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, don’t read the Bible and have no idea of the beauty it contains. And this is mainly brought about by your own rebelliousness and sinful, human nature – and men loved darkness rather than light. John 3: 19.
Even sadder, most Christians don’t read their Bible either, just relying solely on what is preached to them, and that isn’t always the safest course. It’s also laziness brought about by that rebelliousness. 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 then neglect to read the only legitimate source of truth, they run the risk of falling away completely as in 1st Timothy 4: 1, which is all to Satan's delight.
Rebelliousness is simply the act of defiance and resistance to a higher authority.
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 or are of no value take precedence over reading the Bible of which many are only leading in one direction - downhill.
A believer should always get into the habit of praying before reading any portion of scripture, asking 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 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. 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 calmly and willingly surrendering our stubborn and self-willed nature to Him. He knows what’s good for us better than we do and the longer you fight against it 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. And if Jesus was obedient to His Father’s will, shouldn’t we be the same?
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. Jesus' obedience was a conscious act to obey His Father's will and by His example, we should also be willing for whatever may come.
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. There are many who don’t believe but know by the state of the world that something bad is coming. They just don’t know what or when 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; 29 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: 30 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. 31 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 - it doesn't sound like a fun filled holiday does it? 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 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 if Jesus said it 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. Those in both camps have neglected their own spiritual fortification with many thinking ‘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 was an explicit forewarning of what is shortly to come.
However, this article is not about that – I’ve already covered that in other articles; this is about reading the Bible, 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 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.
Did you read those verses, or did you just skip down to here?
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 of course, tomorrow never comes. 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. And it’s whatever is important to you that determines the time for this or that. It all comes down to prioritising.
Have you ever thought about what it really is? . . . It's your own rebelliousness.
The reason this Kingdom is so little regarded is because it isn't seen; the glory of it is hid from the eyes of this world.
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 many don’t know the answer – we’re 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 that example and how to attain eternal life through His selfless sacrifice on the cross. That is God’s gift through His dear Son. Our job is to help others do the same and if we plant the seed, God will do the watering.
Some will say “I don’t understand it” and if that’s a genuine concern, as mentioned before, praying for guidance and understanding before you open the Bible is the best help you can ask for. There are many who’ve 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’ 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” and is just an ignorant, blatant refusal of Jesus who gave us salvation that shows a lack of understanding and respect – the worst of all and there are far too many that fall into this category.
Jesus came the first time to offer the grace of salvation through Him in spirit by His sacrifice – and which Jesus also established the strait gate before His death for those who would seek it, which is not of man. 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. This verse is a clear directive but needs to be understood.
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? WE OURSELVES have made it difficult - He is meaning to strive to overcome the problems we have created. 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's the narrow way - yet there is nothing to strive for in the broad way. No-one would knowingly strive for something that leads to destruction.
In Matthew 7: 13, 14 He tells us a little more about the strait gate - 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. 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's really 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 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. And I for one will put my hope in that rather than the alternative. The sooner you allow yourself to be free of whatever is holding you back and cast it away, 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 let the Spirit have control, which is simply giving in. That creates a habit and once you’ve developed the habit, you’ll find it’s THE most satisfying and rewarding book to read. In my personal opinion, if you’re a new beginner to reading the Bible, I think it’s easier to start in the New Testament, which may not be the same for everyone. You can achieve salvation through the N.T. alone; the Old Testament 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 understanding. 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’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 but reading it too fast you will miss so much.
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, it takes time as well. 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 fulfilling. God’s word was the same yesterday, is the same today and will be tomorrow. The first part of eternal life begins when you first believed and that is going to last forever – if you continue. And continuing includes reading.
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 7: 38, 39 speaks a little of this – He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) 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?
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 imbibed 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 and trusting in Him – we may all become as refugees in our own country simply because what we have now can easily be taken away from us 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, thinking God will forgive them. But there is absolutely NO forgiveness for that. Revelation 14: 9, 10. Luke 9: 24 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. This paragraph should send you running to find your Bible and examine your own position.
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 . . . Satan will always try to put a road block or detour sign or wrong thought in front of you and if you are aware when that happens you must stamp on it immediately and don’t let it grow. The longer you entertain whatever is put before you, 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 obedience is the key to it. Part of verse 8 says, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Benefits of reading the Bible – in order 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.
- Sin is always crouching – 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 true and what is false.
- 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. 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 then and is an example of what is shortly to come.
By holding fast to faith to the very end no matter what – 1st Peter 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?
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, 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. Since faith can be lost and salvation depends on faith, salvation can be lost. It’s only if you don’t return after falling that salvation is lost, Romans 11: 22, 23 clearly tells us something better – 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 no longer believe and stop continuing, 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 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 knowing about Him isn’t the same as knowing Him. 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. 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 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 - 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 fascination – 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 only they 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 few seconds 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 truly 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? And thinking about what His gift of salvation really is - do I truly value it above everything else in this perishing world? Do I think about what it cost God when He allowed His only Son to be so cruelly nailed to that cross in my place? 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 being honest with ourselves how often do we even think about what He did for us? 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'. 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 at 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.
‘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 – 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. 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 and as mentioned, he will try to thwart every attempt by placing every enticing reason for not reading it in front of us. Human nature is a strange thing and is always against us at best. 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!!!
I mentioned above about being rebellious, and rebelliousness is just one trait that feeds the human nature in all of us and is a good analogy of Romans 7: 15 – 25, which is essential reading for everyone. But worst of all, he hates us praying and 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. 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 and Satan doesn’t want you to remember that. 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, which is crab mentality – If I can’t have it, neither can you.
There is nothing inherently difficult about praying, just keep your armour on – 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, 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.
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.