Over the years, books have gotten nicer and been printed faster over the years, but the basic format has stayed the same. That is, until 1971.
In 1971, Project Gutenberg was created to make electronic copies of important books. Fast forward to 2017 when you can read books on any number of handheld, wireless reading devices.
The day of e-books is here and it is changing our world. Books are easy to access and store. You can take hundreds of books with you, stored in your pocket reader, and read them anytime, anywhere. For publishers, e-books are a dream come true: Once the original digital version of a book is available, an infinite number of digital copies can be sold and downloaded at barely any additional cost to the publisher.
Reading one of the great books in literature for 15 minutes each day could be valuable in many ways—learning from the great minds of the past is always beneficial. But how much more valuable might that 15 minutes per day be if we were exposed to the single greatest mind in the universe, God Himself? What if we spent 15 minutes daily reading through one book? What if we could read 66 separate books, all inspired by God, neatly packaged in one volume?
That’s what we get when we read the Bible. The 66 books of the Bible, are indispensable. Jesus Christ didn’t say, “I am the way, the life, and am seeking the truth.” He said, “I am the truth!” (John 14:6; italics added)
The Greatest Book
Most folks are reading more today than they ever have. The question is not, “Are we reading?” but “What are we reading?” The Internet has become a magnet for the eyeballs of humanity—we can spend an hour reading the news, sports information, self-help advice, celebrity gossip, and even edifying content before we know it. Our reading time can slip away before we’ve read a single word of the Truth.
How about you? What priority does Bible reading have in your daily reading schedule? Are you a Sunday-only Bible reader or a seven-day reader? Are you a Bible-carrying Christian or a Bible-studying Christian? The answer to those questions could be a matter of spiritual life or death. Why? Because the Bible is unique among all the millions of books that have ever been published: It is a living book. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful . . . a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
In all of creation, life begets life. It takes a living book to sustain a living, spiritual person. It takes a book written by the Spirit of God to connect with the spirit of man. It takes a book of true truth (absolute, unchanging truth) to serve as a standard by which other so-called truths can be evaluated.
If you find yourself reading more these days, but growing and changing less, perhaps you should ask whether God’s Word is getting the priority in your reading life.
Here are 10 reasons why we need to get into the Good Book:
•The Bible will reveal who you are (Hebrews 4:12) and who you need to become (2 Timothy 3:16).
•The Bible is the most trustworthy book on earth, written not by men alone but by God through human authors (2 Peter 1:20-21).
•The Bible will provide guidance for your daily life (Psalm 119:105).
•The Bible will keep you from sinning (Psalm 119:11).
•The Bible can create faith in your heart to meet a specific need (Romans 10:17).
•The Bible can lead us to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).
•The Bible is an offensive weapon against the lies of Satan (Ephesians 6:17).
•The Bible always accomplishes the purposes for which it was given (Isaiah 55:11).
•The Bible’s truths will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8).
•The Bible’s truths are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and righteous (Psalm 19:7-9).
Make 2017 the year in which you read God’s Word more faithfully and consistently than you ever have before. I can promise that this time next year, you’ll be glad you did.
As I read stories about sudden catastrophes and the damage they cause, I can’t help but think of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking… until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away.”
It’s possible to be in imminent danger without any knowledge of it or sense of urgency, but delay can be deadly. The word “urgent” comes from an old Latin word meaning “to urge.” It means that an event is occurring that is so compelling it requires immediate attention. To hesitate is to be lost.Traveling Light
For the last several decades, I have spent a great deal of time traveling—but the novelty of flying on airplanes wore off years ago. Now I consider flying the same way I do driving through Southern California rush hour traffic: a necessity of life.
Since 9/11, air travel has become more burdensome than ever. What used to take 20 minutes—getting into the airport, confirming your ticket, checking your luggage, and going to your gate—can now take as much as two hours depending on the airport, day of the week, and season of the year.
The changes in airport security have spawned a whole new industry: ways to help people travel light. In other words, the lighter you travel, the easier it is on you traveling through airports. Companies are teaching the traveling public how to “get there and back” with the least amount of hassle.Reflection
I’ve never looked so out of shape—fat, bloated, heavy in the middle, legs like tree stumps, arms like sewer pipes. The next minute, I faced an opposite set of problems: I looked like a ten-foot pole with big feet. My kids laughed, and we all had fun in the hall of mirrors at the county fair. The thin, flexible mirrors, called distortion mirrors, were curved, twisted, and bent so as to warp the images and reflect a distorted sense of reality.
If you want to see real distortion, aim the mirror of our popular culture at the Christmas story in the Gospels. The “holidays” no longer reflect the true meaning of Christmas. John MacArthur, in his The Incarnation of the Triune God, wrote, “Christmas has really become a hopeless muddle of confusion. The humility and the poverty of the stable are somehow confused with the wealth and indulgence and selfishness of gift giving. The quietness of Bethlehem is mingled with the din of shopping malls and freeway traffic. The soberness of the Incarnation is somehow mixed with the drunkenness of this season.”
The paradox of Christmas is heard in the sounds—the honking of car horns, the jingling of bells, the laughing of children, the strains of the carolers, the “Ho, Ho, Ho” of department store Santas. It’s all a part of the frenzy of the season; yet the best Christmas moments are the quiet ones, and the best reflection of Christmas takes place in the mirror of our own hearts.
When your priorities are in alignment with God’s and you live in obedience to Him, you have all you need for a fulfilling life. Dr. David Jeremiah illustrates this truth in the Old Testament account of the rebuilding of the temple, as God’s people learn to stop making excuses and start living in obedience.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah