Have You Found the Secret?


Chris Malkemes shares how her relationship with God has been transformed through a holy reading of the Bible.

I remember my Uncle's Bible with awe as I touched his scribble and comments formed on the weary, worn pages. I wanted to know the Bible like he did, so for years I covered almost every inch of my Bible with my words, my opinions, my comments as if someday someone else would reach down to touch the pages and want to be just like me. My Bibles for nearly twenty years were ear marked, tabbed, and unreservedly marked up.

But, there was something wrong. I wasn't growing in the Lord. I wasn't mature.

I would read my notes trying to capture what I felt before or I would try to read the verses only to be distracted by the arrows, underlines and comments. Me, myself and I could be found on every page. It was as if I were trying to improve on what God had to say.

I wasn't listening, really listening to Him, because I was in the way.As long as I kept "myself" foremost in our relationship I shut His Word out - I shut Him out.

A silent Guide cannot lead.

I unaware I was sabotaging our intimacy until my husband bought me a new Bible for my birthday. It was a simple Bible. There were no introductions for each book, no Biblical comments on the bottom and it wasn't even tabbed. I loved the crispness of the pages and the clearness of the words. It was beautiful.

Something was missing in my Bible reading and I was desperate to find out why. So one Sunday I came down to the altar begging the pastor to pray for me - just one prayer. A prayer I was unable to pray for myself:  "Pastor, pray that He will become more and I will become less, please."

He did.

God answered.

I fell into a deep crisis of faith.

Either God was real or He wasn't. I chose to start over and challenged Him to reveal Himself. I questioned Him. I told Him my doubts. I shared with Him my frustrations. He answered me in that plain, unmarked Bible. 

Our relationship took a dramatic turn. I entered into the Spiritual. I entered into the abundant life. I no longer hung out on the shallow end, I immersed myself deeper into His Word.

I went behind closed doors - I found a secret place. I used a plain note book to scribble my words. Here I prayed as I had never prayed before. Here in this secret place I prayed His words - I prayed my heart. Here I prayed to the Living God. I read His Word as I had never read it before. I slowly grasped each line and tittle. I read His Words out loud slowly. In this slow and easy way His words echoed in my soul and grew in my heart.

He spoke.

I listened.

I spoke.

He listened.

He taught me what the ancients had known and what we've lost somehow in the passage of time. He taught me the secret of holy reading. I found Him on every page. I use to read the Bible as if it was a self improvement manual.  Reading it now was a Know-Him adventure and not a Know-How drudgery.  In the holy reading of Holy Scripture my life changed. I found the mind of Christ.

Yes. I found the mind of Christ. I didn't become like Christ, but I did do things differently. I changed. I responded to life's challenges differently. I didn't "possess" the mind of Christ like it was something I could possess. It was more like having greater access to the heart and mind of Christ every day.

He moved me forward.

He walked with me.

He showed me which way to go in that situation.

He showed me which way not to go in another situation.

He moved from the pages to my mind.

He moved from my mind into my heart.

There was no turning back now.

Oh! Don't get me wrong. I make mistakes and He corrects me all the time.

I learn from His correction.

I mature under in His correction.

I am safe in the arms of His correction.

I love His correction.

I need His correction.

The journey continues. My Bible still bears no marks, underlining or comments, but in the back you will see these words written down in ink: Ps 9:10  "Those who know Your Name will trust You."  and following closely behind are written the names for God reflecting His character - our relationship.

So, if you pick up my Bible today you might be surprised, but you will find a story.

My story.

His story.

Our story.

The God story.

Tell me what you think. Have you ever tried holy reading? Have you ever heard of it before?

Hebrews 5: 12-13a  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant...

Isaiah 55: 8-9, 11  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts...so is My word that goes from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Isaiah 30: 20b-21  ...your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

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