Tag Archives: Bible study

Isaiah 28-30; Obstinate

Obstinate: Stubbornly adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, argument, or persuasion. (Mirriam-Webster)

Someone close to me began accepting the so-called “progressive” view of religion. When I tried to engage in conversation about spiritual truth I was told, in effect, that they would not talk to me about that because, “You are not going to  change my mind.” (those words haunt me yet today)

God, through Isaiah, says:

Woe to the obstinate children… to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin. (30:1)

As I read Isaiah I pray that God will speak to me about my own walk with him here in 2018. When Isaiah speaks about enemies, I am reminded Satan is mine. When Isaiah says, “Woe to…” I want to be sure that if he’s putting a finger on sin in my life, I’m quick to repent.

Today I’m asking myself if there are things I’m stubbornly holding on to that God is asking me to change. Are there things He wants to teach me, ways in which He wants to grow me, but I’m being obstinate while holding on to what I’ve always done or thought?

In verse 10, when talking about children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction, Isaiah says:

They say to seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right!” Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.”

Now I know this is a problem in our society, rampant in many churches, and it would be easy to shake my head and lament over the state of things in our world. But God isn’t interested in talking to me about the world. God’s not asking me to change the world. He’s demanding to change me.

So I ask myself, when I open His Word, am I sincere about being taught? When I go to church do I want to be uplifted or broken? Do I want to hear the truth, or am I looking to hear only pleasant things? Because often the truth hurts. Growth hurts. Conviction is never pleasant.

Now there is one thing I will adamantly adhere to: that is the Truth of Scripture. The Bible is like no other book. It is God breathed, and therefore 100% trustworthy. It’s not my opinion. The Bible proves itself over and over.

Last night in Prayer Meeting, the pastor shared that recently he was sharing the Gospel with someone who wanted to know what the pastor thought about abortion and homosexuality. The pastor was quick to tell this person, “My opinions are only opinions. Let’s look at what the Bible says.”

Can you say the same? Or are you obstinately holding on to your opinions as some kind of truth, with the attitude, “You’re not going to change my mind.”

I’m not just talking about conversations with loved ones. I’m talking about your quiet time, every time you open the precious pages of God’s Word. Are you teachable? Are you pliable? Moldable?

Or obstinate?

Proverbs 25-31; Can You Hear Me Now?

I love how God speaks to His children through the words He inspired men to put to paper thousands of years ago. I hope you aren’t squandering this precious pipeline to God’s heart.

These last chapters of the book of Proverbs have a lot to say about a lot of topics. But honestly, as I read them today I found myself skipping over some of the verses without much consideration. The topics of those don’t apply to my life as much right now. Work ethic, honesty, material possessions, alcohol aren’t things God is dealing with me in 2018.

However, anger is. Quarreling is. Relationships in my life are challenging today, this minute, and God nudged me every time I read those verses that speak to those things. I hear you loud and clear, Lord.

Once again, I was tempted to point fingers. I’d think, “Boy, So and So should read this verse.” Or, “Yeah, that describes So and So.”

And once again, God reminded me that I need to take care of the plank in my own eye before I worry about a speck in someone else’s.

I believe, according to what I read in Scripture, there may very well come a time when I need to address that speck in the eyes of my loved ones. But not before I have a clean heart, pure motives, and God’s leading first.

Not that I’m a “Proverbs 31 Woman,” by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like verse 26 to describe me:

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Speak, Lord. I can hear You.

 

Proverbs 21-24; Poverty-Stricken

It’s kind of hard to read these proverbs and not think about people other than myself. I mean, I don’t drink so you couldn’t say I’m a drunkard. I worked for 37 years, and am busy these days serving at my church so I wouldn’t be described as a sluggard. I’m honest most of the time. I’m not a jealous person, and my friends are upstanding, God-fearing people. So these proverbs must be talking to someone else, not me. Right?

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

“So read it again, Connie,” God seems to be saying. “I’m talking to you.”

So I read these chapters a second time. And a third. I looked at what a couple of people had to say about these proverbs, but mostly I just let God do the teaching about my walk with my Savior.

Which leads me to share my thoughts on the end of chapter 24. At first glimpse it seems to be talking about farming, about making a living. And if that’s all you get out of it, it’s still a good lesson. But when Solomon says he applied his heart to what he observed, I did the same.

What does this passage have to do with me? How can this passage be profitable to me, to correct and instruct me in righteousness so that I can be better equipped to do the good work God has for me to do?

When I take a good look at my relationship with my Savior, I wonder if it is well manicured, or if there are thorns and weeds allowed to grow. Have I neglected to root out sin in my life, am I ignoring the signs? One thing I know about gardening, if you don’t take care of the weed problem the minute it raises its ugly head, the harder it is to get rid of. Once those roots have taken hold, once it spreads, it’s a nightmare, and can take over your whole landscaping.

The same can be said of sin. If I allow sin to exist in my life, even just one more day, it doesn’t stay stagnate. It digs its roots in, and can take over my life. I don’t want Solomon’s vineyard in these verses to be a picture of my relationship with God.

The walls around the vineyard Solomon describes are tumbling. And God would have me look at the wall I’ve built around my heart. Am I really guarding my heart against the enemy? Or have I allowed it to crumble one thought, one TV show, one sin at at time? Is my heart exposed to the enemy due to my lack of care?

I’ve looked today at the land God has given me, this thing called salvation, and considered my care of this precious gift that is mine through the blood of Jesus. God would have me consider the time I spend in His Word, not just reading the verses, but letting the verses speak to me, to meditate on it, memorize it, ingest it so it becomes a part of me and crowds out any of the weeds Satan would try to plant before they take root.

God would have me consider how important is guarding my heart, taking a look at the wall that would keep out my enemy. Is it strong and healthy because I’m praying, being intentional about my walk with the Lord?

Or, and this is what convicted me this morning, am I too lazy to make an effort to make this relationship with God something really beautiful and fruitful?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (24:33-34)

The picture of a poverty-stricken soul makes me sad. If I’m thinking my walk with the Lord isn’t what it could be, if I feel a bit removed from Him, if I’ve allowed sin to grow like a weed, I need to get up and get to work.

Proverbs 13-16; How Do You Know?

The proverbs repeatedly differentiate between wisdom or righteousness with foolishness and sin. Many proverbs speak of gaining wisdom and understanding, acting out of knowledge, holding to this truth.

But how do you know what is true?

I am convinced, as I read these verses, of the absolute necessity of Bible study for each of us. There are so many made-up definitions of truth out there, so much advice that tells us to look out for number one at any cost, so many ungodly examples of people treating one another with anger, dishonesty, violence, and hatred while we call it entertainment.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (14:12)

There is a flip side to that verse. There is a way that is right, and in the end it leads to abundant life here in this life, and everlasting life when we leave this earth.

What is right? What is true? What is advice you can bank on every time?

Read your Bible. It’s in there.

 

Psalms 123-132; The Theme

I am not what you’d call a Bible scholar. Other people have studied Scripture, dissected it, put it on a timeline, and could tell you the dimensions of the temple off the tops of their heads. I’m not that person. I just don’t like studying God’s Word through a microscope. That might be your approach, and that’s okay. But that’s just not me.

Psalm 131 has the title, “Growing in Grace,” and I would like to think it describes me. I don’t “concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” Material details just don’t interest me. But the message is my passion.

I see the Bible as one cohesive book with one theme: Jesus. From cover to cover it is all about Jesus. I don’t see it as being so much about a people group, or some mystery book that throws out clues so we can guess what’s coming in the future. I see it as a story about a God who created this universe in order to share His love. It’s about a God who chose mankind to fellowship with and save. It’s about that Savior who gave His life for love of each of us. And it’s about that same Savior who is coming again to take us to be with Him forever.

That’s how I like to read Scripture, looking for that theme in every historical account. I don’t get caught up in the historical account.  Again, if you enjoy the history I’m not telling you there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just sharing my own approach to reading and studying God’s Word.

Some will say that’s too simplistic of an approach. Maybe. Maybe not.

I’m like the weaned child with his mother. (can’t get much simpler than that). That child is a blank slate. That child will grow, and learn, and love by choice.

So I will continue to read these precious pages. I will still and quiet my soul, putting my hope in the Lord both now and forever. And I will see Jesus on every page.

Dear Teacher, I want to be that blank slate today. May I, as I read Your Word and pray, recognize Jesus in every chapter, every verse Your Holy Spirit inspired the men to write. I don’t want to be sidetracked by rabbit trails that don’t have much to do with the bottom line. Teach me about Jesus, help me to grow in grace and knowledge of Him. And may I be equipped to share His story with someone today.

 

Leviticus 24-25; A Sabbath Year

I wonder what it would be like if every seven years, the world went on vacation. No one worked. Not even soldiers in war zones. CEO’s would make no deals. Lawyers would argue no cases. Shops would close. Even policemen would stay home because thieves would take a break, too. For 365 days, everyone would stay home, love on their families, put the cares of the world aside.

Ain’t gonna happen.

But what if it did?

We would learn about the way God provides. We’d learn to give up a bit of control, trust more, worry less.

I wonder what it would be like if every seven days, the world went on vacation. Just 24 hours to worship God, to relax, to love on our families, to play. We are so busy, aren’t we? We fill up our days with good things, or we waste time on useless things. Even our thoughts race at 100 MPH much of the time.

God instructed His children to regularly take time off. Not to “find themselves.” But to find Him without the busyness of life.

I wonder what it would be like if just for one hour each day, the world would take that time off. Mini vacations spent with the Lord, basking in His light, loved on by the Savior, spending time with the God of Creation.

I wonder.

December 31 – Worship

Revelation 19-22

I can hardly wait. John’s description of the last and best eternal worship service has my soul eagerly looking forward to being a part of it all. God, sitting on His throne right there in front of me. Me, a sinner in this lifetime, clothed in Jesus’ righteousness and bowing before my Holy God, holy myself because of His Son.

Angels and saints and hymns and psalms and joy and light and perfect love. Forever. No more tears. No more disease or heartache. Just me and Jesus (and a few million other souls washed by the blood of the Lamb) hanging out with the Father.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Worthy is the Lamb!

As I look forward to 2017, I want my life to be an act of worship. I don’t have to wait until I get to heaven. This same Jesus is worthy of my worship today. God is on His throne in all His majesty. And even though I can’t see them at the moment, they are as real as they’ll be when I get there.

I want my eternal worship of God to be a seamless transition from this life to the next, because I’ve learned to worship Him the way He deserves. He is Holy. He is Powerful, Almighty, Sovereign, Perfect, and full of love. I, who cannot look on His face in and of myself, can go boldly to Him because I have accepted His gift of grace through Jesus’ work on the cross. I can stand before Him, without any good thing in me, yet dressed in Jesus’ righteousness, holy because of Jesus, acceptable because of Jesus.

Holy God, I worship You. I adore You. I bow before You unworthy, yet made worthy, sinful, yet made sinless because of Jesus. I want to worship You today and every day in a way that pleases You, because You deserve it. Thank You for preparing a place for me to be with You forever. I worship You. I adore You.

_____________

Thank you for visiting my blog this past year. I hope that I was able to encourage you to read God’s Word every day, to cherish it, and learn from it. I hope your walk with the Lord is closer today than it was a year ago.

I have been reading through the Bible every year for several years now. But this year I found myself frustrated a bit with having to read so fast through these precious verses in order to finish Revelation by today. So I’m going to do things a bit differently next year.

I’ll begin tomorrow with Genesis 1:1. But I’m going to let God dictate how much I read of His Word every day. I want to devour each verse, to pray over it, meditate on it, learn from every sentence. My goal will not be to get through the whole book in a year, but to make this precious book more a part of me than it is today.

I don’t plan to share a post every day. I’ll let God nudge me in that area, too. But I will let you know what I’m learning and how I’m doing as I read the Bible slowly, intentionally, and carefully this year.

I hope you’ll open its pages every day, too. Let’s determine together to be children of God’s Word, and continue to let it guide and strengthen us to maturity.

God bless you in 2017, my friend.

Because He love us,

Connie