Grace and peace be unto you brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus!

I had the privilege of growing up in a Lutheran church and school where I learned much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic like public schools taught. I was taught religion and our God, memorizing and reciting many Bible verses and many of the hymns we sang in church and school. We learned the many stories of the Old Testament from Creation and Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, and Moses and the Exodus to name a few. We learned the story of the baby Jesus, his life, his death and resurrection and of our salvation. I probably forgot more memory verses than I dare say but I have been given such a great gift in that education. I now feel truly privileged, honored and blessed with what I was taught back then. I am humbled to share God’s love with my family and any who would listen and are willing to share his word.

Although having been given these gifts I must admit that I don’t really read my Bible as I should. I read from our Daily Devotional Booklets most every day and in these daily booklets are readings from the Bible. I have come to realize that even though I know many of these readings I probably miss out by not reading them. I read the stories and learn from them but I may be leaving much more that could be important to my understanding of God’s word. My mother, God bless her; read from her Bible and Devotionals every night and I used to think she was being kind of a hypocrite. You see, every day she would yell at my six brothers and sisters and I and dole out spankings or discipline, [sometimes with a yardstick or flyswatter]; even if I did deserve it, and later at night she would take out her Bible and Devotions and read them. I used to think yell and scream, and holler and spank our fannies, and then later read her Bible. How could she do that! Now that I’m older I understand that it was her devotions and her Bible and her love and trust in God that got her through those trying days. Hallelujah!

Here I am now, doing the same thing reading my Devotionals with the exception of reading my Bible as she did. Hypocritical? Yes! Humbled? Yes! Who am I to be so arrogant, so judgmental, because I think I know the Bible! I still have much to learn! What a great mentor she has been! Jesus says in the Bible, [I believe it is in Matthew], “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it will be opened unto you.”

I’ve been imagining the idea of leaving the 1st and 2nd lessons and the Gospel reading out of the Sunday Bulletin and off the projector screen and instead, use Bibles put in our pews and actually read from the Bibles to learn and to study God’s word as it is written. At least I would read the Bible at church which will perhaps lead to my reading the Bible more often at home. There is still so much to be learned! May we all learn to read and encourage others to read their Bibles too! Learn of God’s grace and his peace. Learn of God’s love for all and to love one another.

God bless us all,

~Ron Johnson

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