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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You Don’t Have to Earn God’s Love

Today, I had a very difficult day. I ended my night, or should I say early morning weeping into a pillow. My eyes are swollen and heavy as I write this. Somehow, I’ve ended up in a place I’ve visited before. This place of self-righteousness, and feeling a need to earn the love of God. It sounds silly, I know. It’s amazing how our brokenness and the familiarity of issues we’ve had with people, shows up in our fellowship with God.I guess I’ve had a past of wanting to be liked by people so badly, that I often put on shows. Also, I’ve dealt with feeling like the kindness of people hung over my head. I’ve always hated the feeling of “being a burden” to anyone. I would have to quickly return their kindness, to feel at ease. So, I guess if this brokenness had not shown up in my relationship with God, it would’ve never been fully brought to my attention.

I love when words flow and compliment one another, but I’d prefer that my blog would be authentic.In my mind when I’m accomplishing the list of Christian duties, then I’m bringing God glory. When indeed it’s when I’m aware of my own weaknesses and I’m completely humbled that I can too bring Him glory.

I say these things to say that you, you reading this are loved by God. There is nothing you could’ve done to earn His love, nor is there anything you can do that will make Him stop loving you. He chose in His Son before the light overcame the darkness, God has been loving you for such a long time. He’s got such awesome plan for your life.That old sin that you’re clinging to, God has something better to give you. Your weaknesses and shortcomings don’t dismay Him nor can it remove His devotion. When the Father looks at you, He sees His Son. Yet, He does see you and loves you completely. Yes, you are a mess, but God still loves you. I don’t know what you’ve been through or what you’ve experienced, but you don’t have to EARN God’s love. God’s love is pre-existing and sovereign. His love is not fickle or feeble. No matter how much or little you’ve studied, or prayed He loves you just the same. You are loved by God. You are deeply loved by God.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that you would remove this manmade equation from our hearts. This action plus that action does not equal Your love. Lord, remind us that it’s through Your Son’s actions that we are reconciled with you. Lord, save us from self-righteousness. It wrecks any hope of us enjoying You. It literally takes Your most deserved praise out of our mouths. Lord, let us accept our weaknesses and not resent them. Let us do things from our hearts and not from seeking to earn your love. God, let us strive for holiness with all of our might. And, when we make bad choices may we not believe in Satan’s lies. Lord, show us how to rejoice in suffering and in failing. Lord, we don’t want to be in this place again. Lastly, Lord fills us and make us whole. We love you. I say this prayer in Jesus name, Amen.

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Why God Sends Us Afflictions

***I’ve been busy writing something pretty special, so just to keep my blog updated with content I’m going to share some of my personal journal entries. I hope you enjoy.***

Lately, I’ve found myself getting frustrated with Scriptures. Yesterday, I posted on social media how the Bible is a treasure. While sitting here today the Holy Spirit. reminded me of that saying. The thing is I know there are innumerable treasures to be found in Scriptures, often I just don’t want to dig. Sigh. I’ve been mostly reading the NT epistles and the book of Psalm. I find there is treasure above ground with this books/sections. Ugh. I can’t be a lazy Bible reader. I was reading the Book of Job, Elihu statements about God. A lot of the gospel in that. A lot of God’s redeeming power toward the Saints.

He delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by adversity Job 36:16

God uses what we would rather not experience, to save us. I can’t help but think about the affliction God so sovereignly planned for me. Eczema. I couldn’t explain away these splotches, or no cream could save me. I used to be so itchy I couldn’t sleep at night. I remember I had joined a Reddit board of eczema-sufferers and poured through a lot of posts. I was seeking a remedy. Well, one day a young lady posted she’d been meditating on healing Bible verses. And, while I wasn’t interested in the Bible, out of desperation I was like ‘sign me up.’ Then, I found how people believed unrepressed anger could manifest itself in various diseases, including eczema. And, I was ANGRY. I was angry at God for allowing my Mom to die. I had stuff pent up on the inside of me that happened when I was in Elementary school. I always thought it’s better to keep it inside than to be confrontational about anything. I thought I was BETTER than those who ranted and raved. I thought anger was ugly and I wanted to avoid it COMPLETELY.

Most of those people recommended therapy and all sorts of new age things. I’m not saying therapy isn’t helpful, it is. But, as a Christian, I now know that He is the remedy. He remedied my skin that felt like it was on fire. He remedied repressed anger, that I didn’t have enough time, money or skills to deal with or compartmentalize. My spirit was like a stuffed closet, full of mostly anger. All the advice I saw online was for me to attempt to pull stuff out, and put it in neater. Only God could have rid me of repressed anger.

So, I know God will use the most difficult times in our lives to open our eyes, draw us near and to save us. No one likes suffering, but it’s the best remedy. We need to be saved from the pit, we need to draw near to God and we need for God to open our eyes. And, I hope not to speak as if suffering is behind me. We will leave it behind us for good when we enter heaven’s gates.

Porn

 

The subject of #PORN came up at work today. And, I wasn’t exactly proud of how the conversation went. And, I take all of the blame. ABOVE is what I should’ve said. ABOVE is what God had to teach and show me about porn. ABOVE is how God had to reveal to me that my value isn’t based on ‘know-how’, my gender, or if someone is attracted enough to me, to do the things I watched in uncounted videos.
✨God’s word says who I am, nowadays. I am made in His Image(Gen 1:27), God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). God says the sole fact of me bearing His very image, and the blood that ran down on Calvary IS my value. Those two reasons, and those alone.✨

Don’t be mislead, PORN isn’t sexy, it’s DISGUSTING. Watching actors on film isn’t the true representation of the beauty that is the marital bed.
I’ve too been misled by pornography. I’ve too felt that dirty feeling after watching it. Turn from it brother and sister, allow God to tell you your worth. Let His word build your confidence back up. Pick up a Bible, or download an app- and see what God says about you. He loves you, and He’s more than gracious to forgive you. And, remove your sins as far as the east is from the west(Ps 103:12). Confess and repent, God’s grace covers your sins. Pray that God will remove the taste of pornography from your mouth. Pray that God will make you see pornography as it truly is: EVIL, DECEITFUL, UNGODLY and UGLY. You are not of the world, but you are the Almighty’s loved child.

P.S. Do you see how God will use every tear, fear, shame- nothing is wasted. The thing I repented for, and felt quite shameful of (my former involvement with porn and the conversation from today) and use it for my good, and the edification of the body. He’s awesome!

I love you, but God loves you more!!

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.

 

Satan’s Bag of Tricks

For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16 (ESV)

Today, I will be discussing what is Satan’s reservoir when it comes to tempting us. First, Satan can only tempt us with what we desire. I will be comparing Eve’s temptation (Genesis 3) and Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 and Mark 1:12-13). Since Satan used the same dirty tricks with both Eve and Jesus.

                                               The Pride of Life

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, ; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.‘” ; But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. ; For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ; He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden‘?” Genesis 2-5

It’s peculiar that one of his attacks is the very thing that overcame Satan, pride. Satan thought He was better God, convincing some of the other angels of the exact ideal. So God threw Satan and those who he’d had turned against God; out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). Then Satan puts a spin on it ‘knowing good and evil’. As, if to convince Eve she’d be doing God a favor; having this knowledge of discernment.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple ; and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’; “‘On their hands they will bear you up,; and ; lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Matthew 4:5-6

This proves that our enemy knows just as much Scripture as we do, and in fact probably more. Satan knew Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God. But, wanted Jesus to ‘show off’, just because Satan had questioned His authority. Here, Satan quotes two different verses (Ps 91:11 and 12). But, he was no match for Jesus who is the Word.

                                              The Desires of the Flesh

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food.. Genesis 3:6 A

Eve at this point was already convinced by the crafty serpent. She spoke no more, the Bible only describes what she does. She doesn’t speak again until God arrives and asks “What is this that you have done?” That serpent probably slinked away, already knowing it was done.

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

Jesus was at the end of His 40 days and nights without food (I can’t imagine) and was very hungry. As Luke 4:13 reminds us the enemy stalks and waits for the most opportune time. Jesus was weak with hunger, yet (thankfully) would not budge. Jesus who would begin His ministry sometime after this fast; would do miracles turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). And, feeding a great crowd with very little fish and bread (Luke 9:10-17). So, He could very well make a feast appear in the wilderness if He were as prideful as Satan is. Also, this fast would discipline His new flesh, for what He would do for all of us on the cross.

                                                      The Desires of the Eyes

…And it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of it’s fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6B

The fruit looked appealing, but it was more than food; it came with a promise. Eve had no clue how a bite of a piece of fruit would change existence as we know it. Couldn’t have known that what seemed desirable, would come with a lifelong curse for her, Adam, the serpent and their offspring.

Again, the devil took him to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Genesis 3:8-9

Satan attempted to tempt Jesus by taking Him on a high mountain, where these kingdoms must have look picture perfect. Now, we know even through extreme hunger and probably fatigue; Jesus would never entertain Satan. But, all of this took place so we would know how to fight back. Jesus fights back with Scriptures, so we too must fight this way. We have to press on in our studies so we can guard ourselves, by standing on God’s truth.

Yesterday, I was under attack, and just sat there and didn’t bother to fight back with the Truth. So, sometimes it’s not that we don’t know; we choose not to fight back. I knew all I had to do was to pray or pick up my Bible, but ‘I didn’t feel like it’. I cried, and the angels came and ministered to me. But, what I’ve taken from this is, I have to not be led by my feelings. I have to admit that my feelings are always quite foolish and fleshly. And, that I must deny myself more than I currently do. Jesus calls for us to deny ourselves daily (Luke 9:23-24). An awesome sermon I watched that very night, is titled ‘Denial produces Discipline’. And, I’ve been wholly convicted that I need to add self-denial into my everyday living. And, the key to rich prayer life and ‘quiet time’; is discipline.

  • I can’t seem to get over how God walked in the garden, among them (Genesis 3:8)! How awesome! You could be chatting with some friends, and someone would exclaim ‘God is here!’ What! Blessedly, when we fight the good fight, finish our race and keep our faith (2 Tim 4:7)- this again will be a very real, eternal reality for us.

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I love you, but God loves you more.