I love to read. Over Christmas break I was able to read several books. I used to read mostly classics. Jane Austin is one of my favourite authors along with Robert Lewis Stevenson. My favourite Christian author is Christmas Carol Kauffman. Yes, that is her real name :). Not that many have heard of her, but her writing is excellent. Her books are mostly biographies or based on true events, and they are gripping. Not to mention heart wrenching and spiritually encouraging. She does not gloss over the faults of her characters, nor does she present them as being spiritually superior. They are simply humans, prone to error, struggles, and tragedies, but eventually experiencing the great grace of God.
I didn't read any of the aforementioned authors over Christmas though :). That was a bit of a rabbit trail. I did read a book about Biblical Fundamentalism. I had read it before, but I enjoyed it much more this time. I consider myself a biblical fundamentalist, and this book was a good reminder of why I have chosen this path in my Christian life. I choose it because it is the Bible way, and therefore, it is God's way. It was also a good reminder not to become proud or arrogant of being a fundamentalist; something that I personally have struggled with. The author made excellent points about keeping a spirit of humility, giving kind answers, and most importantly evangelizing the lost world, and teaching new believers the way of Christ.
I don't often get a chance to read books much anymore, but one book I always make sure I read often is my Bible. This year is the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible. What an amazing testimony to the faithfulness of God that His Word is still being printed, distributed, and read today! It's actually a fulfilment of Christ's promise in Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33... "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
It took me a while to reach the point in my life of serious, consistent Bible reading. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I've probably only been reading my Bible on a consistent personal level for the past 9 or 10 years. Now to some that may seem like a long time, but if I had started reading my Bible this way right when I was saved, I could have had 24 years of this type of Bible reading under my belt. One thing I've noticed as I read the Bible consistently now is that the more I read it the easier it is to understand. I know I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again. One of the most common excuses Christians give for not reading the Bible (especially the KJV) is that it's hard to understand. Guess what? It is hard to understand, but God never commanded us to read and understand every, single thing we read. He just commanded us to read! You will never understand it if you don't read it! Here's a bit of a personal testimony. I can remember reading through books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and some of the minor prophets, and it was like I got nothing out of them! They just went right over my head. The wording was difficult, I had no idea what it was talking about, or who it was talking too. But, I still read it, and read it, and read it again. This year as I read through Ezekiel, which in my opinion is one of the most difficult books in Scripture to comprehend, I actually understood quite a bit of it! I still don't get all of it, but I was able to get a lot more than I did 4 or 5 years ago. I know that as I keep reading through my Bible, I will understand more and more of what God is saying.
This year I decided to start my Bible reading in Psalms. I usually start either with Genesis or Matthew because I don't like picking up things in the middle of the story. Psalms is a good stand alone book, and I wanted to change things up a bit. As I have been reading through the Psalms I've been so encouraged. The Bible does so much for the Christian. It encourages us. It reveals our sin. It changes our character. It strengthens us. It teaches us. Most of all it shows us Who God is! I think it's so amazing that God, Who created the entire universe, gave us a Book that would tell us exactly Who He is, what He is like, and what He wants for us. What an awesome gift we have in the Scripture! I guess that's why I get a little annoyed when people (especially Christians), say (and act like) the Bible isn't that important. Wait a minute... GOD gave it to us!!!! He loved us so much that He gave us a book recording His most greatest gift of all. The death and resurrection of Christ to pay the penalty of our sins. How would we know this without the Bible?
This morning these two verses spoke to me.
In God will I praise his word, in God have I put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. In God will I praise his word; in the LORD will I praise his word (Psalm 56:4, 10).