Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Bible Study’

You can consider this article as part II of my previous post, “Secure in the Everlasting Arms

God has already promised eternal security to those who have faith in Him and love Him. However, we must be willing to accept that security and let God have His way. Too often I find myself not going to God for security, and going to other things instead. I’m not regularly laying my life in God’s hands and telling Him “God, You know and do what’s best. Please have Your way in me. My security lies in Your hands and Yours alone.”

Some questions I ask myself include, “where does my security lie?” “Am I willing to lay everything I know on the altar?” “Will I forsake everything I have for the sake of Christ and take up my cross in following Him?” “If I lose everything, will I still say, Lord, I am secure in your arms?”

To have faith of this degree, I would have to have no other security than that in Christ. This is unconditional faith. It’s not something that can be found in every believer, but it should be. After all, we serve an omniscient, omnipotent God. We are told to not lean on our own understanding or strength, but to find our strength and ability in God’s power. We are to have God be our primary focus in life. If we find strength in God’s power, what are we afraid of? If God is our primary focus, and the only foundation on which we stand, why would we want to pursue anything else?

God is my security. That I have concluded. However, now I’m wondering what is keeping me from serving God whole-heartedly. What are the strongholds in my life that are obstacles on the path to Him? Why is it that I have not yet overcome these obstacles and run into God’s hands to give my heart and all to Him?

I believe that it is because of the fact that I still find security in these obstacles. They are a part of me, so to speak, and am allured by the familiar. I still idolize my obstacles and am determined to stay where I am comfortable. I want to have a pure, loving relationship with God, but I’m not willing to release my security in those obstacles. The obstacles are my “competing affections,” things that take hold of my love and keep me from giving it all to God. It is my pride that induces me to audaciously believe that I can do things on my own, that I can do everything I want on my own strength, and that I don’t need to fully surrender my heart to God.

What in insane idea! What could be better than being with God, to know that I am a helpless infant who can find security in the person who made me, the world around me, and the universe! What could be better than serving God with everything that I have, knowing that in joyfully and humbly serving Him, I will know Him more and more intimately.

Am I scared that if I follow God’s commandments, I will lose my reputation? Am I scared that if I will lose those closest to me, and that I will be left with nothing? Am I scared that I don’t have enough faith? Am I scared that if my pride is broken, I will be so shattered that there is nothing of me is left?

My identity is in Christ alone, as a child of the Lord Most High. I should place my loved ones in God’s hands and pray that He will gain them as well. It is not my faith that saved me and protects me, but God’s love and His grace. The Lord despises the proud but blesses the humble.

Tell me again… why have I not wholeheartedly given myself to the Lord?

He is more than enough.

He is everything good and eternal.

He made love.

He is love.

If I have God — if I have Love — what would I lack?

Nothing.

Read Full Post »

One question that weighed heavily on my heart tonight was why so many Christians emphasize digging into God’s Word. Why should we crave the Word? What does it even mean to crave it? Why should we read the Bible every day and hide it in our hearts? As I pondered the questions, God brought to my mind several thoughts.

We desire the Word of God because it draws us closer to His heart.

When we hear the Word of God, it inspires and rejuvenates us, sparking life within us and opening our eyes, heart, and mind to receive a refreshing drink of God’s Spirit.

When we read the Word of God, we become allured by God’s thoughts: what He desires, His joys, and what saddens Him.

When we memorize the Word of God, it becomes ingrained in the constitution of our mind and being; imprinted upon our spirit. It transforms our mind to be synoptical with that of the Lord’s; it convicts us of evil, inspires us to love, and equips us with the courageous faith God grants those who relentlessly seek after Him.

The irresistible longing for God that drives us from the inside out to seek His face and know His thoughts comes from His grace.

So take freely of it, receive it, process it, and dispense it.

Read Full Post »

Imagine my surprise when I found out today that Lent had started this past Wednesday.

To be honest, I’ve tried participating in Lent in the past few years, but it never really worked out. I either broke my commitment to give something up, or neglected my daily devotions, Bible study, and/or prayer and meditation. Most of the time, I’d forget I was even doing Lent… until the last few days before Easter Sunday.

I hope to make things different this year, however. I still do plan on giving something up – not for the sake of doing Lent, but because what I want to give up (movies/TV shows/secular videos/entertainment) are honestly things I can live without. In addition, they usually provide a means of subtle temptation, and I don’t want to have to deal with distracting and sinful thoughts when I should be focusing on the Lord.

However, this time I want to spend a lot more time on my relationship with God. Hopefully by freeing up more time, I can spend my leisure time blogging and fulfilling my goals:

  • Know, revere, and respect God in His holiness and majesty Too often I forget that God is a King. He is the Judge of my soul, and the Creator who placed me on earth. His offer of a relationship with Him should not be taken lightly; He is holy; I am sinful, and I should acknowledge that it is only in His great mercy that I even have a chance of praying to Him and spend eternity with Him.
  • Hunger and thirst for the Word I want to develop a craving for the Word of God. I want it to be an essential part of my day. In fact, I want the Lord to go as far as to wreck my day until I finally pick up my Bible to spend time with Him. If force is what I need to become disciplined enough to develop a ravenous appetite for the Word, then let it be so. I need the Word, and I want to do everything possible to be filled with it.
  • Passionate in prayer Prayer is powerful. There is no doubt that God works mightily when His people pray. I notice that too often I pray to God for help. God is not a call-in service, and prayer is not a telephone call. If I have the audacity to speak to the King of the Heavens and the Earth, I should be on my knees in prayer, asking for His mercy first, then intercession, and only after that ask for His help. I want to develop a righteous, faithful prayer life. Not because I want to be a better Christian, but because I want to draw near to the heart of God, and only through speaking to Him and meditating on His word can I succeed in this endeavor.

I’m going to need a lot of God’s grace and a good deal of accountability in order to keep it up this lent season. As to my devotions, I’ll be continuing what I’m reading now: through 1 Peter, then 2 Peter, and then perhaps Hebrews or Colossians.

Are you doing Lent this year? I’d love to know what you’re doing and perhaps help keep you accountable as well! 🙂

Read Full Post »

“Hide God’s Word in your heart.”

This single phrase is one of the most popular among Christians and the Church today, and for a good reason. Not too many people know the true value of the Word of God, for if they did, they would be cramming as much of it as possible into their minds.

One thing a person must know is that the Bible is no mere book. Yeah, jabba jabba habba. You’ve probably heard messages on the importance of the Bible a million times. But have you stopped and really thought about the power of God’s Word? How it governs whole nations, brings hope to the hopeless, impacts thousands through different messages, and drives demons away? How desperate some Christians are to read just one or two pages of the Scriptures in their own language that they travel hundreds of miles on foot just to get a copy? How other Christians risk their lives to bring God’s Word to restricted areas? How imprisoned Christians can only rely on the Bible passages they’ve memorized to learn more about their Lord, for they may never gain access to a Bible ever again – or at all?

The Bible is a privilege. Here in the U.S. you can buy Bibles for less than a dollar… where in other nations some give their lives to provide Bibles for others. Just what is in this Word that compels people to take such great measures to obtain it? Maybe because the Word is like a refreshing drink of water after years spent in the desert. I believe that many Christians, since they are regularly exposed to the Word of God, have become somewhat desensitized to the power of God’s Word. We take its accessibility for granted, and depreciate how important it is to the daily Christian life. What we really need is a new perspective on the value of the Word of God… and why it is important to hide it away in our hearts.

Bible memorization is key in understanding the Word. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we are allowing its power to work in our lives. The Word is a living creature that encompasses the souls of people and points them in God’s direction.  It was there since the beginning of time and governs everything we say and do, being God’s written law to us. Through meditation it helps our picture of God to become stronger and clearer. In the face of sin and temptation it is a lethal weapon, as well as a shield against the enemy’s lies. It guides us towards God, governs what we say and do, and provides rules for us to follow so that we don’t stray off the path of life. There are so many layers in the Scriptures; you can never fully comprehend them all. And that’s reflecting who God is. Man’s mind can never fully understand God, but they can know Him in part, and the same goes for His Word. There is always something new to learn. Why else are dozens of books on the Bible being published every year?

Think of the persecuted Christians in the world. Most have limited or no access to a Bible, relying on scraps of paper with Bible passages or people who have memorized portions of the Scriptures to hear or read the Word. They crave for more of the Word, but sadly cannot obtain it most of the time. We are given the privilege to read God’s Word every day, and yet we leave it for another time. How ignorant can we get? If the Word was to be removed from our lives, the World would be in chaos. There will be no morality and no order, for where would these laws come from?

I hope you have all had those times where you desperately needed the Word of God. Maybe when you were struck with a sudden opportunity to share the Gospel. Maybe when a hurting friend could have used some comforting words and promises. Maybe when you were trying to live for God but just couldn’t recall those passages on whatever you were struggling with. Whatever the case, think of those incidents. How awesome would it have been for you to have God’s Word at the tip of your tongue, ready to dispense at a minute’s notice? Your life will be profoundly different, your morals strengthened, and your impact on other people lasting. In my personal experience, I find that delving deep into God’s word, memorizing and meditating on it, gives me unspeakable joy. I laugh and smile to the point that some think me crazy, but hey, the joy of the Lord is undeniable! His Word is compelling me to glorify God’s name; how can I sit still and stew in anger and dissatisfaction with the world?

We should approach the Word all the time with that same mentality, with joy in finding out new truths and promises. Meditating on God’s Word will help us uncover layers after layers of these truths. Hiding God’s Word in your heart is not meant to be cliché. The Word is so wonderful, so powerful, that it will be a welcome ally in times of trouble and need. That’s why every believer should take every opportunity possible to create a storehouse of Scripture in their hearts, easily accessible at any place and at any time.

Read Full Post »

In times of trouble and need, all we can really hold on to is God’s faithfulness. We know He is faithful because He always keeps His promises, though sometimes not in the way or at the time we expected. But we know the promises He has given us because they are written down and recorded in His Word.

In The Shelter of God’s Promises, Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh shares ten foundational promises of God that we can all head back to in times of need. She lists these promises from the Bible, and explains what each one means to us. Easy to read and relatively short, it is a powerful book that will change your perspective of God’s faithfulness, and strengthen your faith in His plan for your life. We all need some encouragement during the low points of our lives and this book will be an excellent resource to reach for whenever you find yourself in that draining pit.

I received a free review copy of this book from BookSneeze, and was in no way obligated to write a positive review.

Read Full Post »

Whenever I write about a specific subject for an article, it gets difficult sometimes to look up a multitude of verses on that topic. Google, BibleGateway, all the resources available… a topical index for the Bible would really simplify my writing career.

I was elated when I first requested a review copy of Nelson’s Biblical Cyclopedic Index. Now whenever I need to write about almost any topic, I can find a large quantity of verses in one book. No websurfing, looking for trustworthy, thorough sites… just one book readily available on my shelf. The Cyclopedic Index covers a large variety of people, places, things, topics, events, and concepts, providing everything you need to pull together any sermon, article, or Bible study with ease. It is definitely the Bible study tool one needs.

This guide will help me for years to come. It is compatible with any translation, and acts as a topical Bible, a concordance, and a Bible dictionary all in one. I can easily access the information I want and jump to the verse in my Bible. It won’t be left to collect dust anytime soon. =)

Please click on the image to buy this book from Christian Book Distributors.

Read Full Post »

Two major groups argue that they are the right Christian faith: The Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants. Ever since the 16th century when Martin Luther moved away from the powerful Church to begin the Protestants, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of debates over which faith is in the right and is the one God wants for His children. But just what are the beliefs about the Bible that separate the Protestants from the Roman Catholics? What did Luther find wrong with the Church and wished to correct?

I personally grew up within an Evangelical Protestant environment. Therefore I am unfamiliar with many Roman Catholic teachings from which Protestants derive and reject information about God and His Word. I believe, however, that it is important to gain a view of what foundational beliefs we have that separate us from the Catholics, and in order to gain that perspective, understand the main teachings of the Roman Catholics and their traditions. But I am not one to take a seminary course, or any other scholarly course on this topic; I don’t have the time nor the resources necessary. Thankfully, though, I was able to obtain a copy of Sola Scriptura, a book written by major Protestant teachers on the foundations on which Protestants stand concerning the Bible. These teachers include: Joel R. Beeke, Sinclair B. Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Ray Lanning, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Derek W. H. Thomas, and James White.

The main focus of this book is to help Protestants (and Roman Catholics) understand just where we stand on the Word which consequentially shapes our beliefs. If you know a little about the Roman Catholics, they teach that in addition to the Word of God, the Church and its leaders are needed for the proper interpretation and instructing of the Bible. Protestants, however, believe that the Word alone is sufficient for finding the way to Salvation, the way to live as Christians, and receiving revelation from God. It was written in a way that an ordinary, layman believer would be able to figure out scriptural truths for himself without additional tools… though aid from the Church and leaders may help in some areas. Sola Scriptura tackles the Establishment, Authority, and Sufficiency of Scripture, as well as how it relates to tradition and also its transforming power to shape the way we live. Each teacher listed tackles a certain aspect of scripture, for example John MacArthur wrote the chapter concerning “The Sufficiency of the Written Word”. Therefore there is a somewhat unbiased view of the entire Protestant stand on the Bible, which is key when one is examining such a large topic.

I was blessed to be able to read up on why I believe what I believe concerning the Bible. I know my beliefs, but I didn’t know why I had them or how they came to be. Sola Scriptura helped clarify my perspective and strengthened my belief in the Word of God and its sufficient power in leading us to Christ. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand the basis of their beliefs and strengthening their faith in God’s Word.

In compliance to the Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I will be receiving a free copy of Sola Scriptura in exchange for this review; I have just read the PDF version.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: