I was 21 when I read the Bible for the first time. Someone had suggested I read the Gospel of John first, but I knew so little about the Bible at the time that I didn’t understand the Gospels were four separate accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. So I started at what seemed the more logical place, at the beginning of the New Testament, with the Gospel of Matthew.

By the time I got to the Gospel of John, I was fascinated with Jesus. He had the perfect answer to every question and always knew exactly what to do. But more than that, He seemed to understand me and know exactly what I needed. I realized that His words are powerful and alive, He is alive! His words reached across nearly 2,000 years and touched me in a way I had never experienced before. When I finally came to John 15:15—“I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you”—I felt He was speaking directly to me. Jesus called me His friend! I got so excited I couldn’t sit still. I wanted to tell the whole world.

I had prayed to receive Him as my Savior a few months before, but nothing much changed until I began reading His words with an open, receptive heart. His words were powerful and alive and, best of all, personal. And it got even better. Some time later, I discovered that Jesus can still speak directly and personally to the hearts of His followers today and provide tailored guidance for our lives and situations.

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.—John 3:16

If you haven’t yet received Jesus’ gift of eternal life and begun a personal relationship with Him, you can right now by praying the following:

Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life for me. Please come into my heart, forgive me for the wrong things I’ve done, fill me with Your Spirit, and give me Your gift of eternal life. Amen.