Devotional Readings

The Sustaining Word

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a courageous German pastor who resisted the Nazi regime. He was executed by the Gestapo shortly before World War II ended. But before his death Pastor Bonhoeffer had time to send out a few letters from his prison cell.

Written just before his execution, these documents give us insight into the soul of a twentieth-century martyr. They show a man standing securely and confidently on the Word of God. After one terrifying experience when exploding shells nearly blew his cell apart, Bonhoeffer wrote, AThe heavy air raids . . . led me back quite simply to prayer and the Bible.”

In his last days, facing certain death, Bonhoeffer wrote of how much he enjoyed the Scriptures. Daily the Word of God nourished his spiritual life. In one of his last letters he wrote, “I am reading the Bible straight through from cover to cover.” His words radiate with a joy in the Word. He added, “I read the Psalms every day, as I have done for years. I know them and love them more than any other book.”

The Bible strengthened Bonhoeffer to face the greatest trial of his life. He received spiritual strength and indomitable courage through God’s Word. His faith was unshakable because it was rooted in the God who reveals Himself through His unchanging Word. Ellen White writes, “If God’s Word were studied as it should be, men [and women] would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose rarely seen in these times” (Steps to Christ, p. 90). The Bible gives an unusual spiritual strength. It brings depth to our spiritual lives.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer discovered the enormous benefits of prayerfully studying God’s Word. God offers us the same opportunity. The spiritual giants of the past did not develop strong faith by chance. Their lives were rooted in God’s Word. Their faith was strong because their devotional life was strong.

The same is true for us today. The same Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures, inspires us as we read God’s Word. As we meditate on God’s Word today our faith will be strengthened too.

from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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