Read Through The Bible (2)

I post on my progress in reading through the Bible for my own accountability and to ensure I read through the whole Bible.  It’s been about a month since I last posted and in that time I have read through –

1 Samuel  –  ch 23 – ch 31

1 & 2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

James

Hebrews

2 Samuel

This time round I am using Tim Chester Bible reading plan which if followed you will read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in three years.  It’s available as a free download at his blog.

How’s your Bible reading going?

 

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Reading “A Long Obedience In the Same Direction” ch 9 – Work

Eugene Peterson now turns to Psalm 127  and addresses the issue of work and how our attitude to our work (payed or unpaid, in whatever situation)  can and should  impact our lives as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

QUOTES

Work is a major component in most lives.  It is unavoidable.  It can be either good or bad, an area where sin is magnified or where our faith matures.

We care more for our possessions with which we hope to make our way in the world than with our thoughts and dreams which tell us who we are in the world

The curse of some people’s lives is not work, as such, but senseless work, vain work, futile work, work that takes place apart from God.

For it makes very little difference how much money Christians carry in their wallets or purses.  It makes little difference how our culture values and rewards our work……if God doesn’t.

So. What?

This following  summing up quote is really what I mostly thought and prayed about as I read.this chapter.

What makes a difference is the personal relationships that we create and develop.  We learn a name; we start a friendship; we follow up a smile – or maybe even on a grimace……….As Christians do the jobs and tasks assigned to them in what the world calls work, we learn to pay attention to and practice what God is doing in love and justice, in helping and healing, in liberating and cheering.

Having this attitude to our work, even life in general, surely will make a difference to us and to others for God’s glory?

 

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Read Through the Bible (2)

I post on my progress in reading through the Bible for my own accountability and to ensure that I read through the whole Bible.  In the last two weeks I have read through –

Psalms  :  71 – 72

1 Samuel   –  Ch 1 – ch 22

This time round I am using Tim Chester Bible reading plan which will if followed take you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in three years if followed as directed at a pace of on average 9 chapters per week.  It’s available at his blog as a free download.

How’s your Bible reading going?

 

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Read Through The Bible (2)

I post on my progress in reading through the Bible for my own accountability to help keep me going and to ensure that I read all of the Bible.  Again it’s been nearly three weeks since I last gave a update and in that time I have read through –

Acts  –  ch 15 – ch 28

Psalms  –  42 – 70

This time round I am following Tim Chester Bible reading plan that if followed as suggested will take you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in three years.  It is available as a free download from his blog.

How’s your Bible reading going?

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The Weekend Psalm – Psalm 25

Psalm 25:9 – He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

Here is the key to a close relationship with God. Humility. A realisation that no matter what our role or position in life, when we come into the presence of The Lord and seek to have an ongoing relationship with him, we must recognise our place relative to Him. This is not just in relation to His power, majesty, knowledge, omnipresence but also and most importantly with regard to the primacy of His will and therefore what is right for me. If I think I know best then I will not be teachable and I am not humble.
The verse points out our failings, we do not know what is right, but He does. We, if left alone, will not follow the right path through life, either in what we do or how we do it. However God knows and wants to share with us the plans He has for us.
The implication of this verse, and the little triplet of verses (8-10) in the middle of this psalm, is that God is not like some wise man sitting in a cave waiting for people to come to Him, so that He can then share His wisdom. Instead He is active, seeking out every one of us (we are all sinners) to teach us His ways.
Not all will listen, it is the humble, those who put God and His way and will before their own, who will benefit from this “one on one” masterclass.
Then as we step out into the world around us, wherever God has placed us (our physical location, the vocation He has given us and the relation(ships) we form there) we will discover the full extent of the love God has for us.
This all sounds great, why would we not do this? Many recognise it is what they should do, some even start off on this journey, but it is demanding (v10) so there are those who drop out.

So, if you’re reading this, will you start on this journey of discovery? Or if you have started, take courage, stick at it. Come to God, not to demand or get your own way, rather to listen and thus learn His way. Then we can enter each day, not going aimlessly through life, nor struggling to impose our desires and wishes on Him. Rather we will depart on the path, sometimes broad and relatively flat, sometimes steep, rocky and hard, towards our destination of the great vista that God has laid out for us in His presence. Then one day we will reach the summit and when we get there we will hear Him welcome us, “come my friend, you’ve made it. Well done, rest and enjoy.”

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The Weekend Psalm – Psalm 24

Psalm 24:4 NIV – The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

This verse is preceded by the question “who may ascend the hill of The Lord, who may stand in his holy place?”
The question is, “Who can come into the presence of The Lord?” To have fellowship with him, give him praise and worship, receive instruction, comfort or rebuke, we have to be in his presence.
Yet as I sit here thinking about this and read this verse I am so aware of my own sinfulness; the sins which I commit despite knowing it was wrong, those which I commit by omission – failing to do something, those which I commit because I am not yet well enough attuned to God’s mind and will to know that it is sin and so on.
And as I contemplate my sins even of the past 24 hours I am left wondering what hope have I or anyone else of coming into the presence of God? Who can stand before Him when we consider the standard we must meet? Surely the answer is “no one”.
But …. we can, though not in our own strength or ability, rather we can only come through the redeeming work of Christ our saviour. He paid the price for, and received the due punishment, that my sins deserved. So God sees the stain of our sins from the past, present and future washed away and forgotten forever. So now I can come humbly and with deep thankfulness and worship, to The Lord and wait before Him and receive what He has to give to me. And as I leave, I go away aware of my forgiven failings and leave determined to, as I am able, no longer fail in this way.

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Shut Up and Listen!

As requested, I have uploaded the PowerPoint presentation from Sunday morning’s service in Stranraer Baptist Church.

The sermon that this presentation accompanied can be heard at stranraerbaptist.co.uk.

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Reading “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction” ch 8

Hands up if like me you could do with a little more joy in your life?

 Eugene Peterson discusses joy as part of the Christian journey as he continues to go through the Psalms of Ascent, in this chapter, Psalm 126. He also reminds us that it is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23)

Peterson contrasts the lasting biblical meaning (therefore real meaning of) joy as opposed to the temporary meaning of joy that the world gives. A important principle is that joy is not something we can work up, rather it is a consequence of a life lived in faith in God and his working in our lives.

From Psam 126 Peterson gives two principles to consider in living with joy in our lives.  Firstly, remember God's dealings with his people in the past through reading the history in the Bible, (also in your life up to this point, even if only that He has saved you through the Lord Jesus Christ and you are a child's of God).  Secondly, continue to remind ourselves and have faith in God's promises for the present/future as revealed in the Bible.

​Quotes

Joy is a product of abundance; it is the overflow of vitality……We try to get it through entertainment.  We pay someone to make jokes, tell stories, perform dramatic actions, sing songs.  We buy the vitality of another's imagination to divert and enliven our own poor lives.  The enormous entertainment industry in America is a sign of the depletion of joy in our culture.  Society is a bored, gluttonous king employing a court jester to divert it after an overindulgent meal.  But that kind of joy never penetrates our lives…..The effects are extremely temporary – a few minutes, a few hours, a few days at most……We cannot make ourselves joyful…..

…..But there is something we can do.  We can decide to live in response to the abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs.  We can decide to live in the environment of a living God and not our dying selves.  We can decide to center our lives in the God who generously gives and not in our own egos which greedily grab.  One of the certain consequences of such a life is joy, the kind expressed in Psalm 126.

So what?

To apply what Peterson discusses in this chapter,  to find comfort/joy through faith in God's dealings with his people and "very great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4)  we need to be reading, studying, meditating and praying through the Bible being mindful to not "merely listen to the word…but do what it says (James 1:22).

If you are just starting or plan to start again,  a good resource is the daily Bible reading/devotionals provided by Scripture Union at wordlive.org.  Of course there are many others but this is a good place to start/kick start our reading/studying the Bible.

 

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Read Through the Bible (2)

I post on my progress in reading through the Bible for my own accountability to help keep me going to ensure that I read through the whole Bible.  It's been nearly three weeks since I last gave an update and in that time I have read through – 

Judges

Ruth

Acts. – ch 1 – ch 14

This time round I am following Tim Chester Bible reading plan that if followed as suggested you will read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in three years. It's available as a free download from his blog.

How is your Bible reading going?

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The weekend psalm – Psalm 23

Psalm 23:3 NIV – he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.

 

Thinking of the 2nd part of this verse we see – who we should follow as our guide through life; the personal attention we each get; the confidence we can have in the route we follow and the purpose of our journey (which gives us further confidence in the path we follow).
A) our guide is to be The Lord. There will be many others who want to take us on a different journey and at times we will follow, yet the amazing truth of this verse is that beside the path others wish to show us, for those of us who are God's children, there will be another way laid out, an alternative path and if we look / listen that route will always be available for us to follow. 
B) no two people will go on the same journey. Each of us will have an individual path mapped out for us in life. Amazing!God has gone to the trouble of personalising a course through life for me. 
C) we can have confidence in the path God chooses for us. Even though at times it will seem that there is an easier way, or a more beautiful view, or a better opportunity, the path God has laid out for us is the right one. Our task is to spend time with Him, listening and learning so that we know where He has planned that we should go. 
D) the purpose of our journey is that God's name would be exalted. It is not that we would have a great time, become rich or famous, have wonderful experiences or see great things. Rather it is to advance God's kingdom, achieve His purposes and bring honour and glory, worship and praise to Him. It is really only when we understand this purpose that we will embrace Him as guide and follow the personal journey He has mapped out for us. Without embracing this purpose everything else becomes duty and work and no wonder we get "off track". As we embrace His plan, appreciate the love God is showing to us, along with the responsibility He is giving us and trust He is showing in us, then the path, no matter how hard at times, becomes a journey of delight and blessing. 

All this head knowledge is fine. The real challenge to us this week (and every week) is to make this fine sounding theory become a reality in our lives. 

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