I pulled the phone away from my ear and looked at it with a lack of understanding. I could not grasp what I was being told. Perplexed, I returned the receiver to my ear and spoke. “What’s that? Your what turned hot?”
Tina’s hushed and timid reply was, “My Bible.”
Again, the words I heard were so unexpected that it was like trying to understand a foreign language. I just did not get it. This time I exclaimed, “Your what?!”
“My Bible is intensely hot,” she whispered, “So hot I had to set it down, too hot to touch.”
After hearing what she said three times I finally took hold of what had happened and reacted with desperation, without thinking, like a reflex, “Quick! Pick it up! Hold it to your heart! Hold it to your heart! God is present!”
“I thought it was wicked,” she replied in shock.
“No!” I continued, “That’s a lie from Satan! Don’t trust me; trust Jesus and the Bible, no matter what.”
At that moment I was overwhelmed with a desire for the truth to be made known and for Tina to really understand, to know God. I did my best to reveal the truth by explaining the authenticity of Moses and how God appeared to him in the “burning bush.” I explained the reality of Matthew 3:11, “…He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” I then witnessed to her about how this very verse had literally happened to me and I passionately relayed the life-changing impact it had on my existence.
As I continued, I compared warmth to love and cold to darkness. Then I started feeling as though I should back off. I didn’t want to seem too radical and push her away from the truth. I also told her that I didn’t have all of the answers and that I wanted formal training. Then I reminded Tina of our previous discussions, when I shared with her that I felt God was calling me to the pulpit, that I perceived His gracious hand upon my life for the purpose of preaching, teaching and evangelsim.
We had only recently begun to get acquainted with each other. Tina and I had seen each other in church routinely, but were just developing the deep Christian fellowship the Bible calls each of us to. In fact, we never took the opportunity to get to know one another at all, until the day I had a meeting scheduled with our priest and he asked Tina to sit with my son in the nursery so that I wouldn’t be distracted.
Hours before the meeting I learned of her volunteering and wanted to bring Tina a small gift to show my gratitude. When I brought my son to the nursery I presented her with a copy of my “awakening” testimony.
During my meeting with our priest he recommended that my wife, Susan, and I fellowship with Tina because her husband, Eddie, was a sailor who was away at sea. I thought it sounded like a good idea and was even more certain when I returned to the nursery to pick up my son an hour later and Tina said that she had read my testimony over and over and cried.
Over the following weeks Tina faced intense trials. Unfortunately, her husband was far removed from helping her as she experienced a death in the family and her toddler suffered especially poor health.
The Bible speaks of God’s children being predestined for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Susan and I were certain that God had placed us in Tina’s life at this particular point so that we could relay the power of His love and the hope Jesus Christ brings. We spoke on the phone with her almost every night.
When Tina called on this particular night, I was immediately able to hear the stress in her voice. After praying together, she told me that she wanted to have profound experiences with God in the same way that Susan and I had. Although she professed to be a Christian she said that she wanted to be born again.
Thinking of a “spiritual awakening” I assured her that it could happen and then told her of a very powerful Scripture, “All things are possible through Christ who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13). In an effort to encourage her I explained that she had a “2 plus 2 equals 4 formula” already at work – the combination of her desire, together with the truth of Scripture added up to a tremendous blessing – that of being born again!
I boldly stated, “You want to be reborn. All things are possible through Christ who gives you strength. It will happen.”
I repeated this a few times. Then, as God’s Word penetrated the veil of deception that had kept her from His love for so long, Tina asked through a flood of joyful tears, “Really?”
It’s interesting that my brother, Brian, had the exact same response while trying to comprehend the truth that Jesus Christ loved him despite his years and years of abounding sins. So many people just don’t get the reality of Jesus’ love for us. Most of us have heard, or read, about His love; but really, only God’s supernatural intervention can accurately reveal to us this pure, open-handed, love. It takes God’s power to lift us out of the dark and into this level of understanding; into the light. His Word is that intervening supernatural power. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is pure, living, enduring, powerful, Spirit and life (Ephesians 6:17, Proverbs 30:5, 1 Peter 1:23, Hebrews 4:12, and John 6:63 respectively). There was a time when I didn’t know His love either, because I was blinded by Satan’s lies. Now that I’m living each day in the infinite power and love of Jesus Christ, it’s hard to fathom what it was like when I lived in the dark. Looking back, everything was so cold.
However, that night, Tina was still trying to let go of the unbelief that was keeping her from entering His love. Her toddler, Robby, woke up as she spoke that tearful question and we were both struck by the timing of his cry in the dark and perceived that at that moment there was a connection between them and the touch of Jesus. Tina was in awe of the timing, connection and touch. She knew she would not easily forget or ever underestimate what had happened. We reflected on the profound moment while she settled Robby down.
I was in awe too. It seemed as though I had a part in one of God’s greater purposes. All I could do was praise and thank Jesus for picking me. Through His amazing grace I had the privilege to serve. I was so grateful for Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Just one little touch from them and the light, the love, the warmth of God bursts through. Nothing can stop the power of His love…absolutely nothing!
Tina asked where she could find the Scripture I quoted from Philippians and I was more than happy to explain. As she started turning through the pages I wanted to relay the notion of God’s Word being alive. I asked if she had ever heard the Bible referred to as, “The Living Word of God.”
She replied in the affirmative. I then began to share what that name means to me. I passionately told her that the Bible is alive and that it knows us. I emphasized that The Living Word of God hears us and loves us.
I knew that must have sounded pretty strange, but I really do believe that the Bible, intact, is called “Holy” for this reason - it is alive by the breath of God and by the power of His Holy Spirit.
That’s when it happened. I was trying to explain how the Spirit of God is present in the Words of the Bible when Tina became startled and threw her Bible down because it had grown so hot.
When I finally realized what my friend was trying to say, I became all the more desperate for her to instantly be brought into the “light.” Although the word “heart” is really another word for our “spirit” that certainly didn’t occur to me during the excitement of that moment. Looking back, I find it very funny that my instinct was to have her hold a hot Bible to her heart! I simply sought for her to know the love of Jesus Christ. I have that same desperate desire for everyone in the world to feel the joy and love that comes from knowing our Savior, Jesus.
Naturally, I felt as though the Lord had made a big entrance into Tina’s life. By the end of the phone call I had told her that I believed things would go very well for her.
Over the months that followed, a godly fellowship developed between Tina, Susan, Eddie and me. There were a number of times that each of us was called to place Christ first in our lives in order to keep cultivating growth. It seemed that Satan tried very hard to keep us from getting to know each other during those initial months, but God put it on all of our hearts to recognize His will… “Love thy brother” (1 John 4:21).
I never would have guessed that God would testify to my words that night…and yet He did. I was merely speaking from my heart with the truth that He put there. The fire of God was present - literally. It was a blessing that was exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could have ever asked or imagined…just like He has promised (Ephesians 3:20).
Tina’s Bible turned hot that night as a way of proving that our mighty God’s Word is indeed very much ALIVE!
Hebrews 2:4, “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.”
Through God’s grace,
Robert S. Totman
The names of my friends have been changed to protect their privacy. This truthful event "happened" to occur on January 6, 2004 (in some Christian circles January 6th is celebrated as the Holiday, "Epiphany").
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