I have received many Gideon Bible's over the years. And to be quite honest nothing really "spiritual" had come out of any of them. Mainly because I grew up on the New International Version and the King James Version just seemed like it needed to be updated. I mean we don't talk with thee's and thou's anymore. But I'd like to tell a story about how God convicted me about my negative perception of His Word in the KJV, and how he gave me the sermon text for my message in preaching class all over the course of a weekend.
I am on a spiritual journey to read the Bible all the way through. I am in the School of Christian Ministries and I just feel like if I'm going to devote my life to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, I might actually have to know something about it. I'm not on the year plan, I just want to do it at my own pace. I have read Genesis through Deuteronomy and the whole New Testament but I want a fresh reading that is relatively close to each other. Towards the end of last year I read Daniel through Luke, and this year I read a chapter of John for 21 days until I was done, and then I moved on to Acts. On a Saturday morning I got up to get ready to go to Cracker Barrel for work. I read the second chapter of Acts and went on to work. But all throughout the day all I kept hearing was my voice reading and re-reading the scripture I read that morning in my mind. My voice said this, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." This is found in Acts 2:36b. I would take someone some sweet tea, "both Lord and Christ." I would run some food out of the window to a table, "both Lord and Christ." I would be talking to a customer taking an order and hear my voice say, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." It went on all day. I eventually made it home and spent the evening with my family and went to bed.
The next morning was a normal Sunday morning. We got our showers, brushed our teeth, ate our breakfast, and away we were out the door headed to Athens for the church service. It was the day before Valentines day. On the ride I told my wife about the strange occurrence of me hearing a scripture all day in my head on Saturday. I noticed we had three Gideon Bibles that we planned to give to some people at Safe House Outreach in Atlanta next to the console. I pulled one out and thumbed to the scripture, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2:36&version=NIV;KJV. I began to read it to my wife as she drove and became extremely emotional. I was talking about this scripture and weeping. I read the sermon that Peter gave in the chapter and explained to my wife that the Jews Peter was preaching to had killed Jesus only months before and that they should have killed Peter just like they killed Jesus because Peter was claiming the same thing Jesus was, that Jesus was the Messiah. But the Jews were pricked in their hearts, asked Peter what to do, and Peter told them to repent. They did and about 3,000 people were added to the church. I just sat riding enjoying the Holy Spirit's presence.
When we got to church the service was amazing. There was actually a ceremony where my wife Kathryn and I renewed our marriage vows along with all the married couples in the church. I had never been more in love with my wife than in that moment. We were both crying with tears streaming down our faces as I placed a red rose in her hands and committed my life to her all over again. God is truly a God who knows our innermost being. He spoke to me on every area of my life, all day long!
As Kat and I drove home with her sister and our son (we picked her sister up in Athens and she stayed the week with us) I shared with my sister in law about what God had been showing me all weekend and what a great time I had at church. I realized in that moment that I had a negative view of the KJV of the Bible. And that God spoke very clearly to me through that translation earlier that morning and for me to think less of people for reading that version of the Bible or that it was inferior to the NIV was absolutely wrong. God showed me His Word is what speaks, not who translated it. Any translation can speak to me because if it is God's timeless Word, it has power.
I knew that this theme of Acts in my life wasn't coincidental, so I took this as a sign from God that the scripture that was popping in my head should be the scripture text for my first sermon in Homiletics (preaching) class. My sermon is this upcoming Thursday and I'm super excited. God be with me, and speak through me!