Things you need to be doing when reading your Bible.

Pray for the Spirit’s Guidance

The Holy Spirit can help us make more sense of the Scriptures if we pray for His imparting to us what God’s Word is saying.  Ask the Spirit to show you why God is saying this in His Word, what He is saying to you, where this is applicable in your life, and so forth.  As Jesus told the disciples, so He tells believers today that “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

Pray for Application

I touched on this in the previous paragraph, but the Bible is God speaking to us. Many people say that “God spoke to me about … .” But I always ask, does it match what God’s Word says?  We want to know how certain Scriptures apply to our everyday lives.  For example, Jesus said to “go into all the world and making disciples of all nations,” even if it’s next door (Matthew 28:19-20).  Was Jesus just speaking to the disciples, or was Christ saying to be His witnesses?  Surely, He was speaking to us all.

Have a Plan

I love the advice of many Bible teachers and scholars who advise us to have a daily reading plan so that we can gain wisdom from the Scriptures.   I read some out of the Old Testament and then some from the New Testament.  As hard as it is to do with my schedule, I must take time and make time for this very important reading.  Don’t worry so much about how much you read as much as you are reading it daily.  We don’t eat one meal on Sunday expecting it to last us all week, do we?  So we must have a daily intake of the Word to sustain us through the difficult trials, temptations, and tests that come to every believer during the week. Have a plan and try to stick to it.

Meditate on the Word

It is one thing to read the Word; it is altogether another thing to contemplate what we read.  I would rather read only a few lines of Scripture and meditate on these than read a whole book and not remember most of it.  When we take time to reflect, ponder, and meditate on His Word, the Word penetrates deep into our minds, which allows us to internalize it to see just how awesome is our God.

Take Notes

I love to mark my Bible.  The paper is not holy–God’s Word is.  I highlight certain passages that are very important to me.  When I see certain verses, I write them out or highlight them so that I can memorize them.  Second Corinthians 5:21 and 1 John 1:9 are very important to me because these are essential to every believer.  When we read something, then highlight it, and then write it out, we give our mind three ways in which the Word can sink deep down into our minds, and we can recall them when they are needed.

Bonus Content

Find a Quite Place

If you have a place to read that’s quite, you’ll absorb more. My prayer closet, so to speak, is the same place I read my Bible. It’s in the corner of the basement, and it’s a bit further from the everyday distractions from traffic noise, lawnmowers, jets, and people! To me, I need it more quite, because I have a harder time concentrating when the TV’s on, the phone rings, and trucks drive by our house.

Commentaries and Concordances

Occasionally, I come across something in my Bible that I don’t fully understand, and when I do, I find my concordance and try to find out, or if I still don’t get it, I might read one of my Study Bible’s or a Bible Commentary, like one by Matthew Henry. These are valuable resources for when you hit a bump in the road in reading through the Bible, but we must remember that commentaries might be inspiring, but they are not inspirited by God like His Word is.

Go Slowly

I find myself reading my Bible just because I know I need to, but that takes away what God’s trying to tell me when I read His Word. I have learned to slow down and savor the words, ponder their meaning, and not move to quickly in reading Scripture. If I do, I’m going to miss some valuable gem that I passed right over. Sometimes I even repeat a verse, but reading at a slower pace will let the words soak into our minds more easily.

Highlight and Mark

I love to use a yellow highlighter when reading Scripture. The reason I do is when I come across a certain verse that just grabs my attention, I can highlight it in yellow and find it later when I want to reference it. I also use a pen to put asterisks on verses that I want to memorize. I have highlighted, and now committed to memory, 2nd Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 1:9, John 10:27-29, and several others, because I want to quote them when I need them when I share the gospel with people.

Conclusion

If you have an idea about studying the Bible, please let us know. I’d love to hear it, and I’m sure the readers would, but we must remember that the Holy Spirit can work with the Word of God to open our understanding, and so praying for the Spirit’s help before Bible reading, might be the most important thing to remember when reading your Bible.

Great ways to make Bible study more interesting. 

Visual Examples

I don’t mean you should try to find the Ark of the Covenant and bring it to class, but perhaps you could at least bring some pictures of the things that the Bible study is about. When we were studying Leviticus, giving everyone a handout of the way the tabernacle looked, the learners got a lot more out of it. Studies show that a visual or physical object lesson makes it more fun but also more likely that they’ll remember the lesson.

Involve Everyone

Seek to get every single person involved. Have someone read one verse or paragraph in the lesson and then the next person read the following and so on. This will also help to keep the group more focused on the lesson instead of waiting for one person to do all the reading. This makes them have to pay attention, too, because they don’t want to lose their place when it’s their turn.

Role Playing

This is interesting at any age. When you are studying a certain place in the Bible and there’s a place where two or three (or more) characters are involved, have one person read one Bible character’s words and have another read whoever else is there. You might even have three people getting involved, but make sure to rotate around the table so that everyone gets involved. If it’s the part where Peter promises Jesus that he will never betray Him, have one person read Peter’s part while another reads Jesus’ words. Make them have as much eye contact as possible, just like in a real conversation. Years ago we even made masks for these characters.

Take It Outside

When I was teaching 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school, I took the Bible study outside. So that’s what we did with our church one time. We went to the local restaurant and studied right there in a small overflow room. Then we went to the local park, which gave us an opportunity to reach unchurched parents who brought their children to the park.

Conclusion

Having fun is very contagious, but you cannot make Bible study participants have fun. However, if you enjoy it, they’re more likely to have fun too. It seems that every time we finish a Bible study, I’ve learned something new from someone else. So it is true: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man (or woman) sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Besides, I need all the help I can get because I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box!

Four ways to avoid finding faults or criticizing others. 

Look in the Mirror

If we all look in the mirror and honestly examine ourselves, we must drop the stone. If I cast stones at anyone, it would be at me. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome and asked them, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom 14:10). There is no reason for me to sit in God’s judgment seat because He’s already there and He’s infinitely more qualified than I am to judge the hearts of mankind.

The Image of God

No matter what someone looks like, they were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and so we must treat them with dignity, respect, and love. Those who look at appearances and make judgments do so contrary to the way God looks at the person. God sees the heart and not the outward appearance of a person (1st Sam 16:7).

Spiritual Growth Rates

Look at your own life as you do other’s lives and see it as God’s Spirit working in us to grow us, but we should understand that we are all growing at different rates and it’s a lifelong process. The small acorn grows very, very slowly under the ground, where no one but God can see, but this same oak tree lives for a very long time and is a hardwood designed to take a beating from nature. On the other hand, elm trees grow fast, they sprout easily, and reach great heights quickly, but they are more fragile than the oak. I hope you see my point; we all grow in holiness at different rates and our rates are probably not the rate of growth in others.

Showing Mercy

Sanctification or growing in holiness takes more time with some people than it does with others. We are all in different journeys in life, and coming from different backgrounds and we don’t know other people’s history. I don’t know why some non-believing alcoholics can just quit while some Christians struggle with this all of their life. Instead of criticizing them when they fall, tell them you will pray for them and encourage them that God isn’t going to quit on them. If the church needed to be showing others mercy, we surely need it in this world today. Jude wrote that we should “have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 1:22).

Conclusion

I believe that if we all look in the mirror; if we see others as being created in the image of God; if we understand that we all grow at a different rate; and if we are merciful with others, then God will be merciful to us. It is just as Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt 5:7).

Ways that your own personal faith in Christ can change the world around you.

Light in Darkness

The world is certainly increasing in wickedness, like it was in the days of Noah. But if we were bringing that much more light to the world, at least to those in our own little corner of the world, then we might be able to better illuminate Jesus. If they can see Christ in us, there’s at least a chance they might see Christ for the first time. Being a light doesn’t mean shining the light right in their face, hurting their eyes. It is a gentle light at first, not harsh, so that they have time to get used to it. Remember, we too once walked in the darkness of this world, being dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1-2) and were basically dead men (and women) walking, being both blind and dead.

Unjust Suffering

This is really powerful to those who are not Christians. Even though it’s been decades, I can still remember a friend of mine who was called to the foreman’s office and accused (unfairly) of doing something he’d never done. The fact is, I did it. He took the blame for something that I did. Only later, after repenting of it, did I confess it to God, to my friend, and to my employer. I had learned a valuable lesson. Despite my sin, he remained my friend and must have known what the Apostle Peter meant when he wrote, “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:20). My friend had just shown me Christ in himself!

Pray for the Lost

In the ministry, you can hear from prisoner’s mothers. These precious prayer-warrior mothers are still pleading for prayers that their sons might be saved. In some cases they will be praying for 10, 20, 30 or more years. They’ll not given up. If only we prayed for the lost like these mothers. God can use us as a means to save some. Pray for divine appointments where God places someone in need of the Gospel to cross your path. This prayer really works!

Excellence in Employment

I remember being ridiculed at work more than once when I was a janitor several years ago. They saw me on the men’s bathroom floor scraping the floor with a razor blade trying to get the built-up uric acid off the floor. You couldn’t scrub it to get all of it off. Much of it took very physical labor, and some of my co-workers were irritated that I worked hard since I wasn’t getting paid that much. But all I could think about were two Bible verses that showed me that ultimately it’s not my employer for whom I work. It is God for Whom I labor, which is what Solomon meant in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going,” and so “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”(Colossians 3:23-24).

Conclusion

Your own personal faith in Christ can change the world around you and bring light into the darkness so that you can bring those in darkness into the light when they see you don’t respond in kind when treated harshly or unfairly, they see you pray for those who hate you and for those who are blind and dead in their sins, and they see a work ethic that pleases God, which may just point them to Christ

Secrets of a Happy Relationship 2019-08-21 09:23:4

Secrets of a Happy Relationship
2019-08-21 09:23:

Relationships like marriage, romance, live together or any of similar kinds can be sustained with a happy note if some of the secret rules are followed. Relationship is completely subjective and no clear cut rules can be executed on it, yet following certain guidelines may help proceeding happily in a relationship.

Many of these, so called, rules are based on the life experience of many happy couple and also the observation of people. When two people get into relationships, many of them wish for lasting relationships. But pathetically, a good number of them go apart after a while, in search of new partners. Let us see the secrets that constitute long lasting relationships or ever remaining relationships.

Breakup and Divorce are not the Solution

When asked about the best possible way of resolving the issues in relationships or marriage, many people may comment that breakup or a divorce is the best possible method of putting an end to all the troubles in a relationships. It is the biggest mistake that people ever commit in a relationship.

The reason for increase ddivorce rate is analyzed as the mentality of people who even before getting into a relationship think divorce as means of solving possible issues in it. Divorce is never an option but its the utmost decision to be taken in life only at an inevitable situation. Do not even think about a breakup or marriage whenever you confront with minor issues in relationships. Issues are just byproducts of the happiness experienced in the relationships.

No Perfect Relationships, but Perfect Situations

No one can be considered in a perfect relationship, how happy the couple is, as happiness in a relationship is just the happiness of the situations created by the partners. No relationship, as a whole, is destined to be jovial and satisfying. There can be moments of happiness and moments of struggles.

The couple who learns the secrets of balancing both happiness and struggles wins the life and enjoys the best possible relationship and life. When in tension or issues, many people may think that they are fated to fall in to wrong relationship, and at the same time ignore the possible chances of making each moments in life happy by understanding the partner a bit more and adjusting a bit more.

Never be Afraid or Make Him/Her Afraid

Another secret of happy relationship lies in being open and frank with the partner. Do not feel afraid to express you mind to the partner and never ever make him/her afraid of you to tell out the mind. When people communicate each other many of the issues can be melted down. An issue, how ignorable it is, when kept in mind for several days, can take forms of anger, frustration, dislike etc., and get expressed in the most undesirable manners. Let the communication between the partners be a frequent element and no one should hold the words when he/she really wants to talk.

Love Defined is Respect and Care

You can just tell that you love your partner but can never express the love as it is. There is no emotion like love, but it comes as a package which includes, respect, care, share, dedication, forgiveness etc., express the emotions whenever possible to make the other person feel the intensity of your love. Do not be a miser in loving the partner and let your love be unconditional. It is rightly said that love is defined as respect and care. When the partner feels that you do not care for him/her or do not give him/her the due respect, the person may think of an alternative to you.

Always Support Each Other

Never ever leave your partner unsupported. Whatever be the opinions and ideas, know that you are the only one he/she can lean for support. When both of you are alone, you can argue among yourself on points you disagree with the other one, but in public both of you have only one mind. Holding the hands, especially when he/she is sad or broken, is helpful to convey you care for the person. Once you have decided to live together, then no questions of separation may arise, even in the opinions.

Here are seven amazing or unusual facts about the Bible that you may or may not have known about.

The Book of Isaiah and the Bible

Just like the Bible has 66 books in it, the Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters. Interestingly, the first 39 chapters contain much about the law, and the last 27 books contain much about grace.  Some theologians divide the books as the Book of Judgment (Chapters 1-39) and the Book of Comfort (Chapters 40-66).  This is exactly how the Gospel is shared: law to the proud but grace to the humble.  It’s no wonder that the Book of Isaiah was the book that Jesus most often quoted.

The Bible is amazing in itself. But how could 40 different authors write in a span of about 1,600 years, many not having known one another, and yet agree exactly in all doctrinal areas?  For example, the term “the just shall live by faith” is not just an New Testament belief but is found throughout the Bible, as with Abraham who was justified by His faith as He believed God and knew that He was able to raise Isaac from the dead. He was willing to sacrifice his own son in order to be obedient to God.

Archaeology and the Bible

It’s not that the Bible verifies what archaeologists and paleontologists have unearthed. It’s actually the other way around. The findings of archaeologists and paleontologists continue to discover what has already been recorded in the Bible for thousands of years.  Archaeology hasn’t proven the Bible to be true. The Bible is known to be true, and what has been discovered tells us what we already knew.  The Bible is true; and there is empirical, measurable, verifiable, concrete, objective evidence that aligns with what has already been recorded by the Bible. We don’t believe the Bible because of the archaeological finds. W believe the archaeological finds because of what we have already read in the Bible.

Seven Divisions of the Bible

There are seven major divisions in the Bible. First comes the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy), then history (Joshua-Esther), then the poetic/wisdom literature (Job-Song of Solomon), then the major prophets (Isaiah-Daniel), then the minor  prophets (Hosea-Malachi), then the Gospels (Matthew-John), and finally the general and pastoral epistles (1 Corinthians-Jude). Even though the Book of Acts is historical and the Book of Revelation is prophetical (like history written in advance), most of the major sections of the Bible are composed of seven distinct parts.

The Longest Chapter in the Bible

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. What is its focus?  It’s on God’s Holy Law.  We know that no one can be saved by keeping the Law, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.  Believers should be striving to obey the Ten Commandments.  That’s why it says, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:1-2). If knowing about and trying to live according to God’s Law was not important, then why would God ensure that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible?  There are no coincidences in the sovereignty of God.

The Bestseller of All Time

No book has ever been read more, bought more, or cherished more than the Holy Bible.   Every minute, more than 50 Bibles are sold. There has never been a better seller at any time in all of human history than the Bible, and it is still the most widely read and most often bought book of all time.

The Book of Esther

The Book of Esther never mentions God one time, yet you can see that God was working through Esther to save the Jews.  This makes me think that even though we don’t see any signs or evidence of God working in our lives at times, that doesn’t mean He isn’t working silently and hidden from human eyes behind the scenes for us.  God’s silence doesn’t mean He isn’t there; His delay doesn’t mean His denial.

When can a Christian break the rules? What are the exceptions? 

To Preserve Life

If someone told you to do something that broke man’s law, you would naturally say no, but what if you were forced to do so? When some were hiding Jews during World War Two, was it okay to tell a lie to save a life? Dr. R.C. Sproul tells us about the ethics of truth: “We are always and everywhere obligated to tell the truth to whom the truth is due. We are to speak the truth where justice and righteousness requires the truth.” The higher moral law of preserving life supersedes that of telling the truth when a human life is at stake. Corrie Ten Boom, who hid Jews during the war, never felt any conviction of sin for hiding these Jews. She knew it was what God would want.

To Obey God’s Law

I remember an account of a co-worker years ago who came to me and was conflicted about something. His supervisor wanted him to approve some parts but these had not all that had passed inspection. He asked me if it was okay to do this since his supervisor told him to do it. I said, maybe you can come in to work on your own time and inspect these parts so that they would actually be certified as passing inspection. He was troubled by trying to approve aircraft parts without inspecting them. He did just what I suggested because he knew that he was paid to inspect all of the parts and not just some of them because ultimately, we work for God and not man (Col 2:23-24).

Preaching the Gospel

When the Jewish authorities told the apostles to stop preaching about Jesus, the Apostle Peter said “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). After this warning, “they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:40-41). Imagine that! They rejoiced over being beaten! Why? The rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name,” Jesus Christ.

God’s Law verses Sharia Law

When a group of Christians were being rounded up in Nigeria so that they might murder them, some refused to obey the local Sharia Law because they believed God’s Law stood above those of man, especially those laws where Christian’s lives were at stake. One Muslim felt so troubled about this that he refused to execute one of the Christians that he was told to do so. He broke the Sharia Law by refusing to listen to his superiors and kill these Christians and so he himself was beaten, tortured, and put into prison, but this man heard about Jesus and place his trust in Him and was later martyred for his faith.

Conclusion

The Bible tells us that we are to obey those who are in authority over us (Rom 13:1-5) but when man’s laws tell us to break God’s Laws, we have no choice but to obey God over man. Especially where human life is involved, where our conscience is troubled, where we preach the gospel and have freedom to do so, and when one religion teaches and commands the death of others who don’t follow their religion

Why does God allow such suffering in the world? Is there a purpose behind pain? 

A Fallen World

The primary reason that there is suffering in the world is that Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and thus, broke the command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They decided for themselves what is good and what is evil. They thought they knew better than God and listened to the serpent (Satan), and choose to do what is right in their own eyes. This is a bad plan because the Bible teaches that “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart” (Prov 21:2), and just as it was in the time of the judges in Israel where “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), so it is today. Apart from God, we believe we know best, but history has proven this is false. All we have to do is to look at the world today and see how that turned out. When we or anyone chooses to go their own way and not God’s way, the proverb is right in saying “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Prov 12:15).

Atheists on Suffering

I can’t count all the times when unbelievers have said, “If there is a God, then why does He allow suffering? If He’s all-powerful, why doesn’t He stop it? If He doesn’t, then He’s a cruel God. And if He can’t stop it, then He’s not all-powerful?”My response is, “Okay, let’s say there is no God. Guess what? You’ve still got suffering and you’ve still got evil? Who’s responsible now? Mankind is!” Our world is fallen because we’re motivated by what historians call the “bottom line,” which history has shown is money. This world is under the pulls of the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life, and it’s like everyone’s out for themselves. This same unholy trinity (the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life) that brought down this world in the Garden, is bringing the world down even further into the pit of hell, which is a separation from God.

Why Suffering?

I knew a man years ago who had a debilitating disease. He was suffering so much that he wanted to die. When someone shared the gospel with him and spoke of how much Jesus suffered (Isaiah 53) so that we might have eternal life, it made him think of God for the very first time. This man’s suffering broke him and made him see how useless life was outside of the sovereign will of God. If not for this man’s suffering, he might not be a Christian today. This experience humbled him and God can only give His grace to the humble because He resists or is opposed to the proud (James 4:6).

The Apostle Peter on Suffering

Every person who has ever lived has suffered in one way or another. There isn’t a human being alive or dead who’s not gone through some form of pain and suffering, but the question is, “What will we do with it?” Suffering can make us bitter…or it can make us better. If you want to know about suffering, I strongly suggest you turn to the 1st Book of Peter who wrote more about suffering than any other author in the Bible (18 times!), and he wrote that it “is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1st Pet 2:19). In regards to suffering, it is “to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1st Pet 2:20), which footsteps refer to Jesus Christ, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1st Pet 3:18). Have you suffered a lot? Are you suffering right now? Peter tells you that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1st Pet 5:10).

Trial by Fire

We know that fire is symbolic of God’s judgment, but sometimes fire is good thing. For one thing, fire removes the impurities from gold, and in similar fashion, our fiery trials remove the impurities from our life. At least they should. Peter again writes, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1st Pet 4:12-13), “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1st Pet 4:19).

Storms of Life

There are many reasons that God allows suffering, and for the children of God, it’s always good. There are storms of affection (because He loves you), there are storms of direction (making us take a different path than the one we’re on), there are storms of perfection (as Peter said, we can share in Jesus’ sufferings), and there are storms of reflection (making us examine our lives). Finally, suffering purifies our faith (1st Pet. 1:7), sorrow keeps us in a humble attitude (2nd Cor. 7:10), trials allow us to fellowship with Jesus (Phil 3:10), to be partakers of His sufferings (1st Pet. 4:13), and so that we might reign with Him (2nd Tim. 2:12). Our suffering is really nothing compared to what Jesus endured, but ultimately, this will all make sense at His appearance (1st Pet. 1:7, Rom 8:18), as “Our light affliction is but for a moment, works (this is a verb, an action) in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2nd Cor. 4:17).

Conclusion

There are so many things about suffering that we can’t grasp in this life. Someday, it will all make sense. For today, we can see some of the reasons that God allows us to suffering, but knowing God is good, we understand that there is nothing that happens to us or others that will not work out for our (and their) very best (Rom 8:28). We simply have to remember that. Since God is for us, so who can be against us (Rom 8:31), even if we’re suffering or someone we know and/or love is suffering too?

Ways That God shows His Love Toward us. 

Becoming Flesh

The Apostle John begins before the beginning of Genesis 1:1 with John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” and then, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This was the beginning of the end for the eventually crushing of the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15).

Sinless Life

In the Old Testament the sacrificial “lamb shall be without blemish” (Ex 12:5) but these only covered sin but you and I “were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1st Pet 1:18-19) and He takes all our sins away (Psalm 103:12). That was what God required to have us become the very righteousness of God through Christ (2nd Cor 5:21).

Loving the Unlovable

We might think we loved God first and sought after Him but the fact is we love God only “because He first loved us” (1st John 4:19). It wasn’t “Jesus was once lost but now Him I found” but rather, grace is so amazing because “One we were lost but now we are found.” He found us and loved us, even while we were not very loveable, and falling so far short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). God made the first move; we just had to repent and believe.

Suffering for Sinners

Jesus suffered and died so that we might receive eternal life by trusting in Him. God’s love was displayed in “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6). We know that “one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:7-8). That means you and me.

Dying for Enemies

That is the ultimate expression of God’s love is shown when Jesus asked the Father to forgive them because they didn’t really know what they were doing (Luke 23:34) but Jesus knew exactly what He was doing because it was “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10). Dying for one’s enemies is the most supreme act of all, especially considering that we too were once enemies of God.

Conclusion

John 3:16 gives us a broad sweep of the love of God as the Father sent the unique and only Son of God to die for those who would believe in Him. This kind of love is called “agape love” and is the highest form of love there is; a self-sacrificial love that comes from God because God is love (1st John 4:8).

Simple ways that you can make the Bible come alive for you:

Placing Your Name in the Word

What do I mean by placing your name in the Scriptures?  I mean this.  Let’s use the name Pam to see what I mean.  Read John 3:16 like this: “For God so loved Pam that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Now let’s use the name Robert or imagine putting your name in this awesome verse in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave Robert, never will I forsake Robert.”  Try reading Scriptures that have “you” in them and put your own name there because when the Scriptures say “You” it means you!  Let the Word of God come alive by personalizing it because the Word of God is written to us and written for us.  That will make the way you read the Scriptures come alive and make it deeply personal because the Bible truly is God’s love letter written to mankind…and to you!  You may never read the Word of God the same again.

Read it Out Loud, Write it Out

I am way too guilty of doing this…I simply read the Word of God to myself but I don’t verbalize it. I remember in college one of my professors said that if we read something out loud, it helps us retain it better in our memory and it also gives it more impact.  I keep a notepad next to my Bible and when I find a particularly powerful verse, I also write it out.  I keep these notes and look them over from time to time and, as my professor also said, it allows whatever we wrote out to stand out better in our memories and they’ll also have a greater impact on our minds.  I download free mp3’s eBooks of the Bible and listen to these when I have to drive.  Reading the Word of God aloud or having someone else do it for me…and also writing some of the most impacting Bible verses out on paper helps these verses come alive and I am also able to recall them from memory much easier.   Read it, write it, and speak it.  Doing this with the Word of God is the Triple Crown winner of Bible study.

Pray it Back, Say it Back

The Psalms are some of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible but did you ever try reading these back to God as prayers?  Also, the many praise psalms are so worthy of worship to God and you know God delights in His own Word so why not use His own words to pray them back to Him and to praise Him with them?  Every word of God is inspired by God and I believe they will be inspiring to you if read them back to God.  Pray them back and praise them back to God.  Ever struggle with prayer? I know I do so why not pray back God’s own words to Him.  Have difficulty in praising God?  You’ll have no difficulty in knowing what to praise God for if you use the psalms to praise our Wonderful and Awesome God.

Conclusion

Personalize the Bible by putting your own name in the “You’s” in the Bible.  Read it, but read it out loud and write down some verses that have special meaning to you.  Pray the many great prayers and psalms of the Bible back to God and use the praise psalms to give Him what He is most worthy of in your private worship of Him. I believe if you do these things, the Bible will truly come alive for you because we already know that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12) so why not unleash that power?