Posts Tagged ‘ Bible ’

Reading 10 chapters of the bible a day

plan

Yesterday I started my new bible reading plan. It is the Horner plan. You read 10 chapters a day, with the readings coming form 10 different books of the bible. I have thus far enjoyed it ton! I chose to change what and how I was reading in the word because I saw my heart growing unimpressed with God in my bible reading. So I figured I should overwhelm my heart with God in his word.

In football terms, I’m loading the box. No quarterback can get a play off with ten men in the box. The pass is going nowhere. You might get the ball to the running back, but its a tackle for a loss; you aren’t getting out of the back field.

And this is what I want to do with my heart; I’m dialing up a blitz every morning.  I can’t escape God when I’m reading about him in this many places.

I walked away from my bible reading today amazed with who God was.

As a result I want to tell you more about the plan:

Horner writes of the plan,

On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly.

Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and Prophetic books about 1 12 times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting on itself in constantly changing ways — the Reformer’s principle of ‘scriptura interpretans scripturam’ — ‘scripture interpreting scripture’ IN ACTION!

That last line is one of the elements other than the before mentioned heart blitz. I want to have the scripture interpreting itself in my reading plan. part of why i don’t like the M’CHEYNE plan is that I read the same four chapters at the same time every year. I’m all for reading the bible in a year but after doing that plan a few times i like that this one has me in a different set of readings after the first go round.  With the lists you are finishing and starting over at different points in time. take a look:

THE TEN LISTS:
List 1 (89 days)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

List 2 (187 days)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

List 3 (78 days)
Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews

List 4 (65 days)
I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation

List 5 (62 days)
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

List 6 (150 days)
Psalms

List 7 (31 days)
Proverbs

List 8 (249 days)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

List 9 (250 days)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

List 10 (28 days)
Acts

I know some of you worry about how fast you read. Again, Horner says,

After you’ve read any particular book once or twice, your speed in that book usually doubles or triples because you’re familiar with it and can move quickly and confidently — because you are no longer merely decoding the text but thinking it through in the context of all of the scripture!

Even an ‘average’ reader, if focusing on moving through the text, rather than trying to figure everything out, can usually do this in about an hour a day – 5-6 minutes per chapter. Many people report moving confidently through the ten chapters in 35-40 minutes. If it is taking you longer, then you are ‘reading wrong’ – stay relaxed, focus, and just keep it moving. Moderate but consistent speed is the key. This is “gross anatomy” — looking at the whole body; you’re not closely studying organs or systems or tissues or cells — it is not microbiology. BUT — microbiology and the study or organs makes more sense when you know what the whole structure of the human body is like, and how all the parts, large and small, relate in perfect interdependence.

After just a few days the reading gets much easier; in a month it will be a habit, and in six months you’ll wonder how you ever survived before on such a slim diet of the WORD.

My hope is that I will look back in six months and wonder how I did four chapters a day before.

One Tip I do recommend following is this one:

get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is. I’ve had the same Bible since 1983 and I know it intimately. If you keep switching Bibles, you ‘lose’ this intimacy with the text. Find a translation and format you like and stick with it. THIS IS CRUCIAL.

I agree with this one. I tried this plan once before and did not take this advice and it died out after a few days.  I selected a bible that I would want to read for the rest of my life. In my case it was an ESV Single Column Reference Bible, Brown/Cordovan, TruTone, Portfolio design.

I selected it for the following reasons:

One more thing about having one bible you do the reading in. Leave it at home. I don’t plan on my daily reading bible to be used for anything other than the Horner plan. It will stay on the coffee table. I have a few other bibles i use outside the house.

Another Tip I recommend:

Keep a journal and write down one phrase about what you read for each section. Today I read psalm 1 and I wrote, “Lord make me the blessed man.” simple and short. I am not with my journal now and I could recall it. and that is the whole point. The act of writing one short easy to remember phrase for each section of the reading down is that you can recall what you read later.

 

Lastly I leave you with this link for a downloadable description of the plan and printable bookmarks (get them laminated).

Click here to download the plan.

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself (and 13 questions to diagnose your idolatries)

At our church this past Sunday, our pastor, Smedly Yates, preached on the importance of preaching the gospel to ourselves. He summarized the Gospel, briefly, as “the good news that God saves sinners.” And we who are believers in Jesus Christ must understand and delve deeply into how God feels about our sin (in general) and sins (in specific), what God has done about our sin (Jesus on the cross), and what the results are of what God has done for about sin (our justification, sanctification, and glorification). I highly recommend you check out this sermon—I have benefited greatly from Smedly’s Biblical breakdown of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how I am to preach it to myself in order to live in light of it’s amazing work and benefits in my life.

In light of the first part, how God feels about our sin, it’s important that we see our sin rightly—how God sees our sin. And the first step is to identify the sin our lives.

As a supplement to the above sermon I highly recommend these questions from Kenny Stokes’s sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church as a very practical help in identifying the sin in our lives so that we can address our sin with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Check out the link below for the list of questions:

Click here to view the questions.

Examine Yourself

 Examine yourself

Verses 3-5 “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and the he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.”

Our flesh would love to take advantage of the situation. Here we are, the good Christian, fulfilling the law of Christ, bearing the heavy burden that our brother or sister is dealing with. And sin would love to take this moment and cause our hearts to compare us to them. “Look at that. Look at him struggle. I’m sure glad I don’t struggle like that! I’ve got it all together!”

Deception has reared its ugly head! You who think you are something, are you not nothing?

And this is what Paul means when he says “But each one must examine his own work, and the he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.”

Our standard is Christ! Not our brother or sister in Christ. Not our husband, not our wife, not our kids, our elders, our small group leaders, or any other member of the Church.

And so we don’t examine our brother or sister or husband or wife or anyone else in a vain attempt to justify ourselves. We examine ourselves. We carefully look at our deeds, our actions and our words, and we compare them to Christ.

By His grace we have been saved – saved from the wrath of God that we justly deserved and saved from our sin that had put us at enmity with Him.

For those of us in this right relationship with God, we have been saved to new life! We have been given a new man, as the old man has been put to death. And the righteousness of Christ now is imputed to us as our own righteousness, and we live by it! We now walk by the Spirit of Christ within us!

 So we must examine ourselves and measure our daily walk, not according the measure of one another, but according to the measure of the One who’s righteousness is now ours!

And we examine ourselves for this reason also: “For each one will bear his own load.”

This is not the burden Paul refers to in verse two but a lighter load, like a soldier’s load. We are now Christ’s. We carry His yoke, His burden. And the goodness of His burden is that it is light! By His power we die daily to sin, and live for Christ. This is our load that we carry, in the grace of God.

So what does this all mean for us?

Application:

  1. We must be overwhelmed with the love of Christ for us and for His church that we would deal with sin.
    As His redeemed people sin has no power and not place in us or among us. Let us not grow cold in our love for Christ that we are unwilling to love our sinning brother or sister and restore them and carry their burden with them. And let us not grow cold in our love for Jesus that we do not carefully examine our hearts day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute for the presence of pride and sin.Think for a moment about the believers who God has put in your life. Think for a moment about those in your church and in your fellowship group, small group, or Bible study. Does the love that Christ has for you, flow out into love for these people that you would desire to restore them when they are in sin? Or does your heart fill with pride when a brother or sister stumbles?
  2. We must be overwhelmed with the love of Christ that we would deal with gentleness with those who are caught by sin.
    Gentleness does not mean we pass sin over in our brother or sister but that we deal with it in humbleness and meekness. We are also sinners, saved by grace. His love has covered a multitude of our own sins, and this is the love we must bring to bear on those who carry their weighty burden.Again, let’s think for a moment about those times when a brother or sister in Christ has sinned, probably directly against us. How have we responded? Was your heart filled with love for them that you would desire to confront them and in gentleness restore them through the washing of scripture and prayer? I know that I am weak in this. It is so easy for me to get offended or become arrogant when another believer falls into sin, especially if they sin against me. But the right response, in light of God’s love for them and for me, despite my own sinfulness, should be to address the sin in their own heart in gentleness.
  3. We must be overwhelmed by the necessity of prayer.
    We are helpless to do any of this without the Spirit of God actively working in our hearts to produce words and deeds of righteousness. We must prayerfully fall upon God’s grace to give us the strength and love to bear one another’s burdens.

So What Are These Burdens?

Bear one another’s burdens

 Not only are we to restore those who are in sin but we are to bear one another’s burdens.

So what are these burdens?

Isn’t it interesting that Paul talks about burdens right after talking about restoring sinning believers? Paul is for sure talking about a more general sense of burden than a specific sin but I think that the context of restoring sinning believers is crucial to understanding this word “burdens.”

While we are all freed from the power of sin, under the saving grace of Jesus, those of us who believe the gospel still feel its weighty presence in our lives. The Greek word used here is one of an extremely heavy burden, a weighty, pressing burden, one that is hard to carry by oneself. We need one another. Our sin can so easily entangle us and weigh us down. We must bear one another’s burdens.

And not just for the sake of our brother’s but for the sake of Jesus.

“…and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”

Christ has commanded us to carry each other’s burdens:

John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

And Paul has already touched on this in Galatians:

5:13-14 – “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

Our love for one another should feed our desire to carry one another’s burdens, especially the burden of sin.

But now we must switch our gaze, as Paul makes it clear that whenever we are helping a brother or sister, there are 2 sinners involved.

How to deal with the sinner within us

How to deal with the sinner within us (when we are dealing with the sinner among us)

First, let’s go back to verse one and look at that specific example of a brother sinning.

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Notice this! Even when those who are spiritual are gently restoring a sinning brother or sister, Paul warns them of their own propensity to sin!

2.a. Looking at yourself

“Look to yourself” or as the ESV puts it “Keep watch!” Not a vain, looking in the mirror and admiring the face looking back but a careful watching of our own hearts as we gently deal with the heart of another. Instead, we are to be like the watchmen on the tower, ever vigilant in their wait for the approaching enemy. Sin crouches at our very doorstep and we must be wary and watchful for its coming. We are all such weak vessels of God’s love and grace. We must be diligent to watch our own souls lest we too fall into sin, just as our brother has, and be in need, as they are, of restoration!

And in our carrying each other’s burdens Paul again must warn us of our own selfishness…

The Essential Edwards Collection for Half Off!

Here are two videos of Doug Sweeney and Owen Strachan talking about there great new books, The Essential Edwards Collection. For those of you who want to get copies you can get all 5 books for 50% over at wtsbooks between now and aug 2nd! Click here to get yours today!

Also we have read and reviewed three of the books so far:

Edwards on Heaven and Hell by Starchen and Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards, Lover of God by Starchen and Sweeney

Jonathan Edwards, The Good Life by Strachen & Sweeney

Restoration

 Restoration

Verse 1 – Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one…”

Who is to be restored?

This is a specific case of sin where one is caught or snared by a sin.

The picture here is one who is surprised by sin, perhaps through the momentary abandonment of caring for their own soul; neglecting to tend to their heart with the gospel truth of who they are in Christ. They were unaware sin was crouching at their door and now they are caught by it. This transgression requires a response: those who are spiritual are to restore this sinner.

So who are those who are spiritual?

Those who are of the Spirt. Those who are of God! Believers! We (who are of the Spirit; of God) are called to restore the sinning believers among us.

But what does restore mean?

The Greek word used here by Paul is the same word for mending or fixing or completing a damaged fishing net. When a believer sins they are damaged and there becomes a rift between them and the rest of the body of Christ. They must be restored to repentance toward their sin and restored to the body.

 Jesus uses the language of “winning” your brother or sister in Christ when they sin: Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”

This is the same idea as restoring them – bringing them back into a right relationship with their Savior and the body.

How are we to restore them?

“…restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness;” (verse 1)

Meaning a spirit of gentleness and compassion towards this weak brother or sister who has been snared by sin, caught in its trap. The sinning believer desperately needs our compassionate help!

We’re going to pass over the rest of verse 1 for the moment and look at Paul’s more general instruction on how to deal with sin in the body of Christ:

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