Archive for the ‘Communion: The Word’ Category
“When we seek to enjoy communion with the Lord — and not to be led astray by the ambiguities of religious experience — we read the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God’s words and God’s deeds reveal God himself for our knowledge and our enjoyment. Of course, it is possible to read the Bible without enjoying communion with God. We must seek to understand the Bible’s meaning, and we must pause to contemplate what we understand and, by the Spirit, to feel and express the appropriate response of the heart.
God communicates with us in many ways through the Bible and seeks the response of our communion with him.
- If God indicts us (2 Cor. 7:8–10), we respond to him with sorrow and repentance.
- If he commends us (Ps. 18:19–20), we respond to him with humble gratitude and joy.
- If he commands us to do something (Matt. 28:19–20), we look to him for strength and resolve to obey with his help.
- If he makes a promise (Heb. 13:5–6), we marvel at his grace and trust him to do what he says.
- If he warns us of some danger (Luke 21:34), we take him seriously and watch with a thankful sense of his presence and protection.
- If he describes something about himself (Isa. 46:9–11), his Son (Mark 1:11), or his Holy Spirit (John 16:13–14), we affirm it and admire it and pray for clearer eyes to see and enjoy his greatness and beauty.
John Piper, “Reading the Bible in Prayer and Communion with God,” in The ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2570–2572. Bullet points added.
The new year is only two weeks old and some of you are already sensing defeat and deflation when you look at your daily Bible reading plan which you were aspiring to accomplish. Here’s a great post by Matt Smethurst who shares five practices you want to avoid as you get going or keep going in the new year. Maybe one or two of them will help explain where you need to re-tool a bit. It’s not too late to start your Bible reading plan for the new year! Here’s a summary of what he wrote.
1. Don’t overextend (don’t shoot for the moon and hope to land on a star. If you do you will simply be lost in space): It’s better to read one chapter a day than to read four chapters a few times a week. Furthermore meditation is critical. I love his memorable definition of meditation: riveted reflection on revelation! Love this quote by Thomas Watson also: ”It is better to hear one sermon only and meditate on that, than to hear two sermons and meditate on neither.”
2. Don’t do it alone (enlist others to help keep you going in your Bible reading).
3. Don’t just do it whenever: ”If your basic game plan is to read your Bible whenever, chances are you’ll read it never. And if you don’t control your schedule, your schedule will control you.”
4. Don’t live as if Paul lied (read the article to see what he means by that)
5. Don’t turn a means of grace into a means of merit: “Your Father’s love for you doesn’t rise and fall with your quiet times.”
Click here for some great encouragement.
Nope, this article isn’t about one of those financial ponzi scams. In fact, it’s not about money at all. But George Lawson does share a way that you can get rich by devoting yourself to doing something every day.
A sample from “Get rich in just a few hours every day.”
Do you appreciate the rich treasure you possess? And to think, in just a few hours day, you can become unbelievably wealthy, with no money down and all from the comfort of your own home! Millions have tried it and have testified to the results. This is not a scam!
Posted in Communion: The Word, Spiritual Disciplines, tagged Bible reading prayer, godliness, guard your heart, heart, spiritual disciplines, spiritual growth, Theology, Thomas Watson on September 20, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
- Use the spiritual disciplines including those including those related to Scripture intake, prayer, corporate worship, and more.
- Love the world
- Set your mind on things above
- Guard your heart
- Use your time well for all things
- Consider that your life is a vapor
- Make this your maxim: godliness is your purpose
- Surround yourself with godly people
David Murray gives ten reasons to meditate and then ten methods to incorporate it into your everyday life.
A few reasons:
1. It stops sin: If we hide God’s Word in our heart it will stop sin at its roots (Ps. 119:11).
2. It starts good: Meditation on the Bible’s practical exhortations and commands reminds us of our Christian duties. What we think about is what we eventually do (Prov. 23:7).
3. It guides and refreshes prayer: Meditation on verses of Scripture opens up new topics and areas for prayer.
A few methods:
1. Limit: Set apart no more than 5-10 minutes to begin with, and start with one short verse or part of a verse.
2. Vary: Some days chose a theological verse, others a practical or devotional text.
3. Write: Write the text on a small index card, and put it in a place you will come across regularly (purse or pocket?).
Read on here.
Great article by John Piper that starts out talking about how much information we produce now and how much the average American has to process every day. But he applies this particularly and specifically to Christians:
“Here’s my point: “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And a poverty of attention is spiritually dangerous. The writer of Hebrews warns us:
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)
Hear that: less attention may result in our drifting away. We Twenty-first Century western Christians should tremble.
There is no shortcut to paying closer attention. It requires prayerful, careful listening to every word that has come out of God’s mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3), especially, what his Son, the Word speaks (John 1:1). And such prayerful, careful listening and thinking requires time — undistracted, focused time.
And undistracted time will likely not come to us. We will need to carve it out and protect it. Paul tells us to “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Make the time. It’s going to take some work because part of the evil of our day is the locust swarm of information that will eat up our time if we let it.
So let’s fight for faith today by paying less attention to the whirring words of the world so that we may pay more attention to the Word. Let’s choose wealth, not poverty. After all, our Father said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7). Let’s do what he said.
Read the first half of the article as well
Jeff Medders pleads:
Please, stop having quiet times.
Read your Bible. Meet with God. Take up your coffee and sit with the Word — but realize this is not a quiet time.
Twice our Sacred Book calls itself a sword (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17). Swords are not quiet instruments. Swords cut, pierce, defend, kill, and advance — quite loudly. Clang is the sword’s soundtrack.
A sword is only quiet when it’s not being used.
It may be quiet as we open the Bible in the wee hours, but inside of us — it should resemble the Battle of Mordor. Either a war is raging or a solider is readying (Ephesians 6:15).
Gospel soldiers don’t read and memorize the Bible like one collecting antique swords; they collect to wield them — to fight. An arsenal is being built because the Enemy prowls (1 Peter 5:8). The cosmic forces haven’t gone quietly (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we train. We wield. We fight.
Imagine the spine of your Bible. Picture grooves, like the handle of a sword, from where your hands have been. Envision pages littered with pen-tina — not rust — but circles, underlines, notes, comments, prayers. Signs of use.
The spirits of the age are nasty but they aren’t our only nemesis. Our ever present foe remains — the Old Man, the Flesh. He loves to pick a fight and that creep is not quiet. Memorize and read to become a quick-draw with that which cuts to the quick. Our hearts should be filled with the screeching echoes of the Old Man and his little hobgoblins, our sins, being taken behind the woodshed. As the saying goes, our hearts aren’t big enough for the both of us.
A bit more here.
David Mathis discusses a new book that documents what successful people do before breakfast, but then he goes on to answer the question of what it might look like for Christians to make the most of our mornings.
This article is worth reading whether you are up before the sun or you don’t rise until the crack of noon as well as for those who fall somewhere in between.
David writes,”When you think of “doing first things first,” consider going deep in the Scriptures, scouring them for fresh glimpses of Jesus, and daily rehearsing their central message — the gospel — that is always for the Christian “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
As you begin a new week, take a few moments to look at “First Things: Making the Most of Your Morning.”
I have been looking at some of the Bibles I had while I was growing up and noticed that I used to mark them up and write in them a lot more. In recent years I have migrated to more electronic versions of the Bible so I don’t mark up my hard copy so much as I once did. But I think it might be a good idea to do that more.
I know that those who are in Precepts Bible Studies have learned a system to mark up their Bibles or at least the portion of Scripture they are studying. It really helps you analyze a text and make connections well.
Jim Hamilton, a professor at Southern Seminary shares his practice. He begins:
Do you have a system for marking your Bible as you study? Over the years, I’ve found that if I want to layer reading upon reading and go deeper each time, it helps me to mark my Bible and build on my earlier study notes.
As I read the Bible, I try to make note of repeated words, resumed themes, quotations of earlier passages, and other key ideas. But I don’t want simply to see them and move on. I want to highlight them. This helps me recall connections I’ve seen, and helps me find those key ideas later. Whenever I want an uninfluenced, fresh reading of a Bible passage, I use an unmarked copy.
I try to read large chunks of Bible all at one sitting, whole books if possible, and thoroughly mark them up as I go. Doing this book after book brings out the interconnectedness of individual books and the thick intertextuality of each book of the Bible with all the others.
So, here’s what I like to do when marking my Bible.
Keep reading to learn how he does it. Quite a system he has.