Bible Reading for 2016

Bible Reading

God is not silent. He has spoken and continues to speak through His Word. For this reason, reading Scripture is of critical importance for the people of God. As we approach a New Year, this is a great time to choose a Bible reading plan, be resolved and start reading! Continue reading Bible Reading for 2016

What is the Will of God? Principle 3: Service

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The principle of service is simply the response to what one learns in Scripture. If you desire to discern the will of God in a particular situation (and the Bible has nothing specific to say about it), you need to know God, be acquainted with the mind of God by studying Scripture and now you need to be a person who is applying what Scripture says. This means, you are to make it your duty and delight to serve God and His people as He instructs you in His Word. This is His will for you.

Broadly speaking, all of the Scripture contains God’s will for your life. What I mean by that is, if Scripture states what God’s intention is for you as His child, that is your duty. When it comes to God’s stipulated will in Scripture, there are some verses that state in the clearest of terms what God’s will for you is. When it comes to these commands, it is your opportunity and obligation to faithfully serve the Lord in this way. What are these specific verses? Here are a few specific examples of how you can serve by doing God’s will: Spirit filled (); submission (); sanctification () and thankfulness (). It is this last example that leads us to our next principle, namely supplication. But we will consider this in the next post.

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

What is the Will of God? Principle 2: Scripture

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If we are going to be walking in God’s will, we need to learn to be in tune with what He has revealed to us in His Word. How do we expect to know what God wants if we don’t listen to God in the place where He has spoken? God has spoken and continues to speak to us everyday in His revealed Word. In His Word is contained all “that pertains to life and godliness” (). If we want to know all the principles that will guide our decisions so they are according to God’s will, then we must go to the place where they are found. We are to allow the Scripture to shape the way we think. Paul wrote,

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” ().

Our minds will be informed by what they are shaped by. This is why we need to be acquainted with Scripture if we are going to know God’s will for our life. This begins with us Desiring the Word (Psalm 42:1; 119:131). Once it has become the object of our affection we are then to be Reading the Word (1 Timothy 4:13; Rev. 1:3). Thirdly, we should be Memorizing the Word as this helps us internalize it so that it becomes a part of us. As the psalmist said, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When this takes place we need to be Meditating on the Word. The Lord said to Joshua “this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night” (Joshua 1:8). Finally we are to be Obeying the Word (John 14:15). If we are going to make wise decisions in life, it is our duty to be well acquainted with God’s Word.

As the Word of God takes control of the centre of our being, it begins to shape and inform the way we live. We are foolish to think that we can make a wise decision that is according to God’s will if we never give ourselves to the reading and studying of His Word.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Priorities of a Godly Father

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The 7th September is Father’s Day here in Australia. I’m sure many dads will enjoy receiving cards, gifts and maybe celebratory meals from their children. No doubt for many dads their sock or chocolate supply will be replenished until Christmas. With this wonderful celebration going on over the weekend, I would like to take the time to reflect on the priorities of a godly father.

As the people of God, it is our privilege to be able to call the Creator of the universe Father. By calling God our Father reminds us that we are His children (), that He provides for us (), and that He loves us (). What a privilege!

By God’s design and grace, He has made it possible for men to be fathers. Being a dad is a great privilege. A Christian dad has the opportunity to reflect the gracious relationship God the Father has with His children. As an earthly father does this, he is entering into a role in which he is able to teach and instruct his children in the ways of the Lord.

What are the priorities of a father? I would like to share two priorities: Submission to Christ and Shepherding his Children.

SUBMISSION TO CHIRST

I find it very interesting that we are told that Enoch “walked with God after he fathered Methuselah” (). It was as if this great responsibility of being a father awakened him to the priority of pleasing God. Being a father is a huge responsibility. Such a responsibility can only be carried effectively if a father is committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A godly father is a man who knows the Lord Jesus Christ and submits himself to His authority. This act of submission forms and shapes the way the man will be a father. He will learn in the Scriptures what the Word teaches concerning character and conduct.

SHEPHERDING HIS CHILDREN

The second priority of a godly father is his commitment to shepherding his children. The Scriptures command, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” ().

One of the problems with preventing fathers from actively shepherding their children is the sin of being absent. Nathan Bingham insightfully writes,

“There’s a crime wave going on in your neighborhood—possibly even in your own home. It’s a crime wave that won’t make it to the nightly news, but not because it isn’t serious, for it scars generations and teaches them to commit the same crime.

Who are the criminals? Absent fathers.

I’m not talking about full-time absent fathers, those never home at all. I hope that’s a rarity. I’m talking about your average dad, the one who commits this crime most mornings, during dinner, and especially during the hour before little ones go to bed.

It’s a crime wave, and I’ve been an offender. You might be one too.

You’re guilty when you skip breakfast with the family to prepare for that early morning meeting, when you’re distant at the dinner table because you’re resolving an issue at work in a long email conversation on your smartphone, and when you forfeit a healthy family night-time ritual because you’ve got something important to do—like write a blog post.

I’ve succumb. Have you?”

With great clarity, Nathan goes on to write that fathers need to be intentional in committing to spend time with their children. Father’s have the privilege and the priority to invest in their children’s lives and to teach them the grand truths of God’s Word. This means that men need to give themselves to the priority of showing leadership in their homes by making sure that the Scriptures are being taught and that their children are being led in the way of the Lord. Dads, do you teach your children the Scriptures?

We need to take time thanking God for the gifts of father’s but we also need to pray for them. Society is attacking the biblical role the father’s leadership. Pray that Christian dads will stand tall in an age of compromise and lead their families with biblical conviction. Happy Father’s Day dads.

15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.

22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

How to Study the Scriptures and Get it Wrong

Wrong Way

Imagine you are invited to attend a very special event. You get the address; you look it up in your map, spend hours carefully studying all the fine details in the map and off you go. However, after all that effort in studying the map and the time spent travelling, you are told that you are going to the wrong destination. Why? Despite your diligent study, you missed the most important thing, the correct route! This sounds bizarre right? Sadly, this is an illustration of the way many people study their Bibles. Sure, they read it, know many facts, and have a head full of knowledge. However, they have missed the main thing.

contains a sad tragedy. Jesus was speaking to a group of religious leaders who spent hours upon hours studying the Scriptures, yet they had got its message completely wrong. In what way was it completely wrong? Through their study of the Scriptures they obtained many facts and even thought that they had eternal life. Then suddenly Jesus says to them,

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” ().

What was their problem? They were heading to the wrong destination because they were on the wrong route. They studied line upon line, precept upon precept and failed to see that those Scriptures point to Christ. Evidently their trust was not in Him but in their knowledge and rituals. Concerning our Lord’s words in this text JC Ryle comments,

“His words show the important truth which too many are apt to overlook, that every part of our Bibles is meant to teach us about Christ. Christ is not merely in the Gospels and Epistles. Christ is to be found directly and indirectly in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. In the promises to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David,—in the types and emblems of the ceremonial law,—in the predictions of Isaiah and the other prophets,—Jesus, the Messiah, is everywhere to be found in the Old Testament”  (JC Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels – John).

This teaches us an important lesson. Having lots of knowledge about the Bible has no eternal benefit. Now, don’t think that being lazy concerning the study of Scripture is any better! The point I’m raising in this post is that if you are going to read the Scriptures, read with the view of seeing and knowing Christ. The Scriptures point to Christ (), and in Him alone is the only way in which we will receive eternal life ().

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:45

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Bible Reading for 2014

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God – the Creator and Sovereign of the universe – is not silent. He has spoken and continues to speak through His Word. For this reason, reading Scripture is of paramount importance for the people of God. As we start a new year, this is a great time to choose a Bible reading plan, be resolved and start reading!

My friend Nathan W. Bingham (Internet Outreach Manager at Ligonier Ministries) has compiled a helpful list of 14 different Bible reading plans for 2014. I commend this helpful compilation to you (I personally use the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan).

As we read through the Scriptures, let us strive to apply the following: Firstly, Desire the Word (). Secondly Read the Word (). Thirdly Meditate on the Word () in the fourth place, Memorize the Word () and Finally, take the time to Obey the Word ().

Happy reading for 2014!

Bible Reading Plans for 2014 from Ligonier

 

 

42:1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.

Psalm 119:131

131 I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

The Five Solas

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On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (written in Latin) to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This historical event was not the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, but was a means that started discussions and debates about the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church’s indulgences. After a series of events, Luther’s discussion intensified to a declaration of a defence of the gospel.

Continue reading The Five Solas

Concerning the Conscience

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Despite the efforts of many to ignore bad behaviour by suppressing or explaining away guilt, it is important for us to be asking questions like, “why am I feeling guilty” or “why am I filled with shame?” By asking such questions we are attempting to get to the source of problems rather than simply shifting the blame and thus ignoring the problem. Continue reading Concerning the Conscience

Resources for Spiritual Growth – Part 1

spiritual-growth2 Back in , Moses gave the Israelites the mandates for their inheritance of the land of Canaan. There were specific things that they were to do. They were to eliminate their enemies () because they opposed the holiness of God. Though these enemies were in the land, they were to remove them. In addition to removing the people, they were to also eliminate all the remnants of ungodliness (). The reason why the Lord commanded this elimination is because His people are holy, chosen, and loved. He said,

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt().

On the basis of their condition before the Lord, they were to remove anything that is not characteristic of this condition. We can use that episode in the history of Israel as a real illustration for what we need to be doing in our spiritual conduct. We are not called to remove any people groups from their nation but we are called – on the basis of our new life – to put to death anything in our lives that is not characteristic of God’s people. We are to remove the spiritual Hittites, Girgashites, Ammorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites in our life. Sin is a wicked thing. In-fact, sin should be considered the believer’s worst enemy. For this reason, our attitude towards sin should be very serious. By God’s Continue reading Resources for Spiritual Growth – Part 1

7:1 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

7:1 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.