Battered, Burned and Still Held Together: Visiting the Museum of the Bible

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Living in Washington, D.C. as I have for the past 12 years, I never want to take for granted the ease of access I have to visit our national treasures, monuments and museums —treasures that people travel thousands of miles to see and cross off their bucket lists.

With life and addressing other priorities, I had not yet had opportunity to visit the Museum of the Bible which opened this past November 2017. I truly desired to and finally did so this past July 4th weekend.

Upon clearing security and entering the museum, not to be irreverent but I felt like a kid in a candy store! You encounter families and individuals who are just as excited as you to learn about the Bible’s global impact and influence. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” greets you on the marble wall before beginning your tour. Throughout the museum’s six floors of exploration and admiration, you will see how this Psalm held true in the quotes given by abolitionists, ministers, members of Congress and government and other influentials who share how the Word of God shaped their lives, decisions and work.

Museum of the Bible introduction

I took great joy in reading about God’s people positioned throughout time who spoke His Word boldly and unabashedly to stir hearts and spirits. There were times in America’s and the world’s history–times of George Whitfield, an American Anglican priest in the 1740s during America’s “Great Awakening–and Charles Spurgeon, an English Baptist preacher in the mid-1800s–where people would crowd streets, churches and theaters, pressing their way to hear the Gospel, thirsty to receive the Good News. They were receptive to a word of encouragement, instruction or rebuke–to be awoken from their slumber of indifference. No candy-coated messages that so proliferate today to comfortably keep people in a spiritual slumber of indifference. As Whitfield said, “I love those that thunder out the word…the Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awaken them out if it.” (1739). Reading these words excited me and reminded me of another passionate “preacher”/abolitionist, William Wilberforce (1759-1833), who pulled no punches when writing his book Real Christianity, whereupon he called for Christians to forgo cultural Christianity and truly pursue authentic faith. I wrote about it here.

During my three-hour visit (you will need more time than this; I plan to return to finish), I saw several captivating exhibits: a pile of blackened, still-held-together bibles burned by those who rejected the truth. Many scrolls–some in pristine condition, and others tattered and worn to pieces by weathering and water – were written in various languages telling of His Word. Hundreds of bibles passed down through the generations with clasps and jeweled covers or worn leather, still held together. I imagined the journey each of these precious books traveled to reach us today. I imagined what storms those books endured and how those words of hope sustained its readers in their times of trial.

Museum of the Bible bible

I could go on! However, I will keep this post brief as I do not want to spoil your visit! I hope you are able to visit the Museum of the Bible–it is a “must do” for your bucket list.

What I can say for certain: the Word of God is sure and it endures. I looked at those burned, blackened, worn bibles, still holding together, through it all. People reading those words likely felt beat up by life, beat up like the book that was yet giving them life and holding them together. In every situation we encounter, God’s Word will indeed serve as a “lamp unto our feet and light unto our path” if we seek and trust Him.

Even in these present troubling times, and in times before, and in trials to come, you can rest assured: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8

Love and blessings,

Nicole

View more photos from my Museum of the Bible visit published on our Voices Against the Grain Facebook page (posted July 9, 2018). To visit the Museum of the Bible, view their website to order your timed tickets. General adult admission/requested donation is $15 and $10 for children ages 12 and under.

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Day and Night

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:6-9 (New Living Translation)

This passage of scripture reminds us of a time in the past where the nation of Israel should have been afraid. For their leader, a godly man named Moses, just passed away. Now who would lead the people into the Promised Land? The Lord gave that special charge to Joshua and God assured Joshua that just as he was with Moses so he would be with him. –Joshua 1:2-5. Yet, this was a conditional promise. For Joshua had to study the book of instruction, meditate on it day and night, and obey what was written in it. Only then would he and the Israelites prosper and succeed in everything they did. At that time, their book of instruction is what our Bible is today.  Although, the Bible was written thousands of years ago, its content is still applicable to us today and was written for us.

“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” –2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Word of God (Bible) teaches us His will and purpose for our lives. It is the very mind of God on paper that was imparted to us and for our benefit. He speaks to us through it. Not only can the word give us direction but it also encourages us and gives us courage to face a world and its many contradictory belief systems on how to truly live a successful godly life. The psalmist knew this very well when he said, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”-Psalm 119:105

Truth is, although it may look like many people have the appearance of success and seem to get along without reading and absorbing the Bible, whatever one acquires outside of God’s will eventually turns to ashes. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-James 1:22. If you are reading this today and forget everything tomorrow, remember this, OBEDIENCE ALWAYS BRINGS BLESSINGS.

Friend, I encourage you today to stay in the Word of God each day and each night. But don’t do it because God commanded it although we should. Do it because he loves you and you love him. For Jesus said “if you love me, obey my commandments”-John 14:15. God wants the BEST for you friend and he wants to show you all that he has for you. Yes! He is faithful and will keep his promises. I am a witness. Just as he was with those who came before us so he will be with us. Indeed, “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced.” –Psalm 25:3

-Jason M. Alexandre

About Jason M. Alexandre

Jason Melchizedek Alexandre was born on November 29, 1989 in Brooklyn, New York. However, at two years old he and his family moved to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Jason moved to Limerick, PA where he now resides. Jason is currently working toward obtaining his Master of Social Work degree at Widener University. Although Jason’s career is Social Work, his spiritual passion is missions. Jason believes in actively answering the great commission call Jesus gave all Christians for the gospel to be spread from nation to nation. On a yearly basis, Jason primarily goes to Haiti on a mission trip with Haiti Christianity Inc. Each year Haiti Christianity visits different cities and/or villages in Haiti bringing children educational supplies, clothes, and medical supplies. They also facilitate conferences in which bible study, budgeting tips, financial planning and most importantly evangelization takes place. Jason is currently their public relations director. Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to be spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively.

A New Creation in Christ

Good Day, People.  In general, we know people are far less forgiving of our mistakes or past than God. Even if you have moved forward from your past lifestyles and mistakes, people may still approach you with hesitancy, wondering if you will revert to your old ways.  You might even allow thoughts of your past to hinder you in moving forward or viewing yourself as God sees you—a new creation.

There are several scriptures in the Bible that confirm God’s love for us, even in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. A debt we can’t ever repay. Our gift for a new life in putting to death the old is accepting Jesus as our Redeemer and Savior. Two passages that convey how deep His forgetting of our sins:

Psalm 10:12  10- “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11- For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12- as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (New International Version)

2 Corinthians 5:16-19  16-“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come! 18- All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19- that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (New International Version)

New-Creation

Praise God! This is the good news! Believe it. God has given you and me victory over our Accuser who is quick to bring up our past and yesterday’s mistakes. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a new creation. No other god of any religion has come down and given so much to have a relationship with you. None other.

A song that speaks to this excellent transition and gift is “Moving Forward” by Israel Houghton.  Enjoy!

Oh, hey, what a moment You have brought me to?
Such a freedom I have found in You
You’re the healer who makes all things newI’m not going back, I’m moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forwardYou have risen with all power in Your hands
You have given me a second chanceI’m not going back, I’m moving ahead
Here to declare to You my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m movingNot going back, moving ahead
Here to declare to You, my past is over in You
All things are made new, surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forward
Said I’m moving forwardSinging You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward
You make all things new
You make all things new and I will follow You forwardYou make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forward
You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and I will follow You forwardI will follow You forward