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Archive for the ‘Bible Study’ Category

NRBVResource: This is a short, easy read by By Gregory Koukl that explains the value of reading more than one verse during quiet time. According to Greg, it is “the most important thing I could ever teach you.”

He goes on: “If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be?  What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian?  Never read a Bible verse.  That’s right, never read a Bible verse.  Instead, always read a paragraph (at least) if you want to unlock the meaning of a passage.”

Click to download the resource

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953848_77795108Have I turned the Bible into a glorified newspaper, approaching it with a heart attitude that has sucked the life out of my quiet time? I was reading THIS last night, and it occurred to me that when I approach God’s word, often I am coming to read instead of commune. Psalm 119, as the rest of the Psalms, reveal David’s heart to know, love, and commune with God. In the Psalm, David is not focused on the Law, David is focused on the Law Giver. The word of God serves to facilitate the drawing near to God himself, but is not the object of our longing. Even when David says “Oh how I love Your law!” (v97), David is speaking directly to God in communion with Him. The book itself is loved when in communion with God.

That has not been how I approached God’s Word. I’ve approached God’s Word as if it was something to read that would just tell me about God. It was about knowledge, not communion. It was about reading, not hearing God speak. This approach sucks the life out of my quiet time and leaves it feeling like a mechanical action to fulfill an obligation.

The positive side to this indictment is that there is a way to aid my often lifeless quiet time. If yours is lifeless, join me. God bids us come into His presence and hear His voice speak to our hearts. I can hear not just random words I think I heard from a vague voice in my head, but His exact words spoken as clearly as if they are the words ringing in our head after a conversation with a friend. That is what the Bible is.

God, speak to me! I come before You to commune, to listen to Your voice speak directly to my heart. These words are said to me, they are not just text to read. Holy One, I want to commune with You.

“SPEAK, O LORD, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.”

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1072078_67368573John 17:17
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

If out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45)…and we are feeding our heart poison, what comes from our mouth? We might be temped to say, “I don’t talk about inappropriate and vulgar things, I don’t cuss much,” but does that prove that we are feeding our hearts on the good things of the Lord? Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Praising the Lord is a far cry from just refraining from speaking evil.

May I be honest personally? Psalm 34:1 is not me. I have moments of praise, but my praise is not continual. I take that to mean a couple things:
1) I am not feasting my heart in meditation on His character revealed in Scripture, and
2) I am tasting of something other than Him instead.

What is the difference between my life and David’s? David was able to praise the Lord continually only because he had tasted of the Lord and seen that He was good, and committed to obeying all that the Lord had commanded. In Psalm 119:9-16, David showed that his heart’s intake was the Word of God, and his lips poured forth accordingly. If you want to praise the Lord as David did, you must spend the time with the Lord in His Word that David did. Robert D. Foster put it this way: “To know God, it is necessary to spend consistent time with Him…The intimacy of communion with Christ must be recaptured in the morning quiet time. Call it what you want — the quiet time, personal devotions, the morning watch, or individual worship — these holy minutes at the start of each day explain the inner secret of Christianity. It’s the golden thread that ties every great man of God together — from Moses to David Livingstone, the prophet Amos to Billy Graham — rich and poor, businessmen and military personnel. Every man who ever became somebody for God has this at the core of his priorities: time alone with God!”

Scripture makes the prescription for our heart’s sickness clear, and I am walking the path towards Psalm 34:1 with you. As we consider the tastes of the world, find them wanting in comparison to our beautiful Lord, we reject them in order to turn to the Lord in His Word. It takes faith in God and a belief that He will reward those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), but letting our minds dwell on the reality of God and His character by meditating on His Word will not fail to produce a harvest (Galatians 6:7-10). Psalm 1 is yet another picture of the one who does not have any dealings with sin, and bears the fruit of delightful meditation on the Word (also see Jeremiah 17:6-10; Isaiah 5:24; Hosea 4:1-6, 8:7, 10:12; Matthew 3:8-12; Galatians 5:22-25).

The Word plays the central role as we seek to overcome sin. It shows us what is right and wrong, as well as allows us to gain an intimate knowledge of of our Father. You will only know the Father to the extent that you have been in His Word. If we have a 10-minutes-a-week plus church relationship with God, we will know Him about as well as we know the people we wave at on the streets and cannot remember their first name. But we want more than that. We want to taste and see in such a way that sin is exposed as a lie and its promises pale in comparison to the delights of knowing God.

Father, You are a holy God, completely set apart from sin. By Your Word, sanctify me so that I am able to step out of sin and see You more clearly. When I gaze through a shroud of sin, I find myself unable to see Your goodness with clarity. My heart longs to taste and see, please sanctify Your child.

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775521_62340988Resource: 7 Minutes with God: How to plan a daily quiet time, by Robert D. Foster (Navigators)

Take a moment and think of someone you know who only been told why to have a quiet time, not how. This pamphlet is concise and effective in explaining the why’s and how’s of a quiet time. In re-reading it for this review, I was challenged yet again by it. The man who gave away part of his life to disciple me put this pamphlet before me early on, and God used to to completely change how I approached my quiet times, and instilled in me the importance of daily going to the Lord. It is a great resource for discipling a new believer, and a great reminder for anyone.

Excerpt: “They sought an answer and came up with a scheme they called the morning watch — a plan to spend the first minutes of a new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible. The morning watch sealed the crack. It enshrined a truth so often obscured by the pressure of ceaseless activity that it needs daily rediscovery: To know God, it is necessary to spend consistent time with Him…The intimacy of communion with Christ must be recaptured in the morning quiet time. Call it what you want — the quiet time, personal devotions, the morning watch, or individual worship — these holy minutes at the start of each day explain the inner secret of Christianity. It’s the golden thread that ties every great man of God together — from Moses to David Livingstone, the prophet Amos to Billy Graham — rich and poor, businessmen and military personnel. Every man who ever became somebody for God has this at the core of his priorities: time alone with God!”

Click here to go to 7 Minutes with God

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Father, in Your faithfulness, teach me Your statues. Expand my narrow horizons so that I can filled with the all the fullness of God. Please give me a faith that is deeper, stronger, and battle tested. I ask that you bless me with a mind that constantly has an unanswered question, causing me to seek a deeper understanding when I would have otherwise settled for less.

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