Middle Age Ramblings

Where I Share My Thoughts On This Journey Called Life

Archive for the tag “Bible”

The Sky Shouts!

When I was younger, I loved to fish. Some of my favorite times spent fishing were very early in the morning just as the sun was coming up over the horizon.

Most of those times, I was awestruck by the burst of color in the early morning sky. I may have missed catching a few fish, but I had the opportunity to see the awesomeness of God’s creation.

I think I understand a little of what the Psalmist was thinking when he wrote these words:

The heavens declare the glory of God,

and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Psalm 19:1

Life moves so fast that we often miss those times when God pulls back the curtain and allows us to see a glimpse of His glory. May we learn to slow down when possible and look for the hand of God in His creation!

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Love Cares For Others

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NKJV

This is one of those verses of scripture that prompted my last post, “Old Bibles”. I was reading in 1 John 3 and the Holy Spirit kinda hit me and said, ” Pay attention!”

I had not underlined this verse in my Bible even though I had underlined several verses around it. I read this verse a second and third time. As I thought about this verse, god began to show me that while I talk pretty good about the Christian faith, I do after all teach a Sunday School class of young adults, sometimes I have a problem with application of what I have read.

How many times have I walked past someone with a need and didn’t stop to see if there was something I could do? or how many times has someone asked me to pray for them and I say that I will, but then forget to follow through and pray?

Father, help me to realize those opportunities to serve, to be your hands and feet. Help me to stop and listen. Help me to show others that you are a God of love and compassion. Amen.

 

Old Bibles

I was looking at an old Bible that I used several years ago the other day. I noticed as I thumbed through, that I had underlined several verses and even whole passages in that Bible.

As I read, I noticed something. The passages I had underlined were all good, but they were also very positive . I read some of the passages I didn’t underline and ouch! That hurt! I realized that the passages I had not underlined were more convicting than the passages that I had underlined.

I guess I need to be more careful when I underline passages in my Bible. Maybe I should ask myself the question, Why am I underlining this passage? In what way does it speak to me or in what way does it attract my attention.

Is there a promise to claim? Is the passage pointing out some sin in my life that I need to correct? I came away from the experience with a different attitude about underlining verses in my Bible. I still underline, but I make sure that it’s nit just the good stuff I underline, but also the stuff that points out things I need to correct.

 

If you’re a person who underlines or marks verses in their Bibles as they read, have you paid close attention to the verses you are underlining?

 

 

 

Made To Crave

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual , so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV

I’m a grandpop now, by the way, there is nothing like it. I remember well what it was like when my daughters were small. When they got hungry, they would let you know it. If we were a little slow getting that bottle ready they would tune up and let us know to hurry up.

Just like a baby craves milk, followers of Christ should crave the reading of the Bible, God’s inspired word. I believe that just like a little child starts with milk and then moves on to soft food and then, after they get teeth, to more solid food, I believe that we as followers of Christ should be progressing in the reading and studying of our Bibles.

Let me give you some suggestions that have helped me over the years as I have developed a habit of regular Bible study.

1. Set aside a specific time. Some of us are extremely busy. It’s easy to let life crowd out our reading time. If you have to, schedule Bible reading and study time into your calendar each day, and set a reminder to insure that you don’t forget.

2. Set aside a specific place.

3. Make certain you have good conditions for reading. This means eliminating anything that might distract you from that task. Also make certain that the lighting is good, the temperature is comfortable, and that you have a good chair to sit in while reading.

4. Get a good translation of the Bible that you can understand. My favorites , in no certain order are:

a. New King James Version

b. English Standard Version

c. King James Version

d. Holman Christian Standard Version

I’m sure there are other suggestions to help you to do a better job of reading the Bible. Remember, we are made to crave the Word of God.

What are some ideas that have helped you with your Bible reading time? Share some of them in the comments below.

How To Read The Bible More Effectively

In my last post, I talked about three things you can do to help you live a more focused life. The first thing I mentioned was reading the Bible every day. I thought in this post, I would give everybody some things that has helped me down through the years with Bible reading and study.

I know there are many Christians who attend a church from time to time, but who never pick up the Bible and read it. If you are a person who does that, you are missing out. There is no way you can find God’s direction for your life without knowledge of the truths in the Bible.

Some of you are going to say  that you don’t have time to read. I have found out that I don’t need to miss my time in God’s word. I have become convinced there is more to this life than just sliding through life barely getting by. the only way to be truly successful in life is to find your place and direction for living from the Bible.

Let me give you some ideas of mine that will help you as you begin to read your Bible each day as part of your plan to find direction or focus for your life.

1. Pick up your Bible and read it! I know that seems redundant, but read it! You can’t learn these truths by osmosis.

2. Schedule a definite time each day to read, preferably the same time each day. If you have to schedule it into your calendar or planner do it. Whatever you have to do to get the habit of reading the Bible daily started.

3. Pray before you begin reading. Ask God to open your mind to see the truths found in His Word.

4. Meditate, or think about what you are reading. Engage your mind into the process.

5. Keep a journal in which you write down the reference for that day and some of the things you observed out of the passage you read.

6. Keep it simple at the beginning. Don’t think you have to read a chapter or more each day. Sometimes I just read a small section of a chapter or some days even one verse.

7. Review what you have read several times during the day. Meditate on what you have read.

If you have never been a daily Bible reader and you don’t know where to start, let me give you some suggestions.  If you need some thing practical and down to earth, try the book of James. If you want to learn more about the life of Jesus try Luke or John. If you are looking for practical advise for life, try the book of Proverbs. In fact, one thing I like to do in Proverbs is when we start a month that has 31 days in it, I like to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

That gives you a few suggestions on how to read the Bible. I’m certain there are many other suggestions that others may have.

What are some suggestions you may have for reading the Bible more effectively? Share them in the comments below.

 

How To Live A Focused Life

What is focus? One definition of focus is ” a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding”. Another definition is simply direction. I know so many people who are drifting through life without any focus or direction. they are not living, they are just existing. there is no excitement or fulfillment in their lives I have experienced those times myself. I am now trying to find my direction in life. I’m 54 years old. You are never to young or too old to develop focus in your life.

Michael Hyatt in his eBook,  Creating Your Personal Life Plan, said ” I have met few people who have a plan for their lives. Most are passive spectators, watching their lives unfold a day at a time.” That’s the first two sentences in the book. I came to realize that I too had no focus, no plan for my lie. I was just trying to survive each day.

Let me give you three things that I am using in my life to help me regain my focus. They are:

1. Read the Bible every day

2. Pray often

3. Read books that help you regain focus

I try to read my Bible every morning when my mind is fresh. Before I read I pray and ask God to speak to me through the words that I read. I also ask him to show me His plans for my life. I ask Him to show me things I need to change in my life. I used to do this often, but I realized that I had gotten “busy” and gotten away from an everyday routine of reading. I believe that is part of the reason I lost focus.

I try to pray often. Sometimes I just talk to God out loud.  Sometimes I write my prayers in a journal. It depends on the situation and where I am as to the form this prayer time takes as I go through my day. Praying keeps me focused on the goal, which is the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 4:13 NKJV.

Finally, I have begun to read other good books to help my regain my focus. These are not only books by Pastors and Bible Teachers, but also books written by everyday people who have focused their lives and risen above a life of just getting by.

I’m certain there are many other ideas that some of you have used to regain your focus. Please share those below in the comments section.

 

The Calm After The Storm

I’m sitting here in my office at home, looking out the window because it is a slow day, I noticed something.It’s quiet around here today! Normally, I have the radio playing here in the office, but not today. I mean it is quiet around here. Not just in my house, but outside as well.

What’s so important about the quiet today? Yesterday was much different. It was stormy where I live in North Mississippi. I’m talking high winds, lots of rain, thunder, lightning, you get the idea. Not today!

Today the sun is shining, there is very little wind, it’s just an AMAZING day! When I look at the beautiful day God has given today and I remember how stormy it was yesterday, it reminds me of how God watches over us. How even in the darkest of times in our lives, there is always a time of refreshing. A time to draw near to Him and be refreshed from our struggles. I believe it is important for us to take advantage of these times to refresh and recharge ourselves for two reasons.

First, it is important for us to recharge physically. Most people I know don’t take enough time to rest their physical bodies. I’ve known of many people and you probably do to, who do not get enough rest for their physical bodies. there is a whole library full of examples of what happens to our bodies without ample rest.

Second it is important for us to recharge spiritually and mentally. I group these two together rather than separately because I feel they go together. That’s part of the way God designed the human body at creation. There are several instances in the Bible where Jesus goes up the mountain, or to some other place to pray. These were times of spiritual and mental recharging that prepared Him for what lay ahead of Him.

I believe we all need to make it a point to get adequate rest, both physical rest as well as mental and spiritual rest.

What are your thoughts? What are some ways you rest? Do you feel it is important to have times of refreshing?

A Soldier Without A Weapon

There are several things I’ve observed in the modern church that concerns me. I’m not going to get into a long list of things in this post, I’m only going to talk about one thing here. Before I begin rambling, let me give you a scripture reference or two.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….”Hosea 4:6a ESV.

“Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD GOD, when I will send a famine in the land-not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11 ESV

We are fast approaching a day when there will be fewer opportunities to hear the Word of God. I know that’s hard to believe because in this country its on several channels on TV every day. Radio stations devote their entire program format to proclaiming God’s Word. I promise you those days won’t last long.

What bothers me the most is to go into a church service, either in my home church, or somewhere that I am visiting, and see Christians without a Bible coming in to a worship service to hear the Word of God taught. It’s just like a soldier without a weapon.

When  a person goes into the military they are issued a weapon, which is not only a means of defense, but also a means of carrying out a mission. We as Christ’s followers have been given a mission. That mission is two-fold. First we are to evangelize: carry the gospel to every person we come in contact with. Secondly, we are to teach and disciple those who accept Christ.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:”All Scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of GOD may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NKJV

How can we be equipped for every good work if we don’t have a Bible with us at church? I know Christians who have been in church longer than I have that struggle to find passages in the Bible. That comes from not using their Bible.

In this culture we live in today, with so many people fighting to have their pet sin recognized as being okay, or being accepted by society, we cannot afford to go out into the world into battle without our only weapon which is the word of God!

Ephesian 6:17″ and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of GOD.”ESV

Hebrews 4:12a ” For the word of GOD is living and active sharper than any two-edged sword……”  ESV

We have to be ready to fight! We cannot fight without instruction and a weapon of defense! The Bible is our instruction manual and our only weapon of defense against satan and his allies!

Our Bibles should be the most worn out book we own. We should have to go get another one regularly because the one we have is falling apart from use. We instead would rather go into battle untrained except for what we pick up through osmosis on Sunday morning, and unarmed. No wonder the other side is winning!

Keep A Hand Over Your Mouth!

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD;

 keep watch over the doors of my lips.    Psalm 141:3 NIV

I was reading and meditating on this passage the other morning when God called to my mind another passage from the New Testament.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20 NIV.

It is very hard to follow these 2 verses. At least it is for me. When I was a boy, I was very hot-tempered and high-strung. That God, I have gotten better by his grace, but I still have trouble sometimes speaking when I really shouldn’t.

The point is this. Like the Psalmist, we need to learn to “set a guard over our mouths.” I played some football when I was in high school, and I can tell you that there was many times I was thankful for  the face mask on my helmet that protected me from bodily harm.

I think that is what this verse is saying to us today. Keep a hand over your mouth. Be slow to speak even when we are right. We live in a society where many different people are shouting at the top of their lungs. We as followers of Christ need to slow down, think about what we have to say, then speak. Only then can we show the world a difference that only Christ can bring in our lives.

His Love Never Stops!

I was reading Psalm 136 and God began speaking to me about thanksgiving. Not the day, but the act of giving thanks. Verse 1 of this Psalm says:

“Give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good,

  for His steadfast love endures forever.”  ESV

I like the way the Message paraphrases that last part of the verse. It says: ” His love never quits.”

The Psalmist then goes on to list several reasons why Israel was to give thanks to God. For instance, they were to give thanks because God is the one true God. Also He is the creator of all things, verses 4-9. He is the deliverer of Israel, verses 10-21. Finally He is their provider and sustainer, verses 22-26.

As I read and God dealt with me I began to see that many times I run in to spend a couple of minutes with God in the morning before my day starts. I pick up my Bible, or sometimes use the Bible app on my smartphone, read a few verses and think about what I’ve read for just a couple of minutes. I then say a quick prayer asking for a few things like protection for my family, and success on the job that day, if I even pray at all. Boy that was hard to write. Then I jump up and head off to my job and my days activities.

God was showing me through this Psalm,  which is actually more like a responsive reading, that He expects us to give thanks to Him for all things of life. I spend too much time when I do pray asking and not enough time giving thanks for the things God has given me or that He has done both in my life and the lives of those around me.

I realized that I had become too  busy. I had allowed the world around me to squeeze me into its mold instead of focusing on God who gave me this life. I am trying to look for different times in my day when I can spend some time in  the Bible and prayer. It’s hard to rearrange my life and slow down after doing it this way for so long, but I’m making progress.

I’m also trying to become more thankful; taking fewer things for granted. One thing we are doing at church on Wednesday night when we take prayer requests is that we take praises as well as requests. When my wife prints the bulletin for Sunday services, she lists the praises first, then the prayer requests. It has amazed me to watch God work in the lives of our people at church just like He’s been working on me. We are becoming a more thankful people. another amazing thing is the praise section of the bulletin is almost as big as the request section and is growing. Having the bulletin with me for a week gives me something to focus both my praises and my requests.

GOD is good! All the time! His love never stops!

 

 

 

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