“God’s Homework” May 11

 

Does God give homework?Has it ever happened to you? You are growing in the things of God and have dealt with some area of sin when all of a sudden you find yourself dealing with the same issue again. Could it be God’s homework?

Also, do you ever find yourself bored with your prayer life? In his book, Praying the Bible, Don Whitney poses the question, “Why don’t Christians pray more?” He gives the startling answer that we don’t pray more because we tend to pray the same old way about the same old things, day after day, and prayer becomes boring! Read more about how to pray the Bible in today’s post.

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Samuel 24 & 25
Psalm 60.1-5
Proverbs 16.3
John 1.29-51

 

God’s Homework

 

1 Samuel 24 & 25:

Why Am I Here Again?

 

Do you ever feel like God shows you something and you think, “OK, I’ve got it!” And then, almost immediately, God gives you an opportunity to put that truth to the test. We sometimes think, “Wait a minute. Why am I here again? I thought God was pleased because I had responded the way I should.”

I think it’s kind of like a teacher who gives homework to solidify something you learned in class. Without the repetition and practice, we may understand it on one level, but we haven’t had the opportunity to develop the skill and make it a habit.

That’s how I see these two chapters in 1 Samuel. First, David is hiding in a cave when, low and behold, Saul comes into that same cave to relieve himself. This is too good to be true! Has God delivered him into David’s hands?

But David recognizes that this is a test. If he had killed Saul he would have been getting ahead of God by taking matters into his own hands. David responded rightly and Saul, convicted by David’s righteousness, goes back home. Good job, David, now everything should be smooth sailing from here on, right? Continue reading

Read Through the Bible: “Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools” January 1

 

Bible in a Year: Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools _ You don't have to be a believer for long to realize that God's truth often clashes with the world's interpretation of truth, whether it's theology and science, the source of true wisdom, or how we view God. But each of us has to decide, "What will be our source of truth?"

 

Happy New Year Everyone,

Whether you’ve been following me for a long time or you’re new to the blog, I’m glad you’re here.

Every time we set out on this adventure through the Bible, we’ll be changed … no matter how many times we’ve read it before or if it’s our first serious attempt.

Maybe you’re a new believer or have always wanted to read through the Bible? No matter what your reason, you’re in the right place!

Welcome, to the “Bible in a Year” at Soul Survival where I blog through the Bible, adding practical commentary as we go along. To keep it interesting, we read some in the Old Testament, some in the New, a portion of a Psalm and a verse or two in Proverbs each day.

 

Why Read Through the Bible?

 

If you’re a newcomer or merely contemplating “why” or “if” you should join us in this journey through the Bible, let me share with you some thoughts from Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

In the opening chapter Whitney outlines three ways that God grows us spiritually. The first is through people. God uses our friends and family, our co-workers, our pastors and teachers, parents and children, and even our enemies to grow us.

“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27.17).

The second is through circumstances: financial problems, relational problems, world events, natural phenomenon like the weather, sickness, and all kinds of tests and trials.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8.28-29).

The third is through the spiritual disciplines like Bible intake, prayer, fasting, service, worship, journaling and others. Whitney uses the stories of the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Lk. 18.35-42) and the tax collector Zacchaeus (Lk. 19.1-10) to explain the importance of the spiritual disciplines.

Bartimaeus, when he heard that Jesus was approaching, over the objections of others in the crowd, cried out repeatedly for Jesus to have mercy on him. And Zacchaeus, a wealthy but short tax collector, climbed up into a sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus. Both of them, unashamedly, placed themselves in His path. And in both cases Jesus stopped and responded to their desire for an encounter with Him.

When we practice the spiritual disciplines we do much the same thing. We place ourselves in Jesus’ path and, just as He did with Bartimaeus and Zachaeus, He responds to us and communes with us.

Once Zachaeus encountered Christ, he was a changed man. He promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to repay with interest all the taxes he had wrongfully collected. Just like Zachaeus when we spend time with Jesus through His Word, He changes us from the inside out and we grow in Christ likeness.

“… discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4.7b-8).

So, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll decide to join me. Simply add your email address here.

 

Let’s Get Started!

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 1 & 2
Psalm 1
Proverbs 1.1-7
Matthew 1.1-25

 

Beginnings, Wisdom & Educated Fools

 

Genesis 1 & 2:

In the Beginning

 

I love the book of Genesis. It contains this wonderful sweeping view of history, as well as, so many foundational truths that have application for our lives each and every day!

In chapter 1 we see the creation account—God’s wonderful record of His six-days of creating the world and everything in it. Man has since put forth his theories of evolution, of the “big bang,” of “carbon dating,” and the like. But God already gave us “the truth.” It is truth because God has proclaimed it, but more and more scientists are willing to admit that much of what has been called science in this area has little to substantiate it. In fact, many facts have to be ignored or explained away for one to believe much of what has been put forth in the name of science.

You don’t have to be a believer for long to realize that God’s truth often clashes with the world’s interpretation of truth, whether it’s theology and science, the source of true wisdom, or how we view God. But each of us has to decide, “What will be our source of truth?” Will it be fallen man or God’s inspired Word?

I’m not against true science, but I believe all true science backs up God’s truth. In reality, those theories which oppose God’s Word are really belief systems—secular religion—and take much more “faith” to believe than the truth! If you want more information about this subject you can go to a number of websites including the Institute for Creation Research.

So what do we learn from Genesis 1 & 2? Continue reading

“Contagious Sins: Could You Be at Risk?” August 10

 

Contagious Sins: Could you be at risk? - We take every precaution with deadly diseases like ebola or zika, but there are diseases of the soul that are just as deadly. How are you protecting yourself from contagious sins?We take every precaution with deadly diseases like ebola or zika, but there are diseases of the soul that are just as deadly. How are you protecting yourself from contagious sins?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 11 & 12
Psalm 94.1-11
Proverbs 22.24-25
Romans 10.1-21

 

Contagious Sins

 

Proverbs 22.24-25:

Could you be at risk?

 

Certain sins are easily caught from others. Could there be people in your life whose friendship is a danger to your walk with God?

“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul” (vss. 24-25).

Anger is one; so are gossip, cursing, and other sins, especially those of the tongue. If you hang around people who practice those things, you will become less and less bothered by them and eventually begin to join in.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’ ” (1 Cor. 15.33).

Jesus said we’re to live in the world, but not be of it (Jn. 17.14-15). And the Apostle Paul warned us about being closely associated with unbelievers.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6.14).

So while we are to have relationships with people outside the faith and use those opportunities to be salt and light, they should not be our closest friends and partners.

But it can be just as dangerous, maybe more so, to hang around with professing believers who act like the world!

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 11 & 12:

Love Believes the Best

 

Now it’s Zophar’s turn to speak to Job about his troubles. He can’t believe what he is hearing. He is sure that Job is guilty of some serious sin, so he rebukes him sharply.

While Job agrees with Zophar’s assessment of God’s wisdom, power and sovereignty and he doesn’t claim to be perfect, he strongly condemns his simplistic conclusion.  Continue reading

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