Why We Read the Bible

Know-Your-Bible-Religious-Stock-ImagesHave you ever heard or said any of the following statements?
“I’m a busy person with a lot to do. I don’t have time to read the Bible.”
“I already believe in Jesus Christ. I’ve already heard the Gospel. So I don’t need to read the Bible.”
“I don’t think I need to read the Bible as long as I’m a good person and I treat others with love.”
“I go to church on Sunday and Bible Study during the week. That’s enough Bible for me.”
Many people wonder why followers of Christ should read the bible. Others see it as something that’s good to do, but it’s not necessary. The following Scriptures should answer the question…
Why should I read the bible?
Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Don’t stop reading this book of the Law, but day and night think of what it says, so you can be careful to do everything written in it; then you will prosper and succeed.
“And now I entrust you to God and his care and to his wonderful words that are able to build your faith and give you all the inheritance of those who are set apart for himself.
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.'”
It is not the flesh that gives a person life. It is the spirit that gives life. The words I told you are spirit, and so they give life.
And the Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and we will go to him and make our home within him. The one who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The words that you’re hearing me say are not mine, but come from the Father who sent me.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
God’s Word is alive! 
The more you expose yourself to it, the more it will expose itself to you. To know God better you must spend time hearing what He has to say. The Bible is His message to you. If you want Him to listen to what you have to say, you should also listen to what He has to say. Although God can also speak directly to your heart, you need to know His written Word so you can judge whether God is speaking to you, or the enemy is trying to deceive you.
God will not love you more because you read the Bible.
It’s for your benefit — not required to make God love you. However, without reading the Bible, you will not grow spiritually, and you will be more easily deceived. Prayerfully reading the Scriptures yourself is the only real defense against being misled.
God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).
Do you want to know the truth? If so, don’t spend your time on lesser, unreliable things?
The promise of Jesus in John 8:31-32 is for you. If you continue in the Word of God, you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free!
Your spiritual life is important.
You always have time for what you consider important.
Only those who continue in God’s Word come to the place of knowing called faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Jesus taught that God’s Word is a seed (Luke 8:11). Plant the seed of God’s Word in your life and you will reap blessings.
ab5d2ae61cfea7ada97591218836414d(Contributing Writer: Joy Patterson)


“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign
through righteousness to bring eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:20-21
just-saying-scripture-graphicsThe thing about forgiveness is that it goes two, three or even four ways. First, the offender needs to seek forgiveness from God. That’s number one. Next, the offender needs to seek forgiveness from the person to whom they caused harm. That’s a given. But then, the offender, and sometimes the person harmed, needs to forgive him/herself. That is always difficult. Finally, the world (whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or people on Facebook) needs to forgive the offender. That folks, is near impossible! Not because we’re incapable of forgiving, but because we are unwilling.
Sometimes we forget that Christ was literally nailed to two posts of wood, beaten to a pulp, and had to walk dang near naked in front of EVERYONE. We forget that he was humiliated, falsely accused, cursed at, spat on, and probably worse, just so that God could forgive us and we could be reconciled to the Father. Sometimes we forget that “at just the right time, when we were still sinners, Christ died for US.” Sometimes we forget that to God sin does not have degrees; it is all just sin.
So, regardless of how bad the offense, we need to forgive one another. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” For some reason, we think kindness and compassion is only for those who are innocent. Just like we tend to think that church is only for those who are “Saved”.
Now I’m sure someone will say, “Well I can forgive, but I won’t forget.” That’s fine. You should remember so that you can learn and grow from that experience. But you still need to forgive them. And when you do, don’t bring it up at every Thanksgiving dinner, or summertime cookout. And don’t go around telling everyone you meet what happened, under the disguise of a “testimony” when your motives are not to lift up, but to tear down.
So what’s point?
Forgive your offender. Let them of the hook.
Let the issue go, and give them a chance to change.
And most importantly, give God a chance to heal them and you.
pattersonphoto (Contributing Writer: Marlena Patterson)

I Need You to Survive

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”
And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
…God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
so that there should be no division in the body,
but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Corinthians 12: 21, 24b-25
surviveHave you ever asked someone to do something for you and they said, “Sure. No problem. I’ll do it.” Then, sometime later, you ask that person to do the same thing for you and they say, “Sure. No problem. I’ll do it.” Then again, at a later date, you ask them again and they say, “Sure. No problem. I was just thinking about that. I’m going to do it today.”
Finally, when you decide to simply do it yourself, the person says, “I was just about to do it.” After you give them that look (you know the one) you say, “Oh that’s alright. Don’t worry about it. It’s no big deal.” Then, you vow that you will NEVER ask them to do anything for you ever again.
But God…
(Church say, “But God.”)
But God places you in a position where you need that very person again. (UGH!) When you realize it, you do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid asking them for help. But, despite your greatest effort, you must swallow your pride and break the vow you made to yourself. In agony, you ask the person for help, and this time they come through for you. Now doesn’t that make you feel better about them?
NOPE! If you’re anything like me, you’re still holding on to that first impression of them not being dependable, and that vow you made too. It’s really hard to let someone “off the hook” once you’ve nailed them up there.
So what do you do?
First, let go of that vow you made, and all those “nevers” along with it.
Next, try talking to the person before you write them off. Explain that it’s important to you that they keep their word, and that they’re honest about their ability and willingness to help. Or, at the very least, to let you know if they’re having difficulty doing what you asked. That way, you can make other arrangements if you need to, and it removes any extra pressure from them.
Finally, read 1 Corinthians 12 and remind yourself that although we don’t think we need those people who disappoint us, we really do. Remember that each person is part of the body of Christ, and is vital to His mission.
Realize that God has placed them in your life for a reason. Not just to do that one thing you can’t do for yourself, but also to remind you, as Hezekiah Walker sang, that we need each other to survive.
pattersonphoto (Contributing Writer: Marlena Patterson)

He’s Preparing Me (and You Too)

“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
preparing me graphicHave you ever been in a place where you’re just going through a whole lot all at once? I mean, before you even have a chance to process one thing, here comes something else. Seriously.
Have you sometimes felt that God is piling SO MUCH on you that you might actually, physically break?
So what do you do about it?
Probably, like many of us, you just deal with it. You take the hit and keep on movin’. After all, you’re a busy person. You have work stuff, and home stuff, and family stuff, and church stuff, and more church stuff. Not only do you not have the energy, you don’t have time to DEAL WITH IT. But eventually. (Church say “eventually”.) You will HAVE to deal with it.
Eventually, you will reach a point where you will just have to STOP. When you do, it’ll all flood you at once and you’ll have to release it. But that’s not the end. Once you’ve had your release you’ll think about EVERYTHING you’re going through and you’ll ask the magic question.
God, why?
Why are you putting me through ALL of this right now? Why do I have to go through any of this at all? Why does it seem like everything is falling apart? Why? Why? Why?
Now I won’t pretend to know what the answer is, or what God’s personal answer will be to you. What I do know is what the Word says. And despite what I feel, I MUST believe that its’ true.
“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.”
When I’m going through a whole lot all at once, here’s a song that helps me, and I pray it’ll help you too.
Listen to the song and be encouraged.
pattersonphoto(Contributing Writer: Marlena Patterson)

Watch Your Back

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your god. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10
my-go-to-graphicHave you ever felt, or known, that someone was out to get you? That they were trying to defame your good name, ruin your reputation, conspiring against you, or at the very least, using your flaws (your humanness) to try to make themselves look just a little better than you?
Whether the sabotage is taking place on your job, in your home, or at church (yes I said “at church”), it is always hurtful, and it takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally. You begin to wonder what was said about you, who is involved, how this will affect your other relationships, and what people think of you.
So how do you get through it?
If you’ve been saved and walkin’ with Jesus a while, you pray; and watch your back. If you’re a new Christian who’s still honeymooning with Jesus, you think, “Man if I wasn’t saved!” Then you pray and watch your back. If you’re on your way to the Alter but haven’t quite gotten there, you make a plan of how you’re going to curse them out and take them down before they get you. Then you remember that you’re trying this Jesus thing so you probably shouldn’t do that, so you call a church member instead. After it takes them 30 minutes to calm you down, you pray and watch your back. (Yep. You know that’s how it happens.)
I know someone, who is constantly trying to make me look bad and defame my character to make themselves look better. (Isn’t that something?) Although they’ve been doing it for years, it’s still hurtful because I’ve worked so hard to remake myself into a woman of integrity (Oh I was a big fat liar). But I want people to make their own opinion of me based on our interaction, not the opinion of someone else.
So how do I get through it?
First. I let my work, attitude, and actions speak for themselves. I am the same me at church, at work, on a job interview, at home, everywhere. My character, speech, ethics, passions, and standards are the same everywhere I go because I always try to “conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”.
Second. I have a Post-It note with a scripture like this one (Jeremiah 1:8), that reminds me:
(1) don’t be afraid;
(2) God is with me;
(3) God will strengthen me when I’m weak;
(4) He will help me when I need it;
(5) and if stuff gets sticky, and it will, God will rescue me.
Third. I pray and watch my back.
pattersonphoto (Contributing Writer: Marlena Patterson)