Posts Tagged Bible
LOVED this post by John Piper. Loved it so much that I’m just reposting it in its entirety below:
Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire.
If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God.
True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or use any other virtuous violence (Matthew 11:12) that sets you free to rivet your soul on God.
But don’t take mainly a defensive posture. Fight fire with fire.
Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news?
Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone.
I’m serious. Never has God’s voice been so easily accessible. The ESV app is free. TheOliveTree BibleReader app is free (Android users can get any version they want with the free YouVersion app). And so are lots of others. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.
Luke 10:38-42 says:
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Emphasis added)
There are all sorts of reasons why we fail to “sit at the Lord’s feet” (pride, busyness, self-deceit, laziness, etc.), but perhaps it’s because we fail to believe that being with him truly is the “good portion.” Being with him is better than serving him.
Will you believe that in 2011?
Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.
Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.
Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.”
Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.
Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert.
Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.
Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.
The Bible’s really not about you—it’s about him.
HT: Justin Taylor
NOTE: Today is the first of what I hope to have become a weekly installment on the Second Mile Pastor’s Blog, the Ministry Passage of the Week, or “MPOW” (I kind of like how powerful the term M-POW sounds!). These passages come from Bible Boot Camp, an intensive leadership development course that I am teaching this fall to about 20 growing leaders. In the next four months, these men and women will work through 350 Bible passages that they’ll be able to use in ministry. I’ll take one per week on the blog and use this as an opportunity to share an important text of Scripture and how it can be applied to our lives in practical ways.
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 – Guard Your Heart Against Gold, Glory and Girls (Instructions for a king over Israel)
14 When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. 18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
In this passage God gives instructions to the people of Israel about the kind of leadership they will need from their future king. The people have not even asked for a king yet, but God knows that they will — and here are his expectations:
1. The king should be a student of Scripture (v. 18-20). God expected the king to write out a copy of the law by hand that he would read and study all the days of his life. Why? So that “his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment” (17:20). In other words, God knew that the only thing that would keep Israel’s leader humble and obedient would be clinging closely to Scripture.
2. The king should guard himself against seeking Glory (v. 16). God prohibits the king from multiplying horses, an obvious symbol of a king’s power or wealth. He knew that the king’s thirst for power, glory, and acclaim would potentially lead him to even return to Egypt.
3. The king should guard himself against seeking Girls (v. 17). God also prohibits the king from multiplying wives, “lest his heart turn away.” God knew that the king’s appetite to have many women would have devastating effects (and God also knew that taking on additional wives usually meant forming treaties with other godless nations — also an evidence of a thirst for glory).
4. The king should guard himself against seeking Gold (v. 17). God tells the people that they king should not “acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.” God knew that when the king had too much money resources, he would be inclined to forget his need for God.
What’s the lesson for us?
The lessons here are pretty obvious. There is something about the human heart that is easily wrapped up in money, power, and romantic relationships (women) or sexual fantasy (men). These idols often lead us astray and without being tethered to God through his word, we stand very little chance to be faithful. Interestingly, Solomon is a case study for a man who–despite his unparalleled wisdom–was undone by his lust for power, money and women. It literally tore the kingdom apart.
We are the children of God in Christ, which means that our true identity lies with the one who:
1) used the Scripture to reject the enemy’s invitation to short-lived power (Matt 4:8-10) so that he could give us the true power of reigning with him,
2) lived as a homeless man with no place to rest his head (Matt 8:20) so that we could have an eternal and Heavenly home, and
3) was pure in his relationships with women so that through his substitutionary death he could truly create one new and purified bride for himself, the church (Eph 5:25-27).
May we embrace our identity in Christ and guard our hearts from these lesser idols!
Next Saturday, a good chunk of us will be going through a seminar on How to Read and Understand the Bible. As I prepare for it, I’m trying to get a clearer grasp on what challenges we face in reading and understanding Scripture. Can you help by taking the poll below?
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Spend regular time prayerfully reading Scripture.
A secular research company recently did a survey of thousands of people from dozens of churches and found that the most catalytic activity that drove spiritual growth was personal time reading the Bible. The company came to the churches and said, “People need to be reading their Bibles!” We agree. (Click here for a related post on this research)
As you read, ask the following questions and, if possible, write down the answers: What does this passage teach me about God? What does it teach me about humankind and me? How would my life be different if I applied these truths to my life? (Thanks, Susan!)
Need help deciding what to read? See Justin Taylor’s blog for some helpful Bible reading plans:
Once you’ve read some Bible truths, don’t stop there! Pray to God about the things he has revealed through your reading. Share with him the struggles and triumphs you have. Ask for his help in your life to apply his word. Praying people are growing people.
What else helps you prayerfully study God’s Word?
Though I do not intend to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year, I do think that the end of a year and beginning of a new one is an ideal time to take inventory of our lives and make any course corrections that are necessary. So, here are some helpful resources for approaching the new year of 2010.
- Michael Hyatt has a great post on Seven Questions to Ask About Last Year (btw, this is a great blog with lots of helpful insights).
- Biblical Counselor David Powlison addresses the topic of New Year’s Resolutions.
- Donald Whitney has 10 Questions to Ask in the New Year.
- Justin Taylor has a helpful post on Resolutions and Regret.
- Igniter Media has a creative video related to the New Year.
- Sam Storms Top 10 Books of 2009.
- Tim Challies Top 9 Books of 2009.
- Here’s an assortment of Bible Reading Plans:
- YouVersion has 20+ plans available, all of which are accessible by iPhone or mobile phone and have lots of customizable options
- Crossway has about 10 plans available.
- Ransom Fellowship’s “Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers” (here’s an explanation)
- Discipleship Journal has the following reading plans:
- The ESV Study Bible Plan
- The M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan
- The Journey Engage Plan (with accompanying online media)
What resources have you come across that have helped you prepare for 2010?
Check out this brief, brilliant article by John Piper, “Please Feed Me More!”
His opening paragraph:
Faith feeds on the word of God. Without a steady diet it gets weaker and weaker. If you are dissatisfied with your Christian courage and joy and purity of heart, check the way you are feeding your faith.
May you feed your soul as much as you’ll feed your body this Thanksgiving!