Grateful Offerings

(This devotion is day five of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read 1 Chronicles 29:10–22; Leviticus 7:11–15

As a kid, one of my parents would give me money to buy the other parent a birthday gift. Even when I had an allowance and helped around the house, any money used for cards or gifts had to come from my mom or dad. I had nothing to give them they didn’t provide first.

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Day Three: Worship the King with Thanksgiving

(This devotion is day three of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)

Read Psalm 100

What is the proper reaction of creation to its Creator? If God is God, and we live and breathe in His world, provided for and blessed in countless ways, what is a fitting response? And even more significant, if we were God’s enemies under His righteous judgment because of our sin against Him, and yet He out of love and grace redeemed us at the cost of His Son, what should be our posture before God our Father?

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Two Personal Bible Study Worksheets

Here are two worksheets to guide you through a study of God’s Word. These don’t rely on the inductive method but provide questions for reflection on God through Psalm 103 and Psalm 104.

Psalm 103: Forget Not All His Benefits

Psalm 104: God’s Glory in Creation

You can find additional studies for personal or group use on my Other Writings page or Bible reading plans I’ve created can be found here.

Bible Reading Plan: September 2019

Bible reading plans help answer the question, “What should I read today?” Rather than randomly flipping open the Bible and reading whatever page you open, it’s helpful to read through a whole book of the Bible. Starting this Sunday, my church will read through 1 & 2 Peter and James during the 30 days of September. You can download the reading plan and suggested questions for study here.

Holy Week Reading Plan & Resources

This coming Sunday begins what the Church has called Holy Week or Passion Week. The time from Palm Sunday to Easter (Resurrection) Sunday has provided Christians with a week to give special attention to the person and work of Christ. It interrupts our normal rhythms and intentionally puts Jesus before us so we can reflect on the events leading up to and including his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. Below is a reading plan for the week, as well as activities and resources to help you leverage this significant week in the Church Calendar.

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Bible Study Tip: Summarize Your Bible Reading

What did you read in the Bible yesterday or today? What did your pastor preach on last Sunday? I know, those are hard questions. It’s not that you weren’t paying attention but we all struggle to remember things we hear and even learn. We listen to sermons and read the Bible and often move on without doing something to help it “stick.”

My point in this post is straightforward. To improve how you reflect on (meditation) and respond to (application) the Bible, try writing out your own short summary of what you just read. Or on Sundays, do this with the sermon and text your pastor preached on.

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Lent Reading & Fasting Guide

“Lent invites us into practices where the Gospel is felt in our bodies—in hunger, in longings that go unsatisfied, in wants deferred. And these aren’t just “intellectual” realizations. My growling belly has stories to tell me about who I am and who I’m made for.” James K.A. Smith

Next Wednesday, the season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. This time in the Church Calendar carries us to Easter and the Passion Week. Our church has provided a Daily Reading and Weekly Fasting Guide. The daily reading plan focuses on Easter, and then during Passion Week it shifts to the events of Christ’s life from the Gospels.

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Parallels between John 6 and John 4

There are some interesting parallels between Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4 about water and his dialogue about bread with Jews following him in John 6. Reading the two together echoes John’s key themes for us. Here are some of the parallels in the accounts.

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What Makes Going Deep in the Bible Hard for You?

“If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.” John Owen

As believers, all of us desire to be in the Bible more often than we are and with greater depth and intimacy than we do. But we don’t all struggle with the same challenges with our Bible reading.

For one person, their biggest obstacle might be not knowing how to read, interpret, or understand the Bible. They’ve never been equipped to do so, which results in regular frustrations of putting the Bible back down without having a clue what they read. For others, it might be distractions from a phone blowing up with emails and text messages. Each of us have unique circumstances, varying levels of maturity, and our stages of life might differ. This is important because if we want to go deeper in God’s Word, we have to diagnose what’s personally keeping us back. We need to ask, “What are my biggest obstacles to more consistent and more meaningful times reading God’s Word?”

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