Tag: Devotions

The Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11)

The Baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:9-11)

Mark 1:9-11 (GWT)

John Baptizes Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came out of the water, he saw heaven split open and the Spirit coming down to him as a dove. 11 A voice from heaven said, “You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you.”

Mark 1:9-11 (NKJV)

John Baptizes Jesus

It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up [a]from the water, He saw the heavens [b]parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Footnotes

  1. Mark 1:10NU out of
  2. Mark 1:10torn open

 

Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan: Jesus was not baptized because He needed cleansing from sin; He was sinless, as John himself understood (Matthew 3:14). Instead, Jesus was baptized in keeping with His entire mission on earth: to do the will of the Father and to identify with sinful man.

It is important for us to remember that Jesus was NOT required to do either of these things. He did not need to be baptized (but was as a model of obedience for us), neither did he have to die on the cross. HE CHOSE THE CROSS because it was the good pleasure of the entire Godhead to redeem a people unto themselves and the cross was the price of that redemption. Only God Himself could satisfiy the blood price of redemption because it had to be sinless and so the Divine Son was incarnated to live a sinless lite and overcome the curse so that He could presnt a redeemed people to God the Father.

This next section poses no small problem for the modalist/oneness believer. The entire Trinity is simultaneously present at the baptism of Jesus

 

You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased:

When this voice of God the Father spoke from heaven, everyone knew that Jesus was not just another man being baptized. They knew Jesus was the perfect (in whom I am well pleased) Son of God, identifying with sinful man.

Many claim that Jesus never claimed to be God. Aside from the fact that this is patently untrue, even if He had not declared His deity, God the Father declared the deity of the Son. In calling Him “my son” God the Father identified the Son as also being God.

In Psalm 2 (An incredibly Messianic Psalm) YHWH speaks to the Lord and says, “Thou art my Son. Today I have begotten thee.” Furthermore the Father, speaking to the Son, says “Thy Throne, O God, is forever. (Psalm 45:6, Hebrews 1:8)

This strange scene displayed a humble beginning:

  • Jesus: A common, unremarkable name.
  • From Nazareth: An unremarkable, despised village.
  • Of Galilee: The unspiritual region, not the “Bible belt” of the area at that time.
  • Was baptized: Identified with sinful man.
  • In the Jordan: An unremarkable – often even unpleasant – river. “Early rabbinic tradition explicitly disqualifies the River Jordan for purification, [according to] The Mishnah, ParahVIII. 10.” (Lane)

 

The scene also puts the glory of Heaven on display.

The heavens parting: Heaven opened wide for this. The ancient Greek for this phrase is strong. It has the idea that sky was torn in two, “being rent asunder, a sudden event.” (Bruce) Think about this for a minute…God Himself parts the Heavens  to view the baptism of the Son. No doubt the entire Host was watching as well.

The Spirit descending: The Spirit of God was present, and in some way His presence was discernable. Like a doveLuke 3:22 puts it like this: And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him. In some way the Spirit was present and “flew down” on Jesus like a dove. Think back to Genesis 1: The Spriti of God was moving over the surface of the deep; the Hebrew actually says was brooding, like a mother bird gathering chicks under her wings.

We gloss over this frequently, but think about if for a second…God Himself manifests His presence at the baptism of the Son. The entire Godhead is present at the Baptism. Talk about a showstopper!

A voice came from heaven: It’s rare in the Bible when we read that God speaks audibly from heaven, but this is one of those glorious occasions. At the Transfiguration, God’s voice from heaven sounds like thunder but we have no such indication in this passage. It is possible that only Jesus knew what was being said but I rather doubt that. We can, logically, deduce that all present heard the voice and knew what was being said.

You are My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased:

I want you to think about a passage that we don’t usually associate with the baptism of Jesus but that is apropos nonetheless. Consider John 1:1-3. The connotation here is one of intimate fellowship. Consider also, John 1:18 where the Son was in the bosom of the Father. Intimate fellowship, face to face communication.

An error to correct:

Many use this passage to suggest that baptism is the symbol of the New Covenant. They are incorrect. The sign of the New Covenant is in John 14:17, the Indwelling Holy Spirit. See also 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

I will share a separate lesson on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit at a later time.

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

12 Blessings of Life Recovery

There are 12 gifts/blessings from God for those who are in recvoery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE GIFTS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These twelve attributes are not just results or outcomes for people in recovery, but truly gifts from God. They show that recovery doesn’t merely provide escape from a destructive problem. It also points toward the possibility of a new and exceptional life.

  1. Hope—“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

  1. Power—“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

  1. Character—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

  1. Clarity—“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

  1. Security—“The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

  1. Abundance—“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

  1. Wisdom—“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

  1. Self-Control—“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Romans 8:9). “But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23).”

  1. Freedom—“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

  1. Happiness—“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight” (Psalm 119:35). “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 10:2).

  1. Serenity—“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come” (Romans 8:38).

  1. Peace—“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).”

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

12 Mistakes Made in Recovery (an excerpt)

The 12 mistakes listed below are common among people in recovery. This lesson is excerpted from the KJV Life Recovery Bible

 

THE TWELVE LAWS OF LIFE RECOVERY

These laws highlight irrefutable truths that you will discover in yourself as you experience recovery while following the Twelve Steps. They provide evidence of the progress you have made and highlight places where growth is still needed. As you experience these laws, you will find—perhaps to your surprise—that the laws of life recovery often give back what they initially seemed to take away.

  1. Powerlessness will result in STRENGTH.

We struggle with the feeling of powerlessness because it feels so much like we are helpless. But God often works healing in our lives through what to us is weakness. It is paradoxical that as we experience recovery in our lives, we will find there is great strength in recognizing our powerlessness.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

  1. Humility will result in HONOR.

In our journey of life recovery, it is easy to take pride in the positive changes we are making in our lives. But in God’s plan, honor is not something we should seek. It is something we receive as we learn to live in humility. Humility is the path to being honored by God and by others.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10)

  1. Connection will result in LOVE.”

We all long to be loved, but we overlook the fact that being loved always takes place in an emotionally connected relationship. Prior to our recovery, we lived in emotional isolation from others. But God designed us for connection—for relationship. That’s the only context in which we can experience true love.

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12)

  1. Willingness will result in GROWTH.

There is the childlike part within all of us that wants to say, “I can do it on my own,” and “I can do it my way.” But true recovery in our  lives begins when we are willing to do it God’s way. That’s not easy, but without a willingness to be open to God’s plan, we will limit our growth. It all begins with a willing and open heart.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” (Colossians 3:23)

  1. Sacrifice will result in FULFILLMENT.

Before we started on our recovery journey, it was easy to think and act as if fulfillment came from getting, or from what we owned. But again, God’s ways are mysterious and not our ways. We learn in our recovery that sacrifice—doing good and sharing with others, not getting—is the true path to fulfillment.

“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)”

  1. Faith will result in HOPE.

In God’s plan for our recovery, problems and trials are a part of the path that leads to a hope that will not disappoint us. It is all in how we handle our problems and trials. When we endure the hard stuff, we build strength of character, which then builds our faith. It is that faith which leads to a hope built on knowing we are loved by God.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

  1. Surrender will result in VICTORY.

James describes surrendering as being “easy to be intreated.” Here willingness is coupled with surrendering. When we truly surrender ourselves, we are saying to God,  “Your will, not mine.” And a truly surrendered life is a life lived out as a celebration of our victory.

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

  1. Service will result in REWARD.

Our acts of service are not to be done in order to gain a reward. They are done out of obedience to what we are learning as we are equipped to do the work of ministry. We are God’s hands, feet, and mouth. As we are faithful in our service, the reward is the peace and satisfaction that comes as the result of our obedience.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)”

  1. Forgiveness results in FREEDOM.

We are called to be forgiving people. When we hold a grudge, we are in bondage to the person we refuse to forgive. We forget that forgiveness involves only us, and that the person we need to forgive really isn’t part of the process. So there is no real excuse for not being obedient and forgiving others as we have been forgiven by God.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

  1. Confession will result in HEALING.

You may have wondered why it is so important to confess your inventory to another person as part of your recovery. Healing comes  as a result of confessing. We experience something powerful when we confess our shortcomings and failures not only to God but also to another person.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

  1. Restitution will result in CLOSURE.

Not all acts of restitution are financial repayments, although that can be a very effective way in some circumstances to make restitution. But we need also to make restitution for emotional hurts, or for other non-financial issues. Until we explore ways to make all kinds of restitution, we will struggle with moving on and experiencing closure.

“Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.” (Numbers 5:7)

  1. Responsibility will result in SECURITY.

This is one of the most obvious results of our experiencing life recovery. We have not only made restitution; we have also begun to act responsibly in all areas of our lives. Responsibility is living up to our part of life, not blaming or expecting someone else to make up for our lack. We experience a genuine sense of security when we are doing our part—living responsibly in our everyday lives.

“And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:9-10)”

Valley of Vision and Family Worship

Valley of Vision and Family Worship

 

One of the best devotionals available is the collection of Puritan Prayers, Poems and Psalms known as The Valley of Vision.  Previous to a server failure I had reviewed  it (trying to recover that review). This time around, I want to spend a few minutes on incorporating Valley of Vision into your church family, either on Sunday Mornings or during  your weekly family worship time.

Oder from Christian Book Distributors (affiliate link)

To use Valley of Vision on a Sunday morning, the best use would be either to use it as a guide for your corporate prayer time or perhaps as a responsorial reading with your congregation. I have also palyed with the idea of using it as a teaching aid by offering it to candidates for membership.

A black leather version is aviailble (see link above) and it would make a great gift for confirmation (if your faith tradition practices that) or as a gift in celebratiob of Believer’s Baptism.

The most common use that I have gotten from the Valley of Vision is as an aid in family worship. If you are not the type that is inclined to sing hymns, acapella, at home, you will find Valley of Vision to be a most welcome substitue. Depending on the frequesncy of family worship in your home, you will probably get through it a couple times a year.

I, personnaly, use it mostly on Saturdays. I find that it helps me to focus myself and to prepare mentally and spiritually for the Lord’s Day, especially becuase I am in the pulpit and need as much spiritual reinforcement as possible. The selections elevate the mind and heart as they intensify your focous on the Lord. If it were possible to attain to the heights of Heaven, here on Earth, this would be the vehicle that takes you there. The Puritan is one focused on holiness and God’s glory and I can find no book, other than the Bible, that so richly equips the reader for time with Jesus.

It is actually our intent to re-release our Family Worship Guides and we wll be adding a reading guide for the Valley of Vision as part of those worship guides. 

THE TWELVE STEPS AND SCRIPTURE

THE TWELVE STEPS AND SCRIPTURE

The following, excerpted from the NLT Life Rcovery Bible, is offered as a response to those who insist that 12-step programs are incompatible with Holy Scripture. That is quite far from the truth as any discipleship program, and the 12 Steps are certainly that, must be in an orderly and systematic fashio.

The Twelve Steps have long been of great help to people in recovery. Much of their power comes from the fact that they capture principles clearly revealed in the Bible. On this page is a list of the Twelve Steps and the corresponding Scriptures that support them. This will help readers familiar with the Twelve Steps to discover the true source of their wisdom—the very word of God.

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).

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).

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).

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: 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.“

“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).

~NLT Life Recovery Bible Used by permission of Tyndale House  Publuhsers

A New Beginning: Family Worship Readings 12/31-1/6

A New Beginning: Family Worship Readings 12/31-1/6

We begin our guided tour a day early so that we can have the Bible completed by 12/31/18. Below, you will find 7 days’ worth of readings along with discussion questions and a sample prayer. There is no set formula to use the materials so utilize them in whatever way fits your needs.

 

  • Sunday: Genesis 1:1-2:25
  • Monday: Genesis 3:1-24
  • Tuesday: Genesis 4:1-26
  • Wednesday: Genesis 6:1-22
  • Thursday: Genesis 7:1-8:22
  • Friday: Genesis 9:1-29
  • Saturday: Genesis 11:1-9

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do we learn about God when we read about Him as the Creator?
  2. The sin of Adam and Eve was that they did not trust the revealed truth of God and disobeyed His commands. In what way’s do you find yourself tempted by the serpent’s whisper, “Did God really say…?”
  3. When God destroyed the world, in the flood, He spared Noah and His family. What does this teach us about the character of God, and especially about how He deals with sin?
  4. When the Tower of Babel was built, what were the men trying to accomplish and why did God stop them.

 

Sample prayer:

Father, please help us to see your truth in Scripture. Help us to know you better and to see the many ways that you deserve glory. In Christ’s Name and for His sake, Amen.

NLT Reflections Journaling Bible Review

NLT Reflections Journaling Bible Review

 

 

Initial Thoughts on the NLT Reflections Bible

It’s no secret that I love a wide margin Bible and in the case of the NLT Reflections Bible, these are the widest margins I have, personally, seen in a Bible, 2.25 inches. Tyndale made the margins ruled which eliminates a huge problem for me; for some reason I cannot write in a straight line on un-ruled paper, so giving me ruled margins made me exceedingly happy.

There are 3 covers available, all with sewn bindings so they will lay flat. Tyndale sent me all three (free of charge in exchange for an honest review; my opinions are my own): Ocean Blue (actually more of a teal) cloth over board, Sketchbook (The cover feels very similar to a Moleskine notebook and is the same shade of black), and Mahogany Bonded Leather over board. Of the 3, the mahogany will be the one I carry most. I cannot explain why, but it seems to be the most “pastoral” and since it will be used in a church plant, it seems the natural choice.

From the publisher

Product Description

NLT Reflections is a handsome single-column, wide-margin New Living Translation Bible. Extra-wide 2.25″ lightly ruled margins make this Bible great for note-taking, journaling, recording prayers, doodling, drawing, and other forms of creative expression.

Special features include

  • A line-matching setting that’s designed to prevent text show-through
  • A durable sewn lay-flat binding
  • Matching ribbon marker
  • Elegant spine hubs
  • Presentation page
  • One-year Bible reading plan
  • 8-point text size
  • 75″ X 6.75″ x 1.50″

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 1704
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 6.38 X 1.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1496418042
ISBN-13: 9781496418043
Text Layout: Single Column|Wide Margin

 

Text Color: Black Letter
Text Size: 8 Point
Thumb Index: No
Ribbon Marker: Yes
Spine: Sewn
Page Gilding: None
Page Edges: White

The Paper & Font

The paper is a crisp white, not quite so bright that it would be difficult to read in the sunlight but not an off-white either; I guess that eggshell would be the best descriptor. Tyndale lists an 8-point font which I would have to say is the most readable 8-point font I have seen in a while. It is not the same font family as my KJV Concord Reference Bible but it is just as readable. Since I am planning to preach from the Reflections Bible, the font is the biggest factor for me; I am pleased to say that I have experienced no eyestrain when reading from this Bible.

Margins and their use

The margins, as I said earlier, are 2.25 inches and they are ruled for easy writing. I think there is one Bible with larger margins but it is only in KJV, if memory serves. In my case, the margins will be used for main points of sermons and word studies.

For writing your annotations, I recommend Papermate’s Better Retractable (shown in photo below) and I recommend Accu-gel Hi Glider for color coded marking. I have the six color pack and I am using the following color coding:

  • Green: Fruit of the Spirit/Christian Life/Discipleship
  • Purple: Kingdom of God/Eschatological Kingdom
  • Blue: the Godhead
  • Yellow: Prophecies of Christ, His Advents, & Ministry
  • Pink: Salvation
  • Orange: Ecclesiology

 

Naturally, your color coding may vary. There are many important topics that are worth color coding; in my case I chose the topics I believe are most important to a brand new church. How you color code is not as important as actually doing the color code. Color coding is one of several memory triggers that you can use to recall information quickly.

Actually Writing in the Bible

Typically, my annotations are word studies although, on occasion, I have been known to add some topical references. In the example shown in the photos, I have provided markings from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5. Because the Beatitudes fall into the category of Christian Life, I have marked them with the green accu-gel highlighter pen. You will notice that the coloring is noticeable but it is not so bright as to distract from the text. In the margin, there are some brief comments on the word makarios which we translate as blessed. The word to be studied is in red with the definition and references to Strong’s and Thayer’s in blue and my summary remarks in black.

I have also provided a picture of the opposite side of the page from where I made the markings. You can see the slightest hint of a shadow where I wrote but you cannot make out individual letters and the green highlighting barely shows any shadowing.

For Carry/Daily Use

For daily carry and use, this Bible is a great choice. The format lends itself to reading large amounts of text in a single sitting. Of course, the exquisite margins provide the perfect canvas to record your thoughts as you read devotionally or your study notes while you prepare your lessons. In the case of my wife, who has claimed the Ocean Blue, that point you want to remember from the Sunday Sermon fits here nicely as well. The overall size and weight of the Bible lends itself to one handed use without worrying if the Bible will fall out of your hand while reading. I am very peripatetic (walk while talking) and I have not noticed any issues with that habit and this Bible.

Overall Thoughts

I’m really enjoying the NLT Reflections Bible. It works out nicely for my purposes in using it as a pastoral tool. My only suggestion would be to add two more ribbons so that you can study the Old Testament, Psalms and Proverbs, and the New Testament simultaneously. I hope that, after reading this, you will get an NLT Reflections Journaling Bible and that you will customize your own study/devotional Bible.

 

 

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Apostle’s Creed (Our Essential Creed)

Below, you will find the foundational statement of faith of all Reformed Christians. Officially codified in AD 390, this is a concise statement on the essentials of Christian Orthodoxy.

 

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.

Professor Grant Horner’s Reading Plan (the Plan I will use in 2017)

Professor Grant Horner’s Reading Plan (the Plan I will use in 2017)

Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System & Bookmarks

Horner Plan

I have, recently, shared a couple of reading plans with you and, now, I want to share, with you, the plan that I will be using in 2017, Professor Grant Horner’s Reading Plan. This will be an especially ambitious plan for me because, even though, I read my Bible every day, I do not usually consume this level of content on a daily basis. If you follow this plan you will read ten chapters of the Bible per day. Yes, you read that correctly, 3650 chapters of the Bible in a year. There area 1189 chapters in the Bible which means that you will read the Bible 3.06 times in a year. Since you will go through different sections each day, you will get a better idea of how the Bible relates to itself and how to better interpret it.

Which Bible goes best with the Horner Plan?

There are three Bibles that I recommend with this plan: The Crossway ESV Single Column Legacy Bible, the Tyndale Select NLT Reference Bible or the Cambridge Clarion (ESV, NAS, KJV, NKJV, NIV). I will be using the ESV first and then the Select NLT for the 2nd time through. I will decide on which Bible to use for the 3rd time through when I get there.

If you only have 1 Bible, do not feel bad. Study with what you have. If you are going to buy a new Bible for this plan, here is what I would recommend:

  • Get an easy to read translation. Here is where NIV and NLT really shine
  • Buy a single column paragraph format Bible. I love verse by verse for preaching and study but to get this in depth, you will want as few distractions as possible.
  • Lastly, get a set of colored pens and use them for your notes while you read the Bible
Guided Tour of the Bible

Guided Tour of the Bible

Also from our friends at Zondervan, we have, here, a guided tour of the Bible…

If you click on the link below you will find a downloadable PDF to help you follow along.

Zondervan_-_180_Day_Guided_Tour

(Adapted fromt the NIV Student Bible. c.2002, 2011 by Zondervan. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

The plan offers a kind of bird’s-eye-view.
The daily readings consist of 180 selected passages, including at least one chapter from each of the Bible’s 66 books. You can read both the chap- ter and its accompanying note in 15 minutes per day.

This “Guided Tour” is exactly that, a guide-as- sisted tour of the Bible’s high points. Such a plan is no substitute for mastering the whole Bible, of course, but it may help lower barriers and point the way down a path for further study. Think of it as an introductory tour through a great art muse- um. You won’t get to see every painting in the mu- seum, but you will learn the basic layout, and may also acquire a taste for art that will entice you to return again and again.

With a few exceptions, the Biblical material appears in rough chronological order. You will read the psalms attributed to David as you read about David’s life. You will read the prophets along with their background history. Portions from the Gospels, too, are interspersed, giving a composite picture of Jesus’ life on earth; and Paul’s letters are scattered throughout the record of his life. This arrangement should help convey the Bible’s “plot.”

 

The Plot Unveiled
Day 1. Genesis 1: A Book of Beginnings Day 2. Genesis 2: One Shining Moment Day 3. Genesis 3: The Crash Day 4. Genesis 4: Crouching at the Door Day 5. Genesis 7: Under Water Day 6. Genesis 8: The Rainbow Day 7. Genesis 15: The Plan Day 8. Genesis 19: A Catastrophe Sent from God Day 9. Genesis 22: Final Exam Day 10. Genesis 27: Jacob Gets the Blessing Day 11. Genesis 28: Something Undeserved Day 12. Genesis 37: Family Battles Day 13. Genesis 41: Behind the Scenes Day 14. Genesis 45: A Long Forgiveness
Birthing a Nation
Day 15. Exodus 3: Time for Action Day 16. Exodus 10–11: The Ten Plagues Day 17. Exodus 14: Miracle at the Red Sea Day 18. Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments Day 19. Exodus 32: The Dream Dies Day 20. Leviticus 26: Legal Matters Day 21. Numbers 11: Trials in the Desert Day 22. Numbers 14: Open Mutiny Day 23. Deuteronomy 4: Never Forget Day 24. Deuteronomy 8: Dangers of Success Day 25. Deuteronomy 28: Loud and Clear Day 26. Joshua 2: New Spies, New Spirit Day 27. Joshua 6: Strange Tactics Day 28. Joshua 7: Slow Learners Day 29. Joshua 24: Home at Last Day 30. Judges 6: Unlikely Leader Day 31. Judges 7: Military Upset Day 32. Judges 16: Superman’s Flaws Day 33. Ruth 1: Tough Love
The Golden Age
Day 34. 1 Samuel 3: Transition Team Day 35. 1 Samuel 16: Tale of Two Kings Day 36. Psalm 23: A Shepherd’s Song Day 37. 1 Samuel 17: Giant-Killer Day 38. Psalm 19: Outdoor Lessons Day 39. 1 Samuel 20: Jonathan’s Loyalty Day 40. Psalm 27: Ups and Downs Day 41. 2 Samuel 6: King of Passion Day 42. 1 Chronicles 17: God’s House Day 43. Psalm 103: The Goodness of God Day 44. 2 Samuel 11: Adultery and Murder Day 45. 2 Samuel 12: Caught in the Act Day 46. Psalm 51: True Confession Day 47. Psalm 139: David’s Spiritual Secret Day 48. 1 Kings 3: Raw Talent Day 49. 1 Kings 8: High-water Mark Day 50. Psalm 84: Home Sweet Home Day 51. Proverbs 4: Life Advice Day 52. Proverbs 10: One-liners Day 53. Proverbs on Words: Verbal Dynamite Day 54. Song of Songs 2: Love Story Day 55. Ecclesiastes 3: A Time for Everything

The Northern Kingdom
Day 56. 1 Kings 17: The Prophets Day 57. 1 Kings 18: Mountaintop Showdown Day 58. 2 Kings 5: Double Portion Day 59. Joel 2: Word Power Day 60. Jonah 3–4: Beloved Enemies Day 61. Amos 4: Street-Corner Prophet Day 62. Hosea 1, 3: Parable of Love Day 63. Hosea 11: Wounded Lover Day 64. 2 Kings 17: Postmortem
The Southern Kingdom
Day 65. 2 Chronicles 20: Meanwhile in Jerusalem Day 66. Micah 6: Pollution Spreads Day 67. 2 Chronicles 30: Hezekiah’s Festival Day 68. Isaiah 6: Power behind the Throne Day 69. Isaiah 25: Eloquent Hope Day 70. 2 Chronicles 32: Battlefield Lessons Day 71. Nahum 1: Enemy Justice Day 72. Zephaniah 3: Rotten Ruling Class Day 73. 2 Kings 22: Boy Wonder Day 74. Jeremiah 2: National Adultery Day 75. Jeremiah 15: Balky Prophet Day 76. Jeremiah 31: Israel’s Future Day 77. Jeremiah 38: A Prophet’s Perils Day 78. Habakkuk 1: Debating God Day 79. Lamentations 3: Poet In Shock Day 80. Obadiah: No Room to Gloat
Starting Over
Day 81. Ezekiel 1: In Exile Day 82. Ezekiel 2–3: Toughening Up Day 83. Ezekiel 4: Write Large and Shout Day 84. Ezekiel 37: Resurrection Time Day 85. Daniel 1: Enemy Employers Day 86. Daniel 3: Ordeal by Fire Day 87. Daniel 5: Like Father, Like Son Day 88. Daniel 6: Daniel’s Longest Night Day 89. Ezra 3: Home at Last Day 90. Haggai 1: A Needed Boost Day 91. Zechariah 8: Raising Sights Day 92. Nehemiah 2: A Man for All Seasons Day 93. Nehemiah 8: Mourning into Joy Day 94. Esther 4: A Race’s Survival Day 95. Malachi 2: Low-grade Disappointment
Cries of Pain
Day 96. Job 1–2: Is God Unfair? Day 97. Job 38: God Speaks to Job Day 98. Job 42: Happy Ending Day 99. Isaiah 40: Who’s in Charge? Day 100. Isaiah 52: The Suffering Servant Day 101. Isaiah 53: Wounded Healer Day 102. Isaiah 55: The End of It All
A Surprising Messiah
Day 103. Luke 1: One Final Hope Day 104. Luke 2: No Fear Day 105. Mark 1: Immediate Impact Day 106. Mark 2: Signal Fires of Opposition Day 107. John 3: Late-Night Rendezvous Day 108. Mark 3: Miracles and Magic Day 109. Mark 4: Hard Soil Day 110. Mark 5: Jesus and Illness Day 111. Matthew 5: Inflammatory Word Day 112. Matthew 6: Sermon on the Mount Day 113. Matthew 13: Kingdom Tales Day 114. Mark 6: Contrast in Power Day 115. Luke 16: Of Two Worlds Day 116. Luke 12: Jesus on Money Day 117. Luke 18: Underdogs

Responses to Jesus
Day 118. Luke 15: Master Storyteller Day 119. John 6: Food that Endures Day 120. Mark 7: Poles Apart Day 121. Matthew 18: Out of Bondage Day 122. John 10: No Secrets Day 123. Mark 8: Turning Point Day 124. Mark 9: Slow Learners Day 125. Luke 10: Mission Improbable Day 126. Mark 10: Servant Leadership Day 127. Mark 11: Opposition Heats Up Day 128. Mark 12: Baiting Jesus Day 129. Mark 13: A Day to Dread Day 130. Mark 14: A Scent of Doom
Final Days
Day 131. John 14: One Final Meal Together Day 132. John 15: Vital Link Day 133. John 16: Grief into Joy Day 134. John 17: Commissioning Day 135. Matthew 26: Appointment with Destiny Day 136. Matthew 27: No Justice Day 137. Mark 15: Removing the Barrier Day 138. Matthew 28: A Rumor of Life Day 139. John 20: The Rumor Spreads Day 140. Luke 24: The Final Link
The Word Spreads
Day 141. Acts 1: Departure Day 142. Acts 2: Explosion Day 143. Acts 5: Shock Waves Day 144. Acts 9: About-face Day 145. Galatians 3: Legalism Day 146. Acts 16: Detour Day 147. Philippians 2: Downward Mobility Day 148. Acts 17: Mixed Results Day 149. 1 Thessalonians 3–4: Preparing for the End Day 150. 2 Thessalonians 2: Rumor Control Day 151. 1 Corinthians 13: The Love Chapter Day 152. 1 Corinthians 15: The Last Enemy Day 153. 2 Corinthians 4: Baked Dirt Day 154. 2 Corinthians 12: Boasting of Weakness
Paul’s Legacy
Day 155. Romans 3: Remedy Day 156. Romans 7: Limits of the Law Day 157. Romans 8: Spirit Life Day 158. Romans 12: When Christians Disagree Day 159. Acts 26: Unexpected Passage Day 160. Acts 27: Perfect Storm Day 161. Acts 28: Rome at Last Day 162. Ephesians 2: Prison Letter Day 163. Ephesians 3: Success Story Day 164. Colossians 1: Spanning the Gap Day 165. Philemon: A Personal Favor Day 166. Titus 2: Paul’s Troubleshooter Day 167. 1 Timothy 1: Growth Pains Day 168. 2 Timothy 2: Final Words
Vital Letters
Day 169. Hebrews 2: The Great Descent Day 170. Hebrews 11: What Is True Faith? Day 171. Hebrews 12: Marathon Race Day 172. James 1: Walk the Talk Day 173. 1 Peter 1: Converted Coward Day 174. 2 Peter 1: Hidden Dangers Day 175. Jude: Sounding the Alarm Day 176. 1 John 3: Merest Christianity Day 177. 2 and 3 John: Pesky Deceivers Day 178. Revelation 1: The Final Word Day 179. Revelation 12: Another Side of History Day 180. Revelation 21: An End and a Beginning