HE is Risen. Indeed.

April 21, 2019 2 comments

HE is Risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Today we celebrate the most important single event in all of human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Prior to the resurrection, the most important event had been His death for our sins–just three days earlier. But His death would have been meaningless, had He not risen.

When upon the cross Jesus said, “it is finished,” He was referring to His mission: which was to pay the penalty for all of our sins; and when He said that mission had been accomplished, He maintained that the debt that we all owe to God for our rebellion had been fully paid.

His resurrection sealed the deal.

He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans‬ ‭4:25‬)

I subscribe to a word for the day from the Miriam-Webster Dictionary. Today’s word was Resurrection.

Noun | rez-uh-REK-shun

Definition:

1 a: (capitalized Resurrection) : the rising of Christ from the dead

1 b: (often capitalized Resurrection) : the rising again to life of all the human dead before the final judgment

1 c: the state of one risen from the dead

Believing and confessing 1a exempts a person from having to answer for his/her sins as in 1b, and makes 1c an absolute certainty. The believer is raised to everlasting life!

Romans 10:9,10 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

‭‭Yes, He Is Risen.

Indeed.

Happy Resurrection Sunday, everyone!

#Christisrisen #resurrection #eternallife #hope #faithinChrist #nojudgment #forgivenessofsin #forgivenbyGod #forgiven

Categories: Uncategorized

Live 2019 in God’s Word!

December 31, 2018 Leave a comment

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God’s Word, the Bible. Nothing contributes more to one’s spiritual growth than reading God’s Word, meditating upon God’s Word, believing God’s Word, and obeying God’s Word. And reading the Bible—book by book and chapter by chapter—is the foundation of living in God’s Word.

Exodus 16 tells the story of the manna, given to the children of Israel for their daily physical sustenance. It’s also a picture of Jesus (John 6:32-33), and a picture of the word of God (John 8:31-32).

When the people saw the manna on the ground, they did not know what it was. So they asked the question “what is it?“ “What is it” is the meaning of the word ‘manna.’

They were not aware of the fact that this was the ultimate super food. It had all the proteins, all the vitamins, all the right kinds of fats, all the minerals that they would ever need. They would eat this food for 40 years in the wilderness. None of them would become obese, no one would have high cholesterol, no one would acquire food related diabetes.

The manna illustrates our need to daily feed upon the Scriptures.

As was initially true of Israel, most people are not aware of the power and strength that comes to us through the Word of God. But when a person begins to read it, believe it, and obey it … its power becomes apparent.

Do you have the daily habit of reading God‘s Word? If not, may I suggest to you that this one habit has the capacity to entirely change your life!

To help you along, I’m going to list some resources that can trigger the habit of daily Bible reading. If you dive in, you’ll see major changes in your life in the coming year. God promises it. 

_______________________________

Suggested Bible Reading and Study Resources

Tips on Reading the Bible Daily

  1. Start reading the Bible today—there is no better time, and there’s no reason to wait.
  2. Set aside a specific time each day. Set your schedule and then stick to it. Mornings are great, but feel free to use any time that works consistently for you.
  3. Read the Bible for the sake of learning, especially for the purpose of knowing God and His purposes for your life.
  4. Say a short prayer to God before you begin, asking the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding, then be refreshed by the words you read!

Suggested Bible Reading Schedules

Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan (entire Bible in one year, the Gospels twice).

https://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Discipleship-Journal-Bible-Reading-Plan-9781617479083.pdf

Discipleship Journal Book-At-A-Time Bible Reading Plan (two readings per day)

http://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/DJ-Book-at-a-Time-Bible-reading-plan.pdf

Navigator Discipleship Tool (read through the New Testament five days a week, five minutes a day)

https://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/navtool-5x5x5.pdf

21 Day Challenge (read the gospel of John in 21 days, form a new habit)

https://www.backtothebible.org/images/stories/pdf/Reading_Guide_21_Day.pdf

90 Day Challenge (readings in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the book of Genesis)

https://www.backtothebible.org/images/stories/pdf/Reading_Guide_90_Day.pdf

6 Month Challenge (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the whole New Testament)

https://www.backtothebible.org/images/stories/pdf/Reading_Guide_6_Month.pdf

Chronological Bible Reading Plan (read the Bible as things occurred)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/assets/pdf/dbrp/1Yr_ChronologicalPlan.pdf

Bible Apps

Bible Gateway

https://www.biblegateway.com/app/

You Version

https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/

Bible.is (audio App for iPhone and iPad)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bible.is-dramatized-audio/id378075859?mt=8

Blueletter Bible (good study resources, for iPhone and iPad)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blue-letter-bible/id365547505?mt=8

Introduction to the Bible

30 Days to Understanding the Bible, Unlock the Scriptures in 15 Minutes a Day (by Max Anders)

Talk Through the Bible (by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa)

Halley’s Bible Handbook (by Henry H. Halley)

Categories: Uncategorized

James – Wednedsday, March 4

October 22, 2018 10 comments

trial-faithJAMES 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Notice the word consider in this passage. It’s a word that means to count or esteem something; to suppose something. In our trials, we’re to consider, count, esteem, or suppose them to be pure joy.

The key to doing this is to know something. In our trials, we need to know (and remember) that these tests are accomplishing something in us. Because of our trials, we’re growing in patience (endurance, constancy, steadfastness). We become stable, dependable people who are not likely to change or waiver because of difficulty. It is much like tempered steel—the only way steel becomes hardened or flexible to that degree is to subject it to extreme heat and pounding.

The same is true of our lives of faith. This is what brings us joy … knowing this truth. Our trials are making us stronger.

There is a danger to this process, however. It’s possible to short-circuit the effect of our trials. We must let them run their due course, and remain under the fire as long as the Lord deems it necessary. We gain wisdom in these things by asking Him (see James 1:5)!

Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions

1. Someone once said that the Christian is either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or heading into a trial. To the degree that statement is true, where are you in that statement?

2. Do you believe in this process of God? Do you trust Him that He knows what He is doing in your life? Are you confident in His infinite wisdom and unending love, and that He is 100% motivated to produce His best in us? If not, tell Him right now. And ask Him to strengthen your faith and commitment to His ways.

3. How have you short-circuited a time of trial in your life? If you’re going through trials right now, make sure to let the Lord finish His lesson. Make this a matter of prayer as well. Assignment: tell a close and trusted friend about your current trial, and ask him/her to pray for you (men with men and women to women).

Introduction to the Epistle of James

October 19, 2018 Leave a comment

gldi-james-coverHow to use this Devotional

Welcome to this devotional on the book of James! This guided study will help you to know the contents, structure, and themes that are part of this important New Testament letter. It is a significant letter due to the fact that it describes faith that works. Whereas Paul the apostle’s emphasis was often upon the grace that saves through faith, James emphasizes what faith actually looks like in the lives of those who have truly believed.

James has been called “Practical James,” because this epistle is so practical in nature. As such, it is the book of Proverbs in the New Testament. James draws heavily upon the ethic taught by the Lord Jesus—making the teachings of Christ plain and down to earth, right where we live.

The translation that is used for the text is taken from the New International Version (NIV). But it is also possible to use other translations like the New American Standard and the New King James Version.

This devotional is intended to give you a complete tour of the book within a 40-day framework, one devotional per day. At the end of every five days, you’ll find summary pages. Use these pages to reflect upon the week. Here are the steps on how to proceed with this study.

Be sure to look at the big picture of James before you get into the specific passages.
Take a moment and actually read through all five chapters in one sitting. This is how the letter was meant to be read! This will help you to frame the book and see the “forest” before you start examining the “trees.”

Take some time to look over the background of James, the arguments, the topics, and the outline of the book. This will help you become familiar with the basic shape of this great
epistle.

As you approach each lesson, begin by reading the portion of the passage that is listed above. Think about the passage and pay attention to some of the key ideas that are mentioned. Look for action verbs and notice repetition, contrasts, and comparisons. Read it again out loud to help you understand the passage. Then take some time to look at the interpretation notes which should aid you in understanding the passage.

Take time to go over the reflection questions and apply them to your own life. Please do this thoughtfully and carefully. Use the text as a mirror to your own heart as you think about the principles first and then how your life should reflect those principles.

Finally, pray over and meditate on the truth, and ask God to help you make it true in your own life. This will be crucial in order for you to internalize the devotional fully for that day!

Quiet Confidence as We Wait

October 19, 2017 3 comments

quiet confidence

This passage jumped out at me in this morning’s Bible reading/prayer time. I thought I’d share my thoughts with you…

For thus says the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. And you said, “’No, for we will flee on horses’—therefore you shall flee! And, ‘We will ride on swift horses’—therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!” (Isaiah 30:15-16)

If I return (repent) when needed, and if I rest in the LORD, trusting His promises and waiting for Him to act—in His timing … then I shall be saved. I shall be delivered.

If I rely on ‘horses,’ or if I rely on my own devices, plans, or schemes … then I shall be overtaken and defeated by those very devices, plans, or schemes.

The LORD knows that I love to depend upon His promises, and believe what I believe about Him. But the waiting and quietness part gets me a lot of the time. I’m not good at it, not good at waiting and not always cooperative with Divine timing.

I know others that are good at waiting and trusting in God’s timing. I need to learn from and follow their example. Of course, the Lord Jesus was the absolute best in these matters … I marvel at His patience and strong sense of timing. He always waited for the Father.

Only by His life in me can I do the same. It is no use trying to copy Him. It cannot be done, at least not with my own strength. I need Jesus to live like Jesus! This is what I must trust Him for.

I imagine that things may be the same for at least some of you. Yes?

Suggestions on How to Read the Bible

December 29, 2016 Leave a comment

bfb160919-read-me

I started my journey with God’s Word way back in August of 1973. While I’d had some sort of conversion experience over three years earlier, I didn’t really grow. In fact, one would be very hard pressed to identify me as a true believer during that season of my life.

But the Lord patiently and lovingly pursued me, a reluctant young man who really wanted to be a true Christian. But there was no power in me to pull it off, and I knew it—in that condition I finally surrendered to Jesus. The result: I was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and things began changing in my life. Radically changing.

One evening my friend Stan and I were hanging out, and he said, “Hey, how about if we read the Bible?” “Sounds good to me,” I said. He suggested, “Let’s read Galatians!” I said “Fine. What’s a Galatian?” Obviously, I was virtually ignorant of the Bible … but that night I had a new start. It didn’t take long for me to develop the habit of daily Bible reading, a habit that really got me going in my growth as a Christian.

So I began reading the Bible all the way through, from cover to cover, year after year. It never gets old. Oh, I’ve been through plenty of dry times in my Bible reading, I think that’s somewhat normal. I had to learn to approach Bible reading in new ways, from different angles. Keep it fresh.

I remember one year in my pastorate in Monterey, CA. It had been my custom to encourage the fellowship to accept the challenge of reading through the entire Bible that year. A gentleman who was in the church (a very respected believer with a fruitful ministry) came up to me after that morning’s service and admitted that before that year, he’d never read through the entire Bible. But now he excitedly told me that he’d done it that very year, as a result of my challenge. I’ll never forget his words to me: “Bill, I cannot even begin to tell you the changes that God has worked in my life this past year, and I owe it all to the reading of God’s Word!” Those words were music to my ears, like Handel’s Messiah to my soul.

So here are some things I’ve learned about reading the Bible. Perhaps this may be helpful to some of you.

1.       I’ve learned that reading the Bible is a relational encounter with God.

Through the Bible, God speaks to us. Therefore, I read as a listener, as a learner, as God’s child. I desire connection with God as I read, and God desires the same connection (infinitely more I do).

2.       I’ve learned that the Bible reveals Jesus, and Jesus illuminates the Bible.

The message of Jesus is told throughout the Bible, Genesis – Revelation. And Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, shines His light on the Bible to my heart. I cannot truly get what God wants to give me through His Word without Jesus.

3.       I’ve discovered the blessing of reading the Bible out loud.

Reading the Bible out loud slows everything down for me. It helps me focus. When the words are in my head only, my mind can more easily wander. When they come out of my mouth, it’s easier to stay on track. I see the words (the eye gate), and I hear the words (the ear gate).

Not only that, but if I’m reading aloud, I’m closer to being in a conversational mode with the Lord. It’s easy to pause, and just talk to the Lord about what I’m reading. Confession happens, there can be a faith commitment to a promise He’s made, or I might pray for strength to obey something I’ve been commanded.

Frequently, I’ll address Jesus directly as I’m reading the gospels. Instead of reading “Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee,” I’ll read “Some time after this, You crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.” It personalizes the narrative, and brings me into fellowship with Jesus.

4.       I’ve used a Bible reading plan to help me with discipline.

There are many great plans out there, but I’m the kind of guy that likes to order the same thing at a restaurant! So if it works for me, I typically stay with it.

Having said that, I prefer a plan that has me in the gospels every day, and that is designed for a 25 day per month reading schedule. I want to be in the gospels every day because it’s all about Jesus, and I want to know Him better. And the 25 day plans allow me some catch up days, as well as the ability to linger on a passage and not read as many chapters on that specific day.

The good folks at The Navigators (www.navigators.org) have great plans, which are the ones I’ve used. But like I said, there are many great plans out there, usually available for free by download.

I print out the plan I’ve chosen, and then fold it up and keep it in my Bible. Then when I’m done for the year, I either start all over with the same plan I used, or with a new one that looks like a winner.

bible-reading-plan

5.       I like to read the Bible from one translation every year.

I do this primarily for the purpose of Bible memorization and familiarity. I find that by reading in in the same version I study from I am committing more Bible to memory than I even realize. That’s how it works for me, anyway.

One other note on this suggestion: it’s usually a good idea to read the Bible with the same translation used in your church … especially if your church is a Bible teaching church that teaches through the books of the Bible. Again, this is very helpful for Bible memorization and familiarity.

So please let me encourage you to try it out! Accept the challenge, and read through the Bible this year! It’s not hard, really … if one averages 85 verses a day, he/she will have read through the entire Bible in one year.

Some will protest by saying they don’t read well enough. My response: I’ve met plenty of believers over the years that have actually greatly improved their reading skills by reading the Bible! Also, there are many audio Bibles available online or via smartphone apps. By reading along with the audio Bible, you’re reading God’s Word!

At the end of 2017 (or even during the year) please write me and let me know how it went. Your testimony will be powerful, and encouraging to others to read!

 

 

2016 in Pictorial Review

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

2-Poimem Ministries-Logo Final

Here’s the link to what we’ve been up to this past year. It contains mostly pictures … let me know if you want to sign up to receive these updates. They go out every several months or so.

God bless you! And thanks for reading.

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=402ca9421c467de147acbbb6e&id=90ea894837&e=[UNIQID]