Q: I don't mean to offend you, but I've tried to read the Bible and found it kind of dull. And yet some of my friends find it exciting. What's wrong? Why don't I get anything out of it? — P.D.
A: In reality, the Bible should be the most exciting book you'll ever read! The reason is, this isn't just another book; it is God's Word, and through its pages God speaks to us. Think of it: The Creator of the universe wants to talk to you!
What does He want to tell you? First, He wants to tell you about Himself — who He is, what He is like, and what He has done for you. We can understand some things about God by looking at the world He created, but we only fully understand Him by discovering what He's told us in the Bible.
But God also wants to tell us He loves us, and the proof is that He came down from heaven in the person of His Son, Jesus, who gave His life for us. This is why the best place for you to begin reading the Bible is in one of the Gospels (I often suggest John), because there you'll discover who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Because of Jesus, "we know and rely on the love God has for us" (1 John 4:16).
Get a modern translation you can understand, and set aside time each day to read through one of the Gospels — perhaps only a few paragraphs at first. As you open it, humbly ask God to make its meaning clear. Most of all, ask God to help you apply its truth to your life, because "Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path" (Psalm 119:105).
Q: We just don't understand our two daughters. They're teenagers now, and one day they'll be happy and carefree, and the next day they'll be sullen and moody and will hardly speak to us. What's going on? — Mrs. G.W.
A: I'm sure most parents of teens could echo your comments; the teen years can be confusing — not just for teenagers but also for their parents.
I'm not a psychologist, of course, but as you look back over your own adolescence, you know these can be difficult times. On one hand, teenagers yearn to be free and have all the privileges of adulthood. But on the other hand, they're beginning to realize that adulthood also involves responsibilities — and they find that scary. They also are dealing with a host of other issues, from peer pressure to a new yearning for love and acceptance.
God has given your daughters to you — not just for your enjoyment, but also so you can guide and help them make the transition to adulthood. Thank God for them, and ask Him to give you the love, patience and wisdom you'll need for this stage of their lives. Someone half-jokingly once said to me that James 1:5 must have been written especially for the parents of teens: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God ... and it will be given to you" (James 1:5).
Go out of your way to let them know you love them, no matter what's going on in their lives. Learn to be a good listener and to know when to give advice and when to keep silent. Learn, too, from the experience of other parents. Most of all, encourage your daughters to put their lives into Christ's hands, and to seek His guidance for their futures.
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit http://www.billygraham.org.