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Tag: christian living

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

The Gospel

 

God created the world and made us to be in loving relationship with him. Though created good, human nature became fatally flawed, and we are now all out of step with God. In Bible language, we are sinners, guilty before God and separated from him.

The good news of the Gospel is that God took loving action in Jesus Christ to save us from this dire situation. The key facts of this divine remedy are these: God the Father sent his eternal Son into this world to reconcile us to himself, to free us to love and serve him, and to prepare us to share his glory in the life to come. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, and rose bodily from the dead to restore us to God. Given authority by his Father, Jesus now rules in heaven as King over all things, advancing God’s kingdom throughout the world. In the fullness of time, Jesus will return to establish his kingdom in its glory on earth, and all things will be renewed.

Reigning in heaven over all things, Jesus Christ continues to draw sinners to himself. He enables us by his Holy Spirit to turn wholeheartedly from our sinful and self-centered ways (repentance), and to entrust ourselves to him to live in union and communion with him (faith). In spiritual terms, sin is the way of death, and fellowship with Christ is the way of life.

Turning to Christ

Turning to Christ brings us into fellowship with God. Baptism, which is the rite of entry into the Church’s fellowship, marks the beginning of this new life in Christ. The apostle Peter, proclaiming the Gospel, said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Through faith, repentance, and Baptism we are spiritually united to Jesus and become children of God the Father. Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” ( John 14:6). As we come to the Father through Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and hearts to know him, and we are born again spiritu- ally to new life. To continue to live faithfully as Christians, we must rely upon the power and gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to God’s people.

When the disciple Thomas encountered the risen Jesus, he acknowledged him by saying, “My Lord and my God!” ( John 20:28). To be a Christian you must, like Thomas, wholeheartedly submit to the living Christ as your Lord and God. Knowing the Lord Jesus means personally believing in him, surrendering your life to him through repentance and Baptism, and living as one of his joyful followers.

A clear way to make this commitment of faith and repentance is to offer to God a prayer in which you

  • confess your sins to God, being as specific as possible, and repent by turning from them;
  • thank God for his mercy and forgiveness given to you in Jesus Christ;
  • promise to follow and obey Jesus as your Lord;
  • ask the Holy Spirit to help you be faithful to Jesus as yo grow into spiritual maturity.
    One example of such a prayer is the following:Almighty Father, I confess that I have sinned against you in my thoughts, words, and actions (especially __________). I am truly sorry and humbly repent. Thank you for forgiving my sins through the death of your Son, Jesus. I turn to you and give you my life. Fill and strengthen me with your Holy Spirit to love you, to follow Jesus as my Lord in the fellowship of his Church, and to become more like him each day. Amen. 
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Excerpted from “To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism”
Copyright © 2020 by The Anglican Church in North America
Published by Crossway
Can The Bible Help With Anxiety and Worry

Can The Bible Help With Anxiety and Worry

Many people struggle with worry and anxiety and they wonder if the Scripture has anything to say that can help them. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, “Do not be afraid” is one of the most often repeated commands in Scripture. Our Lord is the Prince of Peace and by His word we may have peace.O hope that these verses will be a help to you.

Before we reaed let us pray: Father in Heaven, youare our source of peace and we know that worry and dread do not come form you. Help us, as we read, to remember that you are good and you are kind so you will guide us and protect us for the sake of your Name. Help us to turn aswy when the enemy comes to tempt us with despair. We ask this for Christ and the sake of Hos Glory. Amen.

 

1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 

1 Peter 3:14

14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.”

 

2 Timothy 1:7

7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

 

Isaiah 35:4

4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

 

Isaiah 40:31

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

 

Isaiah 41:10

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Hebrews 11:1

1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

John 14:1

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

 

Joshua 1:9

9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Luke 12:22

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.

 

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

Psalm 34:4

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.

 

Psalm 34:17

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

 

Psalm 94:19

19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

 

Psalm 138:8

8 The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

 

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

Jeremiah 17:7-8

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

 

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Luke 12:24-34

24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

Colossians 3:15

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

 

2 Thessalonians 3:16

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

 

Psalm 55:22

22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

 

Proverbs 12:25

25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

 

1 Peter 5:6-8

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

Psalm 23:4

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

Hebrews 13:5-6

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

 

Psalm 56:3

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

 

 

Godliness in Conflict (Guest Post)

Godliness in Conflict (Guest Post)

We are privileged to welcome back Matt Bassford as a guest author. His articles are always very helpful and today’s is no exception:

Godliness in Conflict

The book of James has the reputation of being the most practical book of the New Testament, but Paul’s epistle to Titus surely must be considered in the same light. Titus is only three chapters long, but all three chapters are light on abstraction and heavy on concrete application. Especially in the second chapter, Paul aims these applications at specific groups, but often they apply equally well to all of us.

This is true of Paul’s words to Titus himself in Titus 2:7-8. Paul is aware that when Titus travels to Crete, he’s going to run into all sorts of opponents of the gospel. If these people can discredit Titus’ preaching through criticism of the preacher, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

As a result, Paul counsels Titus on how to deprive these critics of the personal attacks they love. Today, all Christians need to listen to his advice because there are plenty of people who want to attack us for the same reason. According to Paul, if we want to put these opponents to shame, we must excel in these four areas:

Good Deeds. Christ-haters rejoice whenever they find religious hypocrites. If they can prove that we don’t obey the truth we proclaim, they don’t have to obey it either. We defeat this attack by living godly, blameless lives. When everybody knows that we practice what we preach, charges of hypocrisy have no force. What’s more, our example often proves to be as powerfully influential as our words.

Purity of Doctrine. It’s easy to dismiss somebody who doesn’t know why he believes what he believes. Christians claim to be the people of the Book; if five minutes of religious conversation with us reveals that the Bible is unknown territory to us, that makes us another kind of religious hypocrite. If we clearly don’t study the Scriptures, why should anyone else? By contrast, when the time we have spent with the Bible is evident in the way we talk about it, we show that we deserve to be taken seriously.

Dignity. Sad to say, dignity is out of fashion these days. Politicians, celebrities, and talking heads behave deplorably far too often, and far too many Christians take their cue from them, especially on social media. They gleefully share demeaning memes, sneer at anyone who disagrees with them, and engage in endless slanging matches with their opponents. Anyone with a good and honest heart will be repelled by such behavior. On the other hand, when we refuse to engage in it, we will stand out, and God-seekers will be drawn to us.

Soundness of Speech. This is the opposite of the unwholesome speech of Ephesians 4:29: speech that undermines, speech that tears down, speech that leaves its hearers worse off than they were. When we see a patron dress down a fast-food worker for getting their order wrong, that’s unwholesome speech on display. We, however, should use our words to make days brighter, lives better, and to lead others toward Christ. Just like we would only use sound timbers to build a house, we should only use sound words to build God’s temple.

Obviously, conduct like this guarantees nothing. If people could reject Jesus despite His sinless perfection, we cannot expect to overcome a hard heart no matter how we behave. However, when our behavior leaves others with nothing to object to, we make it as likely as possible that they will listen to us.

Where is God when I am suffering

Where is God when I am suffering

The following Pathfinder Discipleship Guide focuses on one of the most commonly asked questions that people bring to pastors: Where is God when I am suffering? Does He even care?  I pray that the points which follow will bless you and be of help and comfort.

 

  1. A possible explanation for suffering: Suffering can help us to identify sin in our lives and also avoid it. (Job 36:1-21)

  2. A prayer in time of anguis (Psalm 22)

  3. God’s Compassion: Via the Prophet Isaiah, God tells all of his people througout all time that He will have compassion on them and bring their suffering to a close. (Isaiah 49:8-1)

  4. Jesus promises us both suffering and peace, we will overcome the world because He did first (John 16:33)

  5. God promises us that we will share in future glory with Him (Romans 8:15-20)

  6. Help in our times of need: Since Jesus has come to Earth and lived among us, he understands our struggle and we can come to Him for help in our suffering (Hebrews 4:15-16)

  7. God is sovereign, cares for us, and will see us thtough (1 Peter 5:6-10)

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you have given us your Holy Spirit to be with us until you come. When we suffer, will you have Him bring your Scritpture to our minds and let us feel His comforting presence. Most importantly, when we suffer, help us to use that suffering to bring glory to Your Name. Amen

Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

Celebrate Recovery Study Bible

 

 

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NIV Celebrate Recovery Study Bible 30th Anniversary Edition

 

 

This is a review that I have been very excited to write given that I have a connection to this Bible. 16 years ago, I entered Celebrate Recovery and, through their ministry and discipleship, gained victiory over being a functional alcoholic, all by the grace and power of Jesus and His gospel.  Note: Zondervan provided this copy free of charge in exchange for an honest review and my opinions are my own.

 

Translation

As you no doubt guessed from the title, The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible uses the New International Version, the best seling English Bible in the world.

 

More than in any other Bible that Zondervan offers, the NIV is the ideal choice for this Bible. Addicts come from a wide range of backgrounds and education levels so the easy to read and understand NIV Bible is an ideal choice for reaching a broad audience. NIV is a phenomenal choice for discipleship as most of the commentaries on the market, most of the handbooks, and most of the dictionaries are based on the NIV. There is a host of rescources available to make the life changing message of the Bible come to life.

 

Features

 

Articles explain eight recovery principles and accompanying Christ-centered twelve steps

The 12 Steps and the 8 recovery principles are a discipleship program, no more and no less. The explanatory articles guiod the reader through building a life pleasing to God and free from addiction.

 

Over 110 lessons unpack eight recovery principles in practical terms

These lessons, which I recommend taking two per week, make the discipleship process more intentional and help you to understand the process as well has how the Lord is using the steps to transform your life.

 

30 days of devotional readings

The devotionals help you to gain a foundation of discipline as you begin your new life. They take you through all of the steps in the recovery process.

 

Over 50 full-page biblical character studies are tied to stories from real-life people who have found peace and help with their own hurts, hang-ups and habits

 

Book introductions

Among other things, the Introductions provide a theme, a challenge, an encouragement, and a reflection point. The CRSB is designed to be one of the most practical study Bibles on the market so it is not inundated with a lot of historical background or commentary. It simply provides practical tools for life change. 

Side-column reference system keyed to the eight recovery principles

This particular reference set, goes through each of the recovery principles so that you are able to follos the principle throughout the Bible.

 

Cover and binding

This is  a softcover edition. It is designed primarily for affordability. Given its focus on affordability, it does have a sewn binding.

Paper

The paper is quite opaque for such an affordable Bible. There is no ghosting at all. You could easily use just about any writing instrument for your notes.

Can I use this on my own?

Can you? Yes. Should you? No. Neither recovery nor the Christian Life are designed to be solo endeavors. We are called the Household of the Faithful, the Sheep of God’s Pasture, Disciples of Christ, and, many other names all of which speak to community, We learn from each other, encourage each other, and pray for each other as part  of the recovery process. Victory is more likely when standing with others instead of standing alone.

Is it just for addicts?

Nope, it is not just for addicts and, yet, in a very real sense, there is not any other kind of person. We all suffere from an addiction to sinning and need help to unpack how the truths of Scripture can transform your life.

No matter what you struggle with, the Celebrate Recovery Study Bible offers help, hope, and healing through the transforming power of one simple message: Jesus saves sinners and will transform your life for His glory.

Final Thoughts

The Celebrate Recovery Study Bible is one of the most practically helpful Bible offered by Zondervan. The principles and steps, when paired with Scripture, truly offer the freedom that so many crave. I can tell you from personal experience that the motto of AA is very true, “It works if you work it.” This study Bible is very much a discipleship tool that should be carried not only by addicts but by Biblical Counselors, Social Workers, Pastors, Deacons and anyone else who meets messed up people in their daily lives.

The Big Picture Reading Plan (NT Overview)

The Big Picture Reading Plan (NT Overview)

Many people struggle to understand the Bible. Sometimes it is even hard to know where to start reading. To help you get started, or to refresh your reading, ware offering the Big Picture Reading plan to help you to have a solid overview of the New Testament. 

 

Day 1

Matthew 1:18—2:23 

Day 2

Matthew 5:1–16

Matthew 6:1—7:12

Day 3

Matthew 14:13–36

Day 4

Mark 2:1–17

Day 5

Luke 10:25–37

Luke 11:1–4

Day 6

Luke 15:1–32

Day 7

Luke 19:28–48

Day 8

Luke 22:1–23

Day 9

John 3:1–21

Day 10

John 4:1–42

Day 11

John 11:1–44

 Day 12

John 14:1–31

Day 13

John 19:1—20:10

Day 14

Acts 2:1–47

Day 15

Acts 8:26–40

Day 16

Acts 9:1–31

Day 17

Acts 16:11–40

Day 18

Romans 8:1–39

Day 19

Romans 12:1–21

Day 20

1 Corinthians 13:1–13

Day 21

1 Corinthians 15:1–58

Day 22

Ephesians 2:1–22

Ephesians 6:10–20

Day 23

Philippians 3:1—4:9

 Day 24

Colossians 3:1—4:1

Day 25

1 Thessalonians 4:1–18

Day 26

Hebrews 11:1–40

 Day 27

James 1:1–27

James 3:1–18

Day 28

1 Peter 1:3–25

Day 29

1 John 1:1—2:17

Day 30

Revelation 21:1—22:21

 

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

NET Abide Bible and Journal Review

The Abide Bible and Journals are a very interesting offering from Thomas Nelson. They are not a study Bible system and neither are they a devotional system. Rather, I would describe them as a personal worship system. The Abide Bible is offered in both New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET) and the Abide Bible Journals are offered with the NET. In this article we will review the Abide Bible in the NET alongside the 1st and 2nd Peter journal. (Both Bible and journal were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. As I was not required to give a positive review, my opinions are my own.)

 

 

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Abide Bible_Thomas Nelson Official Page

Abide Bible-Taylor University

From Thomas Nelson on the Abide Bible Journal

The Abide Bible Journals are designed to help you experience the presence of God and grow in your relationship with Him as you read and interact in Scripture. Each volume contains a book or section of Scripture in a clean, single-column format along with powerful passage-specific journaling prompts. And most important, right within the Word, lightly lined pages invite you to respond to what you’ve read and abide with God in active prayer and reflective response through the act of putting pen to paper.

The prompts within the text are based on four ways of engaging deeply with the Bible:

Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts

Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant

Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life

Contemplate: Follow the simple 4-step practice of feasting in God’s Word

 

The Concept:

The concept for the Abide Bible comes from John 15:4,

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

As I understand from Thomas Nelson, the Abide Bible is designed to take you beyond simple reading of the Bible and to move you into the arena of actually living the Bible; having a vital, active relationship with Holy Scripture and more importantly, its author.

 

The Translation

I am reviewing the New English Translation. I have commented on this translation before, if you will recall, I rather like it. NET is a meaning based (dynamic equivalent/thought-for-thought) translation completed by the students and faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary. They Full Notes Edition carries with it all 68,000 translators’ notes, a fact which makes in the most heavily annotated English Bible available.

 

Many of my colleagues will say that a meaning based translation is not suitable for study but in the case of the Full Notes Edition, I could not disagree more. It is designed for study.

 

In the case of the Abide Bible, the footnotes are not provided, not that such a deprivation would negatively impact your experience with the Bible. While I love the NKJV, I think that the NET is a better choice for the Abide Bible. Given its intended use, I want a translation that does not require me to reach for a lexicon but instead, I want a translation that feels like I am with friend, which you definitely will get from the NET. I am also quite glad that the journals are in the NET Translation for the same reason, I want something that is easy to use.

 

Cover and Binding

The journal is softcover with an adhesive binding. I would have preferred to see a hardcover option but I understand that it would be enormously impractical given the groupings of the books.

 

The Abbie Bible that I was sent is the brown leathersoft. Thomas Nelson has really stepped up their game with their imitation leathers. Having handled many leathers over the years, I could tell from the touch that it is not real leather but I am not sure most people would pick up on that-it is very convincing. The binding appears to be sewn. I am glad to see sewn bindings return to the Thomas Nelson Lineup. Sewn bindings wil, literally, last you a lifetime of use.

 

Paper Layout and Font in the Journal.

The paper is a crisp white but not so bright as to cause glare. It performs very well in most light settings, including the Arizona sun, which is quite unforgiving.

On the left page we have the text of Scripture in a single column. On the right page we have the Abide Journaling Prompts and a lined column for journaling. Following the last page of journaling prompts we have an additional 15 lined pages for additional thoughts.

The font in the journal is quite a bit larger for the Scripture portion than what is found in the Abide Bible. I would gauge it at 9-point font while the journaling prompts come in at 8-point. Both, though, are quite readable.

 

Paper, Layout, and Font in the Bible

I am told that the paper is 36 gsm. You can see that it is quite opaque so it should work rather well for marking, highlighting, or journaling. There is a little bit of a newspaper texture to the paper which makes it rather easy to turn the pages.

Unlike the NKJV edition, this is a black letter Bible. The text is laid out in single column paragraph format, which is ideal for the intended use of the Abide Bible.

The Abide Prompts are in the outer column. Many of the pages, I would guess about half, include ample space for journaling.

Helps and Prompts

Introductions

 Each Introduction includes the usual material  including historical and literary context. It also adds a section called Prepare which is designed to help you to engage with Scripture.

Journaling Through Scripture

This section is not for a personal journal or even prayer requests. Instead, guided prompts help you to interact with scripture and to record/catalogue insights that you gather. Journaling is a critical component of Inductive Study which is the essential method to understand and internalize the Scripture.

Engage Through Artwork

“Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.” The Bible, itself, is art; it is God’s masterpiece and has inspired countless artistic works over the years. The artwork provided does not simply help us to visualize what we see in scripture, it spurs us on to worship by bringing the text to life.

 

Praying the Scripture

“Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.” This is a similar concept to the Prayer Book used by some denominations. Many of us do not really know how to pray but the Abide Bible helps to guide us through the process.

Picture It

“Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.” The Bible IS literature, among other things, and the best literature invites us into the story. We identify with the characters and, on varying levels, the story speaks to us.

Contemplate

We are given a  4-step practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture.

Assorted Articles

There are some articles explaining how to engage with Scripture, studying vs engaging, and why we read the Bible. These are more of background material rather than what will take you through the process.

 

Final Thoughts

The Abide Bible and Journal  is an excellent resource when used as a complete system. Could you use each one separately? Yes but they are better together.

My preference is for the NKJV for study and teaching though the NET will do quite well for understanding and internalizing the Scripture.

It is important to remember that this will take time and discipline, but this is to be expected; nothing worth having comes easily. I think you, dear reader, will enjoy the Abide Bible and Journal and they will help you with your growth.

KJV Life Principles Bible Review

KJV Life Principles Bible Review

 

One of the most helpful Bibles you can find is the Life Principles Bible from Thomas Nelson. It is now available in a 2nd Edition and I am actually really excited to review this for you.

 

Life Principles Bible Photos

 

(Note: Thomas Nelson provided this Bible free of charge in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review simply an honest one. My opinions are my own.)

 

Translations Available

Currently the 2nd Edition of Life Principles Bible is available in the NKJV, NIV, NASB, and, for the first time, the King James Version. It is the KJV edition that I am reviewing.

 

For over 400 years the KJV has been the standard bearer in English Bibles and so it is a welcome sign to see the KJV finally join the lineup.

 

Cover and Binding

This particular edition is burgundy leathersoft with a sewn binding. When it comes to imitation leathers, Thomas Nelson has really stepped up its game in their leathersoft covers. Even though they are made from polymers, they feel fairly like a real leather. I am quite impressed with this cover. It should go without saying that the sewn binding is a great choice to ensure your Bible lasts a lifetime.

 

Paper, Layout, Font

The Thomas Nelson Comfort Print Font really shines here. This is a black letter edition set in my favorite layout, double column verse by verse. The second edition has a bit of an Easter egg for you, in between the text of Scripture and the notes,  Thomas Nelson has provided their full set of cross-references, 72,000 in all.

 

The paper is fairly similar to other Thomas Nelson Bibles but it presents as more opaque than other Nelson Bibles and is certainly more opaque than the first edition. The increased opacity is vital in this edition because Dr. Stanley provides such good content that you will want to add your own markings and notes to go along with it.

 

Helps

 

  • 30 Life Principlesarticles highlight Dr. Stanley’s essentials for Christian living. These lessons are derived from more than 40 years of teaching and encompass the essentials of a life pleasing to God.
  • 2,500 Life Lessons verse notes bring to life the practical and personal nature of God’s Word to us. These notes will help to relate to and internalize the Scriptures.
  • Over 300 highlighted verses make it easy to find God’s promises throughout the Bible text that encourage, strengthen, and bring hope
  • Answers to Life’s Questionsand What the Bible Says About articles bring scriptural insight to bear on topics of special importance to every believer
  • Topical indexes give immediate access to hundreds of life-giving principles and promises throughout the Old and New Testaments. This includes a condensed concordance for a more in-depth topical study.
  • Book introductions provide an overview of the themes and literary structure of each book. Each introduction includes the Life Principles which are addressed in that book.
  • Life Examples are character profiles that illustrate a particular life principle.
  • In-text maps and charts are a newish feature this time around and are designed for visual learners to gain a better understanding of the Bible.

 

Experiencing the Life Principles Bible

I have two copies to the 1st Edition, one in NASB and a signed NKJV in addition to the KJV I am reviewing. I have found it most useful in situations of 1 on 1 discipleship.

 

What should be added

It would be a great idea to add notes pages when we get to the third edition. I have seen several Life Principles Bibles out and about and it tends to be much more marked up than others that I have seen. This leads me to believe that notes pages would be a very heavily used tool.

 

Who should use the Life Principles Bible

If you said that this Bible should be used by new disciples, you would not, per se, be incorrect. However, I recommend more for the intermediate level disciple. A basic understanding of sound doctrine is critical for proper application.

 

Final Thoughts

All in all, this is excellent. I have a few minor points of disagreement with Dr. Stanley but overall he is very helpful. I commend it to you for your study.

 

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

How Old Must a Person Be to Receive Communion?

I was asked, again, today how old a person must be to come to the Lord’s Table. The Scripture does not prescribe a specific age so neither shall I. I will give this counsel though…

Romans 10:9 teaches us to confess that Jesus is Lord and to believe that He was raised from the dead for our salvation from sin. A person who can explain why he needs a savior and also confess that he has yielded his life to Christ should in no wise be refused the Elements.

Upon our salvation, we are commanded to step in to tbe Waters of Baptism to show, symbolically, that the filthiness of our sin is washed away and we arise to the New Life. Immediately (and I mean while the convert is still wet) the Elements may be offered whereby we seal the new believer in fellowship with Christ and in brotherhood with the saints of all the ages.

The Lord’s Table is a sacred privilege enjoyed by ALL Believers. Let none say they are too young. ANY who will confess Christ may eat of the Bread of Life and drink from the Cup of the New Covenant.

A 12 Step Program as an Instrument of Discipleship

A 12 Step Program as an Instrument of Discipleship

There are a number of well-intentioned Christians who will tell you that there is no room in Christianity for a 12-Step Program. My response may or may not surprise you: I think they are wrong. It is my long considered opinion that a 12-Step Program is fully suited to being used in discipleship and I say that as someone who has gone through both A.A. and Celebrate Recovery and have been free of alcohol for 14 years. Any kind of addiction is a terrible taskmaster, as any sin is, and unless you have struggled with an addiction you will never really understand it and you may struggle with properly discipling an addict.

Addictions are both medical and spiritual conditions; a 12-Step Program, when properly utilized, will instill a proper discipline in behavior and, paired with the appropriate Scriptures, provide a spiritual foundation as well. How? Let’s look:

Steps 1-5 deal with the human condition and our need for a savior.

STEP 1: We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies—that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I know that nothing good lives in me. . . . I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Romans 7:18; see also John 8:31-36; Romans 7:14-25).

STEP 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

“God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13; see also Romans 4:6-8; Ephesians 1:6-8; Colossians 1:21-22; Hebrews 11:1-10).

STEP 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable” (Romans 12:1; see also Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 10:14-16; James 4:7-10).

STEP 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

“Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD(Lamentations 3:40; see also Matthew 7:1-5; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

STEP 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16; see also Psalms 32:1-5; 51:1-3; 1 John 1:2-6).

 

Steps 6 & 7 deal with walking humbly with God.

STEP 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor”(James 4:10; see also Romans 6:5-11; Philippians 3:12-14).

STEP 7: We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9; see also Luke 18:9-14; 1 John 5:13-15).

 Steps 8-10 begin to teach relational holiness and how to restore relationships with those we have sinned against.

STEP 8: We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

“Do to others as you would like them to do to you” (Luke 6:31; see also Colossians 3:12-15; 1 John 3:10-20). 

STEP 9: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

“If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar and . . . someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God”(Matthew 5:23-24; see also Luke 19:1-10; 1 Peter 2:21-25).

STEP 10: We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

“If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall”(1 Corinthians 10:12; see also Romans 5:3-6; 2 Timothy 2:1-7; 1 John 1:8-10).

In step 11, we begin to practice the discipline of regular prayer. I would include journaling, here.

STEP 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart”(Colossians 4:2; see also Isaiah 40:28-31; 1 Timothy 4:7-8).

Step 12 deals with the Great Commission

STEP 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.“

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself” (Galatians 6:1; see also Isaiah 61:1-3; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 4:1-5)

It is true that a 12-Step Program is not the most sophisticated discipleship program you will ever encounter but we need to remember that most people who are going through a program either are not Christians or are severely lapsed in their walk with Christ. The idea is to redirect the disciple back to discipline and scripture.