You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘bible reading’ tag.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29
and we know.
and we have this awareness and revelation.
we know that God is good and that He is faithful and that He is our Heavenly Father.
we know that He is the same today as yesterday and will be tomorrow.
we know that He has done all that needs to be done to make us His children and that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved.
we know that God is at work in our lives and His intentions are good.
He is at work in our lives turning what was meant for evil around for good and for His glory.
He is at work for the good.
but i am aware that sometimes OUR perception of good is very different from GOD’S perception of good.
God is at work in our lives to conform us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus.
He is at work in us forming godly character, at work creating a family resemblance.
sometimes character formation isnt a happy task.
but God isnt at work for the happiness of us. He is at work for the good.
like a Father.
because of that reality, that WE KNOWNESS, i choose to trust God and His handiwork in my life.
i can trust that He is at work for good and for His glory
there is a reward
there is a triumph
and in the process His heart cry is that we come to Him.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Galatians 5:16-17
Matthew 16:24 [ Take Up the Cross and Follow Him ] Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
when i became a christian i didnt know this verse – i didnt know any of the bible. but somewhere deep in my mind i thought that if i gave my life to God that it would mean for the rest of my life i would have to be boring, good, nice and wear gray. and listen to amy grant. but yet, because i had jsut discovered that God was real and that i had to respond to that and that he was awesome and had died to save me and give me life here on earth and for all eternity and that he loved me and had a plan for me… i was willing to wear gray and be boring. forever. the exchange was worth it. imagine my delight and surprize to discover that being a child of God ment more adventure and blessing and satisfaction than i could ever imagine!
yet. there is that passage. in black and white. take up your cross and DENY yourself.
it doesnt conjure up images of delight and dancing.
it brings to mind death and suffering and sacrifice and hardship.
but it doesnt mean wearing gray and living a boring life. it doesnt mean that we need to take a sledge hammer to our tv, melt our cds, burn our clothes apart from the really fugly ones, have only 1 pair of shoes, eat stale bread and sardines, no social life, no friends, no fun….
it does mean we need to be discerning and choose to live according to the ways of God – ways to bless us and keep us safe and ways that lead us into the adventures of God and His love.
sometimes we need to turn the tv off and keep a clean heart.
sometimes we need to reign in our materialism and be generous.
sometimes we need to make choices about relationships that distract and lead us astray.
but the reward is so good.
when we choose the flesh we reap death. when we choose obedience we reap spiritual rewards.
its about perspective. we need to shake loose that idea that the stuff we’re denying is good and good for us. its not. really, its not. we need to get in our heart that the reality is that God’s ways are sooo good and living for Him and living close is sooooo the way to live. the world doesnt offer even a fraction of what God offers.
“In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer… Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him!” — Keith Green, No Compromise album, 1978.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation (Romans 8:1-2, Ephesians 1:7-8, 1 John 1:9).
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
i so love that. i am free from shame. forgiven. set free. released. cleansed. made whole and innocent and not guilty and new.
You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:21-22
How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Psalm 103:12
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18
Jesus totally sets me free from sin and the guilt that goes with it.
He removes my sin from me. a saying i’ve heard often says He throws it into the sea and posts a sign saying no fishing.
Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19
i am free. free from guilt and shame and condemnation.
my sin is GONE. removed. taken away. not mine anymore. its been exchanged on the cross and i now have the righteousness of Christ.
i can live clean and whole and pure.
though the consequences of my sin may be outworked, because of the way life is, our sin has impact, that sin does not belong to me if i confess it and receive forgiveness. it is no longer on my record. isnt that GOOD NEWS.
so we no longer need to live burdened by our sin.
we need to live holy and responding lives to God (because of His great love poured out on the cross to us when we were enemies of God and not even aware of our need or thinking about Him)
we can with total confidence draw near to God because of this righteousness and freedom from sin. we are his beloved children. holy and acceptable.
So Paul warned them,"Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. Acts 27: 9-11
How many times do we discount the voice of God and listen to the voice of “an expert”?
How many times do we allow ourselves to be influenced by others instead of the One who holds the universe in His hands?
Lets be people who listen to God’s voice and guidance?
Even though it may run contrary to the expert opinion or the buzz of the crowd HE IS THE ONE WHO KNOWS
“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Commit your way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
"in the future you will walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness" kim walker smith
finding your devo time hard, stuck in Leviticus?
KEEP GOING and KEEP COMING BEFORE GOD – keep being faithful and storing His Word in your spirit – because one day you’ll walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness…..
as we draw near to God, he draws near to us, this is his promise – James 4:8
sometimes we can feel our quiet times, our personal devotional time, that it doesn’t have any significance. we come and read the Word, we come and pray and worship and talk to God but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re connecting much. sometimes we really feel His presence and encounter Him and He speaks, but other times it can seem like He is silent and that we’re just reading and not being transformed spiritually.
We live by faith though, not feelings, not by sight.
each time we come and spend time with God matters, for us and to Him.
as we are faithful our relationship with Him grows.
one day we will walk and live out the fruit of our faithfulness. we will live in the fruit that comes from spending time in the Word, in spending time in prayer, in spending time in worship.
our quiet times are not waste times, they’re not dead space.
when He speaks something comes alive in us – His Words bring life to our spirit. They water our soul. They satisfy our heart. They bring strength and hope to our lives. They guide us and help us to navigate temptation and the war waging in our flesh.
God is speaking always in our quiet times, and in a way – its like our spirit IS receiving His word in even the “dull times” and the times when He seems quiet and there is no great revelation and no great power.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
the time you spend with God matters.
and it matters because HE loves to have that time with YOU.
you are His beloved child.
He delights in YOUR presence, as a Father delights in their child.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens tome." "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?" They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion. John 18:37-40
the great exchange.
Jesus, the perfect sinless Saviour in exchange for Barabbas, the guilty rebellious sinner.
in a way, we’re ALL Barabbas.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a scandalous message.
It’s a shocking revelation.
It’s a prophetic declaration.
It’s a transforming proclamation.
It’s a soul-saving truth and it is the power of God for all who believe.
The Gospel is a message about God:
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He is perfect in all His attributes, blameless in all His ways, righteous in all His judgments. He is all powerful and all knowing. He is strong, mighty, holy, just, wrathful, vengeful, and jealous. He is caring, patient, compassionate, merciful, gracious, loving, and forgiving. God is good.
The Gospel is a message about Man:
Created in God’s image—created good: yet fallen, disobedient, rebellious, corrupt, proud, wicked, evil, sinful, unholy, unrighteous, ungodly, guilty, helpless, hopeless, lost, condemned, separate from God and destined for eternal punishment in the torments of hell.
The Gospel is a message about Jesus Christ:
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The anointed one of God who saves. Born of a virgin; killed on a cross; resurrected on the third day. Beloved by the Father, yet smitten by Him for our transgressions. Perfectly innocent, yet punished by God for our wickedness.
Jesus Christ is the only way to forgiveness. The only way to reconciliation, restoration, and redemption. The only way to eternal hope and true meaning and real purpose. The only way to lasting joy and enduring happiness and endless pleasure. The only way to salvation. The only way to heaven. The only way to God’s grace.
Barabas by Caleb and Sol read more at their blogspot – Caleb and Sol Barabas
Jesus Is__ the Music Project has an amazing preach/song about barabbas that so … *touched isnt the right word – stirred… provoked… spoke to my heart
there is no record of the response barabbas makes to the exchange
no record of a changed life, a redeemed life
no barabbas the preacher, barabbas the evangelist, barabbas the disciple
jesus knew that God had to treat jesus like barabbas so that barabbas could be treated like jesus
barabbas thought that the people set him free, that the people secured his release
but it was the love of God that freed him
just as it is the love of God that frees us and saves us
just as it is Jesus exchanged for me and me for Jesus
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
we are all guilty in need of a saviour, in need of freedom, in need of forgiveness.
and it plays out so dramatically in the exchange of Barabbas for Jesus.
help me, Lord, to always remember that i am ransomed… that though i was undeserving of your grace, you freely exchanged yourself and laid your life down for my salvation.
*repost from november 2011
why does having a “quiet time” seem so hard? have we forgotten the art of meeting with God and praying?
at housegroup the other night we talked about RELATING to God (continuing in our series RELATE – we’ve done relationships and difficult people as well) and one of our awesome chicks said something challenging – as christians “we underestimate the bible.” we know its God’s Word but we don’t treat it like that, we don’t follow its guidelines or invest time into reading it. we don’t value it because we underestimate it. what she then continued to say reinspired us all to reconstruct our times with God and to reprioritize reading our Bibles.
it reminded me of notes i had from a preach preach/teach our pastor did a while ago on Success In The Secret Place – How To Do Personal Devotions.
here are a couple of keys that might help refresh this vital time we have – the opportunity to read God’s Words, His letter to us, His revelation of WHO He is and how He loves us…
first. get yourself a bible plan. like one year bible or something. YOUVERSION is amazing. you can get different plans and devotionals at the click of a button. find one that works for you and inspires you. now with your bible plan make sure it is one that you can “have off days” in – we all have days when we don’t get time or make time to read the bible because of life and things. so make sure it is one that the whole plan doesn’t collapse if you miss a day or a month or something. the one year bible plan is good because you just pick up on the date you are. eventually throughout your 80 year or so life you’ll get to read those other bits… don’t sweat it right now. it takes 21 days to make a habit – so begin and continue. once the habit is formed it will flow a bit more naturally. when we have a regular time reading our Bible we are creating opportunities for God to speak.
second: when you are reading the bible you are not reading to absorb and learn the whole thing. you are looking for THE ONE THING. the one thing is the thing that jumps out at you. it is the thing that God is ILLUMINATING to you. you might not think – oh that is just my mind i am just drawn to that – well that is fine, that is how the Holy Spirit speaks! that is good. God speaks through His Word. so when you are reading you are looking for the one thing. and that one thing is the thing to focus on, think about, meditate upon etc. write it down. record it. mull it over. write notes about it. listen for the life God breathes into it. listen to what God is saying.
that is what i do. i read my passages and write down the bits that jump out. i write the verses and write what i think about them. sometimes it is deep and cross references with what i know about God throughout the bible, other times is is a simple “wow i like that” etc . i like to have special pens when i do my bible reading. i think that’s a girl thing.
the other night the first part of John 10 jumped out at me. now i have read this many a time, but there was something new in it. and a tangible reminder that planted in my heart that God speaks, and i will hear because i am His. I was also profoundly moved by the personal words in psalm 18:16-17 – God reached down to ME, rescued ME. it refreshed my heart with responding love to His great mercy and love.
sometimes the one thing that jumps out is a challenge for us to clean our lives up. sometimes it makes questions. sometimes it encourages. sometimes it makes you smile all the way through as it is a revelation of God’s love to us, personally.
sometimes that one thing is the thing that you will need to hold onto and find peace in during a storm or hard time in your life. God speaks at just the right moment.
and it makes it exciting to realize that God is speaking to us through His Word. and to learn His Word. and to read His Word. this is how we connect with God.
His Word transforms us and washes us and shows us the way to walk and reveals to us Who God is. it helps us to know God. His Word pierces our heart and convicts us and encourages us.
its the nike principal again – just do it. just read it. just search for the One Thing. God. His voice. His Word
* more great posts on developing a personal, regular quiet time with God:
It is time to refreshen our own spirit in the secret place that we may be prepared to serve and demonstrate the power and love and grace of God where we go. It is a time for no reservations and relentless pursuit of the presence of God. ONE THING! ONE THING! ONE THING do I desire. One thing does God desire that we rise up and be people who know our God. That we may know him and be strong and do exploits!
God’s Word needs to be alive and active in you NOW. It needs to be acted upon and listened to and done NOW.
we need to STORE it in our hearts BEFORE we need it. in times we face trials and tests and the Word is our SWORD and SHIELD – it is an offensive weapon and a defensive weapon. it speaks hope, encouragement, strength, peace, love and joy to our hearts. sometimes it keeps us sane and pressing forward as we face battles. store the promises of God BEFORE we need them – know the Word BEFORE we need to know it!
So how do we have God’s Word LOUD within us as the dominant voice:
1. Read it
So be strong and brave! Be careful to do everything my servant Moses taught you. Never stop reading The Book of the Law he gave you. Day and night you must think about what it says. If you obey it completely, you and Israel will be able to take this land. Joshua 1:6-8
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 2 Timothy 3:16
2. Let the Holy Spirit teach you and speak to you
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you. John 14:26
This takes TIME and practice… its like learning a friends voice over the phone or working out how your husband and wife really think and feel about things or being able to recognize what the baby wants by its cry… it takes time, its relational, it’s a learning process…. It wont happen over night but it will happen. God is in the business of teaching us how to hear His voice. He doesn’t throw us in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and say SWIM – it’s a day by day process and if we’re willing to hear and learn it goes well!
3. Do it. Obey it. Live it…
Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget. James 1:22-25
Read it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you. Do it.
Smith Wigglesworth puts it like this:
“There are four principles we need to maintain:
First, read the Word of God.
Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.
Third believe the Word of God.
Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth