It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Matthew 4: 4.
There are so many today who sadly, have no real concept or idea of the meaning of the above verse, who don’t read the Bible and have no idea of the beauty it contains. And this is mainly brought about by their own rebellious, an unwanted trait of human nature – and men loved darkness rather than light. John 3: 19.
Most who identify as Christians, even those who attend churches don’t read their Bible, just relying solely on what is preached to them - 'the pastor said it, so it must be right' and that isn’t always the safest course. How do you know what they are saying is true if you don't confirm it yourself from scripture? In this day and age, not everything spoken by the preacher is true. Most who go to church just assume the preacher has the Holy Spirit within him and blindly believing what they say is true could be to your own detriment. It’s also your own laziness, which only leads to lukewarmness brought about by rebelliousness that most don't even realise. The problem with that is so many will depart the churches for whatever reason in the days ahead that is happening even now and if they neglect to read the only legitimate source of truth - the Bible, they run the risk of falling away completely as in 1st Timothy 4: 1, which says: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
And that is all to Satan's delight.
Rebelliousness is simply the act of defiance and resistance to a higher authority. And yet if you think more about it, nearly everyone if not all suffer this trait to some degree, some more so than others. If you recognise this trait in yourself try your best to stamp on it and reflect obedience, which is the opposite. And our human nature being what it is can make this trait seem so insignificant, that is, we don't even recognise we have it or we simply push it away if we do recognise it, and if we think about it honestly, not many like to admit we're rebellious.
The objective of proper teaching is to impart knowledge based on truth and sound reasoning – what the benefits are from that teaching, and storing it in your heart.
The objective of preaching is to impart beliefs based on the emotions of listeners – which only creates a perception, and is sometimes centred on fear.
Unfortunately though, those who attend churches these days are expecting the first objective but in reality, it is more often the second one they receive. In this day and age, other pastimes that mean little, which are of no value, take precedence over reading the Bible and are only leading many in one direction - downhill.
All believers, and particularly new babes in Christ, should always get into the habit of praying before reading any portion of scripture, asking God for the Holy Spirit to help you to understand what you read, and this is a good policy to adopt – the Spirit will never lie to you. The more often you read, the sooner the Spirit will come to you if you will be receptive to his leading, and that’s a good and profitable thing. Psalm 143: 10 says, Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God: let thy good Spirit lead me unto the land of righteousness. There is so much encouragement in Psalms and there are more below, which are some of my favourites.
There are some who don’t fully understand the meaning of submission and by definition, submission is the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force, or to the will or authority of another entity. Remember what Jesus said - Not my will but thine. It is not an easy thing for most, being subservient to another ‘goes against the natural grain’ and some will resist more so than others but in this instance it’s about willingly surrendering our stubborn and self-willed nature to Him. And if Jesus was willing for His Father's will, shouldn't we be the same? He knows what’s good for us better than we do and the longer you fight against it, you're only making it harder for the Spirit to lead you and the less you will understand.
Think about the night before Jesus was crucified – Matthew 26: 39 says, And He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will but as thou will. I think we can all understand from this verse that because Jesus had two natures, a human nature and a divine nature, His human nature part would have felt fear to some degree of what was about to happen but in His love for man, His divine nature won. I can only be filled with amazement and awe at what He did for you and me. And if Jesus was obedient to His Father’s will, shouldn’t we be the same?
Just think about that from a parent's perspective - could you, as a parent, allow your own son to take the blame for everyone's misconduct or transgressions? Yet God did exactly that. And God suffered far more than any parent in that. And the fact that He gave this gift of salvation completely free through His Son's obedience, I just can't understand why there are so many who reject it and place no value on it. We must never forget what it cost both God and Jesus for our salvation and value it more than ever. Thinking further from that - now that we have vaccines for the CV pandemic and the health officials are asking us to take it and many are wanting it to save their lives from possible death, and if you think about it, Jesus is asking the very same thing! John 5: 40 is so clear: And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life . . . . . So many want the vaccine but a few don't - when only a few want salvation but so many don't, which as an analogy is the exact opposite . . . . Strange don't you think.
With all the bad things that are happening on an exponential scale right now in the world, this is just a foretaste of things to come. And with only a very short time left before Tribulation begins, these things are going to get progressively worse as the scripture in Matthew 24 clearly tells us. But so many are pushing it away, either in complete ignorance or deliberate blindness.
By His obedience, we see there is nothing to be lost in submission but everything to be gained – whilever man chooses his own way he will never find peace. With all the troubles and perplexities that man is facing today, peace is within easy reach but so many reject it without a second thought. Jesus' obedience was a conscious act to obey His Father's will and by His example, we should also be willing to do the same.
Most Christians know what Tribulation is but too many are blindly unaware of just how close it is and it will be the most terrifying time EVER. Matthew 24: 21 tells us, For then shall be great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And this is just one verse! Anyone not knowing what is coming should read the whole chapter but bear in mind, it only tells us what will happen, not when. There are other verses that tell us when it will happen that I've addressed in another article- Chronological Timeline of the Events in Tribulation and you can access it at the end of this article. And there are many who aren’t believers but know by the state of the world that something bad is coming - they just don’t know what it is but all will know soon enough. And Matthew 24: 29 - 31 clearly dispels the pre or mid-trib rapture lie – I'll write them here so there is no confusion; Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Just take a moment and read these verses again - How some can misinterpret and twist these verses into other verses or something else, I don't know. It will be a time of testing like no other. I don't see how these verses, or any others can be mistaken for another time, i.e. before or during, other than what they say - that Jesus will return at the END of Tribulation and NOT before as some will have you believe. In some instances the Bible doesn't give reasons, it just states facts and that is why, without the Spirit's help and guidance, many misinterpret the meaning. And that has led to wrong views - 2nd Corinthians 4: 3, 4.
And as Jesus said it is after in those verses, who can deny it?
Just a little on Tribulation, because it’s so important to be prepared for it. Before it arrives there will be those who think they won’t be here to endure it believing a lie and further panic from those who are just lukewarm. (If you are a believer of the pre-trib view, please look again at the scripture mentioned 2 paragraphs above.) Whatever you believe, pre or mid-trib doesn't really matter as it isn't a salvation issue BUT believing the wrong thing and then being shocked to find yourself still here after it begins means you won't be prepared when it arrives. Jesus won't return until scripture is fulfilled. Those in both camps have neglected their own spiritual fortification and many will think ‘what will I do now’. And they will find themselves in trouble just as the Israelites found themselves on the shore of the Red Sea with the armies of Pharaoh close behind them, seemingly, with no escape possible. But God opened an incredible ‘way of escape’ and He will do the same thing when the Tribulation is full blown. And if that isn’t true, then no believer will survive Tribulation. That is an explicit forewarning of what is shortly to come.
However, this article is not about that – this is about reading the Bible and learning about Jesus, which is about salvation and that is the only thing that really matters. Encouragement can be found in Psalms and these are beautiful for the soul –
42: 1, As a deer thirsts for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for thee O God.
119: 10-11, With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
119: 15, I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 119: 18, Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
119: 103, How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
119:105, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
One of my favourite Psalms, 27: 4, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.
And in Romans 15: 4, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
And Isaiah 55: 1, Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
And lastly but not least, Proverbs 27: 17, Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend - these are so beautiful to think on.
Distractions from reading the Bible – and in this day and age there are many that people hide behind – the most common ones, I don’t have the time or I’ll do it tomorrow. And to be blunt, they are simply cop-outs. We all have the same time in every day and if you can find time for this or that, then you can find the time if you want to - if you value your salvation. And it’s whatever is important to you that determines the time for this or that. I can't put it any stronger than that and it all comes down to prioritising.
And have you ever thought about what it really is? . . . It's your own rebelliousness. There's always something else that takes the place of THE most important thing in yours and everyone else's lives. Salvation should always be first - everything else is secondary. It will be of little help when Tribulation arrives and you find yourself unprepared for it because you've neglected to spiritually fortify yourself - but think about this, which is even worse. If you are thinking, 'I plan to serve Him one day' but suppose you were to die before you've come to God, you could find the door shut to you and you're turned away. Not something you would want is it? What most don't realise is that this decision must be made before you die as there is no hope beyond the grave - Isaiah 38: 18.
The reason this Kingdom is so little regarded is because IT ISN'T SEEN; the glory of it is hid from the eyes of the world. Some might say 'If I could see it with my own eyes and/or perceive it with my own mind, I would believe it' - well that's what faith is. Yet so many refuse to look forward in faith, instead demanding physical or visual proof of what lies above and ahead through the natural eye rather than the eye of faith.
Some will say “I don’t understand it” and we all have varying degrees of intellect, some very smart, some not as smart but God has made provision for all by providing the Spirit to teach us all. And if that’s a genuine concern, as mentioned, praying for the Spirit's guidance and understanding before you open the Bible is the best help anyone can ask for - but the real reason for many is lukewarmness, you don't do it enough - if at all. Thinking further, it's not just the smartest of minds who could understand it if they were to read it - and more often they don't want it, quite often it's the not as smart who desire it that will understand it with the Spirit's help. The more you read and think about it, understanding will come. It's like reading a recipe or instructions to assemble something, sometimes you have to read it over and over again before it's clear. In this age many have never opened it, or prayed either and because we are standing on the very edge of the Tribulation precipice, there’s never been a better time than right now to begin both. So many are just putting ‘material gains’ that mean nothing before Jesus. And again it’s about priority and a question of values.
Then there are those who will say “I don’t want to” or "this is my life and I'll live it as I want to" and is just an ignorant, blatant refusal of Jesus who gave us salvation that shows a lack of understanding and respect by throwing it back in His face – the worst of all and there are far too many that fall into this category today. It's amazing hearing the testimony of others when something or someone has led to that persons change of heart. And it often comes from a near death experience - and it can happen to you too but it's best not to wait on that type of experience.
If there ever comes a time when you aren’t sure of your direction, stop and ask yourself, why am I here? It’s no surprise that so many don’t know the answer – we’re all here to acknowledge and accept that Jesus is our saviour and understand that His purpose was to come here and show by His perfect example how to live our lives by His example and how to attain eternal life through His selfless sacrifice on the cross. That is God’s gift through His dear Son. I have mentioned this in another article but it's worth repeating here: Eternal life through the strait gate was given the moment Jesus gave up His Spirit on the cross, which was never in the church system and needs to be understood. Scripture tells us in Matthew 27: 50 & 51, Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. Hebrews 8, 9 & 10 are further perfect confirmation of the above verses just mentioned and are good to read and think on for your spiritual growth. They are also suggesting a significant event and the strait gate was given at this exact time by what we read in these scriptures.
And if Jesus failed in just one small transgression when He was tempted, it would have negated His work on the cross. And so many don't realise the exceptional work that Jesus performed through His sacrifice on the cross - it was much, much more than that. How can people refuse what He has graciously given. Our given job in this life is to help others to come to Him before time is no more, and if we plant the seed, God will do the watering and He will do the increase through the Spirit. He will help us if we allow Him to work in us.
Jesus came the first time to offer the grace of salvation through Him in spirit by His sacrifice – and Jesus also established the strait gate through His death, by telling those around Him about it in His sermon on the Mount for those who would seek it, which is not of man. But it wasn't yet available until His death as mentioned above. In Luke 13: 23, 24 Then one said to Him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said unto them; Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Which is mostly brought about by hardness of heart, and not really understanding the strait gate verses. This verse is a clear directive and needs to be understood but so many are blind to the simplicity of it, putting the wrong connotation on the word strive. Which simply means to make every effort to achieve it - and not to think it isn't achievable. I often think of the motto on our school badge, Strive To Achieve. It meant something to me then but perhaps not as much as it does now.
Thinking further, why did He say STRIVE to enter in? That would suggest there are many things that would hinder us on that quest to enter the strait gate but God, through Jesus didn't make it difficult to enter at all and just as salvation is a free gift, why wouldn't entering the strait gate be the same in simplicity? Think about how we receive salvation, it's not something that someone physically gives us is it? You don't have to go anywhere to get it either. We cannot see it, it's given to us by Jesus in grace, and we are led in this way by the Spirit - so it's a spiritual thing. And just as entering the strait gate is a spiritual thing, so is everything else that pertains to God as well. And it isn't difficult, WE OURSELVES have made it difficult - He is meaning to strive to overcome the problems we have created in man made things. Jesus made it simple because of man's confusion. And because not many understand the truth of those verses, and those in the broad way don't know it's the broad way thinking it is the narrow way - yet there is nothing to strive for in the broad way. I'm sure no-one would knowingly strive for something that leads to destruction.
In Matthew 7: 13, 14: Jesus tells us a little more about the strait gate and is complete - Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it.
Just think about those two verses again - only two verses but so much in them. John 10 tells us so much about the strait gate and in verse 7: Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. And in verse 9: I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. These and other verses are so clear to those who understand the truth of them but so many are missing what He is really saying. Then in verses 11, 12 & 13 He says: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. Many skip these verses because they're offensive to them. Remember, it was Jesus who said it, which tells us what He thought of them! John 10 is a chapter that is well worth reading.
Very briefly, because I've covered the strait gate in a separate article that you can also access at the end of this article, and I beg you to read it, Jesus told us about the strait gate during 'His sermon on the mount' but few would have understood His meaning at the time, just as few understand today. He knew of the corruption in the leaders and He gave the strait gate to all through His saving work on the cross. And it's been here ever since but most think they are only figurative, when in fact, they are literal, in a spiritual sense. Did He not say Enter ye in . . . . that is a spiritual directive. It cannot be entered physically as is the broad way, which shows just how far apart these two gates are.
And just as 'the one' in Luke 13: 23 said to Him Lord, are there few that be saved? - all know that there are thousands of different ways but in reality, there are only TWO separate roads and both are leading to opposite ends - it's either the strait and narrow way or it's the broad way. And it really is that simple.
He is coming again in God’s time, and to raise those in Him and for judgement on the world. In Jeremiah 10: 20 he is lamenting the fallen state of man, My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. And in verse 23, O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. These verses speak to me of Satan’s ruination and captivity of man.
Reasons to read the Bible – and you should try to read at least a little every day. It’s primarily to read and learn about God’s dear Son, Jesus, and to understand what His gift of salvation means. And it's not surprising in this age that so many have fallen from what once was. Salvation is the most precious gift that He could give us by His atonement for yours and my sins, which none of us are worthy of, and no-one can achieve it in our own power. In 1st Corinthians 2: 9, it tells us of an unimaginable mystery – But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. There are some who will say eternal life would be boring! – well this verse dispels that completely. Doesn't that verse suggest it will be so much better then than it is now? And I for one will put my trust in that rather than the alternative, which has nothing to do with hope. The sooner you allow yourself to be free of whatever is holding you back and cast it away, which, if you think about it, it's really not yet wanting to give up former things. When you finally come to that realisation, the sooner you will gather the rewards that are promised – and there are many to be gained. It’s just a matter of allowing the desire to begin and overcome your own human nature then let the Holy Spirit have control, which is simply giving in and turning away from what isn't important.
Regular reading creates a habit and once you’ve developed the habit, you’ll find it’s THE most satisfying and rewarding book to read. As already mentioned above, asking for the Spirit to help you understand what you read is the best help you can get. The more you read, understanding will come with his help. In my personal opinion, if you’re a new beginner to reading the Bible, I think it’s easier to understand by starting in the New Testament first; which may not be the same for everyone. By starting in the N.T., understanding will come faster, particularly with the 4 gospel stories - Revelation being the hardest - save it to last after reading the O.T. You can achieve salvation through the N.T. alone; the O.T. is beautiful going back to after reading about Jesus. It’s the only book you can begin reading from the middle for an insight and proper understanding and in fact, it's really two books in one. And as an analogy, the sweetest scent of a flower is in the centre – and Jesus is in the centre of the book.
The O.T. is foundational and points forward to Jesus; the N.T. reveals Jesus. The O.T. details God’s displeasure against sin with previews of His grace; the N.T. shows God’s grace towards sin to believers with previews of His wrath toward nonbelievers. The O.T. is about past history; The N.T. is future through Jesus.
Reading is not about quantity but quality. And by that I mean not to rush reading but to digest it slowly, delighting in and understanding what you are reading – if you do that you will find it easier to remember verses at a later date. If you rush through reading for the sake of quantity you will have trouble remembering what you read a dozen verses ago and we can all be guilty of that. And further, by reading too quickly you may miss what the Spirit is trying to impart to you – so slow down and absorb it all, it’s not a reading race, it doesn't matter how long it takes. It’s better to read 3 or 4 verses and understand them than to read the whole chapter and understand none of it. Reading is not necessarily studying. Yes to study it you have to read it to understand it but reading it too fast isn't studying either and you will miss so much. There are some who are naturally fast readers but that can work against you because you can miss even one word which can mean something in a verse, so slow down a little and give the Spirit time to work in you.
The Bible is a book to be treasured, not to just quickly read in 6 months and then put it down and saying, there, I’ve read it – that’s reading for quantity and you’ll soon forget it – it’s to read forever and learn something new every day. Spiritual maturity isn’t attained in 6 months either, that takes time as well. The Bible is not like any other book where you can read and understand in a short space in time - to thoroughly understand all of the Bible would take many lifetimes, so it takes quite some time to understand even a small portion of it. And is probably the reason so many have different ideas that conflict with scripture. The more you read, the more you will understand it and the best help you can get is praying for the Spirit's guidance. Also by finding a good source of a solid teaching ministry that will give you a thorough and proper spiritual grounding is how spiritual growth is properly attained and ichthys.com is one of a few. Babes in Christ are more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks until they are strong enough to stand and will find ichthys so helpful and fulfilling. As an awful analogy, think about young soldiers going into battle for the first time, if they don't stick close to seasoned veterans, they may fall. God’s word was the same yesterday, is the same today and will be the same tomorrow. The first part of eternal life begins when you first believed and that is going to last forever – only if you continue, which includes reading and 'sticking close' to His words.
You may not yet be aware of the Spirit working in you and sometimes a word or the whole verse may stand out to you. That could well be the beginnings of the Spirit’s work and you just need to recognise it as such and allow it to build further. John 14: 26 says, But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. There is no need to be alone in this fight, the Spirit is given to all believers as a help in all things and if you’re unsure if the Spirit is indeed in you it’s usually the result of one or two things – lukewarmness, or you haven’t yet completely yielded to his leading. Lukewarmness is easier to fix, yielding is harder and the fix is the same for both problems – stay away from what is wrong, and walk toward what is right. And I say that from bitter experience.
Even little children are not immune from his leading.
Matthew 11: 28 – 30 says, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. They are beautiful verses and I love how Jesus is tenderly entreating us to just come unto Him and learn of Him, a wonderful promise to learn of Him by reading scripture – the one who gave His all for us on that terrible cross, how can we not love Him? Just think, how wonderful it will be in a time in the future after the Tribulation and the millennium is over, where we can sit at Jesus' feet and learn more of Him and have sweet fellowship with Him and others that we read of throughout the Bible. Can you imagine what it will be like to actually meet Jesus and all the others we read of for the first time?
There will never come a time when you think you know it all and when Tribulation arrives if you’re not sufficiently fortified with faith and sound spiritual knowledge imbued in your heart, you will probably fall. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And I’m not saying that to scare you I’m merely stating a fact as scripture tells us many will fall. There will be no place that is completely safe when it arrives; the only place of safety is in spiritual fortification, which can never be taken away from us if we trust in Him – so we must never neglect reading and learning about Him. We may all become as refugees in our own country simply because whatever possessions we have now can easily be taken away from us by another power when the mark is introduced in the second half of Tribulation. Spiritual knowledge is our best armour and many will be called to give their life for Him and those not prepared at that time will not stand when it comes to the test. Hebrews 12: 4 says in part, Ye have not yet resisted unto blood.
And some may have to.
Many who are not spiritually fortified will more than likely accept the mark to save their life, Revelation 13: 16, 17 and thinking God will forgive them. But there is NO forgiveness for that. Revelation 14: 9, 10. There is hope in Luke 9: 24, which is both an encouragement and a promise, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: [by taking the mark] but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, [by martyrdom] the same shall save it.
It was expedient that one should die for many – in the end, many will die for one.
Just take a moment and think about the last part of that sentence - 'many will die for one'. It's not something we would entertain lightly is it? And this is the reality of it - many of us WILL lose our lives for Jesus when the the mark is introduced in the 2nd half. And of course, none of us know if God has so marked us and I can't tell you how you should think about that but I'm trying to think of it this way - if it is God's will for me to suffer that, I know the instant my spirit leaves my body I will see Jesus on the other side. My prayer is that God will supply the strength to endure it should it happen to any of us.
The more you read scripture, the more knowledge you will acquire to keep close in your heart and the more you will come to know the Spirit – the less you read it . . . . well you know what I mean. Have you ever wondered what it is that keeps you from reading the Bible as much as you should? Firstly it's by your own rebelliousness, which some aren't aware they have that trait within them - most denying it and secondly, by the one who wants to take His promises away from you! So why make it easy for him? And so many are unconsciously or unknowingly, not even realising that this is the case and I think it's because so many are blinded in ignorance, they can't physically see what God is giving us through Jesus' death, so it means nothing to them - and that's what faith is.
I have found that an open Bible near where you sit or relax in quietness is an invitation and an encouragement to read it rather than a closed Bible, shut away in a closed drawer somewhere. That may invite interest from others, which is a good thing. But don't do that just for the sake of others - do it for yourself and I'm not saying to put it away if a guest should come either. Let your light shine before others. Satan will always try to put a detour sign or wrong thought in front of you and if you are aware when that happens you must stamp on it and don’t let it grow. The longer you entertain whatever is put before you, either by yourself or Satan, the harder it is to escape it – our shield of faith is the Bible. Scripture says in James 4: 7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. And submission and obedience is the key to it. Part of verse 8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
7 benefits of reading the Bible – and to love the Bible you have to love God first.
- If you don’t read about God and His dear Son, how can you know them?
- Reading the Bible you will know God’s will for your life - through the Spirit.
- Sin is always crouching, ready to spring – God’s word helps to keep it far from you.
- Reading the Bible will teach you not to lean on your own understanding.
- With the Spirit’s help, we can discern what is the true way of salvation.
- Every question you can think of, one way or another will be answered.
- Reading the Bible will teach you how to be a help unto others.
Reading the Bible and faith are connected. Hebrews 11 has so much on faith and the first verse gives a good definition, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And that explains our hope perfectly, without that hope there is no joy and we are hoping for things none of us can see. We know what we hope for, we cannot yet see it and faith keeps us looking forward to what is promised. And this is what unbelievers sadly, can't get past and is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. We’d all like to be like Enoch who had so much faith that he never saw death; God took him because he pleased Him. And verse 6 says so much, But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. At the end of Hebrews 11 in verses 35 – 40, it speaks of the faithful and is an example of what is shortly to come.
By holding fast to faith to the very end no matter what – 1st Peter 1, tells us of an assurance in verses 4 & 5, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. As long as we keep clinging to Jesus and continue through whatever, it’s not a big demand is it?
"I suppose this is deliberate so that we can make that 'free will - faith choice' unimpeded by the vision of the overwhelming glory of God." I've borrowed this statement from an ichthys reader from the posts in Saturday's Q & A's and I've included it here for your benefit. That is to say if we could see with our own eyes what is promised, the choice would be easy but that's not what faith is.
You may also be someone who was a strong believer but for whatever reason or circumstance you’ve lost your way in the madness and perplexity of this world and there are many like that but that is not to say you can’t get back what you once had. Even those racked with the guilt of sin, thinking my sins are just too much for God to forgive, and that simply is NOT true – God will never turn you away if you come to Him broken to be mended. 1st John 1: 9 says, If we confess our sins, [no matter what they are] He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He delights in mercy and He can and will graft any of us back in again. Faith restarts when you ‘go back to your first love’. Reference to that is found in Revelation 2: 1 – 7 but particularly verse 4.
There are some who will preach that salvation can’t be lost once it’s given – that is an outright blatant lie perpetrated by Satan and is false teaching at its worst. Let's put the shoe on the other foot here as an example - if I were to give you an incredible gift, it's not my responsibility to keep it safe, it's your responsibility. If you don't value that gift and you lose it, whose fault is it? And I know of some who have preached the opposite! Since faith can be lost and salvation depends on faith, salvation can be lost. But it’s only if you don’t return after falling that salvation is lost and Romans 11: 22, 23 clearly tells us something better: Behold the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also if they abide, not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. Who can fathom the grace and mercy of God. Quite simply, if you throw away faith you throw away your salvation, which is the same as if you stop continuing, and no longer believe you are lost. Opportunity to change and reclaim your salvation is still given up until two things – either your death; Isaiah 38: 18 or taking the mark; Revelation 13: 16, 17.
As a young man in my teens, reading the Bible was never important to me, I was caught up in worldly cares like so many of my own and every generation, just living for today. Yes, I had grown up knowing about God and Jesus as a very young child but it wasn’t that important to me then – and I think it wasn't impressed on me that much by my parents. And knowing about Him isn’t the same as knowing Him. As I grew older I was influenced by what was around me and I wanted to live my own life without the restrictions of what I perceived Christianity to be in those years, which was committing myself to attending churches - which I now know isn't true. I didn't deliberately reject God and Jesus with atheist views as such, none of my friends or associates were interested, so you could say I was following the crowds and I was a bit of a tearaway to say the least. And in all honesty, I will have to say I had next to no knowledge of what was in the Bible and the promise of eternal life that is held out by Jesus through His sacrifice. Sadly, for most of the young today, they too, have even less knowledge of Jesus and the precious gift through Him that is given to all, if they would only come to that knowledge and accept it - and it really does beggar belief - why? The only answer I can come up with is their parents (for the most part) were/are not interested either so in most cases it's like parents, like children and unless a 'higher authority' intervenes, nothing changes. And that shows just how much society has degenerated in just a few generations. Most of the young, and even many of the old, don't realise that making a choice to live for God must be made one way or the other before we die as there is no hope beyond the grave - as mentioned above in Isaiah 38: 18 and none of us know the time of our departure from this life. That's how important this is.
As age progressed to where I am now, what was once important no longer has the same attraction – what I should have taken hold of so long ago is THE most important thing for me now and I keep saying to others, salvation is the only thing that really matters. I hope I will never stop saying that. When I look at the youth today I feel so much sorrow for them, if they only knew. A little story about that - I once met a man who told me about his school-age daughter. He asked her what she knew of Jesus and she replied: That's the T man isn't it? It took a minute to sink in what she meant - she was talking about illustrations she had seen of Jesus on the cross. Needless to say I was stunned but not surprised at her perception. Nearly all are running away from Him instead of toward Him - Satan has them bound and I can only repeat - if they only knew.
And thinking about it, it's really all about attitude - what is my attitude toward God and His dear Son - do I truly love Him above everything else - even above my own life? Do I really try to imagine the agony He suffered being nailed to a cross - for me? And do I ever think about what it cost God when He allowed His only Son to be so cruelly nailed to that cross in my place? And thinking about what His gift of salvation really is - do I truly value it above everything else in this perishing world? And being honest with ourselves, we're all a bit loose and forgetful in what should be held dear. When we think about all these things there is nothing that has the same importance is there? And to think that God asked Jesus, would He be willing to die for our salvation even before He came to earth - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15: 13. And when you stop and think about it like this it's about choice - and there's only two - life or death, and love should determine our choice.
We should all consider within ourselves, 'were I now before my Judge, how would I look - how would I appear to Him' - knowing that He already knows everything about me. We've all heard the term, do we see ourselves as others see us and if we truthfully do that in all seriousness and reflect on it we have a better likelihood of change. Conversion begins with conviction and if we can continually remember that Christ died for us, it's a little thing to make every effort to do our best for Him. Our shield of faith is our Bible and the more you drink of it the better prepared you will be when Tribulation arrives.
‘Small advances are better than nothing, and they almost always precede large advances. Spiritual momentum is difficult to attain and easy to lose. The solution is, fight the fight as best you can day by day and don’t worry about yesterday. We can’t afford to let past failures stop us from making progress today, nor yesterday’s success to lead us to become complacent today. This is a day by day fight – and it will be until we see the Lord face to face’. (Paragraph cited from ichthys.com)
Prayer is also a most important thing to do – John 4: 23, 24 tells us: But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father requireth even such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. And as prayer is in spirit, so is everything else that pertains to God and Jesus. The sweetest time of the day is when you pray because you are talking to the one who loves you the most and must never be neglected, or taken for granted. Prayer should become a natural habit - it helps to begin the day with prayer, asking for the Spirit's guidance, and to end the day with prayer, giving thanks for all things. Be aware that Satan is a master deceiver and he will try to cause you to forget to pray and when he's done it once it can lead to more. If you neglect prayer it is the first downward step and I can’t put it any plainer than that. A couple of things we must always be very aware of – Satan is never far from all of us, he hates us because he is jealous that we are God’s children. And two prime reasons – he hates us reading the Bible because it’s the only source of truth as already mentioned and he hates us praying, he will try to thwart every attempt by placing enticing reasons for not reading and praying in front of us. Human nature is a strange thing and is against us at best and Satan will always add fuel to the fire if he can.
Something to remember: there are two natures inside all of us that are constantly at war with each other, i.e., our human nature and our divine nature – which one will win? . . . . The one you feed!!!
This is a good analogy of Romans 7: 15 – 25, which is essential reading for everyone. I mentioned above about being rebellious, and that is just one trait that feeds the human nature in all of us. And because he hates us praying, he will do everything in his power to disrupt our communication with God. The very last thing he wants is for any of us to have a relationship with Him. And make no mistake, Satan is a master deceiver and so much cleverer than you or I, he attacks you by stealth; you will never see it coming until it’s well advanced. So we have to be always on guard and know that he will use every devious trick in his arsenal – if you keep your awareness guard up by making a conscious determination – you will have a better chance of noticing his disruption faster and he will always strike at our weak points and we probably have more than we are aware of. So whenever it happens, stop, regather your thoughts and start again. He is quick to accuse you of your failings and reminding you of your past but God has forgiven your sins once you’ve confessed them - Isaiah 43: 25 says: I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. And Satan doesn’t want you to know or remember that. So if you're continually feeling guilty, just remember who is causing it. And because he knows scripture, he knows what his future is but he still believes he has a chance. It’s either that or he has resigned himself to his fate and he wants to take as many of us with him to that fate – that’s jealousy in the extreme, 'if I can’t have it, neither can you'.
And just remember, if he can talk angels out of heaven, he can talk you out of it too.
There is nothing inherently difficult about praying, just keep your amour on and your awareness guard up – have you ever noticed a little child talking to their parents with a love that is so obvious? That’s how you should pray, become as a little child. After all, we are His children and He wants us all to gather round Him.
There are times when you can feel so discouraged – and at times we all do but if you just come meekly and ‘place your mind in a position of prayer’ in a submissive manner without saying a word, the Spirit will help all of us. Romans 8: 26 tells us, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
We all fall short of what is expected of us but we only fail if we fail to try to do better. Our Father knows every one of our problems and is only waiting for us to come to Him in submissive obedience and He will give us the help we need abundantly if we allow Him to rule in our lives.
In this late age of Laodicea, most are living by sight and not by faith.
ichthys.com has so much more.
I pray that He will increase our faith in the coming days so that we all may hold on more tightly to what is promised. We will all do better if we can remember and keep in the forefront of our minds - 'The cross before me, the world behind me'.
And that is simply about Jesus.
If anyone is interested and would like to read more of my articles, rather than searching for them, just click on the titles below and it will take you there. These articles are about salvation, some more direct than others but all will be of benefit to you. And if you deem them worthy and true, you might like to save them to 'favourites' for future reference. You don't need to save all of them as they are all here - if you'd like to have them, simply save this one. I constantly review and update these articles as the Spirit teaches and whenever I review them, if you've saved them they are updated on your computer as well. You may even want to forward them to friends.
- Chronological Timeline of the Events in Tribulation
AND SO THE END BEGINS . . . .
- The Strait And Narrow Way - Not Many Really Understand These Verses, Do You?
So many put their faith in the church system, tying it to salvation but are blind to the perfect way that Jesus made available for all who would earnestly seek it. Nothing that is of man is the strait and narrow way.
- THE RAPTURE PRINCIPLE: Is It Before, During, or After?
Many have differing views on this and I think the reason people believe something is because they heard it first from someone else and most believe the first thing they hear if it seems to be true. But you should examine it yourself before you agree.
- A Short Essay On Faith
Faith is not a physical thing that you see on people at first glance but you can see the evidence of it in them by their actions. And faith is a trait that should never be hidden so don't be afraid to show it. By your actions someone else may benefit
- Do You Know What Time it REALLY is?
So many are just drifting in this world on a windswept ocean without a thought of the rocks ahead that are so close. And with so little time to alter course and steer a safe passage - now is high time to think about salvation.
- The Workings of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit is a gentle thing and he will come to all who earnestly seek him.
- END OF DAYS - Just How Close Is Tribulation, Have You Any Idea?
It is so sad that so many are completely unaware of the days we are living in and of what is coming in just a few short years. And even worse, much less care. Was it Jesus who coined the term 'If they only knew'.
- SIN - The Wages Of Sin Is Death.
Sin is a subject not many are willing to address, thinking I've still got time to fix but no-one knows the hour of their departure. The past is where you learnt the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson, don't give up in the present.
- This Is My Commandment That Ye Love One-Another As I Have Loved You.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
- The Genesis Gap.
Was there a world in existence before the flood of Noah? Look a bit closer, scripture will reveal it.
- ETERNITY - Have You Ever Wondered, Where Will You Spend Eternity?
If you lived in the Sydney area in the 50's & 60's there's a very good chance you saw this word in yellow chalk on street corners. It was also seen in Newcastle and Wollongong.
- The Spirit of Life - God's Gift To Us
This article is about the natural and spiritual timeline of man from Birth - to death. And how God made Adam from clay and then breathed life into him, and is exactly what He did to us, which is the very life within us. But so many are blind to it.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on October 14, 2020:
Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to read this article.
I'm glad that you found it useful and you are so right - "Praying in Spirit is also one of the most important parts to stay in Christ".
So many neglect this important aspect and so many don't understand why the Spirit may be dormant in them - I suspect lukewarmness is the culprit. And you have alluded to that fact in your first sentence.
Sad too, that too many are not ready for His coming and care little for it.
Glad to make your acquaintance through these pages Binoy.
Again my best regards,
Binoy from Delhi on October 14, 2020:
Well said: "We all have the same time in every day and if you can find time for this or that, then you can find the time if you want to." We need to read our bible regularly to hear what God is communicating to us. Praying in Spirit is also one of the most important part to stay in Christ.
Presently we need to be ready for His coming and equally spread the good news to everyone in this world. Thanks for the nice article. Keep up the good work. Use this platform as much as you can to spread the good news.
Jack Jenn (author) from Nelson Bay NSW Australia. on October 04, 2020:
Thank you for your comment and your thoughts - they are very welcome.
And you are so right - if only others would realise the truth in the strait gate verses.
Glad to make your acquaintance through these pages.
Mark Richardson from Utah on October 04, 2020:
Good article. A few thoughts come to mind:
-Read your scriptures and pray as if everything depends on God and act as if everything depends on you.
-One thing that I have recently realized is the more that we read scripture, the more that good thoughts/words/actions will come automatically.
-I agree that strait is the gate. It is not meant to be easy.