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The Spiritual Means, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

7- The Effect of the Holy Bible

  

Its position in your home and exercises concerning it

One of the very clear verses about the effect of Gods word is His saying, blessed be His name: So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Is 55:11).

Yes, the word of God shall not return empty.

It has its power and its effect. Those who experienced the power of Gods word in their life are able to pass this power to others also.. St Paul the Apostle, when explaining the power of the word and its effect, said: For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).

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Maybe one would say: Why then do I read without being affected?!

St-Takla.org Image: Pope Shenouda reading the Holy Bible in a mass صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: البابا شنوده يقرأ الكتاب المقدس في أحد القداسات

St-Takla.org Image: Pope Shenouda reading the Holy Bible in a mass

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: البابا شنوده يقرأ الكتاب المقدس في أحد القداسات

Surely the fault is in you yourself and not in the word. The word of God is like a two edged sword. It cuts meat but would not cut stone. Therefore the Lord said in the Book of Ezekiel the Prophet: I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26). What kind then is your heart which receives the word of God. Is it a heart of stone or a heart of rock? The Shulamite in the Song of Solomon heard the voice of the Lord calling her saying: Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of the night (Song 5:2). Yet in spite of that she did not open and made excuses..!

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The word of God is alive and effective. But it works more in those who open their hearts to it and want the word to work in them.

If the word of God does not work in you today, it might work after a while.. but it shall not return empty.

It will remain firm in your subconscious and at a certain time, when your heart becomes prepared for it, and when the circumstances are suitable, you will find that the word of God will penetrate into your memory and your heart and be effective in your life.

It will be as if your lack of response at the beginning was a momentary action, a short while of lukewarmness after which you wake up to yourself, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. It is like the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon who at first was neglectful in not opening the door of her heart, but then turned saying: My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him.. I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone (Song 5:4,6).

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Not each seed that is cast to the earth gives fruit instantly. It could take days or months..

Therefore, store Gods words in your heart and in your thoughts. They will give fruit in due time, especially when given good care and perseverance day and night, protecting them from obstacles that would stop their work, whether interior or exterior.. It is like a seed in soil that has not been watered. So it remains as it is with life concealed in it. But after days when the water reaches it, this life will become active and be revealed. How beautiful, therefore, is the saying of the Bible: Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days (Eccles 11:1).

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So do not despair in the service when you do not see instant fruits...

Be patient and wait for the Lord and do not become weary. Not all souls are of one kind. And not all of them are quick to respond. Not all the outside circumstances are suitable.. There is the one who would hear the word and is quickly affected and another who would need explanation and convincing, following up and solving of the problems that face him in carrying out the word..

 

And there is the one who takes the word for knowledge and not for life.

 

 

 

He receives it by his mind and not his soul in order for him to widen his understanding but not to purify his heart.. and that is the difference between the scientist and the ascetic. The scientist reads the book, studying, explaining and interpreting it, as the scribes and Pharisees used to do (Mt 23:2); they taught but did not act accordingly. As for the ascetic, he is like David the Prophet who said: Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Ps 119:11). And this was his intention from Gods words...


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