When I was a kid, Cracker Jacks and cereal boxes had worthwhile prizes in them. One prize in particular, a secret decoder ring, made it possible to send and receive secret coded messages. The message was unintelligible to anyone without a matching decoder ring. Explaining how this worked is beyond my purpose here. I’m more interested sharing my experience that the Bible requires a secret decoder in order to understand it.bible

Before I became a Christian at 27, I found the Bible confusing and boring. Much of it seemed like complete gibberish, at best a wildly improbably tall tale. When, in the middle of the night, I was confronted with a choice and I chose to believe that God is real, believe Jesus is His son, and believe the Holy Spirit exists, I felt a power surge of joy. Immediately I knew beyond any doubt that God is real. I was no longer guessing and hoping, I knew. I was ecstatic. I could not sleep. I wanted to sing and dance and shout. In the morning, when I opened my Bible, the passages that sounded unbelievable just the day before, now made sense and held my interest. I had been given the secret decoder for the Bible.

Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would teach us all things. (John 14:26 NIV) Each time I read through the sixty-six books that make up the Bible, my understanding deepens. The words contain truth and life. Daily events, when viewed through a Biblical lens, make the Bible’s messages deeper and richer. As I grow in faith, my decoder makes each reading clearer. A lifetime of study could not uncover all the riches contained in the Bible.

God offers the same decoder to every person on this planet. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV). It is up to us to choose. The choice has to come before the prize is given, just like we had to purchase the box of Cracker Jacks or cereal before we could find the surprise inside. But God’s prize is of infinite value and costs nothing but surrendered pride.

Have a blessed day, enjoying all of God’s free gifts

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