Archive for the ‘Bible Reading’ Category

h1

“PURE WORDS” – April 13

April 13, 2016

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”  Psalm 12:6

ncfcaThis past week I had the occasion to attend another NCFCA speech and debate tournament with my family.  I was afforded the opportunity to be a parent judge on multiple speech and debate rounds.  As a result, I had the privilege of judging the finals of the Biblical Presentation speeches.

This was the first time I had witnessed Biblical Presentation as it is a new event this year in the NCFCA.  “Biblical presentation is a speech that creatively develops and presents one or two selections of scriptures in an effort to foster understanding of God’s word, deepen the speaker’s Christian faith, and encourage the listener”.  NCFCA Speech

I now have a new favorite speech category.  I could not get enough of these speeches.  Each speech presented warmed my soul because at their core, each speech was the pure Word of God.  I got to listen to approximately 80 minutes of teenagers presenting 8-10 minutes each of memorized biblical passages, word for word,  in extremely engaging and creative ways.

There was one in particular that is still blessing me.  The speaker was not the most creative.  She did not have the most powerful or engaging voice.  She did not have the most dynamic interpretation.  However, she made the most significant impact on me in her 10 minutes.  She presented two of her favorite passages from Isaiah in such a genuine and heart-felt manner that tears welled up in my eyes from the unadulterated beauty of God’s word.

It was almost startling to hear sacred words simply spoken.   I was not preoccupied by her presentation.  Her interpretation was not a distraction.  On the contrary, I was drawn into the words.  I was captured by the Spirit.  I was renewed in the wonderful truths that filled the room with each utterance.

In recollecting that speech, I have been struck by the reality of how rare it is for us to simply hear the Word of God earnestly spoken in its entirety as the author intended.  So often, we sit silently reading our Bibles or we hear a few verses read before a Pastor spends an hour telling us what they mean.

Both are needed and good so I am not being critical.

However, the presentation of Isaiah reminded me of the power of the Word of God and the benefit from simply listening to the pure words of the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the opportunity to hear anew the purity of your Word.  Thank you for showing me the beauty of inspired scripture.  I pray for all of those who are memorizing and sharing your Words through the NCFCA.  I pray that you will bless each one of these competitors and write your word on their hearts.   I pray that the purity of your words will abound and refine all those who hear for their enrichment and your glory.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

h1

AM I SICK – Dec 29

December 29, 2014

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

After a month of eluding, it has happened.

An occasional dry cough has mined down into my bronchi to produce the rattling notes of illness. My sinus passages refuse to work in unison. They are contented to take turns passing air while the other throbs with the pressure of an impassable clog.

I am sick.

I had successfully managed to avoid this cold as it passed through our household. Germs have filled the confined atmosphere of a house sealed against the frigid winter weather. These germs have systematically progressed through my family – son to daughter to wife… and now to me.

I thought I had successfully eluded the buggers since wellness prevailed through our home for more than a week. Yet, there were signs that all was not well for a few days.

Sleep has been restless;
Sinus pressure has built;
And a tickle has been maturing in the back of my throat.

My wife asked me how I felt this morning and made an observation as to why my immune system may have now succumbed when it had been able to fend illness off for so long. “We haven’t been eating well lately,” is what she said.

It is true. We came off of our diet cleanse (SOUL CLEANSE) through the Christmas festivities. We have not been eating horribly but it surely hasn’t been as well as before.  Our diet might not be the sole reason for my illness, but I surmise that it was a significant contributor.

I came across a survey at Ligonier Ministries recently. The survey purported to take the temperature of America’s theological health.

TheStateOfTheology-InfographicThe survey concludes:

  • Answers are reflective of our “made-to-order” god.
  • The majority of Americans perceive “goodness” to be a better description of people then “sinful”.
  • The majority of Americans aren’t convinced of a literal heaven and hell.
  • Pluralism is rampant within our culture.
  • Our culture is anti-theological – we are in a new dark age.

The survey demonstrates that many professing Christians are theologically sick. After writing this blog for a couple of years, these survey conclusions do not surprise me. I regularly get emails and comments from individuals purporting beliefs that are anti-theological.  I wonder if one of the contributing reasons for the theological illness of America is our typical Christian diet.

I read Psalm 63 as part of my daily Bible reading this morning. I was struck by three words.

Earnestly
Thirsts
Faints

We will not earnestly seek after someone we don’t value. We will never wait for our thirst to be quenched by someone we don’t trust. Surely, we will never exert ourselves to the point of passing out for a belief we doubt.  I find these words very convicting because they do not describe me to the degree that I would like.

The passion of the Psalmist is the natural manifestation of a healthy soul. It is the result of someone regularly grounded on a dietary foundation of sound doctrine. It is through sound doctrine that the value of Christ is expounded; the trustworthiness of God is demonstrated; and doubts are answered.

Doctrine is not a bad word.

Doctrine merely means knowing what you believe, why you believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. It is anti-theological to reject doctrine just because it is doctrine.  This attitude resigns us to a life of chronic spiritual aliments.

Let’s embrace a regular diet of theology and the passion that will come from a spiritual healthy life.  If you are interested in my thoughts on how to cure bad theology, check out CURING BAD THEOLOGY.

“People are cutting themselves off from 2,000 years of the Holy Spirit’s ministry of the Word of God. We never want to exalt tradition over Scripture, but we still need to recognize that we are par of the historic body of Christ.” ~ Stephen Nichols

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your word.  Thank you for the centuries of ministry by the Holy Spirit to your children.  Lord, I want to be passionate about you.  I want to thirst for you.  I want to seek after you earnestly.  Give me that commitment to follow you and be obedient to you.  Draw me closer to you.  Heal me of my chronic spiritual aliments.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

h1

LOSING KNOWLEDGE – Oct 14

October 14, 2014

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30

What is the function of a conjunction?

Volumes surround me; books standing in perpetual attention upon my shelves, clothed in dusty neglect. Familiar titles call out to me:

Process Geomorphology
Organic Chemistry
Applied Numerical Methods
Differential Equations
Probability and Statistics
Corporate Finance
Cost Accounting

 

 

The intellect of generations and genius are contained within these tombs of knowledge. I once communed among their concepts. I excavated their principles and deciphered their puzzles. I cursed the forced regurgitation of their laws and theories, consumed in short bursts of intellectual gluttony. Yet, I proved to be competent as an educated man.

I have the diplomas to prove it.

However, each text has found a forsaken place on my office shelf; set aside in a head-long pursuit of a profession. Years have swept aside those inquisitive days of study.

Theory replaced by practice;
Integration and derivation yielding to empirical;
Schedule triumphing over intellectual indulgence.

These books have become more decoration than source. They are a reassurance to visitors that the diplomas and licenses that hang on my wall have a foundation. I have learned my profession through years of practice. Yet, I have lost something through the years. Specific knowledge has faded to general in many subjects; conceptual understanding has replaced hard achieved competence.

Knowledge is not perpetual…at least not in my mind.

I do not have the mind of Solomon but neither does anyone else. God gave Solomon a wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and a breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. The limits of my wisdom and understanding are easily delineated in a game of “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”, and the scarceness of my mind is more like the occasional sand dollar on the seashore than the sand.

The typical mind has a very limited capacity for the specific. Time erodes away a mind’s competence, when study is neglected, leaving a hollowed relic to the practical. The scores of educated adults who prove that they are not “smarter than a 5th grader” is testimony to our mind’s inability to retain knowledge absence the reinforcing power of study.

The surrender of the knowledge of a conjunction’s function may be a reasonable acquiescence to the pressures of a busy life.

What about the gospel?
Are you willing to surrender the knowledge of the gospel to the pressures of a busy life.

What is the function of the gospel?
Can you clearly present the gospel to someone who has no knowledge of it?

 The ability to clearly explain a principle is demonstration of competent, specific, knowledge of that principle. If you can only generally explain the gospel, it demonstrates a general knowledge.

We have been called to more.

God has revealed Himself through His Bible. We can know our Lord and Savior more and more through the study of His Word. This is why David delighted in God’s commandments and law. It is why David studied.

 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)

 How are you doing studying the Bible?
Are you demonstrating your delight in God by studying His great works?

We must remember the minds we have been created with. We must remember that every moment that we spend away from the Word of God, time is eroding the razor edge of specific knowledge down to a blunt instrument of a general understanding. We must not acquiescence our time in God’s Word to the pressures of a busy life. We must not forget His Word.

 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16)

 

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for speaking to us perfectly even though we are imperfect.  Thank you for giving us everything that we need to follow you today.  Help me to glorify you from the place where I am today. Forgive me for thinking I need a special word from you. Teach me obedience in the everyday. Help me to live upon the nurturiousment of your Word, the Bible.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

h1

“VALUE OF SLEEP” – Mar. 26

March 26, 2013

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5

67/365: Sleeping InMy mortal body is often one of my most stringent usurpers of my soul’s control.  Unfortunately, the whims of my flesh greatly influence my mindfulness of God’s benefits; how He has forgiven my iniquity, how he has healed me from sickness, how He has redeemed my life, how He has crowned me with steadfast love and mercy, how He completely satisfies me with His goodness.

Sleep is a precious commodity.  Ask any parent of young children and they will tell you that their one wish is for a complete night’s rest.  I no longer have young children who disturb my slumber.  As of late, I have a misguided internal clock that is more effective than any wailing infant.   I have taken to awaking at 2:30 in the morning, tossing and turning until 4:30, only to have my alarm disrupt my dreams at 5:30.  I realize that there are many who struggle with insomnia to a far greater degree than I.  I am thankful not to face their struggle.

This morning, I arose not very mindful of the benefits of my Lord.  I was far more mindful of the benefits of sleep.  It was a prolonged battle between soul and flesh, to drag my reluctant bones to my desk and open the precious words of God.

I know that if I had remained in bed that God would not have loved me any less.  I know that I would not have been punished if I had missed this time of meditating on His words.  I know that God’s blessings are not contingent upon fulfilling my allotted time of reading my Bible, journaling and prayer.  I know that sometimes it might be best to just get the rest.

I also know that this is the most peaceful, refreshing, and renewing part of my day.  I set aside this part of my day because I want to.  I do not do it because I have to.  I do it because as a child of God, I get to.

The battle then is most often with my mortal body.  I am very easily inclined to become focused on the condition of my body and allow it to dictate my day.  I am reminded of Paul’s admonition, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control….” (1 Cor. 9:27a)

It is when I allow my body undo control that I begin to forget the benefits of my Lord.  I begin to think that the comforts that I feel are equal to the benefits of the glory of God.  It is a sad state when a discomfort as minor as a little sleeplessness (I cannot even bear to call that suffering) is counted as worth some of the glory that is revealed through God’s word and by His Spirit (Romans 8:18).

So, I arose this morning and was incredibly blessed by the Lord.  I have been reminded of His benefits:

How he has forgiven all my iniquity;

How I get to celebrate His mercy and grace this Easter;

How He has blessed me and my family with health;

How He has redeemed my life when I was without a redeemer;

How He has filled my cup to overflowing with His steadfast love and mercy;

How His goodness has made me content with where He has placed me.

My Lord has renewed my soul this morning more than any sleep could do. 

The slight glimpse of His spectacular glory was so worth the two hours of sleep that I lost.  I look forward to what He has for me tomorrow.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you for that day in the future when you will fully reveal your glory and it will make the sufferings of the world, great and small, so very worth it.  Thank you for renewing my soul.  Amen

h1

HOLD FAST – Jan. 15

January 15, 2013

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

I don’t think that my adventurous spirit is sufficient enough to have sought to be a sailor in the era of the great sailing ships.   I am awed by those sailors who would leave the safety of land to venture into the unknown of the sea with only the sky as a guide and the wind to propel them.  My minimum requirements for such an adventure are engines, GPS and a satellite phone.

I fully respect the courage of those sailors.  They were on their own.  Their entire security was within the oak timbers and cloth sails of their vessel.  There was no rescue from the Coast Guard if you were washed over.  Their ship was their life.

I imagine that it did not take a lot of courage to sail through the doldrums.  The doldrums refer to those areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans affected by a low-pressure zone around the equator where the prevailing winds are very calm. (Intertropical Convergence Zone)  I think that I could easily handle sailing through the doldrums.

Sailing around Cape Horn is another matter.  “Rounding the Cape” takes courage.  Cape Horn is the sailing route around the southern tip of South America.  It is notorious for being one of the most dangerous ship passages in the world. The Cape is known for fierce winds, large waves, icebergs and as a sailors’ graveyard.  Sailing the Cape takes courage.

capehornStaying in the vessel is life or death when sailing the Cape.  In the doldrums, the risk of getting washed over is slight.  Therefore, I imagine that sailors are a bit lackadaisical in moving about the ship.  The risk of getting washed over “rounding the Cape” was likely if you were to miss-step.  “Holding fast” is paramount in rough seas.

I like the old sailor saying of “hold fast.” A rope on board a ship is called “fast” when it is firmly secured to the vessel.  To “hold fast”, is to cling to security.  It is to grasp onto your life line.  Death is what awaited a sailor who failed to “hold fast” in rough seas.   I imagine that there have been many a sailor “holding fast” as they braved the treacherous seas of Cape Horn.

Jesus gives a similar “hold fast” warning.  He tells us that “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”  God’s word is our line that secures us to Christ.  Our security lies in Christ alone.  We are to abide – remain in place – continue – dwell – endure – in His word.  Abide in His word proves that we are Christ’s disciples.  How are we supposed to do that?

Are we abiding in His word if we never read it?

Are we dwelling in His word if we never study it?

How can we continue in His word if we don’t recognize it?

There is a quote by C.H. Spurgeon, “Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 1, that I fear is too true:

“There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers.”

The truth of this quote lies in Jesus’ warning to “hold fast” to his word.  The act of having a Bible is similar to a sailor knowing where a secure line is on a ship while strolling the decks in the doldrums.  Reading your Bible is like a sailor clinging to a ship rope while being pulled to the rails by the crashing waves and biting winds of Cape Horn.

We are to “hold fast” to God’s word.  We are to cling to it – abide in it – like our lives depend upon it … because they do.  I guess this is one of my greatest concern for many of my professing brothers and sisters in Christ.  I see very little abiding in the word – I see very few who are dwelling in God’s word – I wonder how many are  “holding fast” or even know Jesus’ words.

This is why I write these blogs from my own daily Bible reading.  My hope is that all who read them will feel the Spirit’s tug on their hearts to wipe the dust off their own Bibles and start “holding fast” to the incredible words of our Lord and Savior.  Let’s “hold fast” together; let’s encourage one another to “hold fast”; let’s out do one another in “holding fast”; let’s “hold fast” to the glory of our Lord and Savior.

ships-cook-hold-fast.

PRAYER: Lord, my secure lies in you alone.  You are my safety in all times.  You are what I can trust in.  Your words are life to me. Father, write them on my heart – bring them to my mind – help me to meditate upon them day and night.  Father, teach me how to hold fast to them; to cling to them.  Give me an appetite for your word that surpasses my appetite for anything else of this world.  Amen

h1

December 8, 2012

Reflections: Or a Mirror of Life

Please, if you have an extra 30 min. – check this out.

View original post

h1

December 6, 2012

Here is a blog of great value. I don’t know Sam Cox but I love his obvious heart for God. He is a ninety-three years old, world war two, veteran and retired pastor. We can learn a lot from a man who has walked with his Lord for so many years.

Poems from His heart

That I should escape the torments of Hell

For everlastingly?

He died for me, spotless Lamb of God!

That I in sin should go free!

.

.

Forbid it Lord that I should ever boast,

Saved in my Redeemer’s shed blood!

My works presuming to be so good!

Not as good as they should!

.

.

My God embodied in pure tenderness!

And can it be that He can see everyone

At a single glance for all of time?

His pure existence amazes me!

.

.

Can it be that He knew that He would die?

For all!  And the mode of death!

Omniscience His foreknowledge (knows all things!)

Not we breathing, breathing breath!

.

.

How can all this be?  So then, how can it not?

Knowing we would sin and live in it!

Beginning of time, He died on that cross!

His life dying bit by bit!

.

.

Then…

View original post 71 more words

%d bloggers like this: