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Why should you bother to read a book that’s thousands of years old when bookstores, magazine racks, and the Internet are overflowing with the latest reading material on every topic imaginable? The reasons for reading the Bible are almost endless, but here’s a suggested Top Ten:
- It’s the all-time international bestseller.
- It’s the real thing.
- It is unique in its continuity.
- Science supports its record of history.
- It has survived.
- There’s something for everyone.
- It reveals the future.
- It has the answers to life’s biggest questions.
- It’s alive!
- Through its words you can get to know its Author.
God has given you the wonderful gift of life. He made this beautiful world for you to live in and enjoy, and gave you the capacity to love and feel loved. The priceless gift of living and all the joys and challenges that accompany it, He freely gives to all. But believe it or not, there is more that He wants to give you. In fact, there is a whole slew of other gifts that He would like to give you.
Two of these gifts are most important because they are the keys to all the others. These are eternal salvation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
If you haven’t yet received God’s gifts of salvation or the Holy Spirit, this booklet tells you how. And if you have, the explanations you’re about to read will strengthen your faith and help you understand and appreciate the marvelous changes that are taking place in your life. In either case, it will also help you know how to answer others’ questions about God and all He has to offer, so they too can receive these wonderful gifts.
God’s idea of prayer is not a ritual, but loving and lively communication between the best of friends. But sad to say, most people think they can’t talk to God like that. Some think they’re not religious enough, not righteous enough, or not spiritual enough. Some think He’s too big-too far above them. Some think He’s too busy to be concerned about them and their problems, which they think must seem awfully petty to Him. Some feel unworthy, not good enough. Some feel guilty or ashamed about things they’ve done. Some are even afraid of Him. If only they understood how differently God sees it!
God wants to have a personal relationship with each of us, and He wants it to be the deepest, most meaningful, most fulfilling and rewarding, most natural part of our lives. Now that’s not to say He wants to take away from the other relationships and activities that we enjoy and consider important. To the contrary–He wants to be a part of all that. He wants to make our day-to-day living easier, He wants to give the things we experience greater meaning, and He wants to enjoy them with us. In a word, He wants to make our lives better. He wants to add a wonderful new dimension to all that we do–the dimension of His loving presence.
God isn’t dead! He’s alive and well, and still ready, willing and able to speak to His children in this modern day and age–and He wants to speak to you!
How can that be? In order to comprehend the answer to that–how the great God and Creator of the universe could communicate directly with you, or why He would even want to–-you must first understand how much God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins so that you could be forgiven and receive God’s gift of eternal life in Heaven, simply by believing in Jesus and receiving Him as your Savior. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, but He would have died for you alone. He and His Father love you that much!
In His love, God also gave you the Bible, through which He tells you how to live in love and harmony with Him and others. God’s Words in the Bible are an endless source of faith, comfort, encouragement, instruction, wisdom and strength of spirit. They can unlock for you some of His greatest mysteries, and set His love and power to work in your busy and sometimes stressful life.
But God didn’t stop there. He loves you so much that He not only wants to communicate with you through His written Word, but directly! He takes a loving personal interest in you, and wants to be involved in your life. He knows that you have questions and problems, and He wants to give you the answers and solutions. He also wants to speak personal words of love and encouragement to you, to boost your faith and reassure you during those rough times. He wants you to know how to be happy. And so He created a means of two-way communication, a channel between Him and you, so that you can talk to Him in prayer and in reply hear words He gives specially for you.
But what if you don’t consider yourself very “spiritual” or close to God? Well, you’ll be happy to know that God will speak to anyone who has a little childlike faith–and He wants to speak to you, to give you a chance to experience His infinite wisdom and boundless love. He wants to lead you step by step into a closer relationship with Him and a greater understanding of His will and ways. “Call unto Me,” He says, “and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Love is life’s sweetest mystery. It can be ethereal or down-to-earth, thunderous and passionate or tender and hushed. At once priceless and free, it’s the universal experience that is wonderfully personal. Like a scintillating jewel that reflects beauty off its many facets—each unique yet each part of the whole—is that mystical, magical, marvelous thing called love.
It is in the faces of a mother and her child—mutual adoration that is beyond words. It is in the faces of parents as they embrace a returning prodigal. It is in the faces of a couple in love, who are lost in each other’s eyes and dreams. It is in the faces of volunteers who care for the afflicted, the homeless, the destitute. It is in the faces of strangers and friends—anyone who takes time to be thoughtful and kind. It is in the face of the dying believer as he looks heavenward to new life and joy unspeakable.
And it’s through love’s many faces that we see God’s own image, for God is love! (1 John 4:8) Every time we see love manifest, we get a glimpse of God. These few pages don’t pretend do the subject justice. Instead, they point to the source of love, God Himself, who gives freely, without partiality and without end.
Few words ever spoken have had a more far-reaching impact on the world than Jesus’ last earthly message to His disciples. For three and a half years they had watched and listened as Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, unlocked the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven, and lived and preached the love of God. Then, The Bible tells us, Jesus spent forty more days with His followers after He rose from the dead, further preparing them to carry on what He had begun (Acts 1:3). On the final day, just before He ascended to Heaven, Jesus gave them what has come to be known as the Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News”–-the message of God’s love and salvation in Jesus-–“to everyone, everywhere.” (Mark 16:15)
Their response? “They went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” (Mark 16:20) With His resurrection, His disciples had finally grasped what Jesus had been trying to teach them all along: that He and the truth He taught could set all men free. (John 8:31-32)
Jesus offers that same commission to His followers today, and He continues to work just as wonderfully through those who say yes. Would you like to show others how they can be part of God’s kingdom and partake of His love and life? Would you like to do what Jesus asked His disciples to do–to bring His answers to a lost and lonely world? You can.
You don’t have to be a theologian, preacher, priest, or one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples to preach the Gospel. In fact, you don’t even have to have much special training or know a whole lot about the Bible. What you are about to read on these few pages is enough to get you started, and Jesus Himself will teach you the rest as you go. What really matters is that you have found Jesus and experienced His life-changing love, and that you want to share His love and salvation with others. All you need is love-love for the Lord, and love for others. (Matthew 22:38-40)
Poets, philosophers, and romantics have often likened life to a river that flows from the mountains to the sea. The river widens in some places and narrows in others. It ambles through pleasant valleys and plains. Tranquil spans give way to turbulent, frothy rapids that splash into sparkling, crystal pools. On and on its waters flow until they are swallowed up by the wide, open sea.
Just like the river, at every stage, whether restful or raging, the life that is placed in God’s hands and flows along the path of His choosing is beautiful. But what attracts the most tourists, photographers, artists, and the like? What inspires the most awe? The gentle and silent winding through the plain? No. It’s the majestic waterfall, where the river hurls itself in utter abandon into a deep, rock-strewn chasm. There, if you will look closely, somewhere in its mist is a rainbow.
We all appreciate the pleasant valleys and plains, and sometimes we wish we could stay there forever. But life flows on. God knows what lies around the next bend, and He will guide us through the narrow gorges, the white water rapids, and, yes, over the heart-stopping waterfalls. With your hand firmly in His, you can not only make it through the problems and perils of life, but thrill in the face of such challenges. This book tells you how.
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