Tag Archives: Bible reading

God’s Word has benefits

Psalm 119:89-176 offers many benefits of following God’s Word.

Following God’s word offers many benefits, and Psalm 119 lists many of them for us.

God’s Word is eternal.

Verse 89 reminds us God’s Word stands firm in Heaven. When everything else is gone and nothing else can be considered secure, we can count on the words and promises of the Lord.

God’s Word provides wisdom.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist states the word of the Lord gives him wisdom. We find guidance for every part of life in the Scriptures.

God’s Word offers guidance.

Verse 105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” As we walk through life, God’s Word can guide us. We should think of it like a flashlight at night. A flashlight guides our path and lights up what is right in front of us. If we turn it off, there is a chance we will run into something. If we do not allow God’s Word to guide us, there is a chance we will run into a pitfall in life.

God’s Word is a treasure for us.

Psalm 119:111 says, “Your laws are my treasure, they are my heart’s delight.” God’s Word is the most valuable thing we can possess. It is more valuable than gold or silver.

Verse 162 says, “I rejoice in your word like one who has found a great treasure.”

God’s Word can bring justice.

The Psalmist reminds us following God’s Word brings justice to all.

The writer of Psalm 119 expressed a genuine desire to continually follow God’s Word. May we echo his desire and work daily to apply the truth of Scripture to our lives. Doing so will be beneficial to us and our neighbors.

Benefits of God’s Word

Psalm 119:1-88 gives benefits of God’s Word.

There are many benefits to God’s Word. Here are a few listed in Psalm 119:1-88.

God’s Word gives us wise advice.

Psalm 119:24 says, “Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.” There’s advice on every topic.

God’s Word encourages us.

When we are in need of encouragement, it seems the Bible has just the right words for the moment.

Psalm 119:50 says, “Your promise revives me. It comforts me in all my troubles.”

God’s Word gives us hope.

Psalm 119:43 says, “Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope.”

Psalm 119:49 says, “Remember your promise to me. It is my only hope.”

God’s Word is trustworthy.

Psalm 119:86 says, “All your commands are trustworthy.”

The promises we find in God’s Word can be trusted. The shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth can serve as an example for us. According to Luke 2, the shepherds trusted the angel’s word and went to find Jesus. They found the baby, his mother, and everything just as the angel had said it would be. God’s Word is trustworthy.

Hiding God’s Word in our hearts has many benefits. May we echo the desire of the Psalmist in always keeping God’s Word close to us using it as the compass to guide our lives.

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Finding Our Way

Psalm 119 suggests storing up God’s Word.

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a team of explorers set out from England to do something no one before had accomplished, cross Antarctica from one side to the other across the South Pole. Disaster struck when the team’s ship                           became entrapped in ice and the hull was eventually crushed. The ship sank, and the team was marooned on nearby Elephant Island. There seemed little hope for their survival.

In a desperate attempt to get help, Ernest and 5 others set out in a 20-foot lifeboat across some of the most dangerous and storm filled waters in the world. It was an 800-mile journey to South Georgia Island where help could be found. For 15 days, the men battled the treacherous seas and massive storms with waves up to 100-feet using only a compass and a sextant. Frank Worsley, who had captained the Endurance, navigated their course until they safely reached land and found help.

The group found another ship and returned to rescue all of the team. Shackleton became a national hero in England for his courage and persistence.

All of us will go through stormy times in life. The uncertainties of tomorrow are many. The level of misinformation we see on a daily basis is extremely high. In these moments, Psalm 119:11 suggests we store up God’s Word to guide us.

The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” In other words, the Psalmist says, “I have stored up God’s Word so I know the difference between right and wrong and true and false.”

The only way to ensure that we do not go astray is to have an objective source of truth that will guide us just as a compass can guide sailors through dark and uncharted waters. God’s Word can guide us through uncertain and difficult circumstances. We need to trust God’s Word over everything else. Our feelings and emotions can lead us astray, but Scripture can guide us.

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The Hours After the Resurrection

Seven miles of pondering.

The empty tomb was just the start of Easter day for the disciples. Several women, including Mary Magdalene, returned to the disciples with the exciting news, and the disciples started piecing the events together; however, there was still much doubt in their minds concerning the women’s news.

Two of the disciples decided to travel to Emmaus. They were joined on the 7-mile journey by Jesus, but they did not recognize him. As they walked, they talked.

The conversation turned to current events: Jesus’ crucifixion and the tomb being empty. Jesus used the Scripture to help the disciples overcome their doubt and see the truth. They were wondering if everything was true, but as they studied the Scriptures, they pieced everything together and understood.

Luke tells us after Jesus left the two disciples, they returned to Jerusalem. This means they walked 14 miles in one day, so they certainly got a workout. The account also gives us an idea to help overcome doubts.

Ponder the Bible.

If you are struggling with doubts, try studying the Scripture. For the disciples, it helped clear up confusion and settle some doubts. It may do the same for you.

C. S. Lewis, a well-known author, was an Atheist in his early 20s only to convert to Christianity after pondering the Bible. His intellect determined the claims of Scripture were sensible, and the explanation of life given in the Bible made sense. Lewis commented in Mere Christianity, Jesus had to be telling the truth. Otherwise, he would have been a lunatic, and there was no other evidence of Jesus not being sane. Lewis’ study of the Bible is what helped him conquer doubt and embrace Christianity.

God understands you and I may experience doubts, so he provides the Bible to ponder. Challenge your doubts with the claims of Scripture.

Check here for more suggestions to overcome doubts.

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Promises, Promises

Can we trust the Bible?

A preacher was visiting a couple parishioners, and the trio was reading the Bible. They came to Matthew 28:20 where Jesus says, “Surely, I will be with you to the very end of the age.”

The preacher asked, “Isn’t that a wonderful promise?”

“It’s not a promise. It’s a fact,” one of the parishioners replied.

Promises are made and broken in life. There are many reasons promises are broken; however, the Bible offers many promises which we can accept as fact. Being perfect, God always keeps his word.

Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.”

Looking through history, we find God keeping his word.

The people of Israel were promised land, and the Lord provided the land he promised. Generations passed from the time the promise was made until it was fulfilled, but God kept his word.

Joshua 21:43-45 states, “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies. Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled. Everything he had spoken came true.”

We turn the pages of history to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. The angel promised the shepherds they would find a certain arrangement in the stable. They would find Mary, Joseph, and the baby, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:20 records, “The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

God keeps his promises.

History proves God is faithful. The Lord keeps his promises. You and I can rest assured the promises made in the Bible will be fulfilled.

Christians are promised God will be with us in this life, and we will spend the next life in Heaven. And, we know the Lord keeps his word.

Acting

Spend time dwelling on the promises made by the Lord. Find hope and confidence in these promises.

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Remember the Bible

Guidance for every season.

Joshua was standing on the border of the promised land and was realizing he was now the leader of Israel. Moses was done; Joshua was starting, and God was giving Joshua some tips for success.

One of those tips was to remember God’s word.

“Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do,” the Lord says in Joshua 1:8.

As you and I are fulfilling our purpose, the Bible will guide us. There seems to be guidance for every season, every challenge, every question.

When we are hurting, we turn to the Bible for comfort, and its words hold our hearts gently as it comforts us.

When we are discouraged, we turn to Scripture to find encouragement. Its words encourage us and challenge us to push ahead.

When we need advice, we turn to the Bible for its wisdom. Its words give us answers to our questions and help for our problems.

Like Joshua, you and I will benefit if we remember the word of the Lord. As we turn to it, here are 3 things to keep in mind.

1. The Bible offers hope and encouragement.

Romans 15:4 says, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us and the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

2. The Bible is powerful.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

3. The Bible is eternal.

1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass. Their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades,’ but the word of the Lord remains forever, and that word is the Good News which was preached to you.”

Acting

Spend time reading the Bible. Cultivate a deeper understanding of its principles to help guide you in life. Here are some tips to help you understand the Bible.

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4 Tips for Every Person’s Journey

A great leader listens to God’s tips.

Joshua was 85 years old when he became the leader of Israel. The first 85 years of Joshua’s life prepared him for this moment. He understood how difficult the Egyptian bondage was for the Israelites. He experienced the agonizing stress of wondering through the desert, and now it was time to go into the promised land. Joshua had been watching Moses lead, but now it was his time. It was his time to fulfill his purpose.

In Joshua’s commissioning, we find 4 tips for every Christian.

1. Timing is crucial.

Joshua had been with Israel in Egypt, through the desert, and was standing at the border of the promised land. Moses was the leader until it was time; time for Joshua to take the reigns and lead the people.

In Joshua 1:2, the Lord tells Joshua, “The time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into land I am giving them.”

Joshua started when it was time. In his Law of Timing, John Maxwell states Joshua assumed leadership at the proper time. Moses was a diplomatic leader, which is the leadership style the people needed in the desert. But on the border of Canaan, the needs of the people changed. They needed a fierce military style leader, which is Joshua. Timing is crucial in successfully fulfilling our purpose.

You and I have goals, dreams, and a purpose, and to be successful, we must be sensitive to the Lord’s timing.

If our goal is writing a book, we don’t want to jump ahead and push it to publication before it is ready. If our dream is to run a marathon, we need to properly train before entering the race. If we believe our purpose is to be a leader, we shouldn’t form an undercurrent to take out those in our way. We should wait on the Lord to open the opportunity. Timing is important.

There’s a proper time for every activity, so we should be ready when it’s time. Meanwhile, you and I should patiently prepare for our time to move.

2. The Lord is with us.

Joshua was reminded the Lord is right beside him.

The Lord says in Joshua 1:5, “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live for, I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.”

The Lord goes on in verse 9, “For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

God had Joshua’s back. He was there to help Joshua overcome the barriers standing in his way. Joshua could count on the Lord.

God has our back, and he is with you and me as well. He will go with us and help overcome the barriers that stand in the way. We can count on the Lord.

3. Be strong and courageous.

Joshua 1:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. For you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.”

The Lord promised to be with Joshua, then challenged him to be strong and courageous. Joshua was the one who would fulfill his purpose. No one else was going to lead the people. No one else was going to lead the charge to possess the land. Joshua was the one. He could be strong and courageous in the Lord.

The Lord has promised us he will be right beside us, and he is challenging us to be strong and courageous. No one else is going to fulfill our calling. Our goals, dreams, and purpose are unique to us. The Lord has a plan for our lives, and we can be strong and courageous in him.

“This is my command: be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” says the Lord in Joshua 1:9.

4. Remember the word of God.

Joshua 1:7-8 implores, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

The Lord challenged Joshua to remember his decrees. The guidance offered by the Lord’s word is what brings success.

As you and I are fulfilling our purpose, the Bible will guide us. There seems to be guidance for every season, every challenge, every question. We are earnestly begged to remember the Lord’s word on our journey.

Joshua put all these tips into practice, and he was a great leader. He understood timing. He knew the Lord was with him. He did not lack strength or courage, and he applied the Lord’s word. As a result, he was able to lead Israel in taking possession of the promised land. He was able to complete his calling and leave a legacy.

Acting

Challenge yourself to begin exercising these tips.

  • Pray that the Lord makes you more sensitive to his timing.
  • Challenge yourself to replace fear with the fact the Lord is with you.
  • Ask the Lord for strength and courage as you overcome barriers.
  • Seek guidance from the Bible.

How’s it going? Share in the comments.

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Skillful Fishermen

Every occupation has tools which are necessary to get the job done. Fishing is no different. Fishermen have a tackle box filled with various lures and different kinds of bate. Each lure and kind of bate serves a specific purpose, and fishermen are skilled at using the equipment needed for their occupation.

Equipment has evolved, but the skill needed to use the equipment has always been necessary. Fishermen, in Jesus’ day, were skilled at using their equipment.

This is one of the reasons Jesus called fishermen to be his first disciples. They were skilled in using the tools at their disposal.

Like fishermen, Christians have a variety of tools at our disposal. We need to make sure we are skilled at using them. Here are 3 tools and some tips to sharpen your skillfulness in using them.

1. The Bible

We have Scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Jesus illustrates how to use Scripture in Matthew 4. Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into the desert for a period of temptation. Satan approached Jesus multiple times trying to tempt him, and each time Jesus responded by quoting the Bible. Jesus used Scripture to overpower temptation.

There is great power in Scripture, and we need to be skilled in using it.

Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The Psalmist says he placed God’s word in his heart; he stored Scripture in his heart, so he had it to use. The Bible is a powerful tool, and you and I can become skilled in using it by…

  1. Gaining an understanding of the Bible.
  2. Memorizing Scripture to recall in stressful situations.
  3. Using the wisdom within the Bible to guide our life.

2. Prayer

James says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Jesus illustrates how to use this tool. Jesus frequently withdrew to private places spending time in prayer. He prayed about everything.

We have the tool of prayer. It gives us the opportunity to have an open and honest conversation with the Lord. The skill comes in using it daily. Prayer is a powerful tool we’ve been given.

3. Community

We are not alone. We have one another, and community is a grand tool for us. Christians are available to each other in all seasons of life.

We celebrate each other’s victories. We support one another in difficult times. We mourn and grieve as a community. We laugh as a family, and work together as a team. We do life together.

Relationship is a valuable tool for us, and we can sharpen our skills by participating. Don’t take on life by yourself. Allow the community to support you, and when your support is requested, be ready and willing to offer it. Community is a tool which can accomplish much for the Lord.

Acting

The Christian toolbox has powerful and effective tools. As Christians, we need to keep our skills sharp. We are more effective if we’re using the tools at our disposal. Take steps today to sharpen your skills. Spend time in the Bible and in prayer. Spend time building relationships with other Christians.

What tools would you add to the list? Share in the comments below.

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A Hopeful Promise

Feeling trapped in a hopeless situation? Please know there is always hope in this promise the Lord makes us.

The Promise

John 14:2-3 says, “My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you. And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

“I’m coming back for you,” Jesus promises. In a world filled with broken hearts and unkept promises, these words of Jesus give us a promise in which we can fully trust. The promise is coming from a trustworthy source.

Jesus and his disciples are having an intense conversation. Jesus is preparing the disciples for events which will soon take place. The news is unsettling. It is perplexing and frightening to the disciples, so Jesus requests their trust and assures them of his return. Jesus’ words were a familiar comfort to the disciples.

A Familiar Promise

Jesus made his promise of returning in an everyday way to his disciples. An engagement would have immediately come to mind.

Weddings were done differently in the first century as the marriage was arranged. When it was decided a bride and groom would be married, the groom would make a promise to his bride.

He would say something like, “In my father’s house are many rooms, and I’m going to prepare a place for you. When I have finished preparing the place, I will come back to get you. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Newly married couples would live in the groom’s father’s house. If there were several generations living there, it could be a large structure. Upon their engagement, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare the necessary addition to the home. The only hitch was he did not know when the addition would be completed. His promise did not include date and time. He just promised he would return to get the bride.

While she was anticipating her groom’s return, the bride learned how to have a successful household from her mother, and at night, she would place a lamp in her window so the groom could find her if he returned. The couple would have a beautiful wedding ceremony when the groom returned.

A Hopeful Promise

Think again of Jesus’ words. “My Father’s house has many rooms….” Jesus is giving us the promise of a groom. He has gone to prepare a place for us.

Like a first century bride, our job is to prepare for his return, and just like the bride, we don’t know a date or time.

Jesus is off preparing a place for us, and he has promised us he will return. He has promised you and I he will return, and if we trust him, we can find much hope in this promise.

If you are feeling hopeless, cling to this promise. For there is always hope in Christ.

Acting

How do you find hope in this promise? Share in the comments below.

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God Won’t Leave

Will God leave me? This is a fair question, and one we may ask in a difficult time. The Bible says the Lord will not leave us, and Joseph’s story helps us see the Lord can use the difficult stuff to do some amazing work.

The Beginning of Joseph’s Story

Joseph was one of many brothers, and his father loved him the most causing strain among Joseph and his brothers. It may be safe to say his brothers hated Joseph. Not only did his father love him the most, Joseph had some dreams the family found upsetting.

Over breakfast one morning Joseph told his family he had a dream where they all bowed down to him. This angered his brothers, and Joseph’s dad told him not to speak like this again.

A few days after the breakfast incident, Joseph was sent to check on his brothers as they were tending the sheep. They saw him coming and plotted to kill him, but one brother, Reuben, convinced the boys to throw Joseph in a cistern to avoid bloodshed. They did, but later sold into slavery. Joseph found himself in Egypt where he worked. You would think Joseph had enough trouble at this point, but his troubles continue.

While in Egypt, Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and spends a few years in prison. Bad things certainly happened to Joseph.

Bad Things Happen

Joseph’s story reminds you and I bad things happen in life. We are not immune to adversity and trials, yet we can find great encouragement in God’s word. Scripture teaches God will not leave us when bad things happen.

God will not leave us.

The Lord is committed to staying with us in bad times. Paul, in Romans 8, says the Lord will stay with us when bad things happen.

Romans 8:37-39 says, “No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

None of these things will cause the Lord to leave us. This is an exhaustive list, and to make sure he covers everything, Paul ends the list by saying, “…in all creation.” I hope you find this statement as encouraging as I do. The hardest of times will not drive away the Lord.

The lost job will come, but the Lord will stay. The money trouble will come, but the Lord will stay. Our hearing or eyesight may go, but the Lord will stay. The disease may infect, but the Lord will stay. The mistake may occur, but the Lord will forgive and stay. Nothing will drive the Lord away. Our relationship may be strengthened amid these seasons.

He Carried Her

One night a lady had a dream in which she went to the movies. The movie playing that night was a movie of her life. Each scene was a season of her life, and there were footprints in each scene. She noticed something odd about the footprints.

In the good scenes of her life, there were two sets of footprints. One representing her and the other representing God, but in the bad scenes, there was only one set of footprints.

At the end of the movie, the lady had an opportunity to interview God. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Sir, you promised you would never leave me or forsake me, but in all the tough scenes, there was only one set of footprints. I mean I didn’t do well in math, but if we were both present, would there not be two sets of footprints?”

God answered, “Oh, that’s easy. I had to carry you through all the rough times. You couldn’t make it on your own.”

He’ll carry us in the same way if we just hang on.

The Result of Tough Times

Romans 8 reminds us God works everything together for good. He can use the bad things currently happening to do some amazing work. Joseph’s story didn’t end with him in prison.

The Rest of Joseph’s story

Joseph was wrongly imprisoned, but he did not stay there. While in prison he interprets dreams for a couple of Pharaoh’s officials and is eventually called upon to interpret a dream for Pharaoh. Joseph says a severe famine is going to take place, and his interpretation is so impressive that Joseph is promoted to an Egyptian official. He is given the job of preparing Egypt for the famine.

Through bad things happening, the Lord put Joseph in position to save his family and help them refocus their attention on the Lord.

If Joseph had not been an Egyptian prisoner, he would have not been an Egyptian governor. The iron chains around Joseph’s feet ushered in gold chains around his neck.

Acting

Join me in thanking the Lord today for being with us. Maybe even carrying us through the hardest of times.

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