TAKE UP AND READ
Today I celebrate an anniversary. It was 12 years ago today that I began reading my Bible every morning and praying. The numbers when I look at them seem daunting; 4,383 consecutive mornings of opening up the word of God and listening to what He has to say to all who have ears to hear. 12 years times 365 days plus 3 leap year days comes out to be 4,383 days and it is all the Lord's doing alone.
God had saved me from the pleasure of sin prior to this and He was then drawing me to the Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, and at that the time I did not know or understand what was happening. I had began hating my sin and loathing myself because of it, but could do nothing to turn away from my sin. In my plight I was reading a book (I am not going to name that book) but the Lord used this to draw me to Him by the Holy Spirit. There is a story in "St. Augustine's Confessions" about his conversion. Augustine had been mulling over the things of God and was wrestling within himself how he might leave his sin and come to God. Then a child began to sing; "TAKE UP AND READ, TAKE UP AND READ." He took this as a Devine command from God to open up the Bible and read the first passage that he should come upon. He opened up and read Romans 13:14, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."
The reason I won't name the book that I had been reading is because I now believe it to be both theologically weak and promoting of a social gospel rather than the good news about salvation from sin by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. This book however, did have several scripture passages within it, many of which the author uses out of context, but scripture nonetheless. I believe that the Lord used this book to draw me by the Holy Spirit and was telling me from within, not audibly as with the child in Augustine's conversion, but from within, "Take up and read, take up and read". So on the morning of May 11, 2003 I took up the Bible and read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gn 1:1). I read it all the way through from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 and as I read I believed, therefore, I continued to read, re-read, and pray for 4,383 consecutive mornings.
I am not writing this to tell you what I have done, but what God alone has done, He saved me. I read His word daily and pray to the Lord daily because I am utterly dependent on Him, I can do nothing of myself. I cannot even take a breath unless He gives it to me to take. For this reason I cannot understand how anyone can be a follower of Jesus Christ and not be reading the Bible continually. Not commentaries about the Bible, not books written by a man, and not these devotionals that are sold in Christian book stores (Scripture verses used out of context), but the Bible itself. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that there are good books and reading commentaries to help understand historical content is good, but the main thing that a believer in Jesus Christ needs to read is the Bible, and reading the Bible daily. It is how He speaks to us and we learn from Him. So brothers and sisters do this today and everyday: "Take up and read, take up and read".
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ