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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Giving Your Gift

I have mentioned several times that I am in a study in 1 Peter on Tuesday.  Today we are going over chapter 5, next week, if all goes as planned, we will summarize the book.  In 1 Peter 4:10 – 11 Peter tells us that we are to steward those gifts of God’s grace.  In 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4, Paul tells us that the purpose of those gifts are to build one another up.
Do you ever hold back from sharing what you see in the Word because you are not sure it is any good?  Thoughts at DTTB.
When you open the Word of God you will observe things there that I will not.  You will see them through the lens of your gifts and the experience of your walk with God.  If you do not share what you see with those around you, they are deprived of your insight and you are deprived of their input into what you have seen.

Yesterday I experienced that with a close friend.  I shared some of what I had seen in 1 Peter 5 (I wrote about it briefly here and here) with him over coffee and a bagel.  His response was that I had given him a new tool to use with men.  That was not my intent.  I was just sharing some things I saw, but where he was in his ministry, they were what he needed.  I have been on the receiving end of the same kind of thing from him several times.

The point is, we all need to be sharing what we see.  It is not OK to simply read something, think a thought, and call the experience good.  First of all the process of sharing with someone drives the learning deeper into our souls.  Perhaps more importantly – this is tentative – if the Holy Spirit has shown me something in the Word and I do not share it, how is that not quenching the Spirit?  We are not supposed to do that.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dealing with Conflict

A few weeks back I got an email from an acquaintance.  During a conversation something I said or the way I said it offended him.  He felt like he needed to tell me.  Before he sent the email he tried to connect by phone but for several days our scheduled just did not mesh.  Rather than drag out the process he sent he email.  I am glad he did.
What do you do when you are offended by a brother?  What do you do when you offend?  Thoughts at DTTB.
It was a risk.  He did not know how I would respond.  This time I responded well – not always the case, sadly.

This morning we were finally able to connect by phone.  We had a good productive conversation.  The difficulty was a combination of my not appropriately filtering what I shared with him and his not knowing me at all prior to our initial conversation.

The thing that I take away from this is that he did everything right.  He approached me with the issue in a non-threatening manner.  He was seeking to understand.  He imputed to me level of trust and maturity that he did not know for sure that I possessed.  I greatly appreciated the integrity in which he dealt with the issue.

Matthew 18:15 – 17 gives us instruction which, in my experience, we in the Body do not follow often.  My friend did.  Proverbs 9:8 – 9 gives us further instruction in these matters.  I have often asked if no one is reproving me does that mean that people do not think I am wise.  In this case I am grateful that my friend did.  I am looking forward to working with him in the future.

Oh – there is one more aspect to this – he was seeking not to blame or to prove himself correct but rather to understand and move forward.  Good agenda.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Neglect

Hebrews 2:3 stopped me again this morning.  I have written about this verse and this topic once before, but at this time of the year it bears another look.
What questions should we ask as we approach this new year?  Thoughts at DTTB.
It is clear from the Word that we are justified by faith and not by works.  It is also clear that the work of Christ completed us before God Colossians 2:9 – 10.  It is also clear that we are exhorted to work out our salvation with fear and trembling Philippians 2:12.  James 2:17 – 26 tells us that faith should have some evidence in our lives.  In Acts 11:26 we read that the disciples were called Christians for the first time in Antioch.  Hum.  There is a lot here that I would like to address…  In Acts 17:11 we read that it is noble minded to search the Scriptures and in 2 Timothy 2:15 we are exhorted – well the word in the original is translated “make every effort,” “be diligent,” and “eager” – to present ourselves to God.

So with all that in mind – we could put a lot more in the bucket – what would it mean to neglect our salvation?  A thought as we approach the beginning of a new year, why not ask the Lord to show you what that means for you this next year?

Personally I do not want to stand before Him and find out that I was neglecting my salvation.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Processing Distraction

Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7 is one of the central themes of this blog.  As fathers we are to be about processing life through the lens of Scripture with our kids.  That assumes at least that we are in the Word regularly for ourselves.  It also assumes that we are not setting up times where we preach to them rather we are simply connecting what is happening around us to the Word with them.
How are you processing the holidays with your kids?  Thoughts at DTTB.
With that in mind, how are you processing this season with your kids?  We had a lot of presents under, around, and beside our tree last week.  A quarter of our garage is full of the empty boxes and trash bags full of ripped wrapping paper and wrinkled ribbons.  Admittedly that is the remains of the gifts for 15 people, but it is still a lot.  It makes me wonder if we have somehow, in the midst of the giving and receiving of gifts missed the point.

One of the things we do to keep centered is to read through Luke 2 Christmas morning.  We also do a Chrismon Tree all throughout the season and we have given one to each of our kids.  The commercial pull of this time makes it easy to lose sight of what is really important.  What do you do to keep focused?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Context Two

Yesterday I shared that the context of verses I had previously memorized has made a difference in how I understand the passage.  We looked at 1 Peter 5:7 yesterday.  I want to focus on verse 8 today.
The context of our favorite verses can add a great deal to our understanding and application.  Thoughts at DTTB.
You probably know this verse well.  It is quoted often when we talk about spiritual warfare.  We share about the reality of an enemy that is continually coming against us in our faith.  Like you I have had this verse memorized for several years.  I have used this passage in presentations for years both in groups and one on one.  I missed some things.

Like verse 7 yesterday, verse 8 follows hard on the heels of Peter’s exhortation to leaders to shepherd, submit, and behave humbly with one another.  Reading through that yesterday what struck me is that the immediate context of Peter’s warning about the destructive intent of the enemy was in the context of his exhortation to those leaders.

It seems that the enemy comes after leaders in the way that Peter describes:
  • Discouraging them from shepherding the flock
  • Financial pressure
  • Serving out of duty rather than a desire to serve Christ’s Body
  • Becoming dictatorial
  • Becoming proud of what one has accomplished
  • Becoming anxious about the impact one is making in one’s ministry
I have seen and experienced all of these in the last 35 years both personally and in observing other leaders.  But by focusing on the verse, which is really good, and not linking it to the context, I missed the clear warning.  So I was not able to resist as well as I could have.

Context matters.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Context

Over the years I have memorized a lot of verses in the Bible.  Some I can no longer recall perfectly, but I generally know what they say and where they are.  A lot of those verses were memorized singly, that is without much, if any, regard for the context.  Two of those verses are 1 Peter 5:7, 8.
Our favorite verses may take on a different meaning if we take a look at their context.  Thoughts at DTTB.
I mentioned earlier that I am in a study with some men on Tuesday morning and we are working through 1 Peter.  This evening I was looking over 1 Peter 5.  I noticed the context of those verses.  It is interesting and challenging to me on a number of fronts.

The context of 1 Peter 5 is Peter’s exhortation to the leaders of the body.  He tells them that they are to engage in the work of leading the body with humility, voluntarily, and not for personal monetary gain.  He then turns to the younger leaders and instructs them to submit to the older leaders.  He tells all that they are to be humble toward one another.  The interesting thing to me is that verse 7 is the last half of the sentence that starts in verse 6.  It seems that Peter is acknowledging that submission and humility toward one another can produce anxiety in those submitting with humility.  It is the case that I find that to be true in my experience.

Submitting to other’s leadership is risky.  Approaching leaders with humility is risky.  It cedes control to them at some significant level.  Peter’s exhortation to cast that anxiety on Christ is instructive.  Christ was both submissive and humble toward the leadership of the Jews.  The exhortation seems to be that in our submission and humility our ultimate trust, like Christ’s is in God, not in the leadership.

That does not make the assignment easier.  It just changes the playing field.

I will address verse 8 tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Planning

So we had all of these plans for Christmas.  All of our family is here.  Most live here but my middle son and his wife live in Pennsylvania.  They came in Saturday night.  We had a scheduled planned until they left.  Those plans include several interfamily competitions.  That is because our family has a relatively large competitive spirit running through it.  So we had it all planned out…  But…
Is you Christmas working out as you planned?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Because of some travel challenges we got a late start yesterday, so the family went out to eat later than planned.  As a result there was no time to do the gingerbread house competition.  We may get to that later today…  While looking for the pickle on the tree my youngest son broke his flashlight, don’t ask.  When trying to fix it my middle son sliced open his thumb which required 5 stitches…  We all got to bed late – well early this morning.

My wife got up really early to make a big breakfast that we had planned…  But apparently there was something that everyone ate at the restaurant last night that did not sit well,  three of the kids were sick and a couple of others did not come…  So…

Proverbs 16:9 leaps to mind.  We had plans God had others.  There has been a lot of sleeping today.  That was probably needed.  Plus it may be that we just need to dial it back and simply enjoy each other’s company and the gift of grace that He has provided for us through the birth we celebrate tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some Assembly Required

Saturday night my son in law delivered a present I did not know we had bought for our granddaughter.  It is a table with four chairs.  You probably have seen them there is a picture below.  They did not look like that when we got them.  There was some – a lot of – assembly required.  You may have seen those words in the past few days yourself...
As believers we still have some assembly required.  Thoughts at DTTB.
They were a table and chair set when we got them.  They were a table and chair set after the hour and a half it took to put them together.  The process got me to thinking about Colossians 2:9 – 10.

When we trust Christ we are complete.  Like the box we got Saturday there was a complete table and four complete chairs in that box.  As believers we need to grow to understand what we have in Christ and how he has gifted us so that we can serve Him most effectively.  That does not change the fact that we are complete.  It just makes us live in that state of completeness more fully.  The pieces I assembled were the same before and after the assembly.  They did not change they were just rearranged.  They would have been a table and four chairs whether I assembled them or not.

At the bottom of the instructions there was a suggestion that we needed to continually check the hardware or the table and chairs could cease to function.  For us that is a really good suggestion.  Christ tells us that we need to abide in Him, John 15:5.  If we do not do that regularly, we will cease to function.  We will still be complete, like the table and chairs.  We just will not be very effective.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Excellence

Psalm 33:3 challenged me this morning; especially the second half of the verse.  The psalmist exhorts his readers to play skillfully.  That assumes several things.  One obvious assumption is skill.  Skill does not happen spontaneously.  It is developed.  It takes dedication and practice to become skillful at something that you do.  All of us are skillful at something.  We all developed that skill over years of practice.
What do we give to God?  Thougths at DTTB.
Here the psalmist is telling one with musical skill to offer that to God as praise.  That got me to thinking.  The psalmist is exhorting excellence in what the musician presents as praise to God.  I wonder, should not all of us present our skill, whatever it may be to God as an act of worship?

As the creator and sustainer of the universe He deserves the best of what we are.  After all, He created us and gave us the talent we have.  If we are making a presentation for our work, we give it all that we have.  Shouldn't we approach assignments like teaching a Sunday school class or leading a Bible study, or meeting one on one to encourage another believer the same way?

Sometimes I have felt like mailing it in, just coasting through the assignment.  After all it is only church.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hurtful Way

Psalm 139 has been a source of comfort and challenge for me for years.  The last two verses especially have been a challenge.  Robert Morris shared a message a few years back – I tried to find it without success – in which he shared the four stages of maturity:  give me, use me, search me, make me.  His point was that the first two are self centered and the last two are where God really begins to make a difference in our lives.
If we need to change, how do we?  Thoughts at DTTB.
One of the things that David asks for God to look for in his life in Psalm 139:24 is “any hurtful way.”  The original is literally “any way of pain.”  Recently that has become one of my prayers for me.  Are there “ways” in me that cause pain, either for me or for others?

The problem is in facing those, at some level I feel much like Eustace in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”  In order to change I am in need of Aslan taking off the dragon skin.  I cannot do it myself.  That is why, I think, David asked God to lead him.  He knew that he was incapable of finding the way himself.  For me, ditto.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Making Corrections

For the last couple of days I have asked what battles you fight.  I have been in some type of Christian ministry for the past 35 years.  Early in this journey I would quickly address things people said that did not align with Scripture.  I do not do that as much anymore.  I will address things, like I mentioned yesterday that either are a false gospel or remove the Bible from a believer’s hand but that is usually directed at those in leadership of an organization.
You ever feel the need to correct someone who has said something wrong about the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
For those who are engaging in the Word in personal study, perhaps for the first time, I do not readily correct misunderstandings of what the Bible is saying.  There are at least two reasons.

First, it is my belief and conviction that John 16:13 is true; that when people get into the Word of God for themselves that the Holy Spirit will lead them into truth.  That journey to truth may come with some initial errors but it has been my experience that when people engage consistently in personal independent study, most errors tend to work themselves out.

Second, people need to discover truth for themselves through study.  If I correct them by giving them the “right” answer they have not learned.  It is much better if I point them in a direction having equipped them with the tools to dig for themselves.  I find that then the learning is much deeper.  The truth is theirs not mine.  It is not all – check that – it is not important what I know.  What is important is what the person I am helping can discover on their own.

So I do not correct as quickly as I did 35 years ago.  I leave room for the Holy Spirit to work in a persons understanding of the Bible.  I find that He does a much better job than I.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Picking Battles – Which ones?

Yesterday I asked how you determine which battles to fight in light of the fact that we are told to live harmoniously and in unity.  This morning a couple of men and I were working through Romans 14, and the issue came up yet again.
Here is my take on which battles to choose.  Thoughts at DTTB.
When I look at the New Testament as a whole it seems that we are not to challenge one another on style of worship, diet, which days we choose to worship, whether we dunk or sprinkle for baptism, there are probably others.  It is probably a good idea to look closely at what Christ and Paul did in confronting people.  Christ confronted the hypocritical legalism of the Pharisees.  Paul confronted Peter when he did not represent the gospel accurately with his behavior.  He rebuked the Corinthian church for engaging in sin.  Christ gave explicit instructions on confronting sin in a believer’s life.

So it seems that we should pick battles that surround the truth of the gospel and confront sin when we know it is there.  There are a number of passages that tell us how to do this.  I will suggest that three are important if not the only ones that should be considered.  Matthew 18:15 – 17; 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26; and Galatians 6:1.

That seems to be the assignment.  Like most of them it is not easy and it does not seem to be one that we are doing very well.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Picking Battles

Last night and today in two different conversations disagreement over controversial issues was the subject.  Last night there was disagreement.  This afternoon I was talking to a friend about an issue he is addressing with other people.
About what should we really disagree with another believer?  Thoughts at DTTB.
In the Word we are told that we need to live in unity, to be harmonious.  But most of the Paul’s writing in the New Testament is a correction of error.  In Galatians he calls the members of that community, “fools.”  So apparently there are some things that require us to confront one another.

How do you pick those battles?  What do you think?  I will share what see in Scripture about this tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why Christmas?

Your family like mine is in the midst of the Christmas swirl.  Gatherings, travel, big meals, traditions, figuring out what to get those folks for whom it is so hard to get good gifts…  Our family is growing each year bigger than the last, with new spouses and grandchildren.  The mantle is becoming crowded with stockings…  That is a great thing.  Oh and don’t forget all of the sappy Christmas movies that are on right now…  Central to which you probably can’t wait for the 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.”
This Christmas we need to remember why?  Thoughts at DTTB.

In the midst of all of this we sometimes need to remember why.  This is a bit more than a celebration of a birth.  1 Peter 3:18 succinctly reminds us what this is all about.  Christ was born as a sacrifice for our sins.  That was His purpose.  That is why He came.  Like Mary we should invest some time in the next days pondering these things in our hearts.

Monday, December 16, 2013

No Fear

On a trip this summer I was meeting with underground churches in a country that is hostile to Christianity.  On the first night there the three of us who were there from the United States were called to the police station to give an account.  It was interesting.  On the way over, I was thinking that Paul was thrown in jail and was able to share the gospel there.  I was praying that whatever happened we would serve the Lord.  The odd thing is that I was not nervous or afraid.  Mostly I was intrigued.  I wondered how and if I could serve Christ in the situation.  That is not my normal response to things like that.
How do we really face life with no fear?  Thoughts at DTTB.
This morning I was working through 1 Peter 3.  In verses 6 and 14 Peter tells us not to fear.  In the first instance his exhortation is directed to wives.  The second is directed to all believers.  We are not to fear in the midst of persecution for our faith.  Rather as a contrast we are to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts, verse 15.  Essentially we are to trust the sovereign Lord that He is in control of the situation both in submission to the authorities and their attacks on us because of our faith.  The result of that trust is hope.  It is that hope, hope that is humanly incongruous with the circumstance that raises questions in the minds of those observing.  The presence of hope in the face of persecution leads them to ask why we have that hope.

We were not persecuted.  We were just being “protected” by the police because of the state department travel warnings that were in place at the time.  Additionally, those police wanted a kickback on the rent we were paying the owners of the house we rented.  We did not know that.  We did not speak the language.

We did not know that until after we left the station, but I was not afraid.  I was not upset by the interruption of our plans for that evening.  The thing that frustrates me is that when I travel on trips like this overseas I expect that my plans will be altered, radically altered.  I have no problems with that.  The thing that bothers me is that I get frustrated when they are altered here during my daily life.  I should not have to fly 30 hours in a plane to a place where I do not speak the language to trust Christ, to not fear and resent change of my plans.

Apparently, I have some more growing to do.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reasonable Response

You are probably familiar with Romans 12:1 – 2.  There Paul tells us that the response he describes is the reasonable one or the rational one to all of the doctrine that he has described in chapters 1 – 11.  But there are other places that describe a rational response to God.  Psalm 99 is one of those places.  Look at how the Lord is described by the Psalmist, He:
What other places besides Romans 12:1 - 2 describe our reasonable response to God.  Thoughts at DTTB.
  • Reigns
  • Is Great
  • Is Exalted
  • Is Holy x 3
Look at how the Psalmist describes how we should respond to that truth, he says, “Let the people…”
  • Tremble
  • Praise
  • Exalt
  • Worship x 2
We are to approach the throne with fear to worship Him.  That is the rational response to God’s majesty.  How do you think this relates to Romans 12:1 – 2?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Interim Finish Line

This afternoon the fourth of my four kids graduated from college.  It is not the finish line - I guess it is a split, or a transition in a tri... - for my wife and I but it was a huge milestone for us.  The kids have been leaving home since 1999, this summer when the youngest married, was more accurately the end but today really seemed like the final push.
There are interim stages in our race to the finish... Thoughts at DTTB.
We have been married 35 years.  For 32 of those years we have had a kid in the house.  The transition to all of them leaving started 14 years ago, they came faster than they left.

When the oldest enrolled in college 14 years ago he had to be ready spiritually for what he found there.  Same with our daughter and middle son 3 and 4 years later.  When we drove away from the dorm they were going to have to stand on their own faith not ours; same with Brian 4 years later.

By God’s grace they all did.  Standing up to all of the temptations that they faced at the schools they attended.  Our job as parents is to prep our kids for the world they will encounter when they leave the “safety” of our homes.  It is not an easy task.  It is resisted.  It is deemed unnecessary by the world.

It is an assignment that God has clearly given us, especially us dads.  Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7, 20 is directed at fathers, not mothers.  Mothers are critically important.  But the assignment was made to the dads.  Too many of us have delegated the spiritual development of our kids to their moms.  That is not what God directed through Moses.

This Christian parent thing is a team sport.  It takes both of us.  But as men, we are supposed to lead.

By God’s grace my wife and I cleared this part of the race today.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Shocking Truth about Christian Media

Not everything you read in “Christian” literature, hear on “Christian” radio or television programs, or even hear on Sundays in your church from your pastor or Sunday school teachers is true.  Shocking perhaps but true.  Printing or speaking from a position of authority does not equal true.
If it is in print or if it is said by a noted teacher, does that make it true?  Thoughts at DTTB.

The Bible clearly warns us of this.  I was reminded this morning in Mark 4:24, “…take care what you listen too…”  That started me on a journey through several passages:
  • 1 John 4:1
  • 2 Peter 1:19 – 2:3
  • Matthew 24:4 – 5; 23 – 24
  • Acts 17:11
  • Isaiah 8:20
Truth is not measured by what is printed, broadcast in “Christian” media, or taught in “Christian” venues.  Truth is measured by the Word of God.  If what is printed or taught does not align with the Word of God, or takes liberties with or picks and chooses which part of Scripture to apply, well, it is not true.  If someone claims to have “truth” from God that is direct from God and cannot be found in the Word, they are liars, false teachers, and we do well to ignore them.  We are promised in Scripture that these false teachers will increase.

As those hard in pursuit of Christ, we must know the Word.  We must continually check what we are hearing and reading against the Word.  That means we have to be in the Word as our primary source of truth.  We cannot depend on others to tell us what that truth is supposed to be.  We have to dig ourselves.  Yes, we need each other.  We need each other’s gifts and insight into that Word.  But it is the Word on which we need to lean.

We will be held accountable for what we do with the Word not what the authors or teachers we have read or sat under have done with it.  That includes this Blog.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Part of a Whole

As you apply the Bible through the course of your journey with Christ you probably, like me, have some passages that you find yourself going back to time and again.  They become familiar touchstones for your journey.
Do you you have favorite passages in the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
One of those for me is Romans 12.  My kids will tell you there are a lot more that I claim to be favorite passages, they are right.

Something happened this last couple of weeks that reminded me of one really important aspect of our approach to Scripture.  I am working through Romans with two different studies.  In one we have been on chapter 8 for a couple of weeks, in the other we finished chapter 13 this morning.  Earlier in the year one group with which I meet went through Romans 4 – 11.  Last week when we looked at Romans 12 I asked the questions why did the Holy Spirit through Paul put the content of 12 as the first response to all of the heavy doctrine of 1 – 11.  In all of the times I have studied this book I do not remember ever asking that question directly.  Big mistake.

All of our favorite passages are part of a larger context.  If we do not take the time to try to understand where those passages we love fit into the overall argument of the book in which they appear, there is a danger that we will misunderstand or misuse those passages.  Example Philippians 4:13 shows up all over the place and is mostly misapplied.

All of our favorite passages should drive us to understand the overall message and purpose of the books in which they appear.  Since they are favorites, that will should be a great study for all of us.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Exalted

My reading program took me to Isaiah 12:4 today.  That seems to be a fairly concise and complete description of our role as those who represent God to others.
In all we do we should exalt Him...  Thoughts at DTTB.
I especially was challenged by the fourth phrase in the passage.  That reminds me that whatever I do in His name is to remind people that He is exalted.  There are many who seem to forget and tend to exalt themselves.

I need constant reminders that whatever I do is not about me.  It is about Him.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dry Hole

I grew up in Texas and live right now in Oklahoma.  Oil Country.  During college I worked offshore on oil rigs in the Gulf.  There was never certainty that we would hit gas or crude, high probability, but not certainty.  Drilling a dry hole was very costly.  The day rate on the rigs was high.  But a dry hole did not end exploration.  The organization moved the rig to the next location and started the process again.
When you read the Bible and there is nothing there, how do you respond?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Every now and again my time in the Word resembles a dry hole.  That is I do not get much out of the time.  My suspicion is that has more to do with me than it does with the passage I am reading at the time.  Today was like that for me.  Not much tangible in the time I spent in the Word.  (But the discussion in the Bible Study this morning was great…)

When that happens I can respond in one of two ways.  I can either get discouraged and consider the time wasted, or I can like the oil companies move on to the next lease and try again.  I will go with the latter.  Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Optional Christianity

There have been people I have known through the years that professed to be followers of Christ.  That profession and their showing up at a certain building once a week was about the extent of their Christian experience.
What part of the Christian life is optional?  Thoughts at DTTB.
They did not have time for much else.  What with career pressures, kids in sports, music, and other activities, there was not much time for other stuff like studying the Bible or other Christian disciplines.  Those are good things but they could get by without all that optional Christian stuff.

Peter does not seem to agree with this thinking, let alone this behavior.  Check it out for yourself.  Read through 1 Peter 1 and 2 and look at how Peter describes what the response to redemption should be.

You may come away from that experience with a different view of what is optional in this business of following Christ.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Early

Does this ever happen to you?  I woke up early this morning, with a start, thinking about 1 Peter.  We are on Chapter 2 this week and I have not had much time to dive into the book.  So at 4 AM I woke dead awake with 1 Peter 2 on my mind.
The Bible ever wake you up?  Thoughts at DTTB.
I have learned – check that – I am learning that when that happens, I need to pay attention.  So I quietly got out of bed put on my robe and house shoes and made the commute from our bedroom to my office, across the living room to the left of the front door, as you enter.

For the next three hours I worked on 2 Peter 2.  It was a rich time.  I saw things in there that even though I have studied the book before, I had not seen.  I may share some of that in the days to come – oh heck here is something I saw this morning…

In 1 Peter 2:1, Peter tells us we are to lay aside some behaviors.  I was intrigued by that word in light of some of the other themes in the first two chapters so I looked up all of the places that I occurs in the New Testament.  It shows up 9 times in:
  • Matt 14:3 
  • Acts 7:58 
  • Rom 13:12 
  • Eph 4:22 
  • Eph 4:25 
  • Col 3:8 
  • Heb 12:1 
  • James 1:21 
  • 1 Pet 2:1 
In every case but Matthew and Acts the word is paired with “therefore.”  It is a response to some aspect of God’s great work in our lives we are to therefore – well there is a long list of thing we are to lay aside.  I am still processing this in the context of 1 Peter, but at least what I am seeing is that as a result of God’s overwhelming gift of grace which He tests so that we will understand it full power, we are to use that faith through the ministry of the Spirit in the Word of God to radically alter our behavior.  I am still sorting out this thought in relation to others in the New Testament, most notably Colossians 2:9 – 10.  But it is clear at least that a normal response to redemption is a radically changed behavior.

Take a look and see what you see, it may cause you to lose a little sleep.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sitz im Leben

You may have heard that you need to understand the historical context of a passage before you can really grasp what the text is about.  Do not buy that.
Do you have to know the history of the times of the Bible to understand it?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Ok, I will admit that knowing the history of the time can add depth to your Bible study.  But the reality is most of what we know about the early church is contained in the New Testament.  There are “scholars” who will recreate what they think was happening but most of that is vast speculation based on half vast data.  If it were the case that one needed to deeply understand the history to understand and apply the Bible, the Bible would only be the domain of historians.  The rest of us would be out of luck.

Do not buy that.  Paul tells us that all scripture is inspired and profitable, 2 Timothy 3:14 – 17.  John tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, John 16:13.  If it were the case that you would need secondary history sources to profit from God’s Word.  Those verses would read differently perhaps the 2 Timothy passage would read something like, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable after you read all of the commentaries on the book and fully understand the historical context then it will instruct you…”  But it does not say that, does it.

You can benefit from God’s Word just by reading and observing the text.

You know if it is important, God probably put it in the text.  A quick example.  In a session in another country we were studying 2 Peter.  It was observed that the book was written close to the end of Peter’s life.  One of the men asked how he could find out how old Peter was when Peter was killed.  He said it would help him understand the text better.  I pointed out that in several cases that God did tell us how old people were when they died.  Genesis has a number of them.  But He does not tell us how old Peter was.  I suggested that apparently it was important to know how old Adam et.al. were when they died but not Peter.

The point is that God has put what we need to know in His Word.  The secondary sources can help sometimes but they are not necessary and frankly can in some cases be a problem.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Common Response

It should not surprise me anymore.  But each time I experience it I am astounded.  As a result I live virtually in a constant astounded state.
What is the common response to the depth of the Word of God?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Right now I have five standing meetings a week that involve men in the Word either applying what they know in Bible study or learning skills to help them to dig into the Word themselves.  In each meeting this week men were profoundly impacted.  The ranged from joy in discovering new aspects of God’s nature and character, to emerging confidence in one’s ability to learn from the Word of God without the aid of secondary sources, to getting pulled deep into the text with a sense of overwhelming wonder at the depth and consistency of the text, to finally a renewed or new recognition of the hand of the ultimate author, the Holy Spirit, in richness of the text being studied.

These men are in four different states and two different countries.  Several are engaged in helping others in the Word themselves.  Some have or are currently engaged in helping others in different languages and cultures.  Regardless they respond the same way to the Word.

If you have not engaged in independent, personal, inductive study, why?  What is holding you back?  Dive in.  You are in for a real ride.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do Not Defend the Bible

Huh?  Twice in the last three days men have shared with me that they were about to engage in conversations with people who did not believe the Bible or Christianity.  They asked for prayer to be able to adequately explain how we know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  My counsel to them was identical…
What do do you do with someone who says they do not believe the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Do not do that.

Why?  It is a waste of breath.  It is an argument in which you will not prevail.  You cannot convince someone that the Bible is inspired.  I have tried.  That dog won’t hunt.

There is a better way.

Just share what it says.  Does not matter whether they believe it is the Word of God or not.  Their refusal to accept the truth does not alter what is true.  The Bible is the Sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:17.  It is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword… Hebrews 4:12 – 13.  Whether someone believes that or not does not change the nature of God’s Word…  I could list more, but an illustration may serve us better here.

Say you were in combat with a broadsword.  Say your adversary in this fight told you that he did not believe that your sword was real.  How would you respond?

Would you go into a lengthy explanation of the origins of your sword?  Would you tell him who made it and where it was forged?  Would you extol the suppleness and sharpness of the blade?  You might, but that would be epically foolish.

It would be much more effective to hit him with the sword.  That would end the debate.

Just share the Word.  Swing your sword, do not defend it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chew on this...

Two of the studies in which I participate are in Romans.  They are back to back tomorrow morning.  The one at 6 AM is in Romans 12 the one at 8 AM is in Romans 8.  By the way this is my third study of Romans this year… I digress.
I need to know what you think...  Thoughts at DTTB.
You know if you have read much of this blog that I encourage men to look at the structure of a passage for insight into what is going on.  “Therefore” is one of the biggies.  It tells us that what comes after is related to or caused by what comes before.  One of the biggest examples of that is Romans 12:1 – 2.  The book divides right there.  In the first 11 chapters Paul sets out the most complete treatise on his understanding of the gospel, then “therefore” he launches into the application in the community of believers.

My question for you is why, after the deep theological discussion on the centrality of faith in God’s sovereign control over redemption does he begin, first thing out of the chute with Spiritual gifts?

Chew on that and let me know what you think, and why you think it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

More on Friends

If you read this a lot you may have noticed that Chuck comments on the posts quite often.  He is one of my mentors.  I learned a lot of what I share here from interactions with he and his wife – by the way he married up.  He was in the study I mentioned yesterday for a couple of years but has stepped out for a time to concentrate on the duties of his mission, which are both critical and impactful.
More reasons you need to seek out good friends.  Thoughts at DTTB.
As I mentioned yesterday the rest of us met this morning on 1 Peter 1.  It was a rich, packed, hour.  Each guy has about 15 minutes to share.  The rest of us listen and when they are done pepper them with questions or observations.  These men are warriors.  They do not make insignificant comments and we push each other on what we have seen in the text.

For me today I was – well this week in this chapter has been rich.  I was a bit flustered because I had much more to share than time allowed.  It is at the point in the study where I have to tell somebody something but there is not currently a venue for that to happen.  If you have not experienced that in your study, dig deeper.

Anyway – in sharing I overstated a point – partly to make a point.  The way I framed what I said was just wrong.  One of the men, when it was his turn gently corrected what I said.  It was not a confrontation, just a realignment of what I had stated to the center of the text.  It was good.

If you do not have that type of study, with those types of people, seek it out.  Do not settle for the banal and simple.  Push yourself and find friends who will push with you.  We are in two different time zones and four cities.  It is an effort and sometimes a technical challenge to make it work.  It is worth far more than the effort.

After the meeting I ran across a quote that really sums up the value of the experience each week.
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. – Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)
I covet that for you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Friends

This morning I met with a friend.  We have known each other for about 10 years.  Our paths were parallel for much longer.  We are about the same age.  When we me we knew a lot of the same people.  We have similar goals in that we are engaged in helping other men become all they can be in Christ.  We push each other to that end.  We do that differently.  We have different gifts.  Different passions.  Those differences make each of us better.
Who do you know that knows your strengths and weakness and will not let you rest on either?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Tomorrow morning I will meet with two more people like that.  Men whom I have known for over 30 years.  We have done missions together.  We have studied the Word deeply together and deeply disagreed.  We push each other.

I cannot function effectively without these men.  Proverbs 18:24 tells us that we need this type of person in our life.  I often wondered how to get them.  I am learning that in order to have friends like that I have to first be a friend like that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What Kind of Response 2

You may have picked up in the last few posts that I am working through 1 Peter.  If you have not studied that book in a while I would highly recommend it.  As I mentioned about five days ago we did the overview last week and are working through chapter 1 this week.  We study the book as a whole first, then the parts, and then synthesize it back into a whole.  There are a lot of reasons for this some of which I have covered elsewhere in these posts.
There is another facet to how we should respond to our redemption.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Yesterday I shared a part of some of the things I have seen.  I want to fill that out some today.  Working through the text I focus on observation.  Observation asks the question, “What does the text say?”  A couple of things that help me observe are the structural markers and repeated words and themes.  The structural marker “therefore,” helped me see yesterday’s post.  The repetition of the theme of blessing and rejoicing in 3, 6, and 8 led me to today’s.

The response to the magnitude of the redemption that God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ have wrought for us should result our blessing God and greatly rejoicing with overwhelming joy.  Those are emotive responses.  We are moved, or should be, by God’s overwhelming grace which He has lavished upon us.

Yesterday the emphasis was on a rational girding of our minds to continually learn of this God.  Not emotive.

Our response according to Peter is to be both intensely emotive and intensely rational.  Not either or.  A lot of us miss that.  We swing one way or the other.  Probably most of us miss that.  Yet another reason why those of us who are more rational need those who are more emotive and vice versa.  One thing that is very clear it is not OK to be only emotive or rational in our approach to God.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Kind of Response

When you consider the magnitude of your redemption in Christ how do you respond?  Joy?  Song?  What form does your response to Christ take?
What would be a appropriate response to the great redemption that God has provided us?  Thoughts at DTTB.
In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter echoes Paul in Romans 12:2.  He tells us in back to back phrases that the response is rational.  It is a choice.  He tells us to "gird our minds for action,” which can also be translated "be ready to learn."  He follows that immediately with an exhortation to be sober minded.

In the context this gains weight when one considers 10 - 12.  Look at what the prophets did with their own prophecies.  The text says they made careful search and inquiry.  This is study, rational approach to the Word.  It is thought, rational, like the first phrase in 13, "ready to learn."

It seems that the proper response to the magnitude of our redemption, at least to Peter, is to intentionally engage our minds to learn about our God in His Word.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What Will They See?

Last night I was driving from my father in law's house to my sister in law's house for dinner.  On the way we passed the local Walmart.  I was stunned.  The parking lot was completely full, the field behind the store was full of cars parked on the grass.  The shopping center next to the store was closed but that parking lot was full as well.  There was a fast food restaurant, also closed, next to Walmart, its parking lot was full as well.  In both directions at the light that served the store, cars were lined up several deep waiting to turn into the already overflowing store.
Your kids are always watching what will they think is important this holiday from what they see you do?  Thoughts at DTTB.
A couple of weeks ago during the Dads Teach the Bible Workshop, one of the men was sharing his kids reaction to his being in the workshop.  They have walked in on him preparing for the workshop.  That raised a lot of questions about what he was doing.  At supper just before the workshop he had not changed his clothes like he normally does.  Again that raised a lot of questions.  His answers?  He was studying the Bible.  That raised more questions.

Your kids notice what you are doing.  They learn what is important from what they observe.  In this season.  What will they catch you doing?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks – in all Things

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.  Hope you survive all of the turkey and football and hope that your team prevails.
For what are you thankful today?  Thoughts at DTTB.
I was reminded last evening that it is not always easy to give thanks.  One of my daughter’s close friends was in a bad car accident that has put at least three people in critical condition one an infant in the other car that was not in a car seat and ejected from the car during the accident.

Your Thanksgiving will likely not be as traumatic.  But being around extended family with all of the relational issues that families can create can cause stress of its own.  Sometimes we lose sight of the things we about which we are thankful in the midst of all of the chaos.

It is hard to remember that all that we have both the good and the bad come into our lives for a purpose.  That is the basis for Paul’s exhortation to us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.  The exhortation is “all things,” not just the things that we think are good.  All things.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Redundant

In this blog I have written a lot on Psalm 139 (type 139 into the blog search bar above to see what I mean).  It comes up quite a bit in my reading plan, my discussions, and the work I do with YourOneDegree.  It came up again today.  As much time as I have invested in Psalm 139 still when I go back I see more.  Today was no exception.
When you see something in the Bible that seems redundant, is it?  Thoughts at DTTB.

Look for a minute at 23 – 24.  That was the first two verses of this Psalm that I memorized.  Today when reading this again they seem redundant, unnecessary.  Why?  David has in the body of the Psalm declared that God knows David’s heart and thoughts, David has also stated that the Lord is engaged intentionally and intensely in David’s path.  So to ask what David has already stated in the Psalm seems like it is from the department of redundancy department.

As I was thinking and praying this through another perspective began to take shape.  Yes, David has stated that God knows his heart.  He has stated that God is engaged in his path.  But this is different.  Knowing something to be true and submitting oneself to that truth are two different things entirely.  This seems similar to me to confession or agreeing with God.  Here David has stated the truth and with the final two verses is fully embracing that truth into his life.

We have to do the same thing.  It is not enough to know the truth.  We have to live that truth out in our lives.  One of the ways to do that is to follow David’s example and pray that truth into our behavior.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Value

I just finished – well that is probably too strong.  I just finished this time through an overview of 1 Peter.  I meet with three men on this book in about 3 hours.  This is not the first time I have studied this book.  Actually I am not sure without some archaeological digs through some old file cabinets in the garage how many times I have been through 1 Peter.  It is one of the three or four books I memorized.  So I am very familiar with the book.  But in these studies I start with a new file.  No markings or notes.  Like prof exhorts us we need to approach a passage like it is the first time.  Read it with fresh eyes.
How do you measure the value of God's Word.  Thougths at DTTB.
This AM I saw something in chapter 1 that I have not seen before.  Something in which I will need to invest some time as we study that section in detail – by the way we study a book by looking at the book as a whole first, then each section, and finally put it back together as a whole – whole to parts back to whole.

Look at 1:18 – 19 and 1:23 note the parallels:

State Means Description
Redeemed Blood of Christ Imperishable
Born Again Living and Enduring Word of God Imperishable

The parallels are striking.  Both the blood of Christ and the Word of God are described as imperishable.  Both have a hand in our eternal state before God.  At this point in my study this comparison has flagged something at which I need to take a closer look.  But at the very least this structure strongly emphasizes the importance of the Word of God as foundational to both our standing before God and our assignment to live a holy life in the world.

We do well to pay close attention to Peter’s thought here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tying a Knot and Hanging On…

What do you do when things are getting away from you?  Thoughts at DTTB.Sometimes the day gets away from you.  It has been like that today.  I spent the first part of the morning dealing with technical issues with the Bible program I use, and I just closed the day with a failed conference call due to technical issues.  In between my schedule was disrupted by a call at 11:15 that absorbed three hours of my day that I had planned to use for other things which included working on this post…

So the day did not go as planned.  At least as I planned.  I have prep to do for a Bible study tomorrow morning and I found myself squeezing in every opportunity to read through the book.  Sometimes that is how it has to be.  We just have to do what Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:15 – 16.  He says that we are to redeem the time, I read that we tie a knot and hang on…

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bless the Lord

If you are like me there are times when you are not all that happy with God.  Your life may not be working out as you planned.  You may not have received the answer to prayer that you were expecting.  If you were God you would certainly be doing things differently…
When you do not feel like blessing the Lord, what then?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Be honest now.

Apparently David was in the boat with us.  In Psalm 103:1 – 2 he commands his soul to bless the Lord.  This is helpful to me in at least two ways.

First, it tells me that I am in good company.  The man who God said was after God’s own heart commanded his soul to bless the Lord.  So it seems that there were times even David did not automatically respond to life with a blessing to the Lord without some effort.

Second, it gives me a model to follow.  I can do what David did and decide to bless and remember even when I do not necessarily feel like it.

Remember.  That is not always easy.  That is one of the reasons that it is important to keep track of what God has done in my life.  Journaling helps with that.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107 – Part 5

For this last post on Psalm 107 focus on the last section 33 – 43.  The last verse suggests that if we are wise we do well to consider well what the psalmist has shared.  What has he shared?  This last section describes God’s sovereign intervention in the lives of people by repeating 6 times things that “He” does.  A few examples:

Last post on Psalm 107.  Thoughts at DTTB.
  • Changes rivers into a wilderness
  • Fruitful land into a salt waste
  • Wilderness into a pool of water
  • Does not let the cattle decrease
  • Pours contempt upon princes
  • Sets the needy in security
All the way through this psalm we see that God is sovereignly engaged in both afflicting those who are rebelling and delivering them from affliction when they call to Him.

The picture we have is of a God who is engaged intentionally shaping events to lead people to trust Him.

As the psalmist suggests considering that carefully and choosing to base our lives on that truth would indeed be wise.

Posts in this series:

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107 – Part 4

Still in Psalm 107.  Look at verses 11 and 20.  In 11 we see that people are:
  • In darkness
  • In the shadow of death
  • Prisoners
  • In misery and chains
Psalm 107 walk through, part 4.  Thoughts at DTTB.
They were in this mess because they had rebelled against both the Words of God and the counsel of the Most High, all in all not the best move.

If you have been following the last few posts you know that each of the first four sections of the Psalm end with those in the situations that are described calling out to God who then delivers them.

Verse 20 is in the next section.  These folks are rebellious fools, perhaps the same ones who had rebelled against the Words of God.  When they cry out, looks at the means by which God saves them.  His Word.

It is instructive that we get into deep trouble when we rebel against God’s Word and yet it is God’s Word that gets us out of that mess we have chosen.

One more observation tomorrow and we will wrap this up I think.

Posts in this series:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107 – Part 3

For the last two days we have made observations about the structure and repetition of Psalm 107.  While there may be a couple of more things to talk about tomorrow, I want to share some of the patterns I see in these observations.
Part 3 of the walk through of Psalm 107.  Thoughts at DTTB.

First, when I did this I was reading Psalm 107 in my Logos Bible program on my iPad.  On that platform there are no paragraph or section divisions, at least not in the way I use it.  (Download the third part of the walk through here.)  The first thing the structure and repetition did for me is divide the psalm into 5 sections, 1 – 9, 10 – 16, 17 – 22, 23 – 32, and 33 – 43.  The first four sections have the repetition of the Lord delivering people out of:
  • Spiritual hunger and thirst
  • Rebellion against the Word of God
  • Foolish rebellion 
  • Overwhelming circumstances
In the first case the spiritually hungry and thirsty were in the grip of the enemy.  The rebellious were in a different situation.  They were being humbled by God for their rebellion with labor.  The Fools also were afflicted – I take it as being also by the Lord.  Those in the ships were in a storm the source of which was the Lord.

So in all but the first case folks made choices that the Lord met with some form of resistance that caused them to call to Him in their distress.  In each case He saved them out of that distress.  The one difference is in the last example, the psalmist says that He brought them out of their distress.  That raises a question about what the difference might be between this example and the others…

I have often wondered if my bad choices and the messes, distresses they create put me in a position that makes it difficult or impossible to be reconciled to God.  The encouragement I find here through observation of the different elements upon which we have touched is that regardless of how badly I screw up, God not only can save me from myself but is actively engaged in leading me to the place where I cry out to Him for that redemption.  For that I am overwhelmingly grateful.

There are a few more observations that are encouraging to me so we will have at least one more day with this.

Posts in this series:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107 – Part 2

The problem I have with series is where to cut each one off.  There is so much to see in this Psalm and it lends itself to demonstration of how observation can unpack some of the riches that God has given us in His Word.
Part 2 of the walk through of Psalm 107.  Thoughts at DTTB.

Yesterday I showed you how I use structural markers and literary relationships to increase the quantity of observations.  The reason we can do this is because when the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Old and New Testaments they used language.  While that is obvious to express thought in language requires vocabulary, grammar, and structure.  Those elements are intentionally used by both the human and ultimate author for the purpose of communicating about who God is and what He is doing.  The point is that all of the elements in the text are intentionally placed so that we can learn much from observing them.

One of the things I always look for is repetition.  In the scripture it is like the teacher at the front of the class stomping their foot to tell you something is going to be on the test.  It is emphasis.  In part 2 of the walk through I highlighted some of the repetition in Psalm 107.

The first thing I noticed was “lovingkindness,” six times the Psalmist refers to God’s lovingkindness.  Then I noted that verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 were identical.  Also verses 6, 13, 19, and 28 are identical but for the changing of one word in 28.  There is more but the last one I will point out is the thread of thanksgiving in verses 1, 2, 8, 21, and 31, the construction “Let them give…” is also repeated in 43 with some significant changes.  That is one of the things for which I look as well, differences in things that are repeated.

Do you see the patterns that are emerging?

Tomorrow I will spell out what I am seeing in the structure and repetition.

Posts in this series:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107 – Part 1

Ok let’s get started.  Yesterday I told you that I was going to show you how I work through a passage.  If you have not read Psalm 107 please do so now – jot down some notes about what you see.
Part 1 of walk through Psalm 107.  Thoughts at DTTB.

Preamble
Now what I am going to share with you may seem a bit academic, some of it is fairly technical and admittedly not easy – this will feel a lot like work in the beginning as you attempt to use it.  It did for me as well.  Let assure you though, I do not even think about this anymore, I just do it.  In the example I will show you later in the post I have written out my observations next to the verses of the Psalm.  It took me about 30 minutes to type them out, but as I was reading the Psalm those thoughts were immediate because I know for what I am looking and have been looking like this for some time now.

Some Background Data
The first thing I look for in any passage I am reading is the literary structure the author has used to share his thoughts.  The text is riddled with clues that reveal that structure, markers if you will, like the road signs on the interstate that tell you where you are and how far you are from where you are going.  “Therefore,” is one of those markers.  You may have heard that when you read a “therefore” in the text you have to look and see what it is there for.  Why, because that word communicates that what follows is a result of what came before.  But that is not the only word that marks structure for us.  Here is a list, if not exhaustive, of some more words that may serve as markers as you read and what they mean in many contexts.  Here is a list defining some of the literary relationships the markers indicate.  Print them out and use them as you read through the Psalm.

How I Use This Stuff
The first thing I do when reading a passage – and I emphasize I almost do this unconsciously now – is to identify the structural markers.  Here is part one of the walk through for Psalm 107.  You can see that I highlighted the structural markers in yellow.  If you look at the list of words that you downloaded earlier you will see most of the highlighted words on that list.  The ones that are highlighted that are not on the list are there to draw my attention to either an implied marker or else something that over the years I have learned is a marker that is not on Traina’s original list.

To the right of each verse I responded to what the text says.  I observed how the structure framed the message of the Psalm and made some other notes.  I used the terms on the Literary Relations sheet so you could see how the sheets interact.  I only did the first 10 verses so you can try the rest on your own.

What’s Next
We are not done.  Tomorrow I will show you the next things I saw and how they help me see what is going on in the text.

This may seem over complicated but really after you work through the awkwardness of looking for the terms and understanding the literary relations, it really becomes second nature and unlocks amazing richness in the text.

Try it.  Any effort you expend will be well rewarded.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Walk Through Psalm 107

This morning I spent an extended time in Psalm 107, it was devotional but I used the Bible Study skills I share in the workshops – I do that without really thinking about it now.  There was a lot in that Psalm that I had not seen before and what I saw was extremely encouraging.  For the next few days I thought I would walk you through what I did.  That will do a couple of things.
You want to got for a hike through Psalm 107?  Thoughts at DTTB.

First, it will give you a taste of what I do with men in the workshops.

Second, it will demonstrate how these tools can help you observe more in both your devotions and your Bible study.

I did all this in my Bible program so I have to transfer what I did into another file that I can walk you through.  I am out of time today so we will start this journey together tomorrow.  It will probably take several days to complete; I pray that it will be helpful for you.  You may want to share with people you know what we are about to do, I thinks this would be a good way to introduce them to this blog…

See you tomorrow.  In the meantime read Psalm 107 and make as many observations as you can…  Remember that observations ask the question what does this say, not what does this mean…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So

Two years ago I sat down at my desk and banged out a couple of posts to start this blog.  Today, 735 posts later and two years into the effort it is probably a good time to take stock.
The blog has been going for two years today...  Why?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Since that Thursday afternoon, according to Google 19, 615 unique visitors from all but 10 countries in the world have visited this blog.  They have looked at 97,440 pages.  In terms of all the blogs in the world that is not all that impressive there are those that get that kind of traffic or more in a day.  But through this I have been able to help a lady in South Africa study her Bible more effectively and encourage a man in Russia in his ministry.

So I will keep on.  This is not really written for any other reason than obedience to Christ.  Galatians 1:10 describes that pretty clearly.

As this third year starts, I needed to remind myself of that and why I do this every day.  It made sense to share it with you as well.
See you tomorrow.