Tag Archives: reading the Bible

Jeremiah 21-25; It’s That Serious

God has quite a lot to say to shepherds in these chapters of Jeremiah, doesn’t He? But before you think you’ve dodged a bullet because you aren’t a pastor or teacher in your church, remember God commanded all of us to “Go,” to share the Gospel with our world. What Jeremiah writes to the shepherds of God’s flock, applies to all of us who are called by Jesus’ name: Christian.

We have a message from God to tell. And God takes it very seriously that our message be truly His. The only place you will find His message is in the pages of the Bible. Not the Bible plus anything. Not someone’s opinion of what the Bible says, not a new revelation. God has given us all the Truth we need to know right here in these precious pages.

We need to know what it says. Because not only does God place a great deal of responsibility on the tellers of His Truth, He places responsibility on listeners as well. Yes, false prophets, preachers, and teachers will pay dearly for their lies. But those who follow them will not get a free pass, either. The Bible is clear. You either believe God or you don’t. Believing anything other than what God has given us is a death sentence.

It’s that serious.

Dear one, we have got to be in God’s Word every day. We’ve got to be memorizing it, thinking about it, testing everything we hear according to what is in there. We’ve got to recognize a lie and reject it, not go along with it because it sounds good, and everybody else is following it.

Satan can be pretty subtle. His lies often sound Biblical. His lies can sound like love, and tolerance, and compassion, and praise, and success, and happiness, and health. His lies often are accompanied by a Scripture or two.

But they are still lies. And if you go along with those lies you will be held accountable. If you spread those lies God will show no mercy.

I’m honored that you read my post today. But if this is the extent of your “devotions,” I’d rather you didn’t. Instead, pick up your Bible. Put all the other books and blogs away. Turn off your TV or radio preachers. And get in God’s Word. YOU get in God’s Word.

Because you are going to be held accountable for what is in there. It is that serious.

 

Proverbs 1-4; A Wisdom Litmus Test

How aware are you of God’s Presence in your day-to-day? How often during your day does a verse of Scripture come to mind? Are the truths in God’s Word evident in your life, His commandments known and obeyed, His thoughts as recorded in Scripture your thoughts?

The answer to those questions reveal your level of wisdom, according to Solomon. A wise person knows and cherishes God by spending time studying His Word (2:1-11). A wise person walks with God in an intentional way (2:20-22). And a wise person places all his faith, his finances, family, and future in God’s hands and trusts Him to do all things well (3:5-10)

The litmus test of a wise person can be seen in his sleep (3:19-26). When worries and burdens are thrown off and given to God, when a conscience is clear from a right relationship with God, sleep comes sweetly.

As we read the book of Proverbs together, let’s seek wisdom that begins with a healthy fear, a reverence of God. Let’s approach this book with open hearts and minds. Let’s soak up the wisdom of Solomon and make it our own.

It would be foolish not to.

Job 25-28; Bildad’s Parting Shot, Job ends His Defense

Job’s final thoughts are lengthy but so rich in content. I didn’t get through all the chapters of his response because chapter 28 stopped me in my tracks. I wish I could say I saw this truth in my first read-through. Actually, it was Warren Wiersbe who pointed something out that opened my eyes and convicted me. (Be Patient, page 106)

Here’s the gist:

People (and I am talking about me) put so much time and effort into getting ahead, on careers, or family, or popularity, or sports, or having a manicured lawn, etc. I myself went to college after high school, got a teaching job, then went back to school at night to get a Masters Degree.

Many people put in overtime at work, take work home, hoping to be considered for that next promotion. We take out loans to buy the big houses and fancy cars, then take on a second job to pay for them.

So why aren’t we putting that much effort into knowing the Lord? Why don’t we put in half that effort to know Him?

I have to confess that during the years I was working and going to school, the journals I keep with my time in the Word reveal days and weeks when my Bible wasn’t even opened. Time with God was the first thing I sacrificed to accommodate my busy schedule.

Job talks about mining gold and precious stones, and I can only imagine the effort that required in his day. Wisdom, he says, cannot be bought with gold. No matter how hard you work for the gold, or how valuable you think that gold is. Some things can’t be bought.

How much effort are you putting in to your relationship with Jesus? How much time do you give Him every day, how often do you talk to Him? Being a follower of Jesus requires more than a prayer of repentance. To follow someone, you’ve got to move.

Let’s move toward God by shutting ourselves away every day to be alone with Him, to let Him speak to us through His precious Word. Let’s tell Him what’s on our hearts, and watch what He can do when we include him in our day. You might think you don’t have time. I would argue that you do.

 

2 Chronicles 21-24; The Reign of Joash

What do you read? Who do you listen to? Where are you on Sunday mornings? The answers to these questions are extremely important.

Joash did a lot of good as king of Judah. He rebuilt the temple, returned the people to worshiping God, destroyed the temple of Baal and killed Baal’s priest. There was quite a revival among the Jews during the first years of Joash’s reign. During those years the king stayed close to Jehoiada, the priest of God. He listened to Jehoiada’s counsel, and did good in the eyes of the Lord.

But Jehoiada died. And things went downhill from there. Joash stepped out on his own, and sin reared its ugly head.

Is there someone in your life who holds you accountable in your walk with the Lord? Someone who prays for and with you, someone with whom you talk about what God is teaching you, then checks to be sure what you are learning is true according to Scripture? Are you in God’s Word every day, reading and listening as you pour over its precious pages? Do you stand with a congregation of people each week, serving and worshiping God as He deserves?

Or do you think you can live this Christian life on your own? If that is your attitude, I would challenge you to read Joash’s story here in 2 Chronicles, then rethink your position. Good things happened as long as Joash was partnering with a godly man. Read for yourself what happened when the king lost that influence.

As I was writing this, the thought occurred to me that I have the responsibility and the privilege of being a Jehoiada to someone else. It’s a two way street. I need someone who will keep me in check, and I need to reach out to someone who needs me for the same reason.

May all of us walk in Truth, hand in hand, strong and determined to be the Church God wants us to be.

Judges 17-18; What You Believe

What do you believe about God? On what or whom do you base your theology? Is it church doctrine? Are your beliefs based on the writings of a Bible scholar you like? A dynamic speaker, or your own pastor? Is what you believe about God based on your own thoughts and desires?

We read about Micah, his mom, and some Danite thugs, and they all seem to call on the God of their Fathers. But their religion cannot be described as one based on the Word of God.

The key to this account is the fact there was no king in Israel at the time. Everyone did as they felt was best for themselves. (18:1) So it was not unheard of that someone like Micah might fashion a religion to his own liking, one that appears to acknowledge God, yet in reality denies Him.

I am burdened for those here in 2017 who have fallen for the same deception as Micah did; religions that acknowledge God, or a higher power, or a supreme being, yet place idols around their homes and in their hearts. I am burdened for people who use God’s Holy Word as a suggestion rather than the complete and utter Truth.

Dear one, I would encourage us to put away the commentaries, the self-help books, the opinions of men and women for a while. Turn off the TV and radio, quit reading blogs, (including mine) and open up the Bible. Read it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit. Let God speak to us through His Word, as He longs to do.

I’m not saying we should never read study guides and enrich our beliefs with the opinions of others. I hope you’ll come back to reading my blog after you’ve spent time in the Word.

But I am convinced we shouldn’t be reading those things until we are first and foremost firmly grounded in the Bible. If our theology isn’t based on the Truth of Scripture, with no add-ons or take-aways, then we have acted as though there is no King, and have fashioned a religion to our liking.

And that, my friend, is not a religion, or a belief system God will honor.

 

Exodus 1-2 Gotcha

When Joseph brought his whole family – 70 people – to Egypt he did it to save them. He gave them the best land and provided for their every need. The Jews went¬†right to work. They planted, cared for the king’s livestock, and they prospered.

Eventually, gradually, they went from being tenants and employees, to being slaves. And before too many years had passed, they found themselves subject to harsh task masters working for a king who only saw the dollar sign.

Their place of shelter and increase become their place of bondage.

This might be a¬†picture of what happens when we get too comfortable, when our needs are met and we stop paying attention. Sometimes, even good activities begin to control us. We fill our days up with appointments and projects, sports and church activities, and we find less and less time to spend with the Lord. Before we know it, we’re a slave to our schedule, or to our job, or to someone other than God.

God is speaking today. I am reminded that He has commanded us to love Him above all else, and I believe that means making time with Him our priority. I believe that means cherishing and protecting our relationship with Him by being in His Word, and praying, by intentionally including Him in everything we do and say.

Jesus died so that we can live freely. Let’s not return to slavery by neglecting so great a salvation.

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