Is there a key to the Christian life? If so, what is it and where does it come from? It runs through all our readings today and, in fact, throughout the Bible. Continue reading
Is there a key to the Christian life? If so, what is it and where does it come from? It runs through all our readings today and, in fact, throughout the Bible. Continue reading
In the first century a small army of believers turned the world upside down in a matter of a few years without TV, radio, or mass media. They simply believed in the power of the Gospel to change lives and the Holy Spirit working through them. And they did it in the face of intense opposition. Could we turn the world upside down again if we had the same faith and commitment?
What’s the real problem with the leadership in our nation? Is it party affiliation? A lack of compassion for the poor? Too much politics or too little experience? The answer is really pretty simple.
One of the greatest evils in our nation today is our failure to defend unborn babies. Will God hold us, as a nation, responsible?
Can being unequally yoked in marriage, in business, and in our close friendships affect our walk with God?
And finally, today’s readings contain one of the greatest prayers recorded. It was prayed by a man who fell short like us, but who understood where to turn for help.
2 Chronicles 19 & 20
In verse 6 the Thessalonians said about the disciples, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”
Beginning with the original Apostles, as they evangelized and discipled others who in turn evangelized and discipled still others, the world was turned upside down in a matter of a few years without TV, radio, or mass media, just the Word of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I wonder what you and I are doing or could do to turn the world upside down. Are we as committed to share the gospel as those in the first century? Would we still be willing to blog about God and His Word if knew we could be arrested? Would we still attend worship services? Do we invest the time and effort necessary to influence the world around us for Christ?
Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
This is discipleship. Discipleship takes time and faithfulness. It’s coming alongside someone. It might mean going through a book on marriage with a young wife or a new believer. It might mean working through a book or Bible study on the character of God, the basics of the faith, or some other subject. It might mean teaching a young couple how to be godly parents or a newlywed how to keep house for the glory of God.
3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
Are we so busy with the things of this world that we are too entangled to come alongside someone else?
8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The Gospel is not limited to our great persuasive ability, a huge platform, or who is in the White House … just our faithfulness.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1.16).
Let’s turn the world upside down with the Gospel!
2 Chronicles 19 & 20:
Yesterday, Jehoshaphat, a relatively good king was hanging out with, of all people, Ahab, one of the most wicked kings of the Northern Kingdom. He and his wife Jezebel took the nation of Israel deeper and deeper into idolatry. Today’s reading begins: Continue reading
If you did a heart check, how would you describe your heart attitude this past week? In your relationships with others? How about before Sunday worship? How have you approached God privately? Do you know what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth? How’s your obedience? Do you “obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart?”
I have to admit that I, sometimes (dare I say, often), fall short in these areas!
1 Chronicles 15 & 16
1 Chronicles 15 & 16:
If you remember, David’s first attempt to bring the stolen Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem hadn’t gone well (2 Sam. 6.6-8; 1 Chron. 13.1-10). But here in 1 Chronicles 15 we find David once again preparing to bring the Ark back. This time he does it in a way that is honoring to God (1 Chron. 15.1-15). Whether he spent time reading the scrolls or talking to the priests, he had learned the importance of following God’s specific instructions for moving it.
2 Then David said, “No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the Lord has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever.”
11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites: for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, you and your brethren, that you may bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel to the place I have prepared for it. 13 For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order.”
14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord.
Sometimes we, too, have a heart to do something for God, but we jump out there and do it without really seeking to understand if it’s the way He wants it done or if it’s His will. Instead of prayerfully seeking Him, we go do our own thing and then ask God to bless our plan.
Everything the Israelites did in regard to the ark was part of their worship. It represented the presence of God with them.
When it comes to worship, we can be thankful that we have a new and better covenant as the book of Hebrews tells us (Heb. 8.6). We are no longer under the ceremonial law with all of its restrictions and prohibitions (like “don’t touch the ark, unless you’re a Levite”). But the Old Testament laws were given so that we might better understand who God is.
In this case, that He is a holy God and should be honored as such. In the New Testament Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24).
Worship is to come from the heart, in sincerity. The word “sincere” means “without wax.” In ancient times if pottery was of poor quality, it would get small cracks. To cover them up, merchants would fill the cracks with wax. When we worship Him in sincerity—”without wax”—we do it without hypocrisy, openly, with pure hearts, honestly confessing our sins to Him, because, while we may be able to fool others by putting some wax in the cracks, we cannot fool God.
Psalm 78.12-16 & 1 Chronicles 16.8-36:
In Psalm 78 the psalmist continued to extol the works of God which we have talked about before, so instead of commenting on those verses I’d like to talk about David’s psalm in our Chronicles reading (1 Chron. 16.8-36).
David is called “the sweet psalmist of Israel.” What a beautiful example we see here. Especially note the verbs and what they show us about how to praise and worship God, such as: give thanks, call, sing, talk, glory, seek, remember, proclaim, declare, give, bring, tremble, and say.
As you worship God in the days to come, it might be good to look back at this psalm and incorporate some of those ideas into your worship, if you don’t already.
Verse 23a, “The fear of the Lord leads to life.”
The fear of the Lord is not the cowering fear of an abusive God who is just waiting to clobber us because we fall short. It’s worshipful respect.
But it’s, also, knowing that God is God and that He loves us enough to discipline us if we’re determined to go our own way instead of His. He does so because He knows that His way is the way that leads to life no matter how it looks to us.
Living in the fear of the Lord doesn’t just involve our one on one relationship with Him. It is how we live our lives every minute of every day. It’s obeying His commands and precepts in all areas of our lives. It’s how we treat others, our attitude toward authority, our motives for all that we do and much more.
Sometimes when I counsel younger children I teach them a phrase I learned many years ago from Ginger Hubbard, “Obey all the way, right away, with a happy heart!”
That’s good advice for all of us, but does that mean? Continue reading
What about the different kinds of laws? Leviticus talks a great deal about the ceremonial laws including the blood sacrifices, but what about the moral laws having to do with sexual sin covered in chapter 18? Why is it one set of laws still applies and another doesn’t?
Leviticus 17 & 18
Blood … blood … blood … why does the Bible talk so much about blood?
When Adam and Eve sinned against Him, God Himself shed the blood of animals and symbolically covered their sins by covering their nakedness with the skins (Gen. 3.21).
When God confronted Cain for murdering his brother, He said, the voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (Ex. 4.10).
God commanded animal sacrifices to cover the people’s sins and we see here in chapter 17 that He took it very seriously when that blood was offered to demonic gods (vv. 3-4, 7).
God commanded the men of Israel to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant they had with Him (Gen. 17.9-14) … more blood. And not everyone understood; in Exodus 4 Moses’ wife called him a “bloody husband” when her son was circumcised (Ex. 4.25-26).
Then there were commands not to eat meat with the blood, commands to sprinkle blood, and just before the exodus, blood was applied to the frame of the door to protect God’s people (Ex. 12.7, 22).
And the New Testament is full of references to the blood of Christ and its significance. Continue reading
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.
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.
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
Chapter 22 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “Who among you fears the Lord?” (Isaiah 50.10).
What an important question! As Hawkins points out, very few today live with a genuine fear of the Lord. Fewer still could explain what that means.
He goes on to say that we live in a “no fear” culture. The idea of fearing God makes many professing believers uncomfortable. As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help remembering that a church (not a doctrinally sound one) I attended many years ago, went so far as to remove the term “fear the Lord,” from one of the songs they sang.
So what does it mean to “fear the Lord”?
Does fearing the Lord mean living in a constant state of fright or concern that if we say something or do something wrong, God will zap us with some big bolt of retribution? Nothing could be further from biblical truth. The most common biblical word for fear means to stand in awe before God with such reverence and respect that that reverence becomes the controlling motivation of our lives.
(T)his fear is not the fear that He might put His hand of retribution on you, but the fear that He might take from you His hand of blessing and anointing.
How has this lack affected the church?
Without having God on the throne, without having a priority to honor and glorify Him, without living in a spiritually healthy fear of Him, we are allowing the New Testament gospel to be pushed aside by the New Trendy gospel. The New Testament gospel emphasizes self-denial, but the New Trendy gospel emphasizes self-fulfillment. The New Testament gospel is focused on Christ and His life, death, resurrection, and plan for man’s redemption, but the New Trendy gospel is focused on man and his desire for happiness and purpose. These two gospels are in diametric opposition to each other. The question of Isaiah will never be asked among those with a new trendy mind-set.
How can we learn to live in the fear of the Lord? The words of Solomon in Psalm 2.1-5 summarize it very well:
¹ My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
Next week’s question: “Is it true?” (Daniel 3.14).
Last week’s question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6.8). Read it here.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.
NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:
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Sing up for the “Bible in a Year” daily posts.
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Mondays Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings Darling Downs Diaries The Art of Homemaking Mom2Mom Linkup The Modest Mom Embracing His Will
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Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention Coffee for Your Heart A Simplified Life
Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
Fridays A Look at the Book Christian Mommy Blogger Fellowship Fridays Blessing Counters Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays Faith & Fellowship Bloghop Grace & Truth Linkup Snippets of Inspiration
Saturdays Still Saturday The Weekend Brew TGI Saturdays
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness
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