“Are you ‘profiting’ from the Bible?” November 25

 

Are you "profiting" from the Bible?

What does Matthew Henry mean when he talks about “profiting from the Bible”?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 41 & 42
Psalm 133.1-3
Proverbs 29.6
1 Peter 1.1-25

 

Are you profiting from the Bible?

 

& :

Profiting from the Bible

 

In chapter 40, Ezekiel said:

¹ In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on the very same day the hand of the Lord was upon me; and He took me there. In the visions of God He took me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain; on it toward the south was something like the structure of a city.

From outside the city, God took him to the outside of the temple and into the courts () and then into the temple itself (Ezek. 41).

Matthew Henry in his Complete Commentary on the Bible, says about chapter 41, “After the prophet had observed the courts, he was brought to the temple. If we attend to instructions in the plainer parts of religion, and profit by them, we shall be led further into an acquaintance with the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

My paraphrase—if we are faithful to learn the basics of the Christian faith, God will take us deeper into the wonders of His Word.

But notice that second sentence in Henry’s comment, “If we attend to instruction … and profit by them …” If we are not applying what we already know, it is unlikely we will grow and understand more!

The writer of Hebrews said it this way:  Continue reading

“Is the Bible True … All of It?” October 25

 

Is the Bible True ... All of It? - How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?How do you view the Bible? Do you see it as a cafeteria line where you pick and choose what you like? Do you cut and paste the Bible at will? Do you view it as merely a book of nice suggestions for living? Or do you view it as God’s Word and allow it to direct every area of your life?

 

Today’s Readings:
Jeremiah 35 & 36
Psalm 119.65-72
Proverbs 27.22
1 Timothy 4.1-16

 

Is the Bible True … All of It?

 

& :

Cutting and Pasting the Bible

Chapter 36.22-26 says:

22 Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. 23 And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. 24 Yet they were not afraid, nor did they tear their garments, the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words. 25 Nevertheless Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah implored the king not to burn the scroll; but he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet, but the LORD hid them.

The king was sitting in his house, warm and comfortable, and—with a complete disregard for the Word of God! When the Scriptures were read to him, he simply cut them off the scroll and threw them into the fire!

is the Bible trueI once heard about a liberal theologian who literally cut the first few chapters of Genesis out of his Bible. Others today throw out the whole Bible as being the work of men. Still others, claim they are followers of Christ, but pick and choose what to believe.

Some talk about how Jesus loves everyone, but forget that He ordered the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some claim to love God but don’t do what He says, forgetting His words, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14.15). And others say it’s a book of principles alone. They deny its truthfulness in the area of history and science and eliminate the whole creation account.

Then there are those who cut and paste the Bible with other religious ideas. They take what they like from Christianity, add a little Eastern religion, and toss in some mysticism. Or they say they’re Christians but add other books or some so-called higher knowledge. Still others deny the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or the reality of the Trinity.  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

Bite Sized Theology: The Bible, “The” Book

bite sized theology

This week we’re going to take a little bite out of the Doctrine of the Bible or Bibliology.

The Greek word for Bible is Biblos, but when the early Christians wrote the name on a scroll containing God’s Word, they wrote Ho Biblos: Biblos meaning Book and Ho meaning The.

The Bible is no ordinary book. It is The Book.

2 Timothy 3.16-17 says:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

It was inspired by God, literally, God breathed it out.

The Bible is not a book about God, it is the very Word of God.

But wait a minute, didn’t men write the Bible?

Men penned the Bible. They were His instruments transcribing what was in the mind of God.

 

I’m a note taker. I take lots of notes … during church services, in classes, and when I’m counseling. I even have a preferred writing instrument, a special pen I like to use when writing. Yet, it would be silly to say that my pen took notes. It was merely the instrument.

2 Peter 1.21 says:

21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

The same Greek word was used in Acts 27.15 talking about a ship caught in a powerful storm. It says:

15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along (NASB).

The storm was so fierce that the sailors couldn’t sail into it without great danger. They had to allowed the ship to be “driven along” by the wind.

God used men to write the Bible, but they were carried or driven along by the Holy Spirit. God carried them along insuring that they wrote His very words and what was written wasn’t corrupted in any way. He used their individual personalities and writing styles but, He was the guiding force.

In Acts 1.16, 20 Peter said:

16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’;
and, ‘Let another take his office.’

And in 1 Thessalonians 2.13 Paul said:

13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

But it wasn’t just certain passages of the Bible which were authored by God. 2 Timothy 3.16 says “all” Scripture is inspired by God.

Over the next few weeks we’ll talk more about the Word of God, why it is inerrant and sufficient, what is meant by the Canon, and why we can trust God’s Word as the guiding standard for our lives.

 

Every believer should be a theologian. But theology doesn’t have to be difficult to understand. Each week I’ll be explaining another concept and why it is important to your life and mine.

Why not join me for my new series of weekly posts “Bite-Sized Theology”?

Sign up here.

 

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December 30 “The Bible all one book”

the bible one bookThe Bible is not a series of books about God. It is one book, written by numerous human authors, and inspired by God. It is His story told through His continuing revelation of Himself to mankind.

As we finish the book of Revelation, we learn about two final judgments. One day every person will stand before God at one of them: “the great white throne judgment” or “the judgment seat of Christ.” Unbelievers will be judged for their sins and condemned to the lake of fire. As believers we will not be judged for our sin, but we will be judged for our works and our motives for doing those works (1 Cor. 5:9-10) and receive rewards or loss of rewards, accordingly.

 

Today’s Readings:
Zechariah 13 & 14
Psalm 149.5-9
Proverbs 31.1-9
Revelation 20.1-15

Well, we’re almost there. I pray that many of you have read more of God’s Word than you have in the past. Notice I said “more of God’s Word.” Though many of you finished the goal, I know some of you are weeks or even months behind or maybe you quit after a few months, or maybe it’s been in fits and starts. But did you read more of God’s Word in 2014 than you had before or did you get more out of your reading than you had before. If so, it’s been a successful endeavor!

If you have a testimony about how reading God’s Word impacted your life this year, I’d love for you to share it.

On to the Word …

 

the bible one bookZechariah 13 & 14:

The Bible all one book

Zechariah prophesied beginning about 520 B.C., but did you notice that he prophesied many of the same things Jesus revealed to the aging Apostle John toward the end of the first century A.D. and recorded in the book of Revelation?

We see the same picture of Jesus coming back the second time as the King of kings and Lord of lords, his feet touching down on the Mount of Olives followed by a great earthquake and the destruction of Satan’s armies.

We also see the description of Christ as the Shepherd (13.7) which David wrote about in Psalm 23 and Jesus called Himself in John 10. He is the Good Shepherd who gave up His life for the sheep (Jn. 10.11).

The more you read and study God’s Word, the more you see that it is not a series of books about God. It is one book, penned by numerous human authors, but inspired by God. Just as a writer controls his pen or writing instrument, God superimposed himself over the hearts and minds of his instruments, the human authors.

It is His story told through His continuous revelation of Himself to mankind.

 

the bible one bookPsalm 149.5-9:

Praise & a sword

Verse 6, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”

This is how we fight life’s battles—by praising God and trusting in His sovereignty, and by speaking and living according to His Word.

 

Proverbs 31.1-9

A mother’s advice to the king

Verses 1-9 contain the first of two poems in this chapter. This first one contains advice Continue reading

December 25 “The real story of Christmas: murder, intrigue & wonder”

nativity sceneMerry Christmas,

I pray that you are enjoying a wonderful day rejoicing in the birth of our Savior! It’s His birth, life, and sacrificial death that makes reading His Word so important.

I mentioned yesterday 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.

On to …

Today’s Readings:
Haggai 1 & 2
Psalm 147.7-11
Proverbs 30.20
Revelation 15

 

Priorities ConceptHaggai 1 & 2:

Consider your priorities

Verse 1.5b sums up the theme of this book when it says, “… ‘Consider your ways!’” He repeated the admonition in 1.7. The blessings of the Lord were missing from their lives. Verse 6:

6 “ You have sown much, and bring in little;
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

The people’s priorities were all wrong. They were more concerned about their own homes and personal comfort than they were the work of God. And it wasn’t working out so well for them!

As we approach the New Year, Continue reading

Read the “Bible in a Year” in 2015

plan for 2015    plan for 2015

It’s that time of year again: time for resolutions and new beginnings.

Sadly, many of our resolutions fall too quickly by the wayside. How can we keep that from happening?

We need to turn those resolutions into a plan!

time to plan

One of the areas where Christians often want to grow is in the area of Bible reading and comprehension. Is that you? Do you have a plan for reading the Bible in 2015?

Maybe you have resolved to read more of God Word, or follow a certain devotional, or read the “Bible in a Year” before, but failed somewhere along the way.

That’s ok! Most of us tried and failed numerous times before we succeeded! I know I did!

One of the best ways to overcome that tendency is to join other like-minded people so you can encourage one another along the way and share the things you are learning.

soul survival

Why not join me and read through the Bible this year?

Just sign up to receive the “Bible in a Year” email each day. It arrives with a short introduction on one of the subjects discussed that day. Each day we will cover a passage from the Old Testament, short readings in Psalms & Proverbs, and a passage from the N.T. That helps keep it interesting! If you have ever gotten bogged down somewhere, you know what I mean.

time alarm clock

And … it only takes about 15 minutes a day to read the Bible in a year. 15 minutes! Can you give God 15 minutes a day to get to know Him better?

I add practical commentary about the day’s readings … principles and truths you can use in your life … TODAY! Many are gleaned from my counseling experience.

Just click “Bible in a Year” and add your email.

2015 key on keyboard representing year two thousand and fifteen

You can also sign up to receive notices for new “Christian Living” posts (on marriage, parenting, communication, blended families, book reviews, wisdom from Proverbs, and more).

If you have any questions or problems signing up, you can contact me.

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December 9 “The Word of God … cafeteria style”

Word of God

How to you view the Word of God? As the commands and revelation of the Creator of heaven and earth or as a divine cafeteria where you get to choose the entrees you find tasty?

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 9 & 10
Psalm 139.13-16
Proverbs 29.21
3 John 1-14

 

Hosea 9 & 10:

Rejecting the revelation of God

Even though Scripture tells us that everyone has enough revelation of God through His creation to recognize there is a Creator and to cry out to know Him (Rom. 1.18-23), many people live in ignorance of the Word of God.

Sadder still, is to be given the amount of special revelation Israel was given as a nation, and to ignore or reject it.

“I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing” (8.12).

God so desired to reach the heart of His people that He gave them prophets to proclaim the truth to them, but instead of heeding God’s warning, they ridiculed them, calling them fools … insane (9.7).

Little has changed. We live in a day when the Word of God has free reign. He has revealed Himself to us through the His Word and the prophets who wrote it. And He has blessed us with pastors and teachers and others who can help us understand His written Word.

The Word of God … divine suggestions?

There is such an abundance of good spiritual resources available and, yet, so few take advantage of them. Most people are content to come to church on Sundays thinking they have their ticket punched for heaven and to live life their own way the rest of the time.

The Word of God is “interesting” to them and they like hearing a nice message, but they don’t acknowledge it as God’s written revelation and command to them. It’s optional, depending on whether or not they “agree with it”! They take the Word of God as a suggestion, not the Word of a Holy Sovereign God.

We don’t get to decide whether or not we “agree” with God. Do we really understand what it means in Romans 10 when it says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (v. 9)? It is the person who confesses that Jesus is “Lord” who is truly saved! Lord, means “Master”—the One who has the right to tell us how to live—what is right and what is wrong! His Word is to be the sole authority in our lives!

Mature woman making stop gesture signAnd yet, too often, I hear people say in regard to a passage of Scripture, “I just don’t agree with that.” Or in the context of counseling, “I tried that, but it didn’t work.”

God’s Word is true, if it’s not “working” for us, we better go back and look at our Continue reading

November 30 “Is the Bible enough in a complex world?”

is the bible enoughIs the Bible enough to help us live life in our complex world? What does it mean when we say God’s Word is inerrant and sufficient?

Today’s Readings:
Daniel 3 & 4
Psalm 136.1-9
Proverbs 29.11
2 Peter 1.1-21

 

Daniel 3 & 4:

God in the fire

These two chapters contain two of the most incredible stories of God’s power and sovereignty! First we see the “three Hebrew children,” as they are sometimes called, thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to the golden image.

Doing so would have amounted to worshipping King Nebuchadnezzar. When they were not even scorched by the fire that had killed their executioners, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to acknowledge God’s intervention.

The kingdom departs

But even more awesome to me is the story in chapter 4. It is such a picture of God’s total and complete st 29 “God’s promise in trials”" href="http://donnareidland.com/august-29-gods-promise-in-trials/" target="_blank">sovereign control of His universe and everything in it, including power and politics. God doesn’t just see into the future and reveal what He sees. God plans and purposes what He desires according to His will, His wisdom, and His good pleasure. He sometimes declares in advance what is to happen, but He is always working to bring about His desired result.

In chapter 4, God who knew Nebuchadnezzar’s heart warned him in a dream that all he had would soon be taken from him. A year later, forgetting that warning, he pridefully declared, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

“… that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Oh, really? (emphasis added)

Verse 31, “While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven. ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!’” Continue reading

November 28 “The fullness of Scripture … wade in!”

beach walking wadingThe river flowing out of the Millennial Temple represents the fullness of Scripture. Some is ankle deep, some is knee deep and some is deeper still.

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 47 & 48
Psalm 135.8-14
Proverbs 29.9
1 Peter 4.1-19

Ezekiel 47 & 48:

The fullness of Scripture

These two chapters close out the book of Ezekiel. Chapter 47 describes a river flowing out of the temple. Symbolically the Temple is Christ and the river is the Gospel. The Living Water flows from Him and blesses everything it touches.

In the deepness of the water we see fullness of Scripture. Some things are “ankle deep”—easy to understand. Others are knee deep and require more study. Others are deeper still and we may not be able to understand them fully.

2 Peter 3:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Even so, though we won’t understand everything about God in this life, it’s all the more reason to worship Him as God!

Continue reading