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Summertime = Bibletime

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Summertime = Bibletime

The rhythm of life changes during the summer. Vacations. Weekend excursions. Kids around the house more. Summer nights outdoors. The change in pace is a welcome one.

For many of us, Summertime provides extra opportunities to spend time with family and friends. What if you make it a goal this season of life to spend that time spent together in the Bible?

Some suggestions for the Summer season:

  • Start each day of your vacation reading the Bible together around the breakfast table.
  • On your road trip, listen to an audio Bible (try the book of Acts).
  • Before starting a hike, or around the campfire read a portion of scripture about God’s creation (Psalm 8, 19, Genesis 1).
  • Pack a Bible in your beach bag or backpack and enjoy reading outdoors in a new setting. Take turns reading a chapter out loud.
  • Get a Bible trivia game, form teams and play once a week to encourage one another.
  • Have each family or group member on the same Bible reading plan and make it the topic of conversation over a shared meal.

Bible reading isn’t about getting brownie points or being puffed up with Bible knowledge. It’s crucial for every Christian because there is a direct correlation between it and spiritual maturity.

For the more ambitious, Summer can be a great time to grow in Bible reading consistency. Set a personal goal to read a minimum of 20 minutes everyday. Be fastidious and protective of your goal and use a Bible reading plan if necessary. Set daily reminders, make sure you have easy access through Bible apps and printed editions. You might consider starting with one of the four Gospels, one of the 66 books your church is studying, or one of the Old Testament prophets you have never read. The point is, just start and stay on track. Studies show it takes 60 days on average to develop a new habit. Use this Summer to grow in this crucial spiritual discipline.

The challenge in writing any blog about Bible Literacy is that you are writing and therefore interacting with a group of readers. However, if the Church has hope in reversing the current trends, it will take individuals like yourself modeling the habits of Bible reading and encouraging others to get engaged with the scriptures everyday. Community and accountability can both be beneficial toward solidifying a daily habit of Bible reading.

So while publishers may focus on fiction as a summer escape, we suggest you consider engaging with the history, poetry, suspense, adventure, love stories, dramatic endings and more found in the Book above all books. Read the Bible everyday and as Peter said, …grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18a, NASB).

The Wrong Kind of Friendship

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Consider what James writes:

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Stop and ask yourself, “What is attracting my attention today? The world or God?” Pursuing both is exhausting and weeds will choke out the good things we are trying to grow in our families.

A few sentences later, James writes:

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Like-mindedness attracts, like 2 magnets. To strengthen our relationship with God, we need to humble ourselves and gain His perfect perspective. He alone is God. Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start cultivating the relationship, to produce growth in our lives…

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

James words bear repeating….

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Look Over Here!

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Redirecting attention off of something and onto something else is powerful. It’s a common practice of parents, marketing, and politicians.

Jesus used this communication technique to redirect the attention of His disciples. He not only put their vision onto something, but He also took it off something. He was training them to be leaders, by training them to follow His example.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
Luke 4: 35

Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Luke 21: 27-28

What we are looking for is what we are living for.

What are you in pursuit of today? Is it directly tied to the calling God has on your life?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
Matthew 6:33a

Rear view vs Front view

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Have you ever spent too much time looking in the rear view mirror, watching what your kid/kids are doing in the backseat and not paying attention to the road in front of you? Making sure the most important thing has our best focus takes daily commitment. There are always things every week that crop up unexpectedly that distract us.

Set a goal of staying focused this week on the things of God.

13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

Bookends of Grace

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Paul’s letters contain a lot of instructions and corrections.

“Do this” and “Don’t do that” are found throughout his writings to the young churches.

Consistent components of Paul’s writings were his opening and closing greetings in his letters. Like bookends, the instructions he gave were supported by pillars of grace. This was his signature communication style.

In the midst of the daily parenting and the “do this, don’t do that,” are we also communicating God’s grace consistently?

To do this, we must first daily receive God’s grace in our own lives.

Wake up to His grace, rest within His grace, and receive it afresh each day.

When we begin and end each day, mindful of God’s grace toward us, we will understand better how our perfect God responds to His children’s imperfections. The result is that we will be better equipped to parent in a way where grace and truth are inseparable.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Pursue Love

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At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 14, the first two words hit me…

“Pursue love…”

This is right after 1 Corinthians 13, the famous love chapter of the Bible where Paul describes what love is and what love is not.

To pursue something, I need to get it locked into my focus. I need to avoid getting distracted by other things. I need to make it a priority each day.

It takes determination.
It takes commitment.

But, it takes more in this case. I need an example to instruct me in my pursuitIn Christ I can find all I need to pursue love because, God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Pursue love…
Pursue God…

Today…tomorrow…and everyday after.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16