DO YOU HAVE A PLAN TO READ THE BIBLE IN 2016?

 

Sign up to read the "Bible in a Year"

It’s that time again! One year is coming to a close and a new one is beginning and, while it’s important to make changes in our eating and exercise routines or our work and family routines, it’s also important to evaluate how we are doing at connecting with God through prayer and Bible reading.

Do you have a plan to read God’s Word in 2016?

Reading, studying, meditating on and obeying God’s Word should be our lifelong adventure. ADVENTURE … not a duty or worse, a drudgery, it should be exciting!

Every year I read things and wonder … was this in here last year? Because, even though I fall dreadfully short when it comes to reading and really meditating on God’s Word, He is faithful and always showing me new things about Himself no matter how feeble my attempts!

Perhaps you have gotten a great deal out of your Bible reading this year, but every year you commit to reading the Scriptures, you will get abundantly more!

Perhaps you’ve tried to read through the Bible before, but fell short of your goal. I tried numerous times before I finally completed that goal. But it took a plan. The first year I read through the Bible, it was with the same reading plan we’ll go through here again this year. But as long as you say “maybe next year,” it just doesn’t happen, not until you say “no, this is the year I’m doing it!”

What about reading through the Bible with a friend or a co-worker? The world around us is literally perishing—our society has lost its moral foundation, individuals are dying and going into an eternity where they will be separated from God forever, marriages are falling apart, children are suffering, and so much more … and we have the answers … but we must do the work of growing and learning and sharing them with others!

Even people who don’t go to church will often respond positively to the question, “Would you like to learn more about the Bible with me?”

Prayerfully consider signing up for the “Bible in a Year” devotionals. They will pop up in your inbox daily as a gentle reminder to stay in His Word. And call or text a friend and challenge him or her to sign up with you!

So … why should we read through the Bible? Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “Sick or Discouraged?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 52 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “Is anyone among you sick?” (James 5.14).

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven (Jas. 5.14-15).

Hawkins:

Perhaps no other ministry of the New Testament church has seen as much perversion as the church’s healing ministry. While many involved may have wonderful intentions and pure hearts, some healing ministries have too often been a vehicle for a few to build their own personal financial kingdoms by offering false hopes of healing to any and all who come their way. Here in James 5, we find the only directive in Scripture concerning praying for those who are sick.

The book of James was written to those who had been “scattered abroad” because of widespread persecution. The Greek word translated sick means “without strength” or “to be weak.” And in verse 15 the word used means “to grow weary.” Continue reading

5 Ways God Finishes His Work in Us

 

5 Ways God Finishes His Work in Us

 

Philippians 1.6  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

 

What a great promise! We can be confident, not in ourselves that we’ll somehow make it to the end, but if we belong to Him, He will finish the work He has started in us. God Himself is the guarantor of His promises.

It would be nice if He just sprinkled some pixy dust over us and we were instantly changed. But that’s not the way God usually does His work in us.

And … We often wish He would do that in other people’s lives, too.

When we’ve been unequally yoked and a husband comes to know the Lord, we want them to immediately be where we are. When someone close to us surrenders his or her life to God, especially if it has been a difficult relationship, we can be unrealistic in our expectations.

There is immediate change in our lives and the lives of others. Before we were lost and now we belong to God. 2 Cor. 5.17 says we are new creations; we were born again by the Spirit of God, but it takes time for those changes to work themselves out in our daily living.

That’s not an excuse. In fact, as God shows us areas where we need to change and grow we need to respond to those promptings.

Milk baby Bottle Heb. 5.12-14 says:

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use (the NASB says PRACTICE) have their senses exercised (TRAINED) to discern both good and evil.

Some of us are still babies sucking on milk because we don’t do the things God has told us to do. AMEN … or OH MY.

Even then, God doesn’t stop doing His work in us, but it’s going to take longer and probably involve more pain and hardship.

What processes does He use to complete the work He started in us? I like to talk about five major ways.

 

God changes us as we learn to do 5 things:

 

1. Count it all joy (James 1.2-8).

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually feel like being joyful when I’m in the midst of a trial. How can we count it all joy when we’re in a trial? Continue reading

The Real Christmas Story: Murder, Intrigue, Rejection & Wonder

 

The Real Story of ChristmasI mentioned recently that the Bible is the #1 best seller of all time. That is true for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that God is always going to watch over and protect His Word. It’s, also, true because it offers the only true and lasting answers to man’s problems.

Communist and other governments have tried to destroy it. False religious leaders have burned it, outlawed it and punished those who held on to it. And today many in the scientific world and in our institutions of higher education have tried to declare it irrelevant, at best, and foolish or dangerous, at worst. Yet people continue to suffer persecution and even death to keep it and hold to its principles.

The Bible is, also, a literary masterpiece. (Go figure it was written by the most creative being ever! Just sayin’!)

It has intrigue, deception, sex, love, war, devotion, bitterness, redemption, and so much more. It’s a book of songs and poetry, story-telling, history and wisdom. It portrays human experience, even its underside, but also provides the wisdom to understand and overcome it.

The Bible tells the fascinating story of creation, the fall of man, and redemption through the lives and lessons of real people. It’s stories are without parallel.

The Christmas story alone is one of perceived betrayal and rejection (Mary and Joseph). It’s one of embarrassment (just think about what their friends and neighbors must have thought), harsh and unfair treatment (imagine riding a donkey 70 or so miles while 9 months pregnant), and murder (when Herod failed to find the baby Jesus, he ordered the mass murder of all the boys age 2 and under).

But it’s also one of wonder (the virgin birth, the journey of the wise men, angels appearing to lowly shepherds, and God’s protection of His Son).

As we finish out this year and begin rereading the incredible book we call the Bible, get ready for more shocking human behavior, more intrigue, more twists and turns, and more of God’s amazing patience, mercy, grace and love. And no matter how many times (or how few) you’ve read through the Bible, get ready to be blessed as you grow to know our amazing God better.

If you’re new here, I blog through the Bible each year sharing, as God faithfully shows me, insights about how the Bible applies to our daily lives. The journey started as a challenge to the ladies in our women’s ministry about 8 years ago. I told them if they would commit to read through the Bible with me, I would commit to send out an email every day sharing some things I gleaned from my reading. It quickly grew to 100, then 200, then 300+ men and women.

As that first year was coming to an end, God made it clear that I was to do it again … then again … then again. After several years, I decided to turn that annual journey into a blog.

I also write about others subjects. Right now I’m sharing a series on homosexuality: how we got here, the many voices telling us what to believe about the subject, how to respond biblically, how to minster to families who have a family member living or struggling with a same-sex attraction, etc.

After the first of the year I’ll pick up with another series called “Bite-Sized Theology” that I started earlier this year.

Sign up to receive the daily “Bible in a Year” posts here.

If you would like to receive the other series I mentioned, you can sign up for those “Christian Living” posts here.

If you’re a blogger, I also host a Mondays @ Soul Survival Linkup each week. View the most recent one here.

Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “What is your life? Only a vapor!” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 51 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “What is your life?” (James 4.14).

This week’s question, even in its simplicity, contains all kinds of other questions.

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where will we go when we leave this world? What is our purpose? Is this all there is?

Hawkins points out that our tendency is to focus on the here and now. In many cases we live as if we were never going to leave this world: taking vitamins, worrying about the quality of our food, cosmetics, plastic surgery … It reminded me of something one of our Pastors, Larry Lamb, said recently in talking about eternal things. He said, “Just keep eating your bark and birdseed and maybe you’ll live a few years longer!”

It’s not wrong, of course, to eat wisely or to take care of our health, but more important is how we live and prepare spiritually. Do we live with eternity in mind?

James not only asked the question, “What is your life?” He also answered it, “It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (Jas. 5.14b).

In light of eternity, even the longest life is brief. And the writer of Hebrews said this: Continue reading

Gift Card & Book Giveaway – WINNERS

 

Book & Gift Card GiveawayAnd the winners are …

Deniece B. – Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card
Rebeccah – Taming the To-Do List
Robert L. – MacArthur Daily Bible

(If you were one of the winners, I have sent an email requesting a mailing address.)

I’m about to embark on another trip … as I blog through the Bible in 2016 and I hope you’ll join me. I know many of you visit from FaceBook or Pinterest and that’s great! But I would love it if you would sign up to receive the daily reminders on your phone or computer.

And I’m thinking of a number … of things I’d like to give away! So for all those who are signed up by January 10, 2016 you will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible, a great new book to help you get organized (& stop procrastinating) in 2016 entitled Taming the To-Do List: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day by Glynnis Whitwer (if you struggle with procrastination you will love this book), or a $50 Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card.

Sign up for Daily Through the Bible Posts here.

Why read through the Bible?

Taming the To-Do List:: How to Choose Your Best Work Every Day

No matter how much we accomplish in a day, we nearly always feel a little guilt over what we didn’t do. But do we really have more to do than the women who came before us? Maybe not.

In Taming the To-Do List, Glynnis Whitwer exposes a seismic shift in society: from one in which most of us were proactive to one in which we carry the burden of having to respond–to every email, text, tweet, and message we receive. This creates a cycle where everyone else sets the priorities for our days rather than us directing our own lives. The result? We procrastinate, putting off the important stuff for later while we tend to the “urgent” stuff right now.

It’s time to take back your schedule! Ready to tame that to-do list? This book shows you how.

NKJV, MacArthur Daily Bible

The MacArthur Daily Bible takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year, with daily comments that guide and inform you as you read through the Bible in a year. John MacArthur’s insight maximizes the benefit of each day’s reading. If a commitment to daily Bible reading never worked for you before, this is the answer. With John at your side, there’ll be no such thing as a tough portion of Scripture.

Continue reading

The Jesus Code: “Faith or Works?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 50 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

 

This week’s question: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (James 2.14).

 

Faith or works? On the surface it seems like Paul’s emphasis was on faith and faith alone, while James emphasized the importance of works. So who was right? Are we saved by faith or by our works?

There has always been a battle within the church between the two. Some might say that the Apostle Paul is the champion of the “faith crowd.” After all, didn’t he say we were saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2.8-9)?

But then there is James reminding us that “faith without works is dead” (Jas. 2.20-26) and adding “even the demons believe and tremble” (Jas. 2.18-19). Continue reading

Good Reads on Christmas Traditions, Resolutions & More

 

What I've Been Reading Christmas EssentialsI don’t know about you but I’m constantly blessed by the great posts I read on other sites. Here are a few I’ve enjoyed the last couple of weeks on Christmas traditions, possibly some New Year’s resolutions, our fear of witnessing, and more.

 

#1. If you need some creative ideas for Christmas and Christmas Eve, this is your list! From movies, to music, to making the season special, it’s here. Elizabeth’s “Christmas Eve Service” made me wish my children were young again!

The 12 Days of Christmas Things I Love by Elizabeth at Guilty Chocoholic Mama.

 

#2. There is a good chance we all need to be more faithful about this subject and Alison’s plan is the one I find the most helpful to many people. New Year’s resolution, anyone? (Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to sign up for the Bible in a Year posts for 2016.)

How to Memorize Scripture the Easy Way from Alison at The Life of Scoop.

#3. This is a great reminder that this is important to understand every day not just the first time faith came alive.

Do you understand the blessing of not working for salvation? by Lisa at Conforming to the Truth.

#4. If you have been thinking about doing the Daniel Fast after the first of the year, you might want to take advantage of this sale on Nannette’s Devotional.

Feasting to Fasting – the Daniel Fast Devotional is on sale!

#5. I can’t help myself, I have to share another post I enjoyed by Sharon. She has a gift for mixing humor with serious points. The most important serious point is about “the” black Friday that made all the difference! And there’s trivia at the end!

Black Friday Shopping by Sharon at Sharon Sharing God.

 

#6. Ren makes some excellent points about the refugee situation (especially the part about listening and not demonizing each other). We must learn to balance grace and truth. The quote about why we lock our doors is worth the price of admission.

Jesus the Refugee? by Ren at Redeemed of the Lord.

 

#7. This next post is a great reminder to not be afraid to allow people to see Christ in us, even if it’s mixed with our weaknesses, too.

What I’m Afraid to Say by Renee at Doorkeeper.

 

Featuring a post here doesn’t mean I always agree 100% or I would say things quite the same way, but that the thoughts and ideas are some we should think about.

I hope you enjoy visiting and reading these posts as much as I did. I’ll have more great reads to share with you in a week or so. What have you been reading that has blessed you?

December blessings,
Donna

 

 

Do you have a plan to grow spiritually through god’s word in 2016?

Why read through the Bible?

Why read through the Bible?

Sign up for Daily Through the Bible Posts here.

 

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Mondays Making Your Home Sing Mondays Darling Downs Diaries The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Reflect His Love & Glory Musing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine Monday Musings Me, Coffee & Jesus Encourage Me
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The Jesus Code: “How shall we escape …?” + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 49 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. When it comes to salvation, many intend to get right with God someday, but someday could be too late.

 

This week’s question: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2.3).

This could be the most important question for someone reading this!

We have probably all had something, sometime, that we have neglected: something we should have studied more, something we should have taken better care of, or something we should have paid attention to. It could be something minor or something major like a relationship or our physical health.

But there is one thing we can not afford to neglect: our eternal destiny. Hawkins quotes the old adage that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That could literally be true for some. Continue reading