Don’t Give Up!

Give us this day our daily bread.  ~ Matt. 6:11 (esv)

Today is March 23rd. Did you by chance start the year with intentions to “Read through the Bible in a Year”? How is that coming? Are you on track? Behind? Did you already give up and quit?

I just wanted to write and encourage you (anyone) to not be discouraged. DO NOT give up. God never set a time limit. He has never ever said “You have to read through the Bible in a year”. His instruction is to stay in His Word. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you or if you are using a method or not. It only matters that you are reading it and that you are taking in the daily bread needed to supply you and I for the day. If Satan is trying to convince you that since you are “2 months behind” or whatever it may be, you should just give up-don’t believe the lie. That is what it is. A  lie. He is trying to deceive you to keep you from getting the life-sustaining nourishment of God’s word. Pick that Bible

back up, keep at it and be faithful. Take your time and never give up!
There is no time limit to God’s Word.

✅  What did you read or study in the Bible this morning or last night?

✅  Wonder why you give up on Bible reading? Check out this article and see some of the other lies Satan will try to use on you and I and recognize them for what they are: lies.

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Don’t Lie to Yourself…

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. ~Ps. 119:11 (KJV)

H ow long did it take you to get dressed and ready this morning?  _____ minutes. How much time did you spend on your phone OR watching a show OR working out today? Write the number of minutes here: _____ DO NOT PROCEED FURTHER UNTIL YOU HAVE WRITTEN A NUMBER.

Ok, now, take the verse above, go into a room and time how long it takes you to memorize the verse above. Really. DO THIS NOW ( or as soon as you can). How long did it take:  ______ minutes.

My point? We need to be honest. It is not that we do not have time to memorize Scripture, we just choose not to.  We all have the time. It is less than 15 minutes to memorize 1 verse. Less than it takes us to take a shower and dry off or put on our makeup. The fact is we either don’t think it is important, we don’t care that God has commanded it or we don’t care about disobeying God. One thing I do know for sure: It is NOT that we do not have time.

✅  If you are not currently memorizing any Scripture, be honest, and determine what the true reason is. 

✅  Choose a verse to memorize this week and pray for God to remind you to be faithful and obedient as a follower of Christ.

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Holiness = Happiness?

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. ~2 Tim. 1:9

Our best efforts to keep commandments don’t make God look great-they only make us look “moral.” What do you think about that? I know it grabbed my attention. I heard it today on a 2 minute video clip of John Piper titled  “Holiness is the Fight for Happiness.” I think if you offer most people an easy way to be “happy,” they would jump at the chance. I think if you say happiness is tied to holiness, they would turn around and walk the other way. Needless to say, John Piper’s insight is well worth considering. Click the link below to hear the whole clip and see what you think.
LINK: Holiness is the fight for Happiness

✅  What is the difference between a person who is morally good and a Christian?

✅  Do you ever feel like you are just fighting the battle at the level of “deeds” all the time? What is the solution?

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“Whatcha Watchin’?”

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.  ~Ps. 101:3a (esv)

I was at a parenting panel last night at church. One item discussed was what we let our children watch and discernment in viewing. One question suggested we have our children consider before watching a show is “What is the main message and it is true?” in comparison to what God tells us. This is a very good question. It also made me think of the bigger question;  How do you and I decide what we will and will not watch in general? Do we really care? Do we care because we think someone else (parent/spouse) will “disapprove” or do we care because we want to make sure we are not stepping into sin or grieving God? These things are our personal decisions. As parents, what are we watching ourselves? If we wouldn’t want our children watching them, why are we? As children growing into adulthood, these are your decisions-or soon will be. How are you deciding? Is it  what your friends want or by the standard God has set? These decisions do matter.

If you are looking for a good place to start to review things you are interested in watching, I have listed 2 below.  Both of these sites show the content in areas like: sex/nudity, violence, language, alcohol/drugs, occult, etc. The tools are out there. The choice to care and use these tools is ours.

✅  For MOVIES:  imdb.com parent guide. Search the movie title, then find the parent review.

✅  For network/netflix SERIES: commonsensemedia.org

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ESV, NIV, KJV, NAS…help!

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.    ~ Isaiah 55:11 (esv)

I  have memorized Scripture in KJV, NIV, NKJV and now, I have some in ESV. That is a lot of different version! What translation is the Bible you use? It is good to consider and decide why you use what you use. Versions generally range from a “word-for-word” translation which can be a little more stiff and hard to understand to a more “thought-for-thought” type translation, which is easier to understand, but may not be best for deep study, particularly when you get into the paraphrase type. (A paraphrase is a VERY loose translation.) I find charts to be helpful when considering these things so wanted to post one today in case you never thought about this and would like to know where your Bible falls.

✅  Why do you use the version you are currently using?

✅  For further study, here is a link to the Ask Pastor John podcast,
in which he answers a reader’s question concerning
“Which bible version should I read”?

Outside of the Box

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  ~Rom. 12:12 (esv)

I am a huge fan of the Google calendar. Technology is a neutral tool that can be used for good or bad, like most anything else. As believers, we live in a day and age that no other believers have-a day when we have more access to God’s word and tools to be faithful to Him than any other believers ever have. Today, I wanted to throw out some suggestions of ways you can use google calendar ( or really any digital calendar) “outside of the box” in our spiritual life, by setting up additional “calendars”. *

✅  PRAYER CALENDAR: Set up a category/additional calendar just for prayer. List a different person or subject to pray for so it will turn up each day. You can even share this with others if you have a group Bible study, dorm floor, or accountability partner you try to pray faithfully with.

✅  SPIRITUAL JOURNAL: Set up a category/additional calendar for
things God has taught you that day. Create a repeating event called
“God at Work” (or anything similar) and add comments, verses,
notes, in the description to record what God is teaching you or
blessings He has given you.

✅  MEMORY VERSES: Set up a category/additional calendar and
list the memory verse you are working on for that week/month.

*If you are unsure how to do this, contact me and I would be MORE
than happy to help you set this up!

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Be Great!

But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant  ~Mark 10:43 (esv)

As Jordan and Miriam head out for Spring Break today, I sent a link to one of the “Ask Pastor John” podcasts, and encouraged them to “Be Great.”  The title to the podcast sent is “Can I Be Faithful to God and Popular at School.” To be honest, when I first saw the title, I thought it was a dumb question. In reality, it is not. If most of us are honest (oh, yes, us adults too!), we do want both. I have posted the link to this message in the picture box for today because it is well worth the listen. I listed two quotes below that have stuck with me from this message. Listen to it yourself-I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Go out and “Be Great” today!

  • The problem with wanting to be cool in our culture is that cool is almost always defined by the fool.”
  • Don’t try to be cool. And don’t try to be uncool — that is not the goal. Neither is. Try to be free from the herd mentality, and be a radical servant…He who would be great, cool, Jesus said, must be the servant of all, like Jesus who died for others that they might live. What would that look like?

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Chapter by Chapter

This year, I am reading through the bible with the Bible Project read through plan. This is one of many that I have done. I like to switch it up-some years (and yes, sometimes it takes me years…like 2 or more years!) I read through the Bible chronologically. Some years, I have listened to the Bible read through chronologically via podcast. Whatever way you are reading through the Bible, I wanted to share this checklist that allows you to check off the chapters as you read them. Seeing progress is always an encouragement to me, so perhaps, it is for others as well. Just follow the link (click the picture) for the free printout.

✅  How are you reading the Bible in your daily study right now?

✅  Links for references mentioned above:
         Bible Project Read through: click here
         ESV Chronological audio podcast: click here

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Porn is a Liar

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality.
~I Thess. 4:3 (esv)

How many of your best friends are liars? If you had a friend who constantly lied, would you keep them as your friend? I doubt it.

Because 4 out of the 6 people that live in this house are boys, I want to share this article about another liar that boys are SPECIFICALLY susceptible to: Porn. I don’t need to tell you it is a temptation, what I want you to know is it is a liar. I came across an article on Challies that is well worth your reading. It points out 5 of the many ways porn is a liar. Here are the 5 ways, but I encourage you to click the link and read the entire article.Make yourself fully aware and arm yourself against this.

5 ways porn lies to you:

  1. It makes you believe “It is not that big a deal”.  This is a LIE.
  2. It makes you think  “Porn only affects me”. This is a LIE.
  3. It makes you think “This is my secret”. This is a LIE.
  4. It makes you think  “This sin will satisfy”. This is a LIE.
  5. It will make you think  “I am beyond hope”.  This is a LIE.

✅  Which of these lies do you think is the easiest to believe?

✅  What do you think is the lie a Christian believes first that helps him to
rationalize it is ok to view pornography?

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Bible Gateway

Do we want fortune, to be prosperous, favored by God, or truly happy? Do you or I follow advice or the example of those who are evil? Do we hang out with evil people who might be called “wicked” by someone. Do we keep in step with these people or follow along with their “schemes”? These are all different translations of this week’s memory verse.
When you and I don’t fully  understand a verse or just want to understand it better, go to biblegateway.com. Enter the specific verse (just one) and click the link at the bottom that says, “… in all English translations.” It makes the study of that Scripture SO MUCH richer-and meaningful. Try it with Psalm 1:1 to see for yourself. It truly is a huge help when digging deeper into God’s Word.

✅  Look up Psalm 1:1 and click on the link “Psalm 1:1 in English translations”.

✅  For those of you who are studying a second language, try looking a verse up in a Bible version in that language as well. Just change the translation in the box on top right of the website. You will look at in a new way when you try to understand it in a different language.

 

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