"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
-- Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
At the tender age of 8 years old my father handed me my first Bible.
As it passed from his hand to mine, I grasped it with joy. I stared at the white cover with the words Holy Bible etched in gold. I took my index finger and ran it along the zippered edge until I met the tiny cross dangling at the end of the book.
I knew there was something special about this book, but little did I realize the priceless treasure of words zipped withing its cover. I carried my Bible with me to church each Sunday morning. Occasionally, I would open and read the important words spoken by Jesus, which were typed in red.
Mostly, I opened it long enough to place a special keepsake from an Easter service, such as a cross made from a palm branch, or a picture of Jesus.
Many years later, as a wedding gift, my in-laws presented me with a huge, white Bible. The first few pages contained a family tree, where my mother-in-law took the time to neatly print the family history within the blank lines.
This Bible was really special because it not only displayed the words Holy Bible written in gold on the cover, but gold also lined the edges of each delicate page. Because I cherished this book, I wrapped it in plastic and displayed it like a coffee-table book in the living room for years to come.
A few years later, my neighbor gave me a Living Bible. The words were written in a way I could understand. I started reading the Psalms and Proverbs. I no longer used it only as a keepsake or display.
Over the years I have bought many different translations of that holy book. I use it to write the words that are displayed on each page on the tablet of my heart.
I memorize words of wisdom so the Holy Spirit can bring them to my remembrance in my time of need.
When I am puzzled or confused, I open it for words of direction. It teaches me how to be in relationship with others, and gives me confidence when I feel my worth and value are gone.
As an author, I can appreciate the wise thoughts written within and the fact it's the best-selling book of all time.
Each day I quietly listen as God speaks clearly to my heart, right off the pages of his book. I have learned this is a book to behold; not on a table top, but deep within my soul.
The beginning of each year is a great time to start studying the Bible. Why not start now?
Also, join me this year for one of my presentations from God's word. And allow God to redirect your path.
• Annettee Budzban is a Christian author, speaker, life coach and nurse. She can be contacted at Annetteebudzban@aol.com