Category Archives: Update Greeting

New Year Bible Reading

It’s the second day of 2008, how much of your Bible have you read?

I have resolved to read through the Bible at least once each year for the rest of my life. I’ve completed several styles so far. Each offers a different insight. This year I’m trying something new after completing a Personal Spiritual Disciplines class for seminary (taught by Dr. Don Whitney).

The file we were given as handouts is here. It is also available on Dr. Whitney’s website – http://biblicalspirituality.org, along with many other great resources.

The plan is simple – read through the Bible in one year by marking off the chapters as you read. In the file there is an explanation of a few ways to read through as well as a list of all the books of the Bible and their chapters. For instance, Genesis is listed and then after it are listed “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12″ and so on up to 50. Each chapter you read you can mark off. I think this plan will give me a lot of confidence to read through the Bible at several different starting points.

My opinion so far is that it frees me up. I don’t have to have a Bible specifically arranged into days or log onto a website each day or consult a list. If I want to read 2 chapters of Genesis and then a chapter from John, I know I won’t lose track of what I read.

The only thing I know I will personally need is a way to determine if I’m behind. It almost always happens sometime in the year. There are 1189 chapters in the Bible (929 Old Testament, 260 New Testament). If I read 3 chapters per day and 5 chapters on the Lord’s day (recommended in the file) then I should finish just over 99 chapters every 30 days.

The only thing I could think to add is that it is helpful to read through a book from beginning to end, with the exceptions of Psalms and possibly Proverbs. So marking off John chapter 17 before you read John chapters 1 through 16 will not be as beneficial as reading straight through John.

Want a challenge? Many of the Puritans (godly men and women living in the 17th century) made time to read 10 to 15 chapters of the Bible each day (A Puritan’s Mind). At that rate you would finish the Bible every 3 to 4 months.

Where I went…

Wow, when’s the last time I updated this?

A lot has been going on in the last three months for me. I bought a house (June). I quit my job (July). I got married (July). I moved (July/August). I started seminary (August). I got a new job (September).

To be fair, or rather clear, God was my motivation and supplier for these things. It has been absolutely incredible, other than by God, the orchestrating of these events with perfect timing.

Our new house

While doing my Bible reading one day I came across Proverbs 24:27,

Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.

For a while I contemplated this verse, journaling on it as I went. So here’s my edited journal:

I thought this to be a difficult passage so I thought I would meditate on it. My confusion is due to the order. The house is erected last. How am I to apply this, especially after just moving here? One thought is that we did look for a job for Sara-Elizabeth [my wife] first, before house shopping. Is that all we are being told? The passage is concerned with “you” – your work, yourself, your house. It seems to indicate a proper time to move as well. We should move at the beginning of planting season seemingly before planting, e.g. before school starts a teacher would move. There is also a disconnect in time and culture and climate here as opposed to ancient Israel. Did it rain at that point? Was it cold? What about livestock?

There are also several unknowns as we come to this single verse without context. Do these people live elsewhere now? Why are they moving? Was there temporary shelter available? Though there are many questions one of the reasons we can continue is because Proverbs is a book of reading unto wisdom, meaning that most serve as general guidelines for us and not mandates.

The basic wisdom is to find work first. It seems that there is a home base, most likely the home of our upbringing or current residence. It should be outside work, not in/on the house. Specifically provision for food is to be made prior to the house being started. Notice that the food is not instant. But the field must be readied. God will care for the growth.

Lastly is the building of the house. Notice how we are told to build the house. There is a sense of completion to the building. We are not supposed to begin only. In fact it seems the field is left almost entirely to go about the building of the house. The verb used for building the house is in the “perfect” mood, meaning it is a completed action. Though not overwhelming evidence, the mood is not such that it would imply beginning and continuing in action, or continuing unendingly (though I’m beginning to wonder about the continuous nature of home repair).

When considering how this related to Jesus Christ, as all Scripture does, I see a parallel to Luke 14:28-33. Here Jesus is discoursing on the cost of discipleship. The first illustration He uses is constructing a tower. Before construction begins the cost must be estimated so a half finished tower is not constructed. The second is a king determining whether with 10,000 men he can defeat the king with 20,000. Jesus then continues with the understanding that the king of 10,000 cannot win. He tells that the king would send a delegation to establish peace. Jesus then says, “So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple”. Jesus seems to conclude that the builder does not have the money (compare this tower to Genesis 11:1-9) and the king does not have enough soldiers. They, and we, should then forsake all and give Jesus sole control of our lives.

So for Proverbs, first, Jesus is speaking in Proverbs to give us wisdom. But we must realize that we owe all to Him and trust Him fully, turning the work , the field and our house over to Him in submission and acknowledgement of His worthiness. We should prepare for our personal care and trust in the Lord to accomplish it. At that point we can go about our personal (that which we have control over) activity. First comes our preparation for what God is going to do. Second comes our work in the authority/realm of our responsibility. With both all thoughts of possession must be given to our Lord Jesus.

More dead guys?

I have heard from R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur and company that the church today doesn’t read enough “dead guys”.

One quite helpful article for daily Christian living is “How to Spend the Day with God” by Richard Baxter (1615-1691), updated by Matthew Vogan and posted on PuritanSermons.com.

Another treasured resource is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Many great classics have been translated to English, put on the internet and converted to different file formats (including Palm Reader for Palm Pilot), all for free.

Enjoy the dead guys and remember the One Lord Jesus Christ they continue to point to!

More Frequency

Hello again all!

I am especially aware of the infrequency of my posts lately. I hope to improve that in the coming days and weeks. As I took inventory of my current schedule, I realized that I had some time to update and reflect a bit more often. The increase will take place mostly in the “Topics” category but I hope to work through others as well.

I have no sermons scheduled at this point.

I hope to get a few more posts up on “The Basics”. I believe this will help me, especially when needing to point someone to a quick summary of some aspect of Christian faith. I pray it will aid you as well.

I am also aware of my place so early in Genesis. I hope to press on to the end of chapter one before the year is out.

To add some depth, here is a site I use frequently to review the Christian spectrum of thought from a Biblical stance – Theopedia.

God bless you,
Joshua

Sanctity of Human Life Week

January 15-22 is Sanctity of Life Week. God blesses us with life (Acts 17:24-25). Our children (Genesis 4:1) and our suffering (Job 2:10) are blessings from God. This is a great time to concentrate your prayers for our country on restoring the sanctity of life.

I will try not to belabor the point but instead encourage you to act and pray. There have been approximately 43 million abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973. On average a pre-born child is murdered every two minutes.

A second scary thought is about our elderly and mentally handicapped. Deaths like that of Terri Shivo should be unthinkable. No person has the right to allow or assist in the death of another person, or even themselves. To paraphrase a popular movie, many die but deserve life – can you give it to them? We cannot bring someone back to life after they die, so we should not deal death out so haphazardly.

I invite you to spend time this week in prayer and in action to reestablish the sanctity of life.

A place to start for more information would be family.org

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas my friends. I thought I’d greet any potential readers on this fine Christmas day.

A thought came to me yesterday while ice skating. My girlfriend told me it was supposed to rain today. If God allows rain, it is good. God’s will now is just like the passages from Genesis I have been going over. What God does is good simply because God does it, thus putting His impression on His work. The same is true of His grace. Psalm 145:17 says that He is gracious (or kind) in all His ways.

Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the Lord’s good and gracious work.

A little about this site

The first comment I received was from a good friend. It reminded me that I should really introduce myself for any new people that come to the site as well as the site’s purpose.

My name is Joshua. I live in Rhode Island. I’m not going to say exactly where but it is quite a small state. If you are looking to help then I’d be glad to have comments on the posts here. If you have the gift of sharing your faith, encouraging, teaching or the like then maybe I can add you as a user to create posts of your own.

The purpose of this site is the glorification of Jesus Christ and by Him, the One Living God. I hope to eventually have three different main categories.
First, “Passages” that will explore a verse or section of Scripture to properly interpret it (and perhaps apply it but that should be left mostly to the reader).
Second, “Topic” that will evaluate subject matter in light of the Bible’s teaching (no “our culture/society/etc. is SO messed up” type stuff – complaining/grumbling is out, Philippians 2:14-15 NIV, NASB).
Third, “Inspiration” that will offer encouragement or insight as we keep the cross in mind during our daily walk.

And again, feel free to comment on the posts and discussions.

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my new site look! It’s going to take on a type of “blog” feel. I am also working on getting the old articles and such up in some portion of the site. Right now, here’s a new one…

As my first passage to review:
Psalm 130:4 – “But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.”

Speaking to God, this song of Ascents (a song sung on the way up to Jerusalem) first gives us much reason for thanksgiving – God’s forgiveness. Second, we see the contrast of forgiveness and the fear of God. Fearing God is also a reason for thanksgiving. Our God is holy and just. This cannot be said of a God who allows everyone into heaven. But by Jesus Christ’s resurrention, God shows us that Jesus’ death is sufficient to save us all, that we may have assurance.