Godly examples of Bible study

RE Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day six) 
“Continue in what you have learned. . . because you know those from whom you learned it.” (2 Timothy 3:14)  One reason I believe the Bible is that God has given me godly examples of people who study and obey it.  Jesus is first on the list.  Reading the New Testament, it is hard not to notice how often Jesus reflects His own confidence in Scripture.  Quoting it in temptation, referring to it in conflict, the Lord’s testimony is clear.  Scripture is the reliable voice of the Father.  Add to the Lord’s example (as if it were necessary) that of my grandmother and the people who led me to Christ and the godly professors I encountered in college and seminary.  With one voice they all declared the same truth, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable.” (2 Timothy 3:16) The people you respect–what do their lives teach you about the place that God’s word should have in your life?

The Best Gift

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day five) This Sunday we will celebrate the accomplishment of 30 High School Seniors.  We will encourage, we will cry, we will cheer, we will remember our own youth, and be reminded of our own mortality.  Perhaps the BEST thing we will do for these young men and women is give them a Bible from ALL of us at FBCSA.  It really signals the best things about this church:  our love for the Scripture and our hope (God will continue to grow His Kingdom now in a downtown church, and in future generations).  This gift really is from all of us since we have held each Bible and highlighted hundreds of verses that have given us hope, life, strength, peace, and joy from our collective experiences and wisdom.  And Sunday, we will pray that by these scriptures they will find the Lord and then the Life He has promised.  Psalm 71:18 “O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”

Be Adequate

Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day four)  The Bereans examined the Scriptures.  They recognized the value.  Timothy had been taught from his childhood that the Scriptures gave wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  Notice that the Scriptures themselves did not bring salvation…it was faith which is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that there is great benefit to the man of God who studies and lives by the scriptures, but it is Christ who saves.  Jesus said in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.”  As a believer, we must invest our lives in the Scriptures…it is because of our relationship with Christ and the salvation He gives that we discipline ourselves for His service.  The Scriptures testify of Jesus!


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (Day Three)
“Do not let me stray from your commands.”  Songs don’t get much darker than this old hymn’s take on the fallen human condition: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.”  That song gets it, and the psalmist knew it to be true long before that: The spirit might be willing, but the flesh is weaker than we thought.  Sometimes, we’d rather sin than breathe.  Our weakened selves need the words of scripture to brace us, to allow us to stand and take faltering steps Christward.  Read, read.


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day two)
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
I read a lot. Sometimes I find that when I read my mind is cleared up to think and dream and discover. C.S. Lewis said that you don’t really know a book until you’ve read it again, and again. Although I keep buying books, I am drawn back to those that really speak to me. Passages are highlighted, notes are written into the margin, and pages are dog-eared. If you listen closely to my daily conversations those same passages make their way into my speech. My thoughts become transformed by what my mind has consumed. Isn’t that what the Psalmist was saying? Hiding these truths in our hearts will transform our minds. Our love of Scripture is as much protection as it is instruction. The beauty of reading a good book again is that each time I have aged some, grown some and therefore the story impacts me differently. When I read scripture it affects me in a similar fashion. Each time I read the Word, God reveals a new truth to me that I didn’t see before. Keep that treasure stored well!


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 119:9-16; Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (day one) 
44 summers ago.  I was 17 years old.  A believer for only a few months, I was on a retreat with the Campus Crusade for Christ group through whom I had first heard the invitation of grace.  The retreat center had a book table.  “See that Bible?” my friend said.  “Buy it and begin reading it every day.”  I did, and all these years later I look back with wonder at the life-changing power of that simple turning point.  My experience has been like Ezekiel’s. “Son of man. . . eat this scroll. . . I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.”  (Ezekiel 3:1,3)  Again and again, I have found in Scripture the wisdom, challenge, conviction and hope of an Eternal mind.  Today we begin a summer series of studies on spiritual disciplines.  My heart rejoices that the first discipline is Bible study.  Ancient path.  Way of freedom.  Searching the Scripture, together.  Sweet!

Our Undiscouraged God

Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-23; 40:1-2; 43:1-9  (day seven) 
“They defiled my holy name by their detestable practices.  So I destroyed them in my anger.  Now let them put away from me their prostitution and the lifeless idols of their kings, and I will live among them forever.”  (43:8-9)  When the Bible says that “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) it means the Eternal One is not discouraged or weary with His plan to restore the world.  Our sin has not defeated Him, nor changed His promise, nor weakened His bright resolve!  True, our rebellion has been very costly to us and our children and the cosmos, but THE VICTORY IS AS CERTAIN AS IT HAS EVER BEEN.  What a privilege it is to receive this gracious invitation.  “Put away” the practices of sin!  He will “live among” us forever.  What is out of balance will be restored to an eternal equilibrium.  It is an unchanging offer of grace from an undiscouraged God.

Mine eye have seen the GLORY

Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 10:18-19; 11:22-23; 40:1-2; 43:1-9 (day six) 
“And I saw the GLORY of the God of Israel coming from the east.  His voice was the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his GLORY.”  (43:2)  “Mine eyes have seen the GLORY of the coming of the Lord.”Julia Ward Howe.  Whether civil war song or prophet’s vision, the hope is the same.  Christ will come to His people with great GLORY.  The Hebrew word for GLORY is kabod.  It came from the word kabed which meant “heavy”.  Heavy as compared to plastic or disposable.  A contrast to a world that is not real, substantial and eternal.  Ultimately, His GLORIOUS coming is the only hope for this sin-sick, self-spent world.  God, Himself, will be the light and the justice. “For the Son of Man is going to come in the GLORY of His Father with His angels, and will repay every man according to his deeds.”  (Matthew 16:27)  GLORY? GLORY. Hallelujah!

Leading Lessons

Re: Verse reading–Ezekiel 10:18-19, 11:22-23; 40:1-2; 43:1-9  (day five)
In the verses between the listed passages is an ironic scene.  Found in the first few verses of chapter 11, Ezekiel is now at the east gate where 25 “leaders” are discussing new building projects for the city.  Really??!!  Talk about clueless!!  The irony is two fold:  1-They are totally unaware of the destruction taking place,  2- They are in the very spot where the Glory of the Lord just passed.  What a sad picture of a leader.  Good leaders recognize where God’s presence is, and where it isn’t.  Good leaders strive to understand God’s plan and purpose.  Good leaders listen, look, and learn so that they can influence others to find the Lord.  Good leaders are desperate for God’s presence to be where they are (homes, churches, nations).  May all who lead, learn these lessons!!



The Gospel Message

RE Verse reading–Ezekiel 10:18-19, 11:22-23; 40:1-2; 43:1-9  (day four) 
At least two things permeate this passage…the glory of God and His promise of hope.  Ezekiel’s visions are of the indescribable majesty and glory of the Lord.  Israel’s disobedience has separated them from God’s glory.  It was Ezekiel’s job to deliver God’s message to His people.  If Israel would put away their harlotry and repent of their iniquities, God would dwell among them forever.  This was 25 years into their captivity of 70 years…it was the beginning of Passover.  Passover was a celebration of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt.  Here He was promising to do it again.  All Israel had to do was repent and turn from their disobedience and God would live among them forever.  Forgiveness from sin, eternal life…what a promise.  Don’t you wish we could have a promise like that?