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Why the Gospel Is Offensive

Dustin Kensrue:

Who doesn’t love a gift? Most of the time we are more than happy to be given one. Whether it’s our birthday, Christmas, or just because, we feel loved and appreciated when we receive a heartfelt gift from someone who cares about us.

There are a few exceptions to this rule.

Speaking of Dustin, his new band, The Modern Post, has a new EP out from Mars Hill Music. It’s pretty good stuff (and $5 to boot!).

A Review of Richard Mouw’s Talking With Mormons

Kevin DeYoung:

This short book is difficult to review. In fewer than a 100 pages Mouw manages to say some incredibly helpful things, and, well, some other things too. In the former category, Mouw reminds evangelicals that loving our neighbor means we try to understand his beliefs and describe them accurately. His burden is “to invite us to nurture friendlier relations with the Mormon community” (43). To that end, he rightly notes that evangelicals have not always dealt patiently or charitably with Mormons. Throughout his ministry, Mouw has called evangelicals to greater civility and understanding with “outsiders.” Those who are eager to defend the faith and rebuke doctrinal error should not quickly dismiss Mouw’s concerns. He provides a needed warning for a certain type of evangelical.

How to be a Christian Hater

David Murray:

No, not how to hate Christians. Rather, how to hate as a Christian. For, as we saw yesterday, there is a time to hate (Eccl. 3:8). But how are we to hate? How are we hate in a Christian manner?

Some Guidelines for Reading Old Testament Narrative

Julian Freeman:

We know that narratives are inspired and ‘useful’ for us (2 Tim 3.16-17), but how? Are we really supposed to cheer on Samson? Are we always supposed to take Abraham as a positive example? Are we really supposed to take the admonitions of God to Joshua as personal words of exhortation & promise to us?

Here are ten hopefully helpful principles for interpreting Old Testament narrative. It’s important that we get this right, since this genre of Scripture makes up about 66% of our whole Bible.

Book Review: Letting Go of Perfect by Amy Spiegel

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Often times, when I read a book by a Mom geared to Moms, I go through a strange cycle of elation and despair.

The cycle goes like this:

  1. Read book. Get super-psyched because now I have all the weaponry I need to attack the job of mothering and be super excellent, effective and efficient.
  2. Try to implement book ideas. Get mad at my kids when they don’t react like the book said they should.
  3. Yell at kids. Cry on the couch after they go to bed.
  4. Repeat step one (with a new book).

Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and Authenticity by Amy E. Spiegel is not the kind of book that makes me go through this cycle. It’s not a how-to book, it’s a how-it-really-is book. Which is much more helpful.

In the following video, I share my reflections on Spiegel’s new book, a couple of my big takeaways, and why I believe this is a really helpful read for Moms who are sometimes just trying to make it through the day:

[tentblogger-youtube K4DP4r3fn3s]


Title: Letting Go of Perfect: Women, Expectations, and Authenticity
Author: Amy E. Spiegel
Publisher: B&H Books (2012)

Links I Like

Some Basic Thoughts on Manhood: Women

Thabiti Anyabwile:

It seems to me that “manhood” must, in part, be defined in relationship to women. I know. That sounds volatile. Here’s what I mean.

Cheap eBooks!

Here are a whole slew of cheap eBooks available on Amazon:

Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur – $3.99

King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex, and Power by Philip Ryken – $4.99

Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen – $3.99

Preaching for God’s Glory by Alistair Begg – $3.99

The Grace of Repentance by Sinclair Ferguson – $3.99

In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson – 99¢

Justified by Faith Alone by RC Sproul – $3.19

The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin by Kris Lungaard – $2.99

The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller – 99¢

Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree – $3.02

Set Apart: Calling a Worldly Church to a Godly Life by R. Kent Hughes – $2.99

Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible by Wayne Grudem and co – $2.99

Becoming God’s True Woman by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Editor) – $2.99

When to Speak Up and When To Shut Up by Dr. Michael D. Sedler – $4.79

The Holiness of God and the Existence of Hell

Tim Challies:

One of the great questions that faces the church today concerns the existence and the nature of hell. Hell is under attack from outside the visible church and from inside. The question each one of us must answer is this: Does hell exist? Is it, as Christians have long claimed, a place of eternal, conscious punishment, a real place where real people will go for real time and face the real wrath of a real God?

Three Reasons We Should NOT Share the Gospel

Chad Hall:

I believe there are positive and poor motivations for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. In this post, I want focus on four poor reasons that might stir us to share our faith. I’m sure none of the readers of this blog are motivated by such selfish reasons, but it might be good to use the list to check your own motives.

The Miracle of Salvation

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The grotto of Gethsemane, where it is believed that Jesus was arrested following Judas’ betrayal. Photo by Gary Hardman

Today’s post is by Brandon Smith. Brandon has been a pastor for many years and is currently a church planting resident at CityView Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He holds a B.A. in Bible from Dallas Baptist University and is a Systematic Theology student at Criswell College. Brandon edits Project TGM, a new blog bringing perspective to theology, gospel, and mission and their impact on culture. Connect with him on Twitter at @BrandonSmith85.


Growing up in a non-Christian home, I didn’t know what conversion to Christianity looked like. As far as I was concerned, my friends were Christians because their parents were, and their parents were Christians because of their parents. I mean, who would decide on their own to refrain from watching certain movies or go gather with a bunch of people on Sunday morning and listen to someone preach at them for an hour?

Christianity sounded like a lame hobby and was definitely not something that interested me.

The hobby God

I live and work in the Dallas-Fort worth area, and here in the Bible Belt, Christianity is often assumed. We often assume that people are going to understand and accept our Christian standards. I’m guilty of this. There are times that I’m actually surprised to meet a non-Christian, even though I grew up in a non-Christian home.

What I’ve come to realize and have to remind myself constantly is that salvation is not an inherited hobby, but a supernatural transformation.

No one wakes up godly. No one is born a Christian. Jesus says in John 3 that a person must be born again to be saved. Sin is not a weak enemy, it’s a supernatural force that must be dealt with by an omnipotent, all-powerful God. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12 that no one can say that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. Belief in Christ takes an absolute act of God.

The miracle of salvation

For some reason, God chooses to use us in His grand plan for redeeming the world. Acts 16:25-34 paints a great picture of God’s sovereignty and our involvement in bringing redemption to the lost. We are going to see two followers of Christ used by God to bring about incredible change in a lost man and his family.

Let’s take notice of the events of this story:

I. Paul and Silas praise God despite their situation (v.25)

In the passages right before this, Paul and Silas had just driven an evil spirit out of a slave girl. This was a great thing for the girl, but a major inconvenience for her owners. This demon gave this girl the power to be a fortune-teller, and this was profitable for them. Without the demon, she was useless. So, they report Paul and Silas to the civil authorities for practicing a Jewish religion that wasn’t Roman.

Fast forward to their imprisonment, Paul and Silas – still bloody from the beating – are praying and singing hymns to God.

It is important to remember that God is still God, regardless of your situation. Suffering well is one of the most beautiful testimonies.

Paul and Silas did not let their imprisonment rob them of worship. Their situation was secondary compared to their relationships with God. Just like the apostles in Acts 5, Paul and Silas rejoiced in their suffering. They could’ve sat in their cell and complained or insulted the Roman jailer at the gate, but instead they gave glory to God. [Read more…]

Links I Like

Vertical Church: Norm Millar

Watch my pastor, Norm Millar, share Harvest London’s story over at site for James MacDonald’s new book, Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs for. What Every Church Can Be..

Sharing the Gospel with the People Who Changed Your Diaper

Darren Carlson in a post that hits close to home:

Our parents, our sisters, their husbands, and their children do not share our faith. Marriage has certainly brought out the stark contrasts in our lives, and the arrival of children even more so. We are not experts on how to share the gospel or how to relate to our families now that we have believed in Jesus and been saved. Family scenarios are diverse, and there is no one shoe that fits all situations. Still, knowing that many hold beliefs in stark contrast to their families I offer these suggestions.

Complicated isn’t Compromised

Barnabas Piper:

…making compromises is not the same as being compromised. Compromises find a third way where there is no obvious black or white way. Being compromised is to be breached, weakened, or broken. It is to have your convictions undermined. Compromises can strengthen the value of your morality; being compromised weakens it.

Ravenous Sheep

R.C. Sproul Jr.:

Most of us have a rather distorted, city-fied understanding of sheep. We remember from Sunday School that picture of Jesus, smiling as He carried that smiling lamb, the one, over His broad shoulders back to the 99. We never stopped to ask how that one managed to get so far away.

The Bible: Trinitarian to the Core

Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield [1851-1921]

The simplicity and assurance with which the New Testament writers speak of God as a Trinity have, however, a further implication. If they betray no sense of novelty in so speaking of Him, this is undoubtedly in part because it was no longer a novelty so to speak of Him. It is clear, in other words, that, as we read the New Testament, we are not witnessing the birth of a new conception of God. . . . The whole book is Trinitarian to the core; all its teaching is built on the assumption of the Trinity; and its allusions to the Trinity are frequent, cursory, easy and confident.

The doctrine of the Trinity . . . takes its place in its pages . . . with an air almost of complaint, already “in full completeness,” leaving no trace of its growth. “There is nothing more wonderful in the history of human thought,” says Sanday, “than the silent and imperceptible way in which this doctrine, to us so difficult, took its place without struggle – and without controversy – among accepted Christian truths.”

Our New Testament is not a record of the development of the doctrine or of its assimilation. It everywhere presupposes the doctrine as the fixed possession of the Christian community; and the process by which it became the possession of the Christian community lies behind the New Testament.

Adapted from B.B. Warfield, “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity” (as published in Sermons and Essays from the Works of B.B. Warfield)

Let Your Helplessness Lead You to the Throne of Grace

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Let a sense of your helplessness for the work of the Lord lead you to the throne of grace, to pray, and watch, and wait, for the strengthening and refreshing influences of the Spirit of grace. Here let your faith realize at one and the same view your utter insufficiency, and your complete All-sufficiency. Here behold Him, who is ever presenting Himself before God as our glorious Head, receiving in Himself, according to the good pleasure of the Father, the full supply for this and every successive moment of inexpressible need. Our work is not therefore left upon our own hands, or wrought out at our “own charges.” So long as “he has the residue of the Spirit,” “grace” will be found “sufficient;”-Divine “strength will be made perfect in weakness.” “Without Him we can do nothing;” “through Him, all things.” Even the “worm Jacob shall thresh the mountains,” when the Lord says, “Fear not, I will help you.”

Charles Bridges, Exposition Of Psalm 119

There’s No Simple Formula for Assurance

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Today’s post is by Andrew Hall. Andrew is the Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church in Ilderton, Ontario (a small community just outside of London). He and his wife, Melanie, have been married for over 13 years and have four kids. Andrew studied at Providence College University in Otterburne, MB and received my M.Div from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and blogs at cruciformity.com.


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. . . .Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:5-7, 10 ESV)

Paul had grown up in the church. He had heard all the stories, been at all the meetings, and served on various committees. But lately he was struggling – his church had been teaching that he should be prospering. Now, it didn’t feel like he was, and he was feeling blamed because he must not have enough faith.

When Burt stopped coming to church, everyone was shocked. A committed, solid Christian, he had suddenly disappeared off the church’s radar. He resisted visits from concerned friends, didn’t return calls or reply to emails and texts. Months later, his secret sins were exposed.

Janice had grown up in a pastor’s home. By all outward appearances, she was very Christian. She had grown up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school, learned Christian doctrine, even gone on mission trips. But when she began to be challenged by her atheistic co-workers, she didn’t have answers. She wasn’t certain that she had ever believed.

Geraldine was confident and assured. She had heard it over and over that once you were saved, you were always saved. She attended church, carried a Bible with her, and sang in the church choir. But that’s about where her “faith” ended. Religion and Jesus were a compartment in her life that didn’t seem to affect any other aspect of her life.

The Bible recognizes that we are complex creatures and that we struggle with assurance of salvation (or don’t!) for various reasons. For Paul, assurance lacked because of poor teaching. For Burt, his secret sins needed to be exposed and repented of before assurance would return. For Janice, her faith was now being tested and exposing her need to be diligent. And for Geraldine, her assurance was no evidence of a faith that worked.

Having assurance of salvation is no simple formula. Rather, assurance comes because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ alone and depend upon his perfect righteousness, not our own (2 Peter 1:2), and we depend upon Christ’s power to grow us into his likeness (2 Peter 1:4). Assurance comes by trusting in what Christ has done for us and growing in godliness. The “golden ladder” of 2 Peter 1:5-7 is the production of fruit from a life that abides in Christ. And faith produces the diligence of hard work to confirm that we belong to Him.

Wherever you are at, whatever you struggle with, remember these two truths: Christ died for you, and he has given all those who trust in him the power to grow. So be diligent! Know his great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4)! Don’t rely on spiritual experiences (2 Peter 1:16-18), but rely upon the more certain Word that you have heard (2 Peter 1:19-21). Believe, and know Christ has given you everything you need to live, obey, and grow!

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God Doesn’t Need Our Prayers But He Uses Them Mightily

Mark Altrogge:

If you are born again, God has declared you righteous in Christ. Therefore when you pray, God hears and acts.

Sometimes he doesn’t answer right away, or exactly the way we’d like, but he answers.

Especially when it comes to salvation. God says he does not desire any to perish but all to come to the knowledge of the truth. It’s clearly God’s will to save. So if you are praying for a loved one’s salvation, believe God is using your prayer mightily.

$5 Friday at Ligonier

This week’s selections includes Dr. Sproul’s The Parables of Jesus teaching series (download), By Grace Alone by Sinclair Ferguson (eBook), and When Grace Comes Alive by Rev. Terry Johnson (paperback), among many other items. Sale ends at midnight (Eastern Time).

Thomas Nelson Ceases Publication of David Barton’s Error-Ridden Book on Jefferson’s Faith

Justin Taylor:

The fine historian Thomas Kidd has been doing some excellent reporting work on the controversy surrounding David Barton’s book-length attempt to expose the “lies” and “myths” about Jefferson, his faith, his infidelity, and his view of slaves. The book has been promoted by Glenn Beck (who wrote the foreword), and Kirk Cameron featured Barton in his documentary Monumental.

Dealing with Prima Donnas

Chris Vacher:

If you are involved with leading people in any capacity for any length of time, you will undoubtedly come across someone who has tendencies which aren’t – shall we say – conducive to team-building and cooperation.

Artists certainly have a reputation for prima donna personalities. So if you’re a worship leader or lead artists of any kind, you should spend some time thinking through a strategy for dealing with prima donnas in your midst.

Rejoice! We Serve a Precise God!

There’s this quote that I absolutely love from Charles Spurgeon. I first read it a couple of years ago, and one I keep coming back to. Here’s what Spurgeon said:

A Puritan was told that he was too precise; but he replied, “I serve a precise God.”

What always gets me is the Puritan’s response: “I serve a precise God.”

How often do we consider the preciseness of God? Some time ago, maybe two hours before I first read this quote from Spurgeon, I noticed a few Facebook friends “liking” a silly page called “God created men first, cause you always make a rough draft before a masterpiece!” (And, yes, I get the joke.)

Some time ago, I was reading Galatians chapter two, wherein Paul is explaining how after fourteen years of preaching the gospel, he went to Jerusalem because of a revelation that had come to him. In verse two, Paul explains that:

I went up . . . and set before them [the Apostles] . . .  the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.

Notice Paul’s concern for precision of his gospel. He set before the Apostles “the gospel that [he proclaims] in order to make sure that [he] was not running or had not run in vain.”

Paul was desperate to make sure that the gospel he proclaimed—that Jesus Christ had lived a sinless life on our behalf, died on the cross and bore the punishment for our sins, rose again bodily from the grave on the third day and was now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven; that salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone—he was desperate to make sure that this was, in fact, the gospel!

He didn’t want to be responsible for dividing the church between Jew and Gentile, especially if it was still required that God’s people obey the Old Testament food regulations and rituals.

Was he correct? Was his gospel precise?

Absolutely!

He understood that if the gospel is Jesus + anything, it equals nothing.

It’s vanity to believe in anything else or to proclaim anything other than the precise gospel found in Scripture. To believe anything other than, to borrow the title of Tullian Tchividjian’s book, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything.”

The Apostles got this. Peter, in his famous sermon at Pentecost, spoke of “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23).

Focus on these words for a second: “The definite plan and foreknowledge of God…” God was incredibly precise in how He predetermined events to unfold. It’s one of the miracles of both history and Scripture. We see how Jesus, throughout His earthly life and ministry as well as His death & resurrection, perfectly fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament.

All according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.

This is great news for us; because God is precise, we get to live in confident expectation that the promises He offers will come to pass. That when we place our trust in Christ and in His finished work on the cross, we will most assuredly stand with Him in glory at the end of the age.

Because God is precise, we know that there will be an end to sin, to death, to suffering. That one day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where none of these things will exist.

Because God is precise, we have hope.

And we serve a precise God because if He was anything other than, He would be no God at all.

So, study the Scriptures diligently. Learn sound doctrine. And rejoice in the hope that comes from knowing that we serve a precise God.


An earlier version of this post was first published in August 2010.

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Chick-fil-A and the Mosque

Dan Darling:

there is an aspect of this that I’m not sure many Christians are thinking through. If Chick-Fil-A is a moment where Christians stand up and say, “boycotts are wrong” and more importantly, “freedom of religion matters,” then we need to ask ourselves if we’re being consistent.

Can a Christian Starve to Death?

Tim Challies:

A little while ago I received an email that, at heart, asked a straightforward question: Can a Christian starve to death? It’s a straightforward question but introduces a fair bit of difficulty. There are many places where the Bible states that the Lord will provide what we need or where Jesus himself says not to worry about our basic needs because the Lord will take care of us. And yet the reality is that Christians do at times starve to death and Christians do come to all manner of ignoble ends.

The Myth of the Protestant Work Ethic

John Starke:

As Christians who want to think biblically and theologically about the workplace, we can always rely on the media to make us say, “Well, at least I know that’s not what I had in mind.” Science journalist Matthew Hutson, writing an article “Still Puritan After All These Years” for The New York Times, provides that service for us. In it, he attempts to summarize the “Protestant work ethic”…

Leadership, Weaknesses, and Snap-Hooks

Ben Reed:

If you’re going to be a good leader, you’ve got to understand where you’re weak. Where your leadership, gifts, and talents can’t cut the mustard. But let’s take it a step further. You’ve got to identify your weaknesses, then do something about it.

11 Ways to Reignite Your Passion for the Bible

Open-Bible

Today’s post is by Dave Jenkins. Dave is the Director of Servants of Grace Ministries. He and his wife are members at Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Nampa, Idaho. You can follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveJJenkins.


I graduated from seminary on May 11, 2012, and, since then, friends have asked me:

“What’s the biggest transition you’ve had since graduating?”

Before I go into my answer to that question, I need to give a little background. I graduated high school in June 2000 (I’m thirty-one years old) and ever since graduating high school I’ve either been a full or part time student. The past two months have been the first time in my life where I wasn’t taking one or more classes at a community college, university or graduate school. So when my friends ask what the greatest transition has been for me, my consistent answer has been I’ve been enjoying my Bible reading a lot more. Depending on your own experiences, my answer may or may not surprise you.

In school, I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the Bible over and over again. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy reading the Bible during this season of life; I’ve always enjoyed reading it. But after reading it academically for five years, I got to the point where I was reading more out of obligation than delight.

In the months since graduating, my passion for reading the Bible has only increased as I spend quality time every morning read the Word. If you’ve ever lost your passion, I hope the following helps you find it again, too.

First, grow in a love relationship with the Author of Scripture.

If a young woman received a love letter from her fiancée, she would eagerly read it since she is in love with the letter’s author. She would read and re-read those precious words, reading “between the lines” to discover the full richness of her lover’s message. Similarly, if we love God, we will find delight in the inspired words of God. Psalm 119:10-11, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Love God and love His “love letter” to you—the Bible.

Second, have a personal relationship with God.

Even more basic than this loving God, the author of Scripture, the reader and interpreter of Scripture should strive to truly know God through Jesus Christ the Lord. You should have a deep and intimate relationship with God who inspired Scripture through the Holy Spirit (John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:16). It is vital to remember that joy comes through the work of the Holy comes in our lives (Galatians 5:22). If you truly know God, in Christ Jesus and through the Spirit, you will be more prepared to rejoice in your Bible study.

Third, approach your Bible reading with worshipful awe.

It is vital that you have a proper attitude and frame of mind and heart as you open the pages of Scripture. For example, God says “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2b). Here we see that the one who comes to the Word should have a humble, contrite, and fearful (or respectful) attitude. You should approach it with a worshipful attitude, a fearful and respectful attitude, a submissive and yielding attitude, and a love for the God of Scripture.

Fourth, consider it an amazing privilege to read and study Scripture.

Until about the year 1500, the common person didn’t have the Scriptures in his or her own language. It took centuries before the Bible was translated and circulated in many of the world languages. Today, you have a priceless gift in your hands! You can read the Word of the living God and understand the Scriptures yourself, apart from false religious leaders censoring what you read! With this privilege comes tremendous responsibility.

Fifth, develop a real interest as you read a portion of Scripture.

Some people complain that their reading is dry and boring. It need not be this way. Develop a captivating interest in what you are reading. Ask yourself: “Why did Peter deny Jesus in this passage?” “Why did the Pharisees react so vehemently against Jesus as He declared His relationship with the Father?” “What was the nature of Judaizers that Paul seems to regularly combat?” Also, notice the choice of vocabulary, the connection between sentences, and the development of the argument in each book. This will arouse your curiosity, awaken your interest, and give you the joy of Bible discovery!

Sixth, ask the Lord to give you true joy as you read the Scriptures.

We know that spiritual joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 13:52) that comes through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:1). Ask God to stimulate this joy in your heart as you open yourself to His divine Word.

Seventh, find a quiet place and time to spend quality time reading the Scriptures.

You should be undisturbed in your reading so that you can think through the text as you read it. Don’t allow background noise, music, TV programs, or conversations to disturb your concentration. Even a crying baby can interfere with your focus on the text. Find a time when you can be alone and also a time when you are most awake and alert in your reading. For some, this may be at 5 AM and for others it may be 10 PM, while for others it may be lunchtime or some other time during the day.

Eighth, begin your time in the Bible with prayer.

Before you begin to read verses or chapters for the day, pause to ask God’s blessing on your reading, the clarity of your thought, and the conviction that the Spirit brings through the Word that He inspired. The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). Don’t just rely on your reading ability; depend on God to enlighten you as you prayerfully read.

Ninth, examine the Bible portion carefully and prayerfully.

Don’t read the Bible as you would cursory read the newspaper. Recognize that the Scriptures are God’s inspired revelation of His will. Every word has been inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and should be scrutinized with intensity. “One who looks intensely at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). Read to see and understand what the Bible writers wrote.

Tenth, determine to read for spiritual benefit from the Lord.

Paul writes, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The Bible gives encouragement, but it also gives us warnings (1 Corinthians 10:11), all of which are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Scripture gives us wisdom that leads to salvation (v. 15). The Word of God nourishes us (1 Timothy 4:6) and helps us to grow (1 Peter 2:2). If you keep the spiritual benefits of your Bible reading in mind, you can develop an unquenchable appetite for the Word. This will bring true joy!

Finally, always remember that you are seeking to know God’s will and obey it.

You should always bear in mind that you are not reading for mere curiosity, or to “do your duty,” or to compete with others. Instead, you are earnestly seeking to know what pleases God! We will be judged by Christ’s words (John 12:48), thus we should intently study that word to know it thoroughly. The Scriptures will keep us from sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). One time, someone wrote inside a Bible: “This Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”

At times, every Christian goes through periods where reading the Bible becomes a duty instead of a delight. But I believe that by applying some of the above suggestions, you’ll find a fresh interest and passion for reading and studying the Word of God.

As you continue to grow in the Scriptures and the grace of God, you will come to have a burning desire to read, study, learn and meditate on His Word. A.W. Tozer said, “The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.” As this happens, you will come to have a real enjoyment of His Word, a genuine delight in searching the Scriptures, and delight to understand and obey the Word of God.

Links I Like

Marriage in the Age of Apocalyptic Romance

[tentblogger-vimeo 46752933]

Jesus’ Church Is Here to Stay

Justin Holcomb:

The concept of the universal church is important for Christians to grasp as we trust Christ and look to the future. Movements will rise and fall, and individual churches will come and go, but God’s people, the church universal, will never be destroyed. Why? Because Jesus builds his church, and Jesus will not fail.

When Will Christ Return?

Justin Taylor, citing George Eldon Ladd:

Is He coming soon? He is—if we, God’s people, are obedient to the command of the Lord to take the Gospel into all the world. . . . God alone knows the definition of terms. I cannot precisely define who “all the nations” are. Only God knows exactly the meaning of “evangelize.” He alone, who has told us that this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations, will know when that objective has been accomplished.

Cheap eBook

Four Views of the End Times by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones (editor) – $3.99

Does Proverbs teach “the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Gospel?”

David Murray:

Does Proverbs teach “the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Gospel?” It certainly contains multiple promises of health, wealth, and prosperity to those who live wisely. However, there’s an eternity of difference between the Prosperity Gospel and Gospel Prosperity. Let me give you five statements that will help clarify that difference.

Book Review: Women Helping Women by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Carol Cornish

 

Today’s post is by Kim Shay. Kim and her husband live in southwestern Ontario, where she’s spent the last 22 years primarily as a stay-at-home mom while teaching the Bible to women and serving on the Women’s Ministries committee at her local church. Kim blogs regularly at The Upward Call; follow her on Twitter at @UpwardCall.


women-helping-women-fitz-cornish

As Christian women, it is inevitable that at some point we will be in a position to counsel another woman. Whether it is in a formal setting or an informal one with family or friends, as women, we need to be prepared to answer questions and advise in a biblical manner. We want to avoid handing out platitudes or, worse, error. Women Helping Women: A Biblical Guide to Major Issues Women Face is a valuable tool in that process. The editors, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Carol Cornish, set out to provide tools to help women counsel other women in order that they may live abundantly in Christ.

Women Helping Women is organized in two parts. The first sets the foundation for the biblical model of counseling, and specifically, the need for women to counsel women. The second section provides guidance with regard to a number of potential counseling situations. While the book can be used as a reference instead of read from beginning to end, the first part is crucial, as it establishes the difference between biblical and secular counseling. Fitzpatrick opens the section by emphasizing that biblical counseling is about vision, faith and hope. She reminds the reader that biblical counseling, obviously, begins with the Bible:

We believe the Bible is sufficient to answer every problem and meet every need that we, as God’s children have.

The following chapters are an outflow of that foundation. One of the necessities of biblical counselling is that women are encouraged to see how sin affects their circumstances. If a woman is not willing to accept that possibility, she will continue to struggle with her situation. This approach is not the approach of secular counseling, which frequently directs the counselee to place blame for her circumstances. Yes, people will sin against us, and we may have no control over how someone treats us, but that does not give us the freedom to sin in our reactions. Many of our problems are of our own making or are made worse by our own sin. [Read more…]