in confusion. Now they’re back, eyes wide and on hearts fire. This is too important for hanging around. Everything’s changed.
Luke 24 vv 28-34

It’s breath-taking…
They hardly dare breath, the sight is so incredible, absolutely other-worldly. Peter had put two and two together back there in Caesarea, now they get a glimpse of the reality. The Messiah, shining like the sun, the light of the world beaming out of him.  Like a million floodlights.
Matthew 17 vv 1-2, Matthew 16 vv 13-16

It’s romantic…
Like a lover waiting for his love to trust him, he waits for people to come closer. Move out from behind that rock, show their face, talk to him, give him the smile he longs for, get to know him better.
Song of Songs 2 vv 14

It’s life-changing…
Naaman wants to take this compassionate God with him, this healing deity, so he asks if he can take a bit of turf with him, a little holy ground. It’ll take a while to find out that this God is not in one place, but everywhere.
2 Kings vv 14-17, Joshua 1 v 9

It’s counter-cultural…
The father runs, looking like a complete idiot. A fool, a loser. But he doesn’t care. He wants to scoop up his son, the child he loves, the one he’s been waiting for. And he’ll run again and again. Look the fool, to scoop us up, the children he loves. The beloved, precious people he carefully crafted.
Luke 15 v 20

It’s straight-talking…
‘Won’t be easy,’ he says, glancing at their troubled faces, ‘but it’ll be worth it. You’re father knows you inside and out, you are so precious to him. But following me will set you apart. Give you different priorities. At times make you look a little odd. But every step of the way is worth it.’
Matthew 10 vv 24-39

It’s powerful…
A roaring storm, the widows rattling, the branches of nearby trees dashing the windows, like drumming fingers. As if God were knocking, asking to come inside. Afterwards no one can be sure whether the ground actually shook, but their world did. Never the same again. Acts 2 vv 1-4

It’s unforgettable…
She longs to honour him, to thank him for his help, to show him her devotion. And so she causes a bit of a stink. Pours the perfume on him, The house will carry the aroma for days. Their clothes too. But the tale of what she has done will last forever.
Mark 14 vv 3-9

It’s funny…
‘Seriously?’ says Jesus looking at their extraordinarily earnest faces, ‘You want me to silence a joyful crowd of thousands? I tell you something, even if I could, you see those rocks there? They’d start singing. Your shoe, that jug of water, the scowl on your face – they’d all break out into a happy song. That camel over there would start rapping.’
Luke 19 vv 36-40

It’s unexpected…
‘Lord,’ said Ezekiel, ‘I can’t touch human dung – it would make me unacceptable to you.’ ‘Touch it! Cook with it! Set fire to it!’ said God, ‘it will make people wake up and ask questions! I’m trying to get their attention! This is serious. I need them to listen to me.’ Ezekiel 4 vv 12-15

It’s contemporary…
‘Why do the nations rage like this? Why do they try and outdo one another? Why do they so hastily resort to posturing and belittling? And why do they kick against that man from Galilee? And those who trust in Him?’
Psalm 2 vv 1-3

It’s culinary…
My child, avoid the haunts of evil people, they eat wickedness and drink violence. Instead search for the subtle steps of the righteous, their food is kindness, their drink is the good will of God. Their compassion is like the warmth of the sun soothing the land in a new dawn.
Proverbs 4 vv 14-18, John 4 v 34

There’s mountaineering…
74 climbers take a mountain trek and encounter a sapphire pavement and a meal with God. The first example of communion perhaps, breaking bread with the Almighty and feeling better for it. Centuries pass and food still brings us close to God. Breaking bread, sharing wine, meeting Jesus.
Exodus 24 vv 9-11

It’s weird…
Imagine a dog returning to its own vomit. A delightful image. Yet in the same way a fool can return to their mistakes and mess, revisiting and redoing them. Making the same errors without learning anything from them.
Proverbs 26 v 11

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