(Part 2 of a 2 Part Series on Reading the Bible. Read Part 1 Why Should We Read Our Bibles?)
But how do we read the Bible in order to receive this grace?
Why should I read it daily?
I like the way British preach John Blanchard puts it…
“How often do we face problems, temptations, and pressure? Every day! Then how often do we need instruction, guidance and greater encouragement? Every day! To catch all these felt needs up into an even greater issue, how often do we need to see God’s face, hear his voice, feel his touch, know his power? The answer to all these questions is the same: every day!”
American evangelist D.L. moody writes a similar argument when he says, “A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.”
When you take in the word of God daily you will be receiving the grace of God you need to live as a thriving disciple of Christ.
If reading the Bible can be compared to cruising around a clear, sparkling ocean reef in a boat, studying the Bible is like snorkeling around that same reef. The boat crossing provides an overview of the reef and a swift, passing view of its depths. Snorkeling takes you beneath the surface of scripture for an unhurried look of clarity and detail that’s normally missed by those who simply read the text.
Practically speaking, the basic difference between Bible reading and Bible study is asking and answering questions of the text. There are times when you’re reading the Bible where you’ll wonder “what is going on!” Studying the Bible means finding out what’s going on. If you don’t have a good study Bible, you should get one. Bible study is reading the notes on the bottom that explain what’s going on in the text. It slows you down and allows you to enjoy the details that bring richness to soul. In many ways it’s like the joy that comes from the discovery when one snorkels.
Personally, I have found scripture memorizing to be the most rewarding in my efforts to receive his grace. The reason is that most temptations, fears, troubles will not come when your Bible is at hand.
What do you do when you have doubts or fears in your office your Bible is sitting in your car?
What do you do when you’re witnessing or counseling you won’t necessarily have time to reach for you Bible?
What do you do when you’re tempted to do something disobedient to God? It’s the word of God hidden in your heart that gives your power to overcome. David says in Psalm 119, “I have hidden your word in my heart in order that I may not sin against you.”
My point here is that scripture memory is the best way to hear from God because it’s always available to us!
But one of the best parts of scripture memorization is that is helps you meditate on the scriptures so that you can ring out the grace from every single word in those verses.
Allow me to conclude with one final illustration…
Evangelist Robert l. Sumner tells of a story of a man in Kansas City who was severely injured in an explosion. His face was badly disfigured, and he lost eyesight as well as both hands. He had just become a christian when the accident happened, and one of his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible.
How was he to receive God’s grace to empower him through this difficult time?
He heard about a lady in England who read braille with her lips. But he tried it and discovered that the nerve endings in his lips had been too badly damaged to distinguish the characters. One day as he brought one of the braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them. Like a flash he thought, “I can read the Bible using my tongue.” He can now fight depression, anxiety, despair, and lies! At the time that Robert Sumner shared this story, the man had read through the entire Bible four times.
Now if he can do that, can we discipline ourselves to read the Bible?
Written by Joe Gordon, Discipleship Pastor at LifePoint Church.
Have you ever noticed that the letters of Paul begin with “grace to you” and concludes with “grace be with you?”
Why is that?
Paul understood his writings as well as the rest of the inspired writings of the new testament to be conduits of God’s grace. If you read the Bible, grace is coming to you. Afterward, grace is now with you. So when you read God’s word you receive his grace!
But what is grace?
Generally, grace is often defined as “unmerited favor;” but the actual definition can be a little broader than that.
In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul laments about a thorn in his flesh so he prays for it to be removed. God responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Note the parallelism between grace and the power of God. Hence, Paul is empowered to endure in his suffering because God has given him grace. In the same way, grace is able to help us in our time of need.
If we take in God’s Word, we will receive the grace to overcome any difficulty that arises in our lives.
Here’s a list of seven ways that God’s Word gives us grace to overcome any difficulty that arises in our lives. My hope is that you will deeply desire to hear from when you read how God’s word gives us grace to overcome any difficulty.
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” It is certainly true that this passage is claiming that initial faith in Christ comes from hearing the inspired word about Christ, but it is also true that much of the faith we need for day-to- day living comes from hearing messages from the Bible.
Jesus says in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.”
How does his Word make us holy?
We communion with Christ when we read His Word. Our communion with Christ strengthens our ability to resist the temptations that will please our flesh because we don’t want to hurt our friend and the lover of our souls.
Are you seeking God’s will in choosing a spouse? Read Proverbs 19:14; 21:19; 31 and 1 Timothy 3:1–13.
Are you having conflict with your supervisor or are you a supervisor having conflict with your employees? Read Ephesians 6:5–9.
Are you having difficulty finding good friends? Read Proverbs 14:7; Proverbs 22:24; and 1 Corinthians 15:33.
There are so many passages in the Bible that help us with the difficult decisions of our lives.
John Piper sums this point up perfectly when he writes, “Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.”
Do you remember when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil? How did he shut the devil’s deceptive mouth? The Word of God!
The devil wants to steal our joy and create chaos in our lives and anxiety in our hearts by misleading us to believe his lies. So how do we counter his crafty schemes? The Word of God is our defense against the devil.
In 1 John 5:19 John says, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
The world is continuously sending us false messages. How do we detect what message from the internet or television is true and what is false? How do you detect what message from the advertisers at the mall are true and what are false? How do you detect what messages from the pulpit are true and what are false?
In Ephesians 6:14 Paul metaphorically speaks of the word of God as a belt of truth that helps us understand what is reliable and trustworthy as compared to what is false. It’s only through the Word of God that we can discern truth from error.
David says in Psalm 19, “The law of the lord is perfect, reviving the soul… the precepts of the lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”
Is there anything more encouraging than the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God! You can rocket up a suffering person’s heart with the word of God! God’s word restores a person’s hope!
Jesus says in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
Jesus recognizes that our souls are desire factories. This is why people feed their souls with pornography, beer, pizza, careers, movies, and vacations. And yet those things never satisfy.
Now there’s nothing wrong with pizza or movies or vacation! My point is that these things never satisfy our hearts desires. They never leave us feeling completely content. Rather some of them often leave us feeling guilty!
Jesus says that his presence in your life can satisfy your soul’s desire. So we read our Bibles because we encounter Jesus within them.
Now these are just seven ways reading the Bible will help us receive the grace of God to overcome any difficulty we face in our lives; I’m sure there are many more.
But how do we read the Bible in order to receive this grace? Continue on to “How Should We Read the Bible” for that answer.
First, perception is not reality. The perception of being in the Bible belt with hundreds of churches to choose from is not all it seems to be. The stats are staggering. Over 80 percent of Murfreesboro is unchurched. That means that in August, when 31 thousand fans flood into MTSU stadium, 24,800 of them will not darken the door of a church the next day. This is too many people to sit idly by and do nothing.
Secondly, God has called us to this. Scripture is clear to go. Though that would be sufficient reason enough to plant a church, God has seen fit to give us constant calling and confirmation that this is what He wants our church to pursue. God's hand has been all over this launch and continues to overwhelm with how He is paving the way before us.
There is no doubt that God is blessing this church. We have seen one obstacle after another become non issues. Lives are going to be changed and God is going to be honored.
The launch of the Boro Campus is August 16, 2015.
Learn more about the Murfreesboro Campus and how you can help be a part or spread the word.
David McCaman is the LifePoint Murfreesboro Campus Pastor. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram: @davidmccaman.
This summer LifePoint Church will be encouraging you to Live Sent by being active in your neighborhood. Here is how my story of living sent began.
I had always looked up to a friend of mine who seemed to know everyone on his street. He had the ability to connect with people very easily. He suggested I read Randy Frazee’s book The Connecting Church, and that’s when I began to Live Sent as he had been doing. My family and I started getting to know our neighbors. Over the years it has become second nature to not only know my neighbors, share ministry opportunities and do life together with my neighbors, but teach others how easy it is to be a loving neighbor.
Over a three-year period in my previous neighborhood, we saw a man and son baptized, another couple come to Christ, a man far from God cry over his excitement as he was baptized, and a marriage on the rocks was salvaged and became a shining light to others. We even rallied for service projects for others in the community as well as shared items, recipes and swimming pools.
It was a cook-out at the Commons Area. We just put a flyer on everyone’s door inviting them to the cookout and to bring hotdogs, drinks and ‘fixins’ for their family. We provided grills and tables. Nearly 100 people attended, met new neighbors and shared life stories about the neighborhood. We even rented an inflatable for the kids. We are now planning a July 4th event and possibly a camp-out. (Luke 5:29)
As we planned this cookout we discovered neighbors who also attended LifePoint church. We asked them to help with the party and then invited them to join our small group. It is so much fun to be able to walk to small group. To see others in your small group on an almost daily basis. Now when we pray for our neighbors, we actually know their name and some of the issues for which to pray. (Acts 2:42-47)
Your neighborhood may be the ball fields, tennis courts, fishing zone, boat, etc; you define your own neighborhood. Begin by walking your neighborhood and praying for homes and families. Watch for God at work as you begin to build relationships with neighbors.
Why not help your neighborhood? The eternal destiny of your neighborhoods can be affected by doing life together. Now is the time to begin planning your next opportunity by getting a few neighbors together and hosting a cookout or neighborhood project.
Eddie Mosley is the Pastor of Disciple-making at LifePoint. Check out his blog at EddieMosley.com, his book Connecting in Communities, and follow him on Instagram.