Sunday, November 21, 2010

Give Thanks

Thanks to God for My Redeemer
Words by August L. Storm

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Read the Bible Selectively: Why?

If you haven’t noticed by now studying the Bible requires time, sacrifice, and hard work. No treasure hunter would leave his home without expecting to sacrifice sufficient time in order to find his prize. When you come to the Word of God, it will require sacrifice and time to faithfully search and mine the gems that lie beneath the surface.

Don’t misunderstand! God is not hiding anything from you. He wants you to discover the truth for your life, but He wants you to take Him and His Word seriously. He wants your number one goal above everything else to search Him out. It will reveal your love and dedication to Him.

That is why you need these 6 questions in your mind when you come to read the Bible: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?

Let’s look at the fifth question: WHY?

Why is this passage or story included in the book? Why is it placed in its particular location? Why was so much/little space devoted to this particular event or teaching? Why does the person say that? Why does the person not say anything? Isn’t it interesting that often Jesus will answer people’s questions with more questions?

In Mark 11:27-33, the chief priests and scribes approach Jesus ad ask Him to explain the source of His authority. Instead of Jesus telling them the answer, He responds with a question of His own. Why does Jesus do this? What is Mark trying to tell us about Jesus and these chief priests?

Luke is the only gospel that records the powerful message of the prodigal son. Why does Luke only record it? Recently we finished the book of Acts on Sunday mornings, why does Luke leave us with Paul still in prison? Why did Luke not tell us what happens to him?

The why questions are endless, but they cause you to dig deeper into the text to discover its meaning and provide fresh insights into the Word of God.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Read the Bible Selectively: When?

As you continue to go through these steps of reading your Bible, remember that you are in the observation phase. In this phase, it is important that you allow the Bible to speak for itself. When you present the Bible with the questions listed below, you are allowing the passage to be interpreted correctly.

This process is referred to as exegesis. When the Bible speaks for itself, you will extract the exact intention of the author. We must be careful not to force our 21st century beliefs or opinions back into the text or we do a great disservice to our time in the Word.
That is why you need these 6 questions in your mind when you come to read the Bible: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?

Let’s look at the fourth question: WHEN?

Here a few questions to ask when you are reading the Bible: When did the events in the text take place? When did they occur in relationship to the other events surrounding the text? When did the writer pen the story? If the writer is talking about some future event, when will it occur?

Think about the life of Jesus Christ. In Mark 1:35, Mark tells us that Jesus went early in the morning, when it was still dark, to get alone and pray. It was the morning after the busiest day in the life of our Lord. That day was chock full of miracles, teaching, and healing.

After many of our busiest days, we find every excuse for sleeping in and resting the next day. But not Jesus! At the top of His priority list was an intimate relationship with His Father. Intimacy meant more to Him than anything else. How about you? Is your prayer life a priority? Do you find time to spend alone with God?

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).