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Learning from Stories

May 12, 2021 by W. Terry Whalin (Colorado, USA)

I have always loved learning from stories and then applying those lessons to my life. My devotion calls attention to a verse in Isaiah that is often ignored. Last year I was writing a 12-lesson study guide on Isaiah. While reading Isaiah 20:2, I learned that God told the prophet Isaiah to take off all his clothes and sandals. Isaiah listened to and believed God, and he took off his clothes. Isaiah continued to do this for three years. I wondered, Would I be this obedient to God’s voice? I was fascinated by the story and its application to my spiritual life.

Even as a young reader, I have loved learning from the lives of others, especially by reading biographies. Several years ago, I was writing a biography on Billy Graham. During my research, I learned Billy Graham struggled to believe some of the stories in the Bible. Early in his career, Billy was invited to speak at a conference near Los Angeles, California. Late one night he went out in the woods near the conference center and pondered a simple question, Can I really trust the Bible? If the answer was no, Billy would have quit his ministry. In the moonlight, he knelt to pray and felt the assurance of the Holy Spirit. By faith, he decided to believe every word in the Bible, cover to cover, even if the story seemed strange. The experience was a turning point in Billy Graham’s life and taught him a valuable lesson. By faith, I’ve also decided to accept every story in the Bible as true. I’m grateful to continue to learn valuable lessons from the lives of others.

Throughout much of my life as a Christian, I have begun each day by reading the Bible. To guide me, I use books designed to help readers finish the Bible in one year. Reading a small portion of the Bible each day, I read from Genesis to Revelation in a year, and the scriptures become a part of my life. As I wrote in my devotion and as I’ve seen in the lives of Isaiah and Billy Graham, I listen for the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice, and I consistently take action on these promptings.


You can learn more about my writing and my books here.


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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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