Why is Reading The Bible so Important?

I bet at least once in your life you’ve asked one of these questions, “Why should I read the Bible?”, “What does the Bible really say?”, “How do I read the Bible?” Well, I want to give you some information below that really helped me get into the Bible. Once I started reading, studying, and meditating on God’s word every day I saw major changes in myself, my life and my relationship with God. The Bible… this giant book that gives us Christians rules? No, that is wrong. The Bible is not a rule book, it is not a book telling us what not to do. The Bible is a life guidebook, it is a love letter to humans from God. It includes helpful tips, inspirational stories, vital information and motivational quotes. Sounds interesting right? Well, it is! Now get this, the Bible is the only book where the author is in love with the reader.

The Bible is very different from other books in many ways. The first way is that the Bible is not to be treated as a book. What does this mean? Unlike other books, The Bible’s first intent is not to just be finished, its goal is not for a reader to read it front to back. Trying to read the Bible front to back is one of the main reasons why people give up on reading it. Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Every scripture is useful and important, which is why it is okay to open up to the middle of the Bible and just start reading. 

The second reason why the Bible is so different than other books is that it is alive. Now you’re saying, “whoa, whoa, whoa… that doesn’t sound right…” It is alive though, what I mean is that it is all God’s words and thoughts. They are relevant now and forever. “because God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow. It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.” (Hebrews 4:12). When we are reading the Bible it is as if we are hearing God speak those words to us at that very moment. The words are powerful, meaningful and life-changing.

Below I have listed 5 reasons why reading the Bible is important:

  1. The Bible is a guide to life, through it we can understand God’s will for us.
    • “Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.” (Psalms 119:105)
  2. Through the Bible, we are able to find out who God really is and who Jesus really is.
    • “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalms 18:30)
  3. By reading the Bible we are able to know the truth of Christianity, so we aren’t fooled or manipulated by false teachers or religious acts that are not in the Bible.
    • “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)
  4. Through God’s word, we are able to find strength, courage and hope to get through each and every day.
    • “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.” (Psalms 28: 7-8)
  5. In the Bible, we are able to find an unlimited amount of reasons why we are loved.
    • “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.” (1 John 4:8-10)

Reading the Bible doesn’t mean you have to start big. Take 10 minutes in the morning, on your lunch break or before you go to bed to read a couple verses or read just one verse and think about how you can apply it to your life. Download the Bible app and read the verse of the day. Reading God’s word is the only way to hear Him, get to know Him and get to know ourselves through Him. So, open up God’s living, breathing word and see what kind of power it holds for your life.

 

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A Call to Action

So what does it mean to be a Christian? Someone of faith? A follower of Jesus? First, it means that you have been saved. Receiving salvation simply means that you have accepted the fact that Jesus Christ came to this earth to willingly be brutally murdered for us and our sins. It is also believing that He was raised to life again, conquering our hopelessness of eternal death. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10). Through Jesus, we are able to have eternal life in Heaven. But that’s just the first part… the second part of being a follower of Jesus is taking action. We spend our time studying the bible, going to church, participating in Bible study, or small group. We listen to K-Love, we read the verse of the day, but what do we do about it? Are we just containing the information God has given us or are we actually acting upon it? Are we ignoring that still small voice or obeying and trusting in it?

 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-31).  Could you imagine if everyone who has ever read these words actually applied them to our lives daily? How much greater this world might be; spreading love instead of throwing hate at everyone. This is just one example, the whole bible is full of “calls to action.” The bible is a guidebook, not just a book of information. It will lead our next steps, tell us where to go, how to love, how to have hope, how to be a follower of Jesus. 

What are we specifically asked to take action on as Christians? Jesus answers this very clearly, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Mathew 28:19). Jesus wants us to use our time on this earth to help others join the kingdom of God. Now, the next part of this paragraph is very important. Judging, gossiping, hating, arguing and telling others they are wrong is not even close to the way we should be treating others. That turns people away from God faster than anything else! I’m sure we have all experienced that ourselves. Unfortunately, there are many people who have missed out because of the hatred and judgment of Christians they know in their lives. So how do we make disciples of others? We love them. That’s it. We love them even when they don’t want to be loved, we forgive, we accept, we only spread joy and light. That’s what Jesus did and that’s the action we are called to do.
Right now I want you to think of an action you can start to take to love others into Jesus, starting today. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). Make an impact for Jesus!

God’s Timing is Perfect

“God’s timing is perfect,” “Just trust in God’s timing,” I am sure you have heard these phrases a couple times in your life. Maybe you’ve even heard them when you least wanted to. But I am here to tell you that what can be misconstrued as an over used christian phrase, or a comment someone makes when they don’t know how to explain your current life struggles, is completely true. God’s timing is indeed perfect, in every way. If you have been able to recognize God’s timing in your own life, I am sure you agree that it always ends up being better than us trying to rush something, or trying to make something slow down ourselves. It is much better to wait for God and have everything fall into place than to rush and have everything fall apart.

So why is it that God’s timing is a topic discussed so often? I believe it is for two reasons 1) Waiting for God and understanding God’s timing is mentioned in the bible over and over again because God knew it would be something we would struggle with. 2) Our idea of the right timing and God’s idea of right timing tend to be very different.The least will become a thousand, and the smallest a powerful people. I am the Lord; at the right moment, I will hurry it along.” (Isaiah 60:22). When the moment is right, in God’s eyes, it will happen. So why is it that it always seems to take so long? God knows everything about your life, every moment from the past, present and future. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). The reason you have to wait sometimes is because He has a plan greater than you could imagine. For example, sometimes the job you’ve been wanting doesn’t take you, but something better comes up later. That’s the beauty of God’s timing!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). So now you may be asking, “Why should I trust in God’s plan for me, if I already have plans for myself?” Trusting in God’s plans for our lives is one of the biggest struggles of being a christian. He answers the question above in a very simple way though. Here it is: He knows more than we do. That’s it. When it comes to our futures we have blinders on, but He knows everything that is going to happen in our future. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). 

Just let go, let God control, and let Him be the God of your life. One of the major roles in having a good relationship with God is trusting in His timing and His plan. When we decide to move forward without God, it is as if we are telling the God of the universe that He has no idea what He is doing. When in reality, we have no idea what we are doing and God is the one who knows the outcome. Take comfort in the fact that the one who holds your life loves you more than anyone ever could. When you put Him first things really will start falling into place. Trust in Him, put your hope in Him, His timing is perfect.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

 

Finding Your Identity In Jesus

I think that many of us have struggled with the unavoidable question of, “who am I?” Usually, this question doesn’t just come up once or twice, it happens all the time. Every new stage in life seems to bring about this soul-aching question. So how do we truly answer it? Is there a way to be able to confidently proclaim who we are even when life is changing all around us? Well…yes, there is a way to boldly claim who we are and know confidently what our identity is.

One thing we must understand before discovering this answer is that the answer to the question, “who am I?” can always change. It is allowed to change along with life’s unpredictable circumstances. The one thing that will never change is Jesus. No matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad, our identity in Jesus is the same now and forever. We will never be able to find fulfillment in ourselves or in anything of this world. Even if we try to find meaning in our accomplishments, we will never be fully satisfied. The same holds true for our identity. When we try to find our identity in this world, we will always be searching and it will always be changing. Finding our identity in Jesus will bring peace and fulfillment.

Below are a couple of bible verses to help answer our identity crises…

(1) You are made in the image of the Almighty God

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

(2) If you have received salvation, you are a child of God 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12)

(3) You are loved immeasurably more than you could imagine 

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

(4) You are new 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

(5) You are a working and purposeful part of one body 

 “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

(6) You are gifted 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

(7) You are set free, you are unchained from sin 

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” (Romans 6:6)

(8) You are worth dying for 

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

If you are struggling with your identity, know this truth: you are a child of God, made in the image of God. You are loved, you are made new and you are a very useful part of one body, with other believers. You are gifted, you are free and Jesus Christ said you were worth dying for. Even if you cannot figure out who you are on this earth, hold onto the most important identity you will ever have, your eternal identity through Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weakness is a Strength

It is okay to be weak, actually, it is good! Weakness is seen as something that must be weaned out if this world. God’s measure of weakness and strength is much different than our measure of it here on earth. We see that many people struggle with letting go of control and admitting they need God’s strength to fill where they are weak. But in the Bible, God constantly shows us that weakness is necessary. Understanding our weakness and being fully dependent, is what faith in God is all about. Weakness is a strength.

but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

We must understand that we simply can not live this life alone, we can not go through all of these battles alone. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” (John 15:5). Without God, we can do nothing, with God ALL things are possible. This is especially true in difficult times. Unexplainable strength can be found in us when we give our weakness to God. When we are able to say, “I have nothing left” or “I don’t want to do this without you,” your strength changes, your heart changes and your joy changes… even if the circumstances don’t change.

To have an awesome relationship with God we must learn to be dependent on Him. The Bible gives us a great metaphor for this by suggesting for us to be childlike. What does this mean? It does not mean to be childlike in maturity or wisdom, it means to be childlike in dependency. Children depend on their parents for their daily needs and wants. This is how we are to go about our relationship with God. Truly I tell you,” he said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 18:3). If we try to provide our own daily needs and wants every day, we will get worn down extremely fast. So rely on him for everything! Depending on God will lead you to that place of immeasurably more hope and joy; it will lead you to immeasurably more peace and comfort. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29). Freedom is found through dependence on Him.

So, how do we depend on Him? We let go of control! He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;…” (Psalms 46:10). Be still and understand that we have beyond less control of our lives than God. We forget the past, ignore the present and focus too much on planning a future that may or may not turn out. God knows every second of our past, present, and future. When we accept our limits and give it all to God we stop just surviving and start thriving. “… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b). 

It is not about our strength, it’s about God’s strength. Where we are limited, He is limitless. Where we are weak, He is strong.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

 

 

The Keys to Curing an Anxious Heart

Happy Friday everyone! I want to end this week with some positive vibes. As we all know anxiety is inevitable in this world of ours. God knew this as a fact, which is why He gave us so many verses about anxiety, worry and fear. Our God is called the “comforter” for many reasons, the main one being that He can be the ultimate comfort to your anxious heart. I have personally experienced the comfort that these verses provide. I, and I bet many of you, could almost say that worrying is a habit. But being able to live by the truths I am about to share with you below, has created peace inside of me that gets me through anxious moments in my life.

Before we get into it, I want to teach/remind you where fear comes from. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (1 Timothy 1:7). God did not design fear for us, fear is the work of Satan. In my opinion it is probably his “best act.” We all experience fear, worry and anxiety in many ways about almost everything under the sun. I know this sounds scary, but it is actually great news! Why? because we know that God has already won the ultimate war against Satan. So fear is not forever, and it can be resisted. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). The devil has no real power compared to our God and Savior. Just as the devil will flee, so will fear. They only have power over us if we let them!

Now you may be asking, “How the heck do we resist fear?” God gives us a very simple answer in Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Do not be anxious about anything, instead pray about everything. His answer to resisting fear is to pray. When we hand our fears to God, we are letting go of control. Letting go of control of fear, is the equivalent to letting go of fear’s control over you. When I am feeling overwhelmed and anxious I like to ask myself, “Have I prayed about this situation as much as I have been worrying about it?” The answer is usually a no. As soon as I cast my cares onto him everything seems to fall into place. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Now let’s talk about some preventive care; or not having anxiety in the first place. This is one of the hardest tasks anyone could ever do. We as humans hate letting go of control of our lives. We are infamous for having fear of the unknown. We like to know what is coming next; we like to have schedules and plans. Unfortunately, that is not how life works most of the time (cue anxiety).

What we must understand is that God is in control of our lives no matter how hectic it may seem. Recently in one of the sermons at church we learned a really great metaphor for God when we are going through fearful times. Think back to when you were little and getting a shot was the scariest thing that could possibly happen to you. You were sitting there, in the doctors office, on a giant piece of crunchy paper. A nurse with cartoon characters on her shirt comes in smiling at you, while holding the biggest needle you’ve ever seen, up to your arm. You just don’t understand why your parents are forcing you through this awful pain. As a child we don’t understand that the shot that we are receiving is for our own good, it is to help us in the future, it is so we can live healthy and happy lives away from certain diseases. Well God is our father, he is much like a father would be in this situation. We are the child, who just doesn’t understand why this pain is supposed to help. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God knows our paths and He has a plan for us. He knows our past, present and future. We do not have the understanding that He has. So when we go through certain trials in life, we must try to remember that God knows exactly what He is doing. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5). If you start to feel anxious cling to Gods promises. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25). We were not made to fear, we were made to be strong and courageous, we were made to have complete faith in God’s plan and we were made to welcome the unknown of the future! 

P.S. Feel free to save the image attached to this blog, just in case you need some emergency bible verses! 🙂