Four Things To Look Out For While Reading The Bible

I don’t know any other topic I am consistently passionate about other than the Bible. I want to see every child, woman, and man to grab a hold of the Bible and not let go. To look and look at their Maker until they resemble His likeness. But with that said I thought it was important to note how to be watchful of ourselves when we read our Bibles.

1. Studying Or Reading The Bible Doesn’t Earn God’s Love.

God’s love is perfect so there is nothing that we can do to add or take away from that love. I wish I could say that this is a lie that I only believed when I first had saving faith in Christ. But it is a lie I am inclined to believe this to this very day. I realized only once I got saved that I have a performance streak in me. I wanted to prove just how lovable I could be to this God. And the other side of that coin was that when I knew in myself that I was wholly unlovable, I sank into the pit of despair. This takes reminding ourselves of the Gospel every day. We may not read a chapter of the New Testament every day. But we must repeat the Gospel to ourselves with intentionality.

For example:

“God accepts and loves me because of Jesus Christ. I have experienced the great exchange with Jesus. He has received the punishment, separation from the Father, and death that my sins deserved. And I have received His righteousness. I am a child of God and He is jealous for me.”

We can spend hours in the Bible or we can spend minutes, His love will not change for us. But also I think Jen Wilkin said it best, “The heart can’t love what the mind does not know”.

Scripture reading is so good for our souls. It makes obedience look good and sin look bad. It anchors our often troubled souls. We have a new need for God’s truth every single day that we awake. We love the Word so that we may love God more and keep His commands not that He will love us. He already does, He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that! And we are no longer His enemies we are His children.

2. That Any Truth Gleaned Is Revealed To Us By God

It didn’t take long for the sin of pride to grip my heart when reading the Word. At one point every time I would open the Bible I would discover so much truth that I began to believe the lie that it was my wisdom that had garnered these truths. God quickly responded to this by showing me that it wasn’t within myself that I had gleaned these truths. In those following days the Bible that was opened up to me like an oyster was shut tight and I couldn’t make it open to me. The Holy Spirit soon convicted me and I repented. I’ve always fancied myself to be bright, and I thought that explained why I understood so much of the Bible. When in all actuality it was my Teacher, the Holy Spirit who gave me these truths. Now I come to the Word as humbly as I can, with lots of prayer. I believe that those days where I don’t understand certain passages of the text reminds me just how dependent I am on God to understand His Word.

3. Searching Scriptures Only To Find A ‘Word’ For The Day.

I get it, I do, sometimes we just have to make a beeline for the book of Psalms. The toil of everyday living or the storms of life have us going to and fro, and we need to be anchored in God’s truth. But I often would come to the Bible so weary that I wasn’t trying to learn about God, I just wanted to be assured that it would all be alright. I looked intently for the verse that could speak into my life that day. Instead of looking for the attributes of the God that never changes.

The Bible is about God, period. We do gain insight into who we are or into human nature by reading the Word. But if we come to the Bible only to look for ourselves we are cheating ourselves.

I think for a while I didn’t realize that seeing various attributes or the character of God could anchor my troubled soul as well. This God whom Enoch walked with, I walk with today. The God that was faithful to David will be faithful to me. I had no idea that what I needed the most was to see God, and not myself.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I usually sneak a line or two in my prayer before reading the Word. For example:

“Lord, clear any ill-motivations that I may have for coming to Your Word.”

Some wrong reasons that I’ve come to the Bible include:

  • To share something on social media.
  • To check Scripture reading off my to-do list.

In themselves neither of these reasons are sinful. It is good to use our platforms to make much of God. And Scripture reading is a spiritual discipline that needs to be on our list of daily priorities. But because of the sin in our hearts any good thing can be perverted and twisted.

I may only be sharing to gain some vainglory for myself, or to make much of myself and not Christ. This is a problem. I may get so caught up in scratching meeting with God off my list that I don’t ask Him give me a desire for His Word. Or I don’t ask Him to bring revival into my heart. And even more importantly I don’t repent of these feelings. I know that the word of God is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10;119:103). So when I can’t taste the sweetness there is something wrong with my taste buds. And this too is a problem

4. That Reading God’s Commands Are More Important Than Keeping Them.

God prizes obedience to His commands over our own knowledge of them. All through Scriptures God tells us over and over again that keeping His commands is what really matters to Him. He told it to King Saul by way of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus spoke about the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And James warned us not to be hearers only but to be doers of God’s word (James 1:22).

The blessing comes in the doing not in the knowing.

This took me a while to grasp. I certainly know the miserableness of knowing better and not doing better. I think on some level we all do going through this lifelong process of sanctification. God has given us a portion that He knew we could handle. He’s given us today, and to practice the truth we’ve attained (Philippians 3:16)

Last Things

Even though I present these four things to look out for while reading the Bible, let us not cease to press on to know God. Meeting with God is more important than anything else we can do. Let us still put that important meeting on the top of our lists. Let us still come to the Word weary-hearted. Finally, let us be watchful but let us not stop gleaning from God’s enduring Word.

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Grace


“On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.”‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭1:4-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was going to make this blog about Hannah and her godly traits. But, as I was journaling and inwardly rolling my eyes because of Penninah. I was reminded of grace.

I read these stories in the Bible, and I bring myself into context. I would be Hannah, and I imagine Penninah to be some popular girl in school; who I secretly admired, but yet openly was rejected by. So, I found myself inwardly doing what Hannah wouldn’t do at that table, every year. Then, the Holy Spirit tapped me on my shoulder and whispered ‘grace’.

Penninah was an unloved woman, it (v.5) doesn’t read that Elkanah loved Hannah more than Penninah; it reads ‘he loved her’. So, we can assume that though he had two wives, his love was devout and not divided.

I’m sure that much like Leah (Gen 29:32), Penninah assumed that having multiple sons and daughters would make Elkanah divide his devotion. But, to no avail. The Holy Spirit had to remind me that there are two hurting women at that table. Hannah had her husband’s love but wanted a child. Penninah had the children but wanted the love of her husband.

And, while Penninah was no angel, and did what was unpleasing in the sight of the Lord; she too was a woman troubled in spirit. Penninah should have followed Hannah and poured her soul out to the Lord. Instead, she looked forward to inflicting her hurt on another woman.

Prayer: Lord, may we be people who show grace towards the hurting who in return hurt us. May we as your vessels empty ourselves at your feet. Lord, we thank you that you are a God who hears unheard prayers. We thank you that we can always come to you, and in the solace of your Presence will you change our countenance. I thank you for loving the accused and the accuser.I pray that as you are making us into the image of your own Son, we will love like He does. I pray that we wouldn’t hold on to old wounds but allow you to heal them. For we know there is still balm in Gilead. I say this prayer in Jesus name. Amen

You Are Not Alone

 

I think where Satan can be triumphant, is when we believe that we are alone. When we think we are the only one being buffeted.(2 Cor 12:7) When we believe that we’re the only child of God, going through hardships. When he convinces us we are the only disciple counting the cost.

As if somehow, God is doing excellent things (engagements, babies, graduation, books, speaking engagements, etc..) in the lives of every saint- except you. The enemy really wants you to doubt God’s goodness! Or that we aren’t good enough to be used by Him.

You are not alone! I just experienced an attack that resulted in tears. I was on my knees pouring my heart out to God, telling Him all the lies I believed. And, how I feel that I know too much Scripture; to be here, feeling defeated yet again. How I should be able to defeat him, with the Word. Yet, I find myself not casting his lies down. Nor do I compare them with the truth.

God reminded me that I don’t need to sit and believe his lies, but I could call out for Him. I could run and hide in his pavilion.

God is breaking me down- I was (BC) so hell-bent on being self-sufficient. This desire stems from me losing half of my intermediate family (Mom +Bro). Since it’s just me and my Dad; and he’s not in good health. I felt that I would be alone and that I would have to know how to handle things on my own. Although I thought I was over this, it’s shown up again.

But, let me assure you; this Christian life isn’t easy. But, I know that it’s worth it. I know we have the ability to see anyone (who just happens to be wearing clean clothes) and think, ‘their life is probably better than mines’. Well, that’s a lie. And, it robs us of our God-given joy. We are all a mess! We are a mess God chose to set His heart on. We are a mess that is awakened with new mercies and we are covered by His grace.

You are not alone! This is hard stuff, pursuing holiness in a wicked world.You are not alone! Leaving behind what the world taught you, to cling to God’s word as the only truth. You are not alone! Sometimes..just sometimes you miss your old self and your old life. You are not alone! You’ve thought about quitting this ‘Jesus-stuff’. You are not alone! 

So, be of good courage, my brother or sister. God has not forsaken you, and He doesn’t have the ability to. You are in good hands, and you are so loved. Think about it! God will do whatever is necessary, for you to spend eternity with Him. You are so valuable, and the body of Christ needs you. Be prayerful, rely on Jesus, and He will lead you from everlasting to everlasting.

Let’s be transparent in the comments. What was a really hard part of this month for you- concerning your walk with Christ? Please, share & like. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, pick up a cool tee from my SHOP. Thank You.

 

The New Way I Study My Bible

I’ve been consistently pursuing the truth found in Scriptures for six months. I can’t begin to even tell you how it’s changed my life. The Bible has changed me, and the way I perceive all things. Yet, I still have this thirst for the unadulterated truth of the Word. In previous times I depended heavily on the helps in my study Bible. And, even Bible commentaries. And, while there is nothing wrong with that; I feel the reason commentators came to certain conclusions about Word, is because they took their time in Scriptures. Sometimes my thirst for the truth will bring me to a place where I only want to understand; and not to patiently take my time. Honestly, sometimes I have preconceived notions about what I’m reading. Which in turns make the Bible read, what I have already believed.

Looks like chicken scratch, but at least I’m learning

I have vowed and prayed that I would like to see God clearer. And, not add on to who He is, and what His word says about Him.

That brings me to my new method, Inductive Bible Study (IBS). My Pastor briefly mentioned that’s how he studies the Word. I had seen it around on the Internet, but it seemed complicated. Well, actually it’s not that complicated at all!

Studying my Bible this way, makes me focus verse-by-verse. It’s a very interactive way of study that calls for marking or highlighting names, places, or actions. You literally lift up every word, looking for the meaning of the verse. I’ve found it takes more time than I’m used to. But, at least I’m fully understanding everything!

And, while there is so much more to IBS than I can hope to explain; I’m going to leave you some links* so you can look into this for yourselves.

The question of the day: How do you study your Bible? And, out of all your studying what verse, passage or truth has stayed with you to this day? Leave me a comment so we can chat!

I love you, but God loves you more!

The Thing About Idols + 6 Clues You May Be Dealing with Idolatry.


Idol: a picture or an object that is worshiped as a god.

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 26:1 ESV

The Israelites made idols NOT because of their disbelief in God, but because of pride and control. After all, God had delivered them from oppression in Egypt and performed many great things in their sight. Yet they continually formed gods who would only secure war victories and riches; and who had no disapproval about their decisions or choices. The silence of their gods approved of their reckless lives.

The Israelites knew God, but had no control, or hopes of manipulating  God; so they formed gods. Gods that weren’t so seemingly hard to please; gods that couldn’t chide, discipline or CORRECT them. Gods that inwardly they could boast they formed. It all points to pride. So, they could boast of their own riches, victories, and give no one else the glory. That is why God hates pride. Pride gives self-glory; and robs God of the glory, and credit He is due.

Even today we make idols, but unlike Biblical times; our idols aren’t wooden statues, but live in our hearts. An idol is something that in your mind or heart de-thrones the living King. The thing about idols is that the shift from a desire to an idol is quite a sneaky one. Sometimes our desire turned idol, is not in essence unholy. But, the focus we give it, is.To the extent that we ignore all that God does for us, to focus on the one thing He hasn’t yet done. The other thing about idols is it can be dangerous; if we aren’t awakened and recommit ourselves back to God.

So here are 5 clues that you may be harboring an idol: 

1.When you experience ingratitude for an extent of time.

Now we all go through a spell of ingratitude, for whatever reasons. But in this example, this sort of ungratefulness is actual disappointment in God. And, sometimes bursts of anger or resentment.

2.When your mind is filled with same thoughts of wanting, daily.

When you can only think about how much you want this one thing. What life will be like when you have this one thing? Why isn’t God giving me this one thing?

3. When your conversations with God or prayers are based on one topic.

Sometimes certain urgent situations require constant communication. However, in this example, you can’t shut up about this one thing. Over, and over harping on an endless loop.

4.When your faith dwindles because God hasn’t given you this one thing.

You began to think God hasn’t given you this one thing because He isn’t able. Not, because it’s an idol. Or, not because your focus on it is unhealthy.

5.When you want that one thing more than you want God.

Before all you wanted was to develop a closer relationship with God. Your desires were all correctly aligned with God in mind. Nowadays, God’s a little further away.Because, your heart isn’t set on Him, anymore.

6. When our natural inclinations to praise and worship aren’t towards God.

This one thing takes all your time, attention, and fills your mind. You now worship that one thing. In your heart, you lift it up and behold it.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV

Conclusion

If any of these clues rang true for you; go in prayer, and ask God to reveal it to you. I went through a spell of making marriage an idol. I thought about it all the time. I dealt with lots of discontentment issues because of it. I told God ‘He was enough for me’, but in reality, He wasn’t. I wanted validation from a man. I wanted a prince charming to rescue me while ignoring my Savior. After tears and prayers, God worked it out for me. And, I know He will do the same for you.

I love you, but God loves you more!