Go with God

 

For most of us, life is a series of up and downs, good times followed by difficult times, rewards and challenges, confidence and uncertainty.  Like it or not, that is God’s design; however, God’s design also includes the opportunity for divine assistance.  When we place our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment for our misdeeds, we not only receive the gift of eternal life, but we also become children of God.  We become permanently connected to the wisdom and power of our Creator.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13

Children of God

As children of God we are no longer a victim of our circumstances – we are a partner with God in a lifetime mission He designed specifically for each of us.  Our lives are no longer random events that have no purpose – our lives are filled with a precise set of circumstances established by God and supported by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as our ever present guide.  We no longer have problems – we have opportunities to experience the power of God in our lives.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

Faith Brings Victory

Our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ empowers our ability to travel through the fiercest storms, knowing without question, we will eventually find our way back to sunshine.  Our faith is the foundation of our relationship with God.  “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  Our faith is the fuel that fills our heart with confidence in the face of enormous challenges.  When we faithfully endure our struggles in this world, we are standing alongside the long list of faithful believers found in Hebrews 11.  Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, David and all the others, are grand examples of faithful victories.  Even though a positive outcome seems impossible, our faith will carry us through, because we trust the Lord completely.  “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  As faithful believers, we know God has a plan and purpose for every mountain that stands in our way.  We know the journey will be a rewarding victory if we simply remain faithful.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Traveling through this world on our own is dangerous and unpredictable.  When we make the decision to go with God, the unpredictability is irrelevant and the danger no longer exists.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)  We know that God will reward our faithfulness.  We know that the longer we remain faithful, the stronger we become and the more valuable we are to God.  As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will persevere.  We are never a victim of circumstance.  God can use any situation for our blessing and His glory.  He is always in complete control.  We are never alone when we go with God!

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Godly Relationships

 

 

Godly Relationships

 

Linda lived a quiet life alone in a small apartment, working five days a week as the receptionist for a local law firm.  On the weekends she spent time with a few close friends – hiking, bike riding, and sometimes camping.  She loved the outdoors.  She felt closer to God out in nature, marveling at His awesome creation.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made.”  Romans 1:20

As a follower of Jesus, Linda wanted to honor Him in all her relationships.  She was always willing to engage anyone in conversation, but she worried some interactions might be detrimental to her walk with the Lord.  Linda was by no means obsessive about her spiritual discipline, but she did want to grow closer to God, and for this reason she decided to be more deliberate in her personal encounters.

Take Control

In order to quantify the value of her various personal encounters, Linda began taking notes after each interaction.  Her goal was to collect enough data to help her make some calculated decisions about the best way to share her time with others.  It didn’t take long for some important trends to materialize.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

The first observation she made note of, was one that seemed obvious, but writing it down helped her be more cautious.  Her first recommendation was to not open her heart to everyone.  Some things should only be discussed with other believers, some things should only be discussed with older and wiser friends or family, some things should only be discussed privately with God.  Linda found she sometimes shared too much with strangers, or young people who were somewhat immature.  She determined a little more caution would eliminate some unnecessary emotions.

Look in the Mirror

Linda’s experiment also uncovered some things about herself that she encountered with others.  Occasionally, Linda would meet with someone new at the recommendation of a friend, only to discover the expectations fell far short of the friend’s description.  This observation made her realize that she was sometimes the recommended friend who did not measure up.  It became clear that her preconceived notions or the preconceived notions of others played a major impact in many encounters.  As a result, Linda made a decision to listen for the voice of God when meeting new people and not depend so much on the opinions of others.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Finally, Linda’s research pointed her to a problem she needed to deal with.  She discovered she sometimes used her relationships with important people at the law firm where she worked to inflate her ego.  Of course there was nothing wrong with these relationships, but she came to the conclusion that she gave them too much value.  Instead, she vowed to in the future give more value to her humble and simple relationships – especially those who shared her love for God.

Our Number One Relationship

The ultimate take-away from Linda’s research was something we should all consider in our lives.  We should avoid becoming emotionally or spiritually dependent on other people.  Instead, we should seek a more intimate friendship with God.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Humility Brings Peace

Humility Brings Peace

 

How many times have you put your trust in someone only to find out some time later that it was a big mistake?  How many times have you relied on some electronic or mechanical device only to be disappointed when it stopped working on the day you needed it the most?  Most of us have discovered people and things are often unreliable.  In fact, most of us have discovered we can’t even count on ourselves one hundred percent of the time.  Sometimes our best intentions turn into excuses and missed opportunity.  Indeed, the only truly reliable place to deposit our unwavering trust is in God.  We can trust God completely.  We will never be disappointed when we humble ourselves before the Lord and admit our total dependence on Him.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 17:7)

Remain Humble

Remaining humble before God is not always easy.  The world we live in is constantly pushing us away from God and toward dependence on ourselves.  We have to be willing to look weak to the world in order to be strong in our trust in God.  We have to be a servant to others.  We have to let go of our clever ambition and accept what God has in mind for our lives.  When we acknowledge God as being in complete control, he rewards our humble nature.  When we take pride in our own accomplishments, God has a tendency to discipline us with a humbling display of His power.

What this World Wants

This world wants us to be proud of our status and financial accomplishments; however, we are better served when we acknowledge God as the true provider of it all.  This world wants us to be proud of our physical appearance, our talent, and our intellect; but again these are all a gift from God.  The moment we believe we are better than anyone else God lowers His opinion of us.  He knows who we truly are.

Godly Humility

We have to keep in mind that what pleases us is frequently what displeases God.  We can’t let this world distort our Godly humility.  If there is anything special about who you are, believe in your heart that many others are even more special.  In so doing, you will retain your Godly humility.  There’s nothing wrong with considering yourself to be less than others, but you have lost your humility if you place yourself above anyone.  The proud are filled with envy and resentment.  The humble are always at peace.  Do your absolute best in all circumstances, consider yourself to be nothing without God, and the Lord will bless your good intentions.

“Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  (Colossians 1:10)

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

God’s Wisdom and Peace

 

 

 

God’s Wisdom and Peace

 

As followers of Jesus, we are in a constant battle with our human nature.  This battle takes on many forms, but one constant problem we must face is our personal interaction with the human nature of others – both believers and unbelievers alike.  Humans seem to more easily believe bad things about others than good things.  And when these bad things are revealed, humans have a tendency to share those stories with others far too quickly.  “But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”  (2 Timothy 2:23)  The scripture teaches us to be more cautious.  As believers, we should be reluctant to believe everything we hear, and even reject unsubstantiated feelings.  We should seek guidance from the Holy Spirit before responding to any uncorroborated gossip.

Love Your Neighbor

The teachings of Jesus make it clear that we are all weak vessels.  We are all prone to misdeeds and subject to stumbling in the wrong direction from time to time.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)  For this reason we should not be so quick to expose the alleged misdeeds of others or even believe negative things without knowing all the facts.  Our mission as followers of Jesus is to help our neighbor, not challenge their integrity or litigate every negative action alleged by others.

The Wisdom of God

We demonstrate the wisdom of God when we are slow to judge and quick to reach out with a considerate call for clarity.  The wisdom of God does not act impulsively and keeps an open mind.  “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  (James 1:5)  When we follow our heart, guided by the Holy Spirit, we are pointed in the right direction.  When we seek the counsel of someone more experienced, with a deeper knowledge of the situation, we are moving in the right direction.  These kinds of prudent actions are pleasing to God.

The Peace of God

Our human nature can be controlled by the wisdom provided by God.  “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy.”  (James 3:17)  Chasing our human nature as it randomly encounters the human nature of others, is a recipe for discord and confusion.  We combat that lack of control when we humble ourselves before God and seek His guidance in prayer.  Our obedience to God is the catalyst that will bring light to every situation and the fuel that will energize our wisdom and ultimately bring peace.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

I Don’t Think Jesus Discriminates

 

 

 

I Don’t Think Jesus Discriminates

 

Jesus came to earth to seek and save the lost.   God created all of us to be eternal beings – that means we were created to live forever; however, that contract becomes invalid when we turn our back on God and try to go our own way.  That’s what it means to be lost.  We have lost our way when we turn our back on God.  When we turn our back on God, we are no longer eternal beings and are appointed a time to die.  That transgression is corrected when we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  When we turn our back on this world and believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus as payment for our misdeeds, we are saved from our death sentence and once again granted eternal life.

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

Salvation

This offer of salvation is not limited to any certain group of people.  Jesus does not discriminate; anyone and everyone is able to receive this precious gift from God.  We’ve all heard the song that says, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”  which drives home the point that no matter how deep you are in the devil’s playground, you can still be saved by the grace of God.  Salvation is not something we earn – it’s a gift from God.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8

Faith

Our faith in Jesus is what saves us – nothing else.  People who don’t go to church can be saved, people who go to a church we don’t agree with can be saved, people who live a life we don’t agree with can be saved, people who we don’t like can be saved.  Salvation is a spiritual connection to Jesus that resides in the heart of the believer.  It’s impossible for anyone other than Jesus to easily detect who is honestly and sincerely a Christian, and who is only going through the motions.  In the eyes of Jesus, we are all the same – equally valuable – equally deserving.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28

Fruits of the Spirit

Of course there are identifying characteristics of true followers of Jesus.  These are known as the fruits of the Spirit.  In John 15:5, Jesus tells us He is the vine and we are the branches that will grow fruit generated from our connection to Him.  As believers, these fruits should be our central focus every minute of every day.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23)  We can’t go wrong when we point ourselves in this direction each day.  And when we see these traits in others, it’s a clear indication they too, are sincere followers of Jesus.

Amazing Grace

Absolutely anyone can come to Christ for salvation.  Jesus does not discriminate.  As followers of Jesus, we should have the same heart for the lost as Him.  We should be willing to share our faith with anyone who will listen.  We should rejoice with anyone who declares their sincere love for Jesus – even those outside our comfort zone.  Like Jesus, we should want the whole world to receive his amazing grace.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Knowing the Will of God

 

Knowing the Will of God 

 

We live in a world filled with many different Christian denominations and several competing Christian theologies.  None of them are of any value.  The only thing of value is the truth.  Bad theology can move us away from the truth and we can be blinded by false Christian denominations.  We should want nothing to do with anything other than the truth.

The Word of God

The Word of God is truth.  Everything of value is derived from the Word of God.  Without the Word of God we are running around in circles.  If we want truth, we need to search the Word of God.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it.”  John 1:1-5   Jesus Christ is the truth we are seeking.  Jesus is everything we need.

Jesus Christ

When we walk with Jesus, trusting in Jesus, following the teachings of Jesus, everything falls into place naturally and effortlessly.  A true follower of Jesus is not distracted by this world, but unselfishly seeks to honor God in every way possible.  There is nothing more intrusive to our spirit than the worldly temptations of the enemy.  We can stand firm against the enemy when we act on the inward nudging of the Holy Spirit, rather than the outward invasion of worldly desires.  Nothing is more important than our spiritual self-discipline. Every day our goal should be to grow stronger in our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit

Our current state of being is far from perfect.  We will not find perfection until Jesus returns.  Until that day, we will continue to struggle.  Rather than chasing all the various theological disciplines and attending all the popular spiritual seminars, we are far better off trying to master ourselves.  Of course, there are many valuable spiritual counselors preaching messages and writing useful books, but none is as valuable as your own internal connection to the Holy Spirit.  There are many people who have read all the books and attended all the Christian retreats who are still no closer to God than you or I.  Real spiritual progress is not developed on the outside it is developed from the inside out.

Serving God by Serving Others

When Jesus returns He will not ask us what books we’ve read or who is our favorite preacher.  Great books come and go.  Great preachers come and go.  The glory of this world soon passes away.  The one thing that remains always, is our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  We express that relationship by serving others with the love that God provides.  Serving God by serving others is many times more valuable than any time spent reading the latest Christian best seller.

Seek the Will of God

We are at our best when we are expressing God’s love to others.  We are at our best when we put ourselves aside and humbly walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  We are at our best when we ignore the misdirection of this world and seek nothing more than Jesus.  Our ultimate goal should be to know the will of God and make His will our own.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Amazing God

Amazing God

A selection of Bible verses that celebrate our amazing God.

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  Revelation 4:11

 “And You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands.”  Hebrews 1:10

 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their lights.”  Psalm 33:6

 “God thunders wondrously with His voice, doing great things which we do not comprehend.”  Job 37:5

“For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.”  Romans 11:36

 “Lord, how many are Your works!  In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.  There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number.”  Psalm 104:24-25

“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  1 Corinthians 3:7

 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Genesis 1:27

“My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully formed in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my formless substance; and in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”  Psalm 139:15-16

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you.”  Psalm 32:8

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:13

“The mind of a person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

Jesus said, “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”  John 12:26

 “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”  Romans 12:5

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”  Romans 12:10-13

 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Daily Life with God

Daily Life with God

 

Every day is an opportunity to move closer to God.  Every day is an opportunity to grow in the knowledge of God.  Every day is an opportunity to approach our lives in a way that brings glory to God and therefore achieve our ultimate calling.

Sometimes our lives are simple and easy to keep on track; but often, our lives take a wrong turn and become extremely complex and difficult to keep centered on God’s path.  One of the best ways to get back on track in any endeavor is to go back to the fundamentals.  If we start by once again mastering the basics skills and answering the foundational questions, we can gradually acquire the skills to take control of even the most complex situations.

Making the Right Choices

Our lives are a product of the choices we make.  How we answer the questions of the day and in what direction we decide to go, determines our ultimate destination.  If our desire is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and grow in the knowledge of God, we have to consider every choice we make with the divine understanding we find in the Bible.

What follows are some of the fundamental questions that will help us focus our lives on our relationship with God and avoid the distractions of this world that are trying to push us off in the wrong direction.  Every day we will likely need to answer many more questions than what is included here, but this will set the tone for the choices we make in our daily life with God.

Asking the Right Questions

Does God want us to get out of bed in the morning thinking about Him, or stressing over our daily tasks?

“Let me hear Your faithfulness in the morning, for I trust in You; teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul.”  Psalm 143:8

Does God want us to take good care of our personal hygiene and physical fitness or neglect the details of our daily health needs?

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Does God want us to eat healthy meals or simply eat anything that’s available?

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31

Does God want us to give 100% at work or school or just enough to get by?

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people.”  Colossians 3:23

Does God want us to help everyone that we have the time and ability to help, or only assist those that will also provide a benefit for ourselves?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4

Does God want us consumed with what might happen tomorrow, or does He want us to come to Him in prayer?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Does God want us to include Him in all of our decisions, or should we only consider the tangible obstacles standing in our way?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Does God want us to keep our relationship with Him private, or share it with those we interact with on a daily basis?

“Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Does God want us to spend our money as we see fit or should we look for ways to invest in God’s work?

“Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”  Proverbs 3:9-10

Does God want us to go to bed worried about tomorrow or rest securely in His arms?

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8

Seek the Wisdom of God

This list of questions will help us get pointed in the right direction in our daily life with God.  When we plan our lives around the wisdom of God rather than our own selfish ambition, we will find our ultimate purpose and rest in knowing that we are following the light of truth.  Every day is an opportunity to move closer to God.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

10 Bible Reading Tips

 

10 Bible Reading Tips

 

Bible reading is not as popular these days as it once was; however, Bible reading is still just as valuable as it was a thousand years ago.  We all will benefit greatly when we set aside some time to study the Word of God.  Here are 10 things everyone should consider before their next encounter with the Bible.

Search for Truth

There’s nothing wrong with memorizing the most poetic verses, but eloquence is not the primary reason we read the Bible.  Our number one reason for reading the Bible should be a search for the truth.

Search for the Spirit

Every verse in the Bible was inspired by God; therefore, every verse in the Bible contains the Spirit of God.  Keep this in mind whenever you read.  Start your reading by seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit living inside.

Look for Profit

Whenever we open our Bible, it’s important that we have a goal in mind.  As a result, we need to keep reading until we have uncovered the truth we are seeking.  We should read with purpose and not simply to delight in the words.

Don’t Discriminate

We all have certain books in the Bible that we shy away from for various reasons.  Let the Spirit of God guide you in your reading.  If you feel called to read your least favorite book, answer the call – today may be the day that your eyes are opened in a new way.

Trust the Writer

Some of the books in the Bible were written by authors with exceptional credentials, while other books were written by lesser known authors, and for some books the author is uncertain.  What is certain is the fact that God selected each and every author in the Bible.  Who the author was, is not as important as what the author wrote.  All these writers have passed away, but the truth they wrote that was inspired by God goes on forever.

Only Read What You Understand

Some sections of the Bible are difficult to understand – even for Biblical scholars.  Don’t let these deeper passages block your progress.  Skip over these trouble spots until you can find some trusted guidance or until you have matured in your study.  God will open your eyes at the appropriate time.

Trust What You Read

Read the Bible with humility.  If you’re reading the Bible critically, you’re lost.  The real value of the Bible is obtained through faith.  Your journey through the pages of the Bible depends completely on your trust in the truth provided.

Read for Yourself Not Others

Don’t read the Bible to impress anyone.  Read the Bible to connect with God.

Ask for Clarification in Prayer

It’s not unusual to have questions every time you read from the Bible.  These questions are perfect conversation starters with God.  Seek clarification in prayer and over time God will point you in the right direction.

All Scripture is Valuable

The Old Testament, the New Testament, the prophets, the Gospels, the psalms – they all have value.  Every book in the Bible was placed there for a good reason.  Do not scoff at any scripture – no scripture was offered without cause.  Some books will have a deeper meaning for you than others, but in time, all the books in the Bible will speak to you if you listen carefully.  “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness.”  (2 Timothy 3:16)  Give all the books in the Bible an opportunity to speak to you.  Your study of the Word of God is the most important aspect of your relationship with Jesus.  I pray these 10 tips will expand your Biblical point of view.  I pray you will be greatly blessed in your effort to move closer to God.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

How to Follow Jesus

How to Follow Jesus

 

God has given us all the tools we need to build the kingdom of God.  All we need to do is follow the teachings of Jesus.  The most important aspect of that teaching is found in John 13:34 where Jesus says this:

“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

God is Love

Love is the most powerful element in the universe.  When we all take hold of the awesome power of love, we will have found the kingdom of God. We find this important statement in 1 John 4:7-8:

Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Again in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, we are reminded of the importance of love.

If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good.

What is Love?

Clearly, there is nothing more important, valuable, or transformative than love.  1 Corinthians 13 goes on to better define love with the details needed to help us get pointed in the right direction.

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. 

It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love Like Jesus

Finally, 1 Corinthians 13 shares with us the endless nature of love and its connection to our eternal existence in the kingdom God.  We will never fully embrace the perfect power of love in our lives until the return of Jesus, but it is our duty to make a sincere effort to love like Jesus every day.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away with. 

For we know in part and prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away with. 

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. 

All the teachings of Jesus are contained in this understanding of love.  We will all benefit from meditating on these verses and making a sincere effort to apply them to our lives.  If our goal is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, nothing is more important than love.

But now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

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