How many times have you read through the Bible? I plead with you to make that important to you. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
If you don’t like to “jump” around, read Genesis to Revelation (which is my preference.) However, for those who prefer variety, there are many reading plans available. The Olive Tree Bible app has plans and so does Blue Letter Bible.
You can also manage your reading tempo yourself by chapters, pages, or time. Find what works best for you. For chapters, to read through the Bible in a year, simply read three or four chapters a day. If the chapters are short, then read an extra one. By pages, divide the number of pages in your Bible by 365. One of my Bibles has 1233 pages of Bible text. I would need to read 3.4 pages a day to finish in a year. I simplified it by reading four pages a day.
Now that I’m not working a regular job, I have the luxury of a very long time with the Lord every day (Ahhhhhhhhh). Teri and I set the alarm for the same time every morning (including Sunday). It only takes a few minutes to get dressed and then I head for my office to start my Bible reading. I have a set time to move from reading to prayer and then a set time for my Bible time to be over. I plead with you. Be committed to reading and praying. You won’t regret it. A man will always do what is important to him.
“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments” (Psalm 119:10).
It is common to hear someone exclaim, “I love ____ (coffee, ice cream, football, fill in the blank). I have never heard a Christian say, “I love the world.” However, as much as we don’t want to love the world or the things in it, I am confident that to varying degrees we all do. (Hint: even if you don’t say what you love, watch how you spend your time.)
I passionately desire to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). Just think, the more we love Jesus, the One Who died for us, the less we love other things, to include self and the world.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11). Might that describe (sadly) most believers today – mostly looking and not zealously being about the Lord’s business?
Brothers, are you looking up, down, or around? What generally has our attention has our heart. We don’t give our longterm attention to things we don’t have a heart for. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). May we love the Lord Jesus with all our hearts – give Him our attention – and be busy about His business.
I avoid pain if I can. Yet, affliction is one of God’s tools. Are you experiencing affliction? Thomas Watson (Puritan) said that when someone brings affliction into your life, you can be sure that God sent him. The best thing about affliction is that God has promised there is good in it. We would ease and encourage our hearts if we embrace and believe that.
On our recent trip to Colorado, Teri and I were greatly blessed by listening (again) to Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (read by Robert Whitfield). Did you know that John Bunyan wrote it while serving twelve years in prison for his faith?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).
In the Air Force, it was repeatedly drilled into us: “The right tool for the right job.” That phrase stuck in my mind. Through the years I’ve been amazed to see guys (okay, especially boys) use screwdrivers (or a hammer) for just about every job when another tool would have been more appropriate. The right tool would have done a better job without collateral damage.
I greatly appreciate the focus on Scripture at our new church (Due to Covid our other services were shut down). The pastor teaches a class on hermeneutics (the science and art of interpreting Scripture.) The book we are using is Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are dependent on a correct understanding of the Bible in order to correctly apply it to our lives. If you have never read anything like this before, I highly recommend it.
Additional tools that will help in your Bible study:
- Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, James Strong
- An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine,
- Nave’s Topical Bible, Orville Nave or The New Topical Textbook, R. A. Torrey,
- Matthew Henry’s unabridged commentary or a commentary by a conservative author,
- Olive Tree Bible software, which offers the above tools less expensively and all in one application.
Invest in good tools!
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
I greatly appreciated how Teri never complained about changing baby’s diapers. It sure wasn’t my favorite task! Over the years, that sweet wife of mine easily changed a minimum of 5,000 diapers per child. Considering eight children, she likely changed well over 40,000 diapers! The same cheerful attitude was exhibited while fixing over 50,000 meals (47 years of marriage) for our family.
What about us? Do we cheerfully fulfill our God-given responsibilities? Do we see them as acts of obedience to Almighty God? We are to cheerfully obey whether we are providing for the family, doing house and car upkeep, discipling the children, or leading the family spiritually.
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
We live in Leavenworth, and it is known to be both a military and prison town. Fort Leavenworth’s primary function is training select officers through the Command General Staff College. Teri’s father was a career military officer, and we have known many fine examples of those committed to serving our country through their service. One thing is clear, the military differs greatly from a normal job. Those serving can be sent to their loss of life or limbs at the command of their boss. That is simply a part of their “job.”
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Tim 2:3-4).
Stories can be shared of great hardship in the line of duty. (I have read war defined as “cruelty.”) Many don’t come home from an assignment resulting in his wife raising the children without a father. Or life is greatly altered by having a legless dad.
The Holy Spirit prompted Paul to liken those who profess to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to soldiers of Jesus Christ. Brothers, as we read Scripture, do we read the commands, as commands to be obeyed, no matter what the cost? We are not asked if we like the command but simply told to do it.
(To be continued.)
Moses threw his staff down before Pharaoh, and it became a serpent (Exodus 7:10). If I was watching, I would have been impressed. Pharaoh wasn’t. He called in his magicians, and “they also did in like manner with their enchantments” (Exodus 7:11b). God could have prevented their magicians from doing the same, but He didn’t.
Could it be that in addition to using it to harden Pharaoh’s heart, God wanted Moses to expect in the future the dark side to attempt to hinder God’s work in lives? We aren’t to fear it, but we should anticipate it and be in prayer about.
Are you expecting your children to automatically receive Christ and live for Him just because they are living in your home? Being active in church is not enough either.
Is Jesus the love of your life, your purpose in life, and your joy in life? Do you love His Word, and are you in it every day, personally and leading your family in Bible time because of that love? Your children must see His power/life at work in you.
Live for Him my brothers with all your heart. Be purposeful in discipling your children, Satan wants them.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Let’s continue on last week’s theme of responding to the wickedness in current events. We want to pray for those who are suffering, and we want to teach our children to pray too.
Scripture is our guide and example in this. Notice when the man horrifically cut his concubine into twelve pieces (Judges 20:6), Scripture did not provide pictures or gory descriptions. That is why if you have a TV, this is a great time to put it out for the trash. Photos and details imprint on the brain, striking fear in hearts that just a statement of fact about a situation requiring for prayer shouldn’t (IE. Christians are being severely persecuted and desperately need our prayers). We don’t need details to pray effectively.
When we hear something, we personalize what we hear. Next time someone tells you of a dentist appointment with painful work that was done on their teeth, notice how you run your tongue over your teeth. The more details, the more we picture that happening to us. How easy for a child who hasn’t grown in real love for Christ, or maybe not even saved to think, “I’m never going to be a Christian if that is what might happen to me.”
God didn’t lead Israel to Canaan through the land of the Philistines because they weren’t mature enough to handle what they would face even though it was much shorter (Exodus 13:17). We need to be careful what goes into our children’s minds.
Brothers, our suffering brothers and sisters need our prayers. Pray appropriately and with your family. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
I recently heard from others about the terror beginning overseas. What a heartbreak. Through the ages, the ground has been soaked with the blood of violence, and often the innocents pay greatly. Soldiers understand they fight and might pay with their blood and limbs. But oh how our hearts ache for those helpless who are caught in the middle.
Our children need to hear truthful answers from God’s Word regarding these horrors. God is not the author of evil, Satan is. We hate sin, and our hope is in the Righteous and Holy Judge of all the earth. Jesus Christ is the only solution for sin.
I recently said to a dear Brother how anxious I am for the Lord’s return. He said, “But when He comes, it ends the possibility for salvation of those not saved yet.” May we be faithful in proclaiming Christ.
“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths” (Isaiah 59:7).