Why Read the Bible Daily?

Believe it or not, everyone (even the most admirable Christians and Bible teachers) struggle to read the Bible daily. Desiring to read God’s Word does not come natural to anyone because desiring God is not in our nature. It is a desire we all have to battle daily to do. Reminding yourself why reading the Bible regularly is important is part of that battle. That’s why I found this article encouraging.

Five Promises for Your Bible Reading and Prayer

By Steve Fuller | Jan 14, 2013

Bible

Do you consistently seek God in the word and prayer? Or have you tried again and again, become discouraged, and given up? We are deep enough into January that this is the story for many us. Resolutions have began to stall. And even if you do get time with God, is it life-giving? Or is it just going through the motions, reading an assigned passage, praying through your list, and being relieved when it’s over?

It’s not too late to make some good changes. So if you are struggling to spend time with God, here are five promises that can help:

1. God Is My Exceeding Joy

Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me … Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy. (Psalm 43:3–4)

God promises to be your exceeding joy, not because of what he gives, but because of who he is. When we behold and worship him we have infinitely more joy than we have in anything else.

So why would we rather sleep in than seek God? It’s because we’re not trusting that God is our exceeding joy. So what can we do?

Don’t just grit your teeth and try harder. Do what the psalmist says — ask God to send you his light (the heart-enlightening work of the Spirit) and his truth (the Word of God). Then pray over promises describing God as your joy, like Psalm 43:3–4; Psalm 16:11; Matthew 13:44; and 1 Peter 1:8.

As you do, God will send his light and truth so you see and feel that he really is your exceeding joy. Then, when you see that infinite joy is found in him, you’ll want to spend time with him.

2. Hearing God’s Word Will Increase My Faith

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Many mornings I’m tempted not to seek God because my faith feels weak. But that’s like not going to the doctor because my body feels sick. Just like doctors heal sick bodies, so God strengthens weak faith, as we hear his word.

Weak faith is like a weak battery. But God’s word is a battery charger. So when your faith is weak, open his word, and plug in your weak faith. God promises that as you do that, he will recharge you.

3. God’s Word Is the Only Perfect Source of Guidance

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

The world is like a pitch-black cave in which we can’t see anything. But God has given us the high-powered flashlight of his word.

So if we head into our day without pondering God’s word, it’s like stumbling through a cave without turning on the flashlight.

But starting the day in God’s Word is like turning on the flashlight, so we can see the crevice to avoid, the rock to duck under, the turn we want to take. Don’t head into your day without turning on the flashlight.

4. When You Pray, God Will Answer

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

One reason we don’t pray is because we believe Satan’s lie that prayer does nothing. But that’s not what Jesus taught (Matthew 7:7).

Jesus promises that every time we pray, God will answer. He will either do exactly what we ask, or something even better, which he would not have done had we not prayed.

So if I start the day praying about my heart, marriage, children, work, and ministry, then God will do things in my heart, marriage, children, work, and ministry that he would not have done had I not prayed. Trust Jesus’ promise about prayer — and pray.

5. This Is the One Thing Which Will Not Be Taken Away

“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.” (Luke 10:41–42)

Martha had busied herself in the kitchen, while Mary sat at Jesus’s feet, listening to his word. And Jesus said Mary had made the right choice, because she had chosen the one thing which could not be taken from her.

Everything else can be taken from you. But time with Jesus will never be taken from you, because the heart you nurture for Jesus now will bring you increased joy in him forever. And ever. And ever.

So if you haven’t spent time with God, and you are tempted with the newspaper, Facebook, or a phone call, stop. Ask yourself: what will bring me joy that will never be taken away?

Then set everything else aside to join Mary at Jesus’s feet, listening to his word.

Tomorrow Morning

The alarm goes off.

I’m tired. Maybe just a little more sleep. But wait. . .

God is inviting me to exceeding joy.
His word will strengthen my weak faith.
His word will shine light on the darkness around me.
When I pray, God will work.
This is the one thing that can’t be taken from me.
I think I’ll get up.

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When the World Stopped for Jack

This is a touching story of a little boy’s tragic accident, a parent’s worst nightmare, the church worldwide uniting, and God’s mercy and grace to answer the prayers of His people. This is the story of Jack Budensiek’s last four weeks in the word’s of his aunt and uncle, Jon and Jessica Duren:

Sometimes, something happens that is too wonderful to keep quiet.  While I usually do not share personal stories, I feel this one is appropriate to share with you, my newsletter readers.   I asked my wife, Jessica to share with you this story of my sister’s son, my nephew, who is currently at St. Mary’s Intensive Care Unit.  This traumatic event has blessed my life and helped me to better focus on what is most important.   I trust it will encourage you to do the same.  Here is my wife, Jessica, telling you the story that I title: “When the World Stopped for Jack.”  

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Gospel vs. Religion, part 1

Christianity without a desperation for God is just empty religion. Look at Capernaum for example. In Mark 2, Jesus returned to Capernaum a short time after making His purpose on earth known. Jesus “lived in Capernaum by the sea” during His adult life (Mt 4:13). During this time, “many were gathered together” in a house, “and he was preaching the word to them.” “The Word” that Jesus was preaching was the gospel.

There can be gospel ministry, and no gospel transformation. Capernaum had the true gospel being preached to them (v1-2). In fact, they had the best gospel preaching there has ever been. And they also had real healing occurring (v11-12). No one could argue that Capernaum was not seeing and hearing wonderful gospel ministry in their city. Yet they were none the better for it. You can’t just use the Gospel like a fairy wand.

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Providence Church: Planting Update 6

On June 27, 2010 I gave a report to my church in Cape Coral, on the progress and exciting events ahead for Providence Church. As you read, please keep us in prayer:

Providence Church Report to Grace Baptist:             June 27, 2010

Over the past year as I have tried to report on the progress of our church planting efforts, whether it be through random conversations, prayer updates on my blog, or reporting on Sunday nights each month at Grace, I have tried to request prayer in three crucial areas.

I have asked for prayer that the core members starting Providence would be marked by gospel growth, and that we would see God shape others by the gospel. We have prayed that God would do this by growing our Sunday night groups, and helping start others.

God has done just that. We believe we have two healthy groups meeting, with members of those groups growing in the gospel. Almost weekly we hear of testimonies of the grace of God in the gospel working in people who attend our groups.

We have prayed for God to give us boldness and a burden to tell those we live around about the gospel. As a testimony of how God has done this, one of our teenagers approaches me every week to ask me if I have told someone about the gospel this each week. He then proceeds to tell me his efforts and desires for God to help him do the same.

We have prayed for God to save people with the gospel of Jesus Christ as He empowers us to share it. Just this week a man whom God has brought to us troubled with unemployment and a lifelong alcohol problem told us he now “has the Lord.” God has given us a desire to walk alongside others and to serve them with the gospel.

I have also asked for prayer that the core members of Providence would be marked by fervent prayer; that we would not attempt anything as a church without depending on Christ in prayer. TwoFour, our bi-monthly prayer service, has been a significant time for us to gather together before God and pray. We are praying for members, for strangers, for leaders, for churches, and for the future of Providence.

Finally, I have been asking for prayer in the area of leadership, because I am aware that leadership is a crucial necessity Continue reading

TwoFour Meeting 4.14.2010

TwoFour Meeting
Wednesday night at 7:00pm Providence Church will meet for its first meeting in April 2010. We meet at the Buckingham Community Center off of Buckingham Road every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. We are beginning a series entitled “What is a Healthy Church?” The first topic: “A Christian and the Local Church: What Matters?” Hope you can come join us and bring a friend. Please be praying in advance as we seek to meet with God in prayer and the Word.

The Purpose of TwoFour

We are about to try something new for Providence Church. Starting Wednesday, March 31st, we are going to start meeting twice a month as a core group, allowing for our two community groups to come together as a corporate gathering.

Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, we will meet at the Buckingham Community Center from 7-8:15pm (map). We are calling it our TwoFour Meeting (so that we’ll never forget 2nd and 4th Wednesday). The Purpose of our TwoFour Meeting is as follows:

1.    To better communicate our Purpose & Plans. Up to this point, we gather only when worshiping with Grace Baptist, our sending church. Communication has been limited to emails and blogs. TwoFour will give us more opportunity to communicate and plan heading forward.

2.    To PRAY and seek God together. TwoFour will be a prayer meeting, if it will be anything. We are begging God to use us to plant the gospel in East Lee county. We desire to do nothing as a new church without depending on God to do it.

3.    To worship through Scripture, testimony & song. A portion of TwoFour will be devoted to hearing from God’s Word, hearing testimonies of what God is doing in our lives, and singing hymns and praises to God.

4.     To foster unity between our two community groups (and future groups). TwoFour will allow us to bond together those actively living for Christ in our community groups.

5.    To invite others in the area to come and join us. Those who know our members well are more likely to attend a community group when invited. TwoFour, however, gives us a place to invite those whom we have relationships with, but do not know as well.

6.    To provide training/practice for responsibilities that will involve launching a Sunday morning service. There is a real sense that we will need the experience and practice setting up and leading a time of worship as a new church. TwoFour gives us this opportunity at a smaller, less formal level.

We have the facility rented from 6:30-8:30pm. We will need some people to come help set chairs up at 6:30pm. There is a nice playground outside for kids to play on while we are setting up. The service begins at 7pm!

The Valley of Vision

Last month I purchased a little book published by Banner of Truth called The Valley of Vision. It is a collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett that were taken from men like Thomas Watson, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, David Brainerd, Richard Baxter, and John Bunyan, men who lived for God between the 17th through the 19th century.

Each morning after I read God’s Word and before I pray, I read an entry from The Valley of Vision. I have been refreshed and encouraged to read these prayers, from men who obviously experience the gospel. I have also been challenged in my own prayers. Too often, in my opinion, my prayers have been mechanical, stale, and shallow. I have used this book for my private devotions and, have read it during family worship. Many times, I read these prayers and feel as if they are consistent with what is going on in my own heart. It is as if these men of old are giving me a course on prayer.

This morning I read this prayer called “Divine Mercies” and I had to share it…

‘O Eternal God,
Yours is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s ‘lip’
as number Your favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank You for personal mercies,
a measure of health, preservation of the body,
comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food  and clothing,
continuance of mental powers,
my family, their mutual help and support,
the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
the days that add to my guilt,
the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me–
the sun which sees my misdeeds,
the darkness which is light to You,
the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
the good angels who have been provoked to leave me,
Your countenance which scans my secret sins,
Your righteous law, Your holy Word,
my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
my neighbors, myself–
all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
‘Father, I have sinned’;
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Your outstretched arms;
You will not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
You will not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
You will not mark my mountains of sin, for He levelled all,
and His beauty covers my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to His cross,
hiding in His wounds, and sheltering in His side.