Bible Study Update

For the past month (roughly) I’ve been dedicating my mornings to Bible study.  I became very negligent about spending time in God’s Word over the past school year—and, really, over the past few years—so I have been doing my part to mend my relationship with Him and to immerse myself in His Word.

I’m pleased to report that, so far, I have largely stuck with it, only rarely missing a day’s reading.  I started simply:  reading through Proverbs.  A very common Bible study tactic is to read one chapter of Proverbs a day; in thirty-one days, or one month, you’ll have read the entire book.  I adapted that slightly, sometimes reading a couple of chapters a day.  As June has only thirty days, and I started late, I managed to end the month with Proverbs 31.

After finishing Proverbs, I realized I needed to expand my reading further.  To that end, here is my current reading schedule each morning:

  • Three chapters of Psalms (with 150 chapters, it should take fifty days to get through Psalms, although Psalms 119 might be its own day)
  • One chapter of Proverbs, corresponding with the date (for example, this morning I will read Proverbs 12)
  • One chapter of Isaiah, also corresponding with the date until I get to Isaiah 32 on 1 August 2022, at which point I’ll keep reading one chapter a day until I have completed the book (again, this morning I’ll read Isaiah 12)
  • A New Testament passage from a little “read-the-New-Testament-in-one-year” Bible someone gave me years ago (today’s passage will be Romans 1:1-17)
  • Some days, I do a reading from a little devotional, Our Daily Bread

In total, it takes me anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour to complete this reading, as I try to read slowly and take notes in the margins (I also start readings with thorough prayer time with God, praying prayers of thanksgivings to Him; praying specific prayer requests; and praying for His Hand in my life and my budding relationship) and if I see connections to other Scriptures—which is happening more and more frequently lately—I will take time to note the parallels and tie them back.

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Bible Study

Now that summertime is here, I’m using the bit of extra, unstructured time to try to develop some good habits.  This past school year was pretty brutal, between a heavy load of classes and up to twenty lessons a week.  I was thankful for the income from lessons and for the security of work, but it really took its toll as the academic year wore on.

Unfortunately, one of the first things I let go was daily Bible study.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been spotty about reading the Bible daily.  I’m often more interested in listening to someone else’s commentary on God’s Word than reading it for myself, as if I’m a medieval Catholic.

But there’s no substitute for the real thing—daily Bible reading and study.  So I’ve established a routine now that summer is here, and it’s really helped me keep on track.

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Supporting Friends Friday: Bette Cox on Heavenly Music

“God loves music. He invented it.”  Thus begins Bette Cox‘s wonderful piece—aptly titled “God loves music“—about music and its divine origins.

As a lover of music myself, I’ve long believed that the existence of music—that certain frequencies together create consonant harmonies and beautiful textures, that the mere manipulation of sound waves can become a transcendent whole greater than the sum of its physical parts—is proof positive that God Exists.  How could something so precise and so beautiful emerge from a chaotic Nothing?  Unless we’re including twentieth-century German Expressionism, it couldn’t.

Bette’s piece went up earlier this week on her blog Esther’s Petition, and it is a must-read.  She points out the ultimate purpose of music:  to glorify God, to worship Christ.  She also dives into the endless variety of music, and how a single song could keep a composer occupied for eternity.

The most poignant part of her piece, however, is a “mini-vision,” in which a throng of singers and instrumentalists of every stripe arrive to sing for an “audience of one: Jesus.”

Go read her post—and go make a joyful noise!

TBT: Reclaim the Rainbow

Well, here we are—that time of year when every corporation changes its logo into a rainbow format to avoid the persecution of people who define their entire identities based on which body part they want to stick into which hole.  God have mercy on us all.

Wouldn’t it be great if corporations pretended to love Christianity, like in the good old days?  Better yet, they could actually be Christian.  I guess Hobby Lobby, My Pillow, and Chick-Fil-A will have to do.

One casualty of our fascination with buggery—besides the kids groomed into “alternative” lifestyles and exposed to men in dresses reading them children’s books—is the rainbow, a symbol of God’s Promise never to flood the Earth again.

Rainbows are beautiful, but like everything the Left touches, they’ve been appropriated to represent something odious and sinful.

It’s time to “Reclaim the Rainbow“:

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Slowing Down

For many years now I’ve received Dr. Don Wilton’s The Daily Encouraging Word, or “DEW,” in my inbox every morning.  It’s a wonderful little daily devotional with a bite-sized chunk of Biblical Truth attached.

I’m ashamed to admit that due to both my busy schedule and my own spiritual recalcitrance, I do not read DEW daily.  Indeed, I have a massive folder in my Hotmail account (yes, yes, go ahead and laugh) called “DEW” with over 1200 unread issues.  Gulp!

I do a bit better with Audre’s blog, Words on the Word.  Even there, though, I could do better.

That’s all to say that it’s serendipitous that this week, The Daily Encouraging Word is going through a series called “Try to Slow Down.”

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Supporting Friends Friday: Nicholas on NEO

I’m running into a bit of a problem here with Supporting Friends Friday—I’m running out of friends to support!  Fortunately, my friends are quite prolific creators, so I can always recycle some old ones, and I’m always encountering new bloggers.  That said, I’m having to get creative to keep this series going.

That’s probably not the most flattering introduction for this Friday’s feature, but I assure you, he’s a great writer, and worth your time.  I know him simply as Nicholas, and he is a semi-regular contributor to Nebraska Energy Observer, Neo‘s excellent, long-running blog.

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Supporting Friends Friday: Local Churches

It’s Good Friday in the Western Church, so I thought I’d spotlight the friends that need our support the most:  our local churches.

Your local churches will obviously be quite different than mine, but I would encourage every Christian reader to give to your local church this weekend.  If you are not tithing to a church already, start doing so!  Only 5% of churchgoers tithe, but American Christians earn $5.2 trillion annually.  Imagine the transformative impact if every Christian gave ten percent.  That could feed, clothe, and shelter a lot of people.  It would also be an incredible witness to Christians’ commitment to their faith.

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Go to Church

Easter is just a few days away, and churches will be filled to bursting with twice-a-year “Christians,” people that still feel some vague sense that they should go to church on Easter and at Christmas, even if they can’t quite articulate why, and don’t attend for most of the rest of the year.

That church attendance is in decline is no mystery.  Sure, there are plenty of nominal Christians who attend church regularly for their own reasons—the social aspects, the opportunities for professional development and career advancement, etc.—who aren’t truly Believers, but since we cannot know the content of one’s heart, church attendance is a pretty good gauge for religiosity in the United States.

I live in the rural South, so there are churches on every street corner.  There are tiny cinderblock buildings in the middle of nowhere with names like “First Church of the Holy Apostolic Prophecy” that look like tool sheds that have been converted into places of worship.  There are decadent megachurches.  There are churches that date back centuries, and churches that were planted a week ago.

Yet even here, Biblical illiteracy stuns me.  Sure, I’m one of those guys who knows that something is “in the Bible,” even if I can’t always place exactly where it is (that’s what Bing is for).  But when I write “Biblical illiteracy,” I mean that people lack a basic understanding of the simplest Bible stories.

I’ve related this anecdote elsewhere, but I’ll never forget teaching a philosophy class years ago in which we were discussing Danish Christian existentialist philosopher Søren KierkegaardKierkegaard famously argued that attempts to prove the existence of God rhetorically, logically, or otherwise were the philosophical equivalents of building the Tower of Babel—man’s Gnostic attempt to “reach” God, not to be close to Him, but to challenge God’s Supremacy.

The Tower of Babel is Vacation Bible School 101—really, it’s Sunday School 101.  The Tower of Babel would be Track 2, Side 1 of The Old Testament’s Greatest Hits, if such an album existed.

Despite that, none of my students knew the story of the Tower of Babel.  Even a young lady who was a very committed Christian did not remember the story, and I know her parents, at the very least, had taught it to her!

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TBT^2: Nehemiah and National Renewal

This past Monday, it was my responsibility to lead men’s Bible study for the monthly fellowship I attend.  I would love to say I prayed fervently for The Lord to deliver a message to my heart, but instead I do what bloggers and teachers do frequently:  recycle and reuse.

As such, I went back to the tried and true, Nehemiah 1:1-11, the passage from my hit post “Nehemiah and National Renewal.”  It’s all about Nehemiah crying out to God to order his steps amid the fallen state of Israel.

Also, it’s about rebuilding a wall.  Seems wise, yes?

With that, here is “TBT: Nehemiah and National Renewal“:

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