Tag Archives: Understanding the Bible

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.

Please share this post with your friends.

 

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.

Know someone who would find this post encouraging? Please share it with him or her.

 

Jumping in Trust

Zack and his dad were hiking in the mountains of Tennessee on a sunny afternoon. Zack’s dad hears from above, “Hey dad! Catch me!”

Horrified to see Zack falling from an above cliff, the dad quickly put himself into position and successfully caught Zack. A moment passed while the dad calmed his nerves. Then he asked, “What happened?”

“I jumped,” the boy replied.

Why on earth did you jump,” the dad inquired.

Zack answered, “Because I know you are my dad and I knew you would catch me.”

Zack had complete trust in his dad because he was Zack’s father.

Trust is Foundational

Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Friends must trust each other. Parents and children must trust each other. Husbands and wives must trust each other. Our relationship with Jesus requires we trust him.

Jesus Requests Our Trust

Jesus requests in John 14:1 we trust him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples, and he is giving them much to consider. He’s telling the disciples what is going to happen soon, but from their vantage point, there is still a great deal unknown. Jesus knows it is perplexing, maybe even frightening, for the disciples, so he makes a request that they trust him. The same request Jesus makes of us.

What’s going to happen in the future? If you could know the answer, would you want it? I wouldn’t, but the unknown is nerve-racking too. We dislike the unknown. We find it perplexing and frightening just like the disciples, so Jesus says, “Trust me.”

Jesus asks that we trust him. Trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, our money and financial health, and our lives. Jesus asks that we trust him with everything.

Why can we trust the Lord?

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

The Lord has proven himself trustworthy by giving us his son. So, the question you and I need to answer is do we trust him? Do we trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, and money and financial health, and our lives? Do we trust him with everything?

Do we have the complete trust Zack did?

Acting

Make a list of the areas of your life where you may need to trust the Lord more. Ask him to help you build that trust. Share your experience in the comments below.

Please share this post with anyone you believe would find it encouraging.

 

 

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.

Please share this post with someone you think would find it encouraging.

 

Always Here, Always Helping

Do you ever feel alone? Perhaps we all feel this way occasionally. We can be surrounded by people who we know care about us, yet we still feel alone in the moment.

The moment our boss delivers a pink slip. The moment the doctor gives us an unexpected diagnosis. The moment a loved one leaves us to enter Heaven. Life has these moments. The idea of facing them alone is unsettling; however, the Lord promises we will never be alone. He will always be with us through the Spirit.

We are encouraged in John 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to help you and be with you forever.”

The Spirit has been summoned to be with us. He has been called to come along side us on life’s journey, so you and I never have to face hard times alone.

Who is the Spirit?

The Spirit is…

  • Our Comforter
  • Our Encourager
  • Our Advocate
  • Our Helper

4 Ways the Spirit Helps Us

Here are 4 ways the Spirit helps us.

The Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26).

When we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit does. When we don’t know what to say, the Spirit does. The Spirit intercedes for us in ways words cannot express.

The Spirit gives us peace.

The Spirit grants us a peaceful calmness which can only be found in our confidence in God.

Jesus says in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart…so do not be troubled or afraid.”

The Spirit marks us as a member of God’s family.

Ephesians 4:30 will identify us at Christ’s return.

The Spirit teaches and strengthens.

We can find understanding and strength through the Spirit. Jesus says, in John 14:26, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative, that is the Holy Spirit, he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

Acting

You and I are not alone. How have you witnessed the Lord with you Share in the comments below. Please share this post with anyone who would find it encouraging.

 

 

4 Exciting Facts about Heaven

Whether we are having the time of our life or we are going through hard times, you and I can find comfort in knowing Heaven awaits. Heaven will be an exciting place and Revelation 21 gives us a sneak peek.

“Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. For the old order of things has passed away.”

Here are 4 exciting facts about Heaven.

The Lord will dwell among us.

The place Jesus is currently preparing will be finished. The Lord will be physically with us.

Perfection will be restored.

The perfection enjoyed in the Garden of Eden will return. Everything will be perfect and peaceful.

There will be no more pain or sorrow.

Everything causing pain or sorrow will be gone. Hurtful words, diseases, genetic mutations, and loss of a loved one in death will all be gone.

We will be reunited with those who proceeded us in death.

This fact alone is enough to make most anyone anticipate Heaven.

Acting

What about Heaven do you find the most exciting? Share in the comments below. If you know someone who would find this post encouraging, please share it with him or her.

 

Hard times? Here is encouragement.

Going through a hard time? You are not alone. Life’s rough times are something we all share. 2 Corinthians offers us some encouragement during these times.

We read in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “That is why we never give up. Though are bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they produce a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now. Rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

3 Points of Encouragement

We can find 3 points of encouragement in this passage.

Our Spirits are being Renewed

Paul says he may be wasting away physically, but spiritually, he is being renewed each day. Everything may be falling apart around us, but the Lord will still be with us. We are promised the Lord will not leave us or forsake us. As things crumble around us, we can find strength in the Lord. “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his spirit” (Ephesians 3:16).

Its Temporary

As we are overwhelmed by a rough situation, it can be hard to remember this. We are weary of the current circumstance and just want it to end. You may be amid an extremely hard time. I do not want to minimize the difficulties you have endured. You’re tired, so I hope you find encouragement in these words.

This is only a temporary time. One season of life always gives way to another. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 reminds us the present may be overwhelming, but it will not overtake us.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

Gaze at the Future

We are encouraged to look intently and steadily on the future. Look toward eternity in the presence of the Lord. We are promised there will be no more tears, heartache, difficulty, or struggles. We are encouraged to stare at eternity, peering into its beauty, glory, and majesty.

The Best is Coming

Whether in good times or bad, we know there is a better time coming. Eternity will be the best time. As we go through hard times, we can find comfort and encouragement in this promise.

Here are 4 Exciting Facts about Heaven.

Acting

Gaze at eternity and share how it encourages you in the comments. If you know someone who would benefit from this post, please share it with them.

 

5 Tips for Understanding the Bible

Just beginning to read the Bible can feel overwhelming for some people. They desire to know what it says, but they find it difficult to understand. Comprehending the 66 books, for them, is like trying to scale Mount Everest. Difficult for a few people, and impossible for most people.

Does this describe you? If so, please know you do not have to feel overwhelmed. God desires for you to know what He says in the Bible. Understanding the Bible takes time, and can be an exciting journey. Here are five tips to help you understand the Bible.

1. GET AN UNDERSTANDABLE TRANSLATION

Walk into a book store and ask for a Bible, and you are soon overwhelmed with choices. The clerk takes you to a section filled with rows of Bibles. How do you know which one to get? Which translation is right for you?

Selecting a Translation

There are numerous translations of the Bible available. Each has its own positives and negatives. Selecting a translation should begin by asking yourself if the translation is understandable. Knowing what is said is the first step in understanding its meaning.

A couple good translations to consider are the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT). Both are written in modern English, so they use words which are familiar. Both translations are easy to read.

Adding a Paraphrase

There are also a number of paraphrases of the Bible available. A paraphrase of the Bible does just what you would think; it paraphrases what is said in Scripture. Many have found these books easier to read and understand. They don’t replace an actual verse by verse copy of the Bible, but make a great addition. A couple paraphrases to consider are The Message and The Story.

2. UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE’S ORGANIZATION

The next key is to become familiar with how the Bible is organized. Begin by understanding the Bible is divided into two sections: the Old and New Testament. The dividing line is the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament

The Old Testament contains the books of Genesis through Malachi. It can be divided into sections such as books of the law, books of history, books of wisdom, and books of prophecy. Your Bible’s table of contents can provide a more specific breakdown. The Old Testament begins with the creation account and spans a length of time to about 400 years prior to Jesus’ birth.

The New Testament

The New Testament begins with Matthew and goes through Revelation. It too can be divided into sections. Matthew Mark, Luke and John are the Gospels. Acts tells the story of the church’s beginning. Except Revelation, the remaining books are letters which were circulated to believers to help them grow in Christ. Revelation is a prophecy about Christ’s Second Coming. The New Testament starts with the events surrounding Christ’s birth and spans the length of time to Jesus’ Second Coming. This is the era in which we are currently living.

Organized like a Dictionary

It is also helpful to realize the Bible is organized like a dictionary. The first verse on the page will be listed in the upper left corner, and the last verse on the page will be listed in the upper right corner.

3. GET A GOOD STUDY BIBLE

A third key is getting a good study Bible. Study Bibles provide commentary and other resources to help you grasp the meaning and context of the text. They also help apply the text to life in today’s world. A couple to consider is the NIV Study Bible and NIV Life Application Bible.

4. SPEND TIME IN THE BIBLE DAILY

It is important to spend time in the Bible each day. Remember, you are growing in a relationship with the Lord and this is how He speaks to you. There are as many ways to develop a daily devotional time as there are people. Each person has to pick what works for him or her. Here are some suggestions to help you develop this practice.

Find a Daily Time

The time of day does not matter. It can be any time during the day. What matters is that you strive to make it a part of your daily routine.

Find a Reading Plan

There are a number of reading plans to help guide you. Bible Gateway is a good place to find plans. One plan starts at the beginning and takes you to the end. Another plan puts the events of the Bible in chronological order. No one plan is better than another. Each plan guides your reading by highlighting a portion of Scripture to be read each day. Bible Gateway offers daily email reminders for the plan you choose.

Download a Bible App

Bible Gateway is a good app to consider. It offers the audio Bible in a number of translations. The app makes it easy to listen while you drive. You can select a daily reading plan and view other resources in the app.

Consider a Devotional Book

There are many aavailable. Devotionals highlight a passage of Scripture accompanied by a thought for the day.

5. ASK QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE

This may be the most important key to understanding the Bible. Asking questions can bring answers and insight not found any where else. The desire of Christians is for others to grow in Christ. Jesus commands us to make disciples. This involves answering questions. Spending time answering questions is not a burden but a privilege. It is exciting to see other Christians growing, and answering questions fosters growth. Do not be afraid to ask questions. A wise man said, “The only dumb question is a question that is not asked.”

Understanding the Bible takes time. It should be an exciting journey filled with anticipation of what you will discover next. It should not feel overwhelming. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help through prayer. The Lord is willing to help us understand Scripture. You can also ask for help from the church. We are all on the same journey and desire for you to join us. Hopefully, these suggestions have helped you get started understanding the Bible, and keep us posted. Tell us what new and exciting discoveries you are making as you grow in your understanding.