Tag Archives: Bible reading


The need for unity

“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23 NET)

As the time of Jesus’ betrayal approached, there were many things on his mind. Some of these we have recorded in John 13-16. In John 17 we find Jesus in prayer to the Father. In my opinion, this is one of the most revealing and comforting prayers that Jesus offered, as it reveals what was on his heart, and we find that he was concerned about his followers, even those in the far distant future. Continue reading The need for unity


Get rid of the evidence

“Now a large crowd of Judeans learned that Jesus was there, and so they came not only because of him but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too, for on account of him many of the Jewish people from Jerusalem were going away and believing in Jesus” (John 12:9-11 NET).

As Jesus approached Jerusalem for his last Passover week, his situation was very different from previous Passovers. He had reached what we, today, would call “celebrity status.” As a result, wherever he was, he attracted large crowds. In fact, the Jewish people had been looking for him since they had arrived in Jerusalem (John 11:56). In addition to this, just a few months earlier he had been called to Bethany where he brought Lazarus back to life from the dead, even after he had been buried for four days (John 11:39). No wonder Jesus’ popularity had risen among the people! Continue reading Get rid of the evidence

Bless your heart!

Spiritual health

by Christine Berglund

Tennesseans are accused of using the phrase, “Bless his heart,” when we are about to say something mean. While this is true some of the time, it’s not always the case. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be mean!

February is Heart Health month, and it’s time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves, especially the old ticker. My daughter sent me a very funny video about a Mom who was too busy to pay attention to heart attack symptoms.

This will not be a discourse on how to protect yourself against the #1 killer in America. As important as this is, time is too short to talk here about just our physical health.

What if I cut my saturated fats, got more exercise, and thus added an additional 10 years to my life? Moses rightly said, “We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:9-10 KJV).

We are not destined to stay here more than a few decades. We take care of our bodies to the extent that we keep useful in the service of our King. Find out what will keep you healthy and strong for the work you have to do here in the Kingdom.

Last spring I found some pretty plants in my son’s garden in Memphis, and asked what they were. My daughter-in-law had obtained them from a friend who shared the plants with her, but didn’t know what they were. Half of the pretty, heart-shaped leaves were green, and the other half were variegated. I was fascinated! Loralei tried to share  them with me, but I really didn’t have a place to put them.

It’s like this with our spiritual heart, we may not know where some of the feelings and characteristics come from, but we know what we like, and we share it. Loralei’s plants made a very pretty groundcover for her shady spot by the front porch.

As a gardener, however, I worried about what other characteristics might be hidden in that plant of unknown origin. Is it an invasive pest? What about that funny looking flower spike? Will it cause allergies? So, the little striped-heart plants did not come home with me.

What does God find in our hearts? We can hide our heart’s condition from our doctors, just by delaying to get it checked out. The Great Physician is not fooled at all by our apparent spiritual health. Even in the absence of physical heart risk indicators like high blood pressure, we could still have a blockage or an irregular rhythm. This can cause a problem when we least expect it. Even if you attend church, live an outwardly good life, and profess Christianity, you could still be at risk for problems of your heart, spiritually speaking. Check it out before it causes irreparable harm! Keep it healthy forever.

This year I started a program to read or listen to the entire Bible in 2012. You may have done the same. I’m sad to say I’m extremely behind in my schedule already.

What better way is there to keep a healthy heart than to nourish it properly? “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11).

Bless your hearts!

The deepest hopes of the human heart

Word of GodThe editor is all over the map, or rather, the universe, in today’s editorial.

• Perspective is an amazing thing. Sixty or seventy years from now people may very well be thinking about 9/11 much as we do about Dec. 7, 1941. Only for the old people will the event still provoke the deep emotions that we felt ten years ago and that we feel today, albeit in diminished degree.

• Your editor is starting a 90-day program to read the entire Old Testament beginning Sept. 15. A few brave souls have joined him already. Might you be interested?

• The objective to Bible reading is to hear and obey, to know and proclaim, to find strength for the day and a deeper transformation of the spirit.

• My New Testament reading this morning was Romans 7. Some say Paul was channeling Adam, beginning at verse 7; others, that it represents “the Gentile striving to attain self-mastery by means of observance of the Mosaic law.”/1 The chapter stands as a testament to the failure of good intentions, to why New Year’s resolutions get forgotten, to how human promises fall flat. More, it’s a witness to how only God can make plans and dreams come true, as he turns the deepest hopes of the human heart into divine reality of a possessive peace and heavenly love.

• Brazilians call it rhythm, Americans, pace. The Missus’s tachycardia week before last brought home to us that, normally, the heart beats at just the right speed. When it accelerates, the whole body gets out of whack. Many of us need to learn the same truth when it comes to our lives. Faster is not always better. Have you found God’s good pace for living?

• I was gratified to help a young Christian sister who’s going to London find congregations there for her to meet with. Her so-called Christian friends recommended some evangelical group (such is the sorry state of many congregations here), but she wasn’t content with that. She wanted to go where the truth was taught and practiced. She still has some weeks yet to travel, but she was searching ahead of time. From my experience, so few do that. Her desire to have this set up ahead of time encourages me.

• I remember some years ago a Christian father who said his daughter was in Paris and needed an address for a church. They had made every possible arrangement for her except for her spiritual needs. What was most important had been left in last place. It was a sad sign of how they failed to value the Lordship of Christ.

• Genesis 1 is such a powerful place to start in teaching the gospel. No less so for the demonstration of power of his word. “Let there be light.” God speaks and it happens. What did not exist before comes into being. That spoken word is the same in nature as the written word. Paul picks up the theme of God’s light creation in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ” (NET). And he brought this light and this transformation through the Word. Through a word of his, like that of Genesis 1. Through a power that man can barely dream of. Certainly none we can see in Romans 7, in what man desires to do, but can’t. For this is a word and work of the Creator.

Have You Not Heard?

by Tim Hall
Reading the Bible is so simple. Why should we take time to do it?
hearing3.jpgSometimes I shake my head in disbelief as I consider what happened to ancient Israel. These people were the beneficiaries of incredible blessings from God. But still they turned away from the Lord to serve idols. How could such a thing happen?
Isaiah helps us understand the problem. In chapter 40, the prophet exhorted the people with these words: “… Lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!'” (Isaiah 40:9)
“Be not afraid,” he wrote. But why would the people of God be afraid?
The land of Israel was constantly harassed by enemy nations. Located in a strategic spot just north of Egypt, Israel was envied by many. God had given Abraham’s descendants a fertile and prosperous land, and other people wanted it. That’s why Israel was afraid.
But should they have been afraid? Isaiah speaks to that question in verses 28 and 29:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.”

His message to Israel was simple: God gave you this land, and he is able to defend it from your enemies. Why don’t you believe this, Israel? Have you not heard?
That’s precisely our problem most of the time. When worry or fear grips our hearts we should ask ourselves, “Have we not heard? Have we not known?” God’s promises are extended to his people today just as they were extended to Israel.
For too many, however, those promises are shrouded in darkness. They haven’t been to the Word in a very long time. They’ve forgotten the power of the One who called them.
Bible reading sounds like the most mundane activity in the world. When we have so many exciting activities from which to choose, why should we make time to read such an old Book?
Sadly, most don’t make the time. And as a result, they haven’t known and they haven’t heard about God’s power and might. Their failure to read and meditate on God’s word is exactly the reason why their lives are filled with fear and worry.
What strength comes to those who spend time reading their Bibles! We are reminded of God’s past actions and comforted by his promises of help, both in the present and in the future.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

"Have You Never Read?"

by Tim Hall
Many claim to have read certain books, but really haven’t.
bookspile.gifMarch 5 was World Book Day, celebrated in various places with librarians’ enthusiastic support. To draw attention to the esteem people generally give to reading, a poll was conducted on the web site that promoted the day. Over 1,300 people participated in the survey.
The questions were simple: People were asked if they had ever lied about reading a book and, if so, which book? Two-thirds of the respondents admitted that they had at some point not been honest in their claim of having read a certain book. The books about which people most often lied were George Orwell’s “1984” (42%), Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (31%), James Joyce’s “Ulysses” (25%), and the Bible (24%). The books most people said they enjoyed reading were the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (61%).
What do we make of these findings? There are many who attempt to make themselves look more impressive by lying about their reading habits. Somewhere along the way, however, the truth will likely come out. The dishonesty of the pretenders is often unveiled.
Jesus encountered those who claimed to be “experts” in the law of Moses. They challenged Jesus’ popularity by trying to make him look blasphemous, or by flaunting their own supposed superiority in education. These enemies of the Lord never succeeded in their quests.
On one occasion Jesus struck at the root of their problem: “Have you never read?” (Matthew 21:42, NKJV). He then quoted from one of the Psalms to show the accuracy of his teaching and the fallacy of their own. Did Jesus mean to imply that they had never actually read from that psalm? More likely he was charging them with failing to consider the entirety of God’s word.
Reading the revealed word of God is one of our most basic tasks. There are those who claim to read it regularly, but their errors and oversights reveal that they’re not at all familiar with God’s word. Others read it but allow preconceived ideas to overshadow the truth that is actually taught.
The Christians of Berea set the standard: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). In each of us are shortcomings of understanding of God’s will, or erroneous views of certain aspects of that will. The only way to be complete (“perfect”, KJV) is to come regularly to the scriptures God has given us (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
One day the Lord may ask us a simple question: “Have you never read what was written?” Let us be diligent so that we will not be ashamed at the honest answer we’ll have to give (2 Timothy 2:15).