Category Archives: Christian living

Reading the Bible Through

Early one January an adult Sunday school class had just begun its session. The Bible teacher got up and asked a simple question. He had asked this question in other classes and venues, and knew what the answer would be. “How many of you have read the Bible all the way through”? He asked for a show of hands. Many in the class looked at each other and seemed a little ill-at-ease with the question. One lady in the back of the room raised her hand. In classes of 25 to 30 students, this was normal: one or two believers had actually read the Bible through. The rest were embarrassed; inevitably tried to justify their response with mumbled replies.

We now face the beginning of a new year. There are many who will be trying to design improvements to their physical situation or emotional wellbeing. A few will be concerned about their spiritual growth and behaviour and will resolve to read the Scriptures on a regular basis.

Reading the Bible through is one of the most basic and helpful ways to provide growth and maturity in the Christian heart and life.

Some people like to try to read the Bible through in a year. This is a noble task. For many, however, it creates some problems.

open BibleIn our current day and age, many people—especially younger people—have difficulty reading complete books. Some have difficulty with well-written paragraphs. Still others can only comprehend short cropped phrases. For many people reading and writing is confined to 140 characters or less. Some have difficulty following an argument from paragraph to paragraph. All these things affect their understanding of what is formally written, leaving them unable to comprehend what’s on one page of the Bible, much less what’s on the rest of the pages.

A second difficulty with reading the Bible through can be lack of interest—spiritual, doctrinal or subject matter. It is difficult to read the Bible for some because they just aren’t interested in what is in the Bible. It is important that each time you begin your Bible reading you take time to pray and ask the Lord to help you with your interest, diligence and understanding. Ask God to teach you by his Spirit through his Word.

A third problem involved with reading the Bible through is time. There are so many pulls on our time each and every day that we don’t have any moments to spare to come aside and read the Bible. We make good progress at taking ten or fifteen minutes to spend time with the Lord in his Word, but then one thing or another manages to steal that time away.

Thus, it takes quite a commitment to begin daily Bible reading, and particular diligence to read it consistently and all the way through.

The most important thing in deciding to read the Bible on a daily basis is to remember that you are meeting God through reading his Word. You are doing this for your relationship with him and your spiritual growth. It is to know God better.

There are several practical ways of reading the Scriptures and of reading all the way through. First is the need to set aside time to do so; second is determining how you’re going to do it. Would morning or evening be best? Third is should you endeavour to read through the Bible in one year, or two, or five? Will you read straight from Genesis to Revelation or use some other system?

There are many tools which are available for the believer. There are numerous translations in English—some are good, while others are a detriment to spiritual growth. There are devotional Bibles which have the text divided into 365 day increments for convenience. Many Bibles have a Bible reading plan located in the back of the Bible, and there are many Bible reading plans available on the Internet. The wonderful Christian blogger Tim Challies has a recent article on this.

Some people like to read the Old Testament text in the morning and the New Testament text in the evening. Thus they start and finish the day in God’s Word. They will often start in Genesis and Matthew, and just plough through.

There are many who will try to read the Bible through during the calendar year 2017, and while this is a noble endeavour, it can be rather difficult, particularly if you set a specific amount to read daily. There may be certain days that will interrupt the reading schedule because you are ill or traveling or for some other valid reason, and you will struggle to catch up. If you do not have time to go back and catch up on your reading, it is perfectly acceptable to pick up again on the next day and continue on. You may miss some of the details or context, but you will be able to continue without the burden of having to make up readings which slow you down and eventually cause you to stop altogether. Being able to brag that you have read every single verse of the Bible is not why you have committed to reading the Scriptures. It is important to read the Bible completely even if you miss several small sections.

Dr Allen Fleece recommended that you could spend thirty days in a book of the Bible. He recommended starting with Romans. You read as much as you can each day, and when you reach the end you start over. You do this for thirty days. Then you continue in 1 Corinthians for thirty days. Some people like to add “Spiritual Vitamins” by reading a chapter of the book of Proverbs each day of the month.

Some people read the Bible all the way through, not concerned with when they finish. They average a chapter or two a day, and take time to slow down if necessary to ensure they understand what they’ve read. They take their time day-by-day in God’s Word.

It is my hope and prayer that you will make a decision and a commitment to read God’s Word consistently in the coming year, that you will understand what you read and that you will be able to have a much closer relationship to God through his Word. God is as willing as he is able to assist, help and bless you in this.

As Dr Fleece used to put it, “When you open your Bible God opens his mouth; when you close your Bible God closes his mouth”. Make your commitment today.

Blessings,

GW Anderson
Spoudason Services

 

George W. Anderson taught at Columbia International University before becoming the Editorial Manager as well as an Editorial Consultant of the Trinitarian Bible Society in London. Mr. Anderson offers his knowledge and expertise at Spoudason Services, a research & teaching consultancy in Bible, NT Greek, hermeneutics & theology for Bible students, SS teachers, pastors & missionaries.

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Peace on Earth

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,

good will toward men.”  Luke 2:14

Our family here in Virginia had a lovely Christmas season, enjoying a nice warm weather and wonderful time with family and friends. What a blessing it is to be able to celebrate the true reason for the season – Jesus Christ born as a humble baby to bring the peace to this world and demonstrate God’s good will toward men!

Family Photo

However, as we enjoyed the festive Christmas service, the holiday meal, and the warmth of fire in the wood stove, we couldn’t help but think and pray of Christians in the Middle East, in North Korea, in Africa who face persecution and death daily, of all the countries torn by unrest and war, of our motherland Ukraine under attack, of our wonderful new homeland America scarred  by unrest in Ferguson. Our world is drowning in violence and pain, and peace seems to be a mirage. Our thoughts and feelings are nothing new. Over a hundred years ago Henry Wadsworth Longfellow expressed pretty much the same but more poetically in his ‘Christmas Bells’:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

….

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today, just like ever before, this world needs peace; today this world still desperately needs a Savior. This world needs Jesus. We as His people, His followers, are given the mission to carry on the song sang by angels so many years ago: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. Our God is not dead, and He is coming back for His Church! While there is still time, we will shine His light and carry His Word to the world in need.

May this new year be a year when we re-commit to  our Lord and Savior, draw closer to Him, and spread the good news of His salvation to all the nations! And may God’s peace rule in our hearts and minds!

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Countdown to Thanksgiving

What?! Can it be true? Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But where did the year go?..

Are we the only ones who feel like the year has just flew by with the unheard of speed?..

It certainly has been a fast-paced and busy year for our family. The move from California back to Virginia, the search for jobs, house repairs, a shed built from scratch, new school for Bogdan, pre-K for Daryna, search for the right church… No wonder the time went by so fast.

As we approach yet another Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for. God’s faithfulness and goodness have been so powerfully present in our lives this year! Here are just a few things from the big ‘thank-you’ list:

Great schools for our kids

This was the first year the Bogdan went to a public school. We were worried about almost everything. Now we see it as a special blessing, as he has a wonderful teacher and a great class. He sure is one happy kid this year, enjoying his studies, home work, and reading.

Daryna is happy now, too, as after a year of begging us to put her to school she got her wish! We were able to find a Christian school just minutes from our house that is not only excellent in program, but also quite affordable. She loves her teachers and classmates!

–  Wonderful home church

After months of searching for a church that would truly meet our needs, we have found one that is justright. We love the solid and powerful teaching, the worship, and the out-of-this-world childcare! :) Having three young kids, a good childcare is not a small thing for us.

Illya’s new job

It’s never easy to find a job in this economy, especially after a big move like ours. We are very grateful for the job God has provided for Illya.

We thank God for keeping us healthy and safe, for blessing us with good friends, for watching over our kids, for the constant provision and numerous blessings we see everyday. Above everything else, we are grateful for His closeness, for walking this road with us, and keeping our family in His hand…

What are you thankful for this year?
What challenges and blessings have you encountered this year?
Share with us!

 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

 

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Oksana shares

Kindle Touch has been serving my wife Oksana rather well lately. She finds herself sitting at kids’ classes, catching up on her reading. In the coming weeks she will be sharing some of the excerpts she has found encouraging and soothing to her soul. May they be a blessing to you as well.

Today’s share is from Busy Mom’s Devotions to Go, by Lori Z. Scott, preceded by the Bible verse under discussion.  

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

God gives power to those who are tired and weak. If we let Him, God gives us power by encouraging our hearts, calming our fears, and giving us a more balanced perspective. He listens to our frustrations and heartaches when we pray. He quiets the noise of our emptiness and then fills us up with songs of praise. He provides us with enough strength to make it through another busy day.

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)

No one can serve two masters. The Bible clearly points out we will be devoted to one and despise the other. Much as we may want to place two things in the number one position, we can’t. Our hearts can’t be in two places at once.

When daily pressures threaten to consume every moment, it’s time to check our priorities. Despite what we may profess to be of utmost importance, our actions will reveal our true master.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Whenever God brings us change, He provides a measure of mercy to endure it. We have the added security of knowing that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always compassionate, merciful, loving, faithful, patient, and gracious. If we do as Proverbs 3:5 suggests and trust in the Lord with all of our heart, we can let go of past failures, and hold on to God’s promises.

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Should God answer all our prayers?..

Growing up in a Christian background, I remember thinking that as soon as I prayed and said the *magic* phrase “in Your name”, the deal was done – whatever I asked for would come true! Has it ever happened to you that you expected God to necessarily answer your prayer “just the way you asked”? Many people do believe that God absolutely has to positively react to the prayers of His saints.

Here is an excerpt from Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalm 130, in which he addressed the question of (un-)answered prayers:

“Lord, hear my voice.” (Psalm 130:2) It is all we ask; but nothing less will content us. If the Lord will but hear us we will leave it to his superior wisdom to decide whether he will answer us or no. It is better for our prayer to be heard than answered. If the Lord were to make an absolute promise to answer all our requests it might be rather a curse than a blessing, for it would be casting the responsibility of our lives upon ourselves, and we should be placed in a very anxious position: but now the Lord hears our desires, and that is enough; we only wish him to grant them if his infinite wisdom sees that it would be for our good and for his glory.

(from “Treasury of David: Expositions of the Psalms” by Charles Spurgeon)

 

How many times in my life I was actually grateful to my God for not answering my prayers in the way I expected! Trusting the Lord to hear us – both our prayers and wants – and to give us what is truly best for us is a great Christian virtue!..

 

 

Own a copy of “Treasury of David” on your Kindle?
Remember to leave a review for it on Amazon!

 

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Diamonds sparkle most amid the darkness…

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” (Psalm 130:1)

This is the Psalmist’s statement and plea: he had never ceased to pray even when brought into the lowest state. The depths usually silence all they engulf, but they could not close the mouth of this servant of the Lord; on the contrary, it was in the abyss itself that he cried unto Jehovah. Beneath the floods prayer lived and struggled; yea, above the roar of the billions rose the cry of faith. It little matters where we are if we can pray; but prayer is never more real and acceptable than when it rises out of the worst places. Deep places beget deep devotion. Depths of earnestness are stirred by depths of tribulation. Diamonds sparkle most amid the darkness. Prayer de profundis gives to God gloria in excelsis. The more distressed we are, the more excellent is the faith which trusts bravely in the Lord, and therefore appeals to him, and to him alone.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David

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There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech…

 

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord…”

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

Start building the Spurgeon collection on your Kindle today ->

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Marriages That Glorify God

We asked Todd Wright, the author of ‘Marriages That Glorify God’ and the founder of Wright Ministries, to write a guest post for our blog.

Todd holds a Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Guidance and has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 18 years. Todd’s wife Fonny (who is also a Licensed Professional Counselor holding a Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, and a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is an active part of Wright Ministries, whose mission is to bring glory to God through the building up of believers through marital counseling.

 

We were created to bring glory to God, and marriage is a primary means by which believers are able to bring glory to God.  Unfortunately, bringing “glory to God” is not the objective of every Christian marriage. The goal for many couples is happiness and joy, and this goal is unfortunately supported by much of the literature focused on the subject.  When we make personal happiness our number one goal, it conflicts with the reason we are here.  Therefore, it is necessary to re-visit why we are here and ensure the goals for our marriages are equal to God’s goals for our marriages.

“Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”  (Isaiah 43:7)

From Isaiah we learn each of us was created for His glory.  God did not create us for our own glory, we were created for His glory.

“The people whom I formed for Myself, Will declare My praise.”  (Isaiah 43:21)

As believers we are to “declare” praise for our Lord.  It is difficult, if not impossible to do so when all our energy is directed towards our own personal happiness.  Declare praise for our Lord and use the sounding board of your marriage to do it.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

To God be the glory forever. You have a better chance at accomplishing this goal when it is an objective of your marriage. A secondary benefit for believers who bring glory to God is satisfaction and joy which come from bringing glory to God. When personal joy is the number one goal, we may find temporary satisfaction, but we have failed to bring glory to God.

Once we have made “bringing glory to God” the goal for our marriages, the next question is how to accomplish this mission.  For the most part, believers know to sing praises to God, attend church, fellowship with other believers, and spend time in prayer.  What is most often neglected is spiritual growth.  The Father is glorified when His children develop spiritually and spiritual growth comes by means of consistent intake of the Word of God.

We must ask ourselves, “how successful can we expect our marriages to be when we as believers neglect a daily study of the Word of God?”  Issues with Christian marriages are well documented. The books, magazine articles, and blogs which attempt to correct all that is wrong with this most sacred institute from God are just as plentiful. But how many of these works emphasize a systematic study of the Scriptures? How many emphasize the importance of  replacing our own faulty thinking with God’s perfect divine viewpoint on marriage?

“To whom would He teach knowledge?  And to whom would He interpret the message?  Those just weaned from milk?  Those just taken from the breast?  For He says, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’”  Isaiah 28:9-10

This passage in Isaiah instructs believers on how to systematically study the Scriptures, “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line”.  The doctrines taught in the Bible build on one another, and so as believers we mature as we build knowledge of the scriptures in our souls.  The result is spiritual maturity.  Isaiah 28 is one of the passages which speak of immature baby believers.  Why are they not as mature?  What do they need to mature spiritually?  They need to be taught the Word of God in a systematic way and they need to study the Word of God in a systematic way – order on order, line on line, a little here, a little there.  To make the point perfectly clear the message is repeated word for word just a few verses later. If God is going to repeat the message, we should assume it is important.

“So the word of the LORD to them will be, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there,’” Isaiah 28:13a

Married couples who bring glory to God are couples who mature spiritually by systematically studying the Bible.  An organized study of the Bible is not accomplished by simply reading the Bible.  There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible cover to cover and in fact I would encourage you to do this at least once.  But the doctrines of the Bible can be easily organized in such a way as to be studied as described in the scriptures.  There are a plethora of study aides available to guide believers through personal study of the Bible.  These study aides are more than inspirational works.  Once you learn to study the Bible in an organized fashion you will find all the inspiration you need.  For a list of recommended study guides, feel free to contact Wright Ministries at (817) 271-4495 or by email at Todd@wrightministries.com

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

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Christ is Risen!

We had a glorious Easter celebration right in the central park of RSM where three churches gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. What a joy it is to worship the Risen Lord with God’s people!

We’re wishing you all a Blessed Easter as well!

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!

 

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know
that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”

Matthew 28:5-6

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” ~ Jesus

John 11:25-26

Source: Igniter Media

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By His Wounds We Are Healed…

 

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
for by His wounds you were healed.”

                                                                   1 Peter 2:23-24

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