Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!
















Happy Father's Day! 

To all Dads: We’re being watched. Whether we realize it or not! Make your example something worthy to emulate...something to live up to for your kids! Happy Father's Day!

Check out this short video. Good food for thought!



Happy Father's Day!

rlk

Monday, June 13, 2011

Encouragement for Today



Here's some encouragement for today that I saw recently via an e-Mail and wanted to share it with you.

Be encouraged today by these words from The Word:

I believe...
I believe today will be a good day because God made it.
{Psalm 118:24}
I believe I have all I need to accomplish His purpose in my life.
{2 Peter 1:3}
I believe nothing is too difficult for me because nothing is impossible for the God who lives in me.
{Philippians 4:13}
I believe even the biggest challenges in my life can be redeemed for my good and His glory.
{Romans 8:28}
I believe I am loved just as I am and called to become even more like Jesus every day.
{Hebrews 10:14}
I believe that He isn't finished with me yet and is able to complete the good work begun in me.
{Philippians 1:6}
I believe I am an overcomer, more than a conqueror, and nothing will keep God from carrying out His plans!
{Romans 8:32-39}

Congregational Government

Hello,

Here's a good post on church government: Elder-led Vs. Congregational-Led. 

One is a Biblical Model as it's outlined in the Word (Elder-led) and the other is not but many churches have adopted this form of Government (Congregational-led). I wonder what our churches would look like, would they be healthier specifically in the US if Christian churches chose the Biblical Model?

It's not that the congregational input isn't important but there's God's way of doing things and then there's man's way of doing things. Elder-led governments still hear what the congregation is saying but God appointed elders to lead the church and we should pray for and trust our elders to do what God has called them to do which is to lead the church.

Read this below linked article and then come back here and share your thoughts on the topic.


Link: Congregational Government

In Him,

rlk

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Simple Steps to Solid Scripture Study

It’s important to recognize that God gave us His Word and wants us to read it for ourselves. We don’t need to rely on others to read, study, or interpret it for us rather we need to dig in and learn it verse by verse and yes, we can also learn and should from others as well including our pastors.

When I write devotions or prepare a sermon I always start with prayer, then read and study The Word myself outlining the main structure, themes, background, etc. Then and only after doing so do I consult “outside helps” to drill into things like the meaning of key Hebrew and Greek words, or to simply get a another perspective on a section that I’m wrestling with. There are also times where I consult not just my resource library but other people or online sources to seek the answers or insight needed.

The goal of our study should be to show ourselves approved workmen for Him as we grow in the wisdom of knowledge of Him so it will enrich our own lives and the lives of others as we accurately divide or handle His Word. (see 2 Timothy 2:15)

As we continue with our focus on reading and studying the Word of God, I wanted to share another helpful article on simple steps that will help you grow in studying the scriptures. This article is from one of the currently best known expositors of The Word of God. This is one of the many methods that you may find useful as you seek to grow and mature in your relationship with Christ.

Have a wonderful day in Him! Please see the below.


Walk in His Steps,

rlk
________________________________________________
Simple Steps to Solid Scripture Study

John MacArthur, Grace to You 

From the moment I sensed the call of God into full-time ministry, the driving passion of my life has been simply to understand God's Word and then make it understandable to others. I have never aspired to be known as either an academic theologian or a distinguished clergyman. I simply want to know what the Word of God means and to make it known to others. All my pastoral energies-my preaching, shepherding, teaching, writing, and even visitation-are focused on that one goal.



It is my conviction that the Bible is not difficult for the believing heart to understand. And the more I understand, the more unshakable is my conviction that the Bible is the living, authoritative, inerrant Word of God. It has this remarkable effect on me: the more I study it, the more I hunger to know. So God's Word not only satisfies my appetite, but also arouses an even deeper hunger for more.


I want you to experience that hunger too. I want you to live in the joy of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that comes only through knowing the meaning of Scripture. Here's a simple process to get you started.


Step 1 - Reading
Begin by developing a plan on how you will approach reading through the Bible. Just by reading the Bible you become familiar with its themes, history, and contexts. There is simply no replacement for Bible reading.


Unlike most books, you will probably not read it straight through from cover to cover. There are many good Bible reading plans available (like The MacArthur Daily Bible). 

Here is what I recommend:

Read through the Old Testament at least once a year. As you read, note in the margins any truths you particularly want to remember, and write down separately anything you do not immediately understand. Often as you read you will find that many questions are answered by the text itself. The questions to which you cannot find answers become the starting points for more in-depth study using commentaries or other reference tools.

Follow a different plan for reading the New Testament. Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more. That will help you retain the New Testament so you will not always have to depend on a concordance to find things.


If you want to try that, begin with a short book, such as 1 John, and read it through in one sitting every day for thirty days. At the end of that time, you will know the book. Write on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you will begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you will develop a perception of the book with your mind's eye.


When you come to longer books, divide them into short sections and read each section daily for thirty days. For example, the gospel of John contains twenty-one chapters. Divide it into three sections of seven chapters. At the end of ninety days, you will finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books, and in less than three years you will have finished the entire New Testament-and you will really know it!


Step 2 - Interpreting
In Acts 8:30, Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Or put another way, “What does the Bible mean by what it says?” It is not enough to read the text and jump directly to the application-you must first determine what it means, otherwise the application may be incorrect.


As you read Scripture, always keep one simple question in mind: “What does this mean?” To answer that question requires the use of the most basic principle of interpretation called the analogy of faith-interpret the Bible with the Bible.


Letting the Holy Spirit be your teacher (1 John 2:27), search the Scripture He has authored, using cross references, comparative passages, concordances, indexes, and other helps. For passages that remain unclear, consult your pastor or godly men who have written on the issues involved.


Step 3 - Evaluating
You have been reading and asking the question, “What does the Bible say?” Then you have been interpreting, asking the question, “What does the Bible mean?” Now it's time to consult others to ensure that you have the proper interpretation. Remember, the Bible will never contradict itself.


Read Bible introductions, commentaries, and background books that will enrich your thinking. As you evaluate, be a true seeker. Be one who accepts the truth of God's Word even though it may cause you to change what you have always believed, or alter your life pattern.


Step 4 - Applying
Jesus made this promise to those who carry their personal Bible study through to this point: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).


Having read and interpreted the Bible, you should have a basic understanding of what the Bible says, and what it means by what it says. But studying the Bible does not stop there. The ultimate goal should be to let it speak to you and enable you to grow spiritually. That requires personal application.


You must let God's truth penetrate and change your life. Studying Scripture without allowing it to penetrate to the depths of your soul would be like preparing a banquet without eating it. The bottom-line question to ask is, “How do the divine truths and principles contained in any passage apply to me in terms of my attitude and actions?”


If there is a command to be obeyed, obey it. If there is a promise to be embraced, claim it. If there is a warning to be followed, heed it. This is the ultimate step: submit to Scripture and let it transform your life.


Step 5 - Correlating
This last stage connects the doctrine you have learned in a particular passage or book with divine truths and principles taught elsewhere in the Bible to form the big picture. Always keep in mind that the Bible is one book in sixty-six parts, so its truths and principles are taught over and over again in a variety of ways and circumstances. By correlating and cross-referencing, you will begin to build a sound doctrinal foundation on which to live.


Now, get to work! As you dig in to God's Word using those five simple steps, you'll be amazed at the rich treasure your study yields. My prayer is that the Lord will use this plan to revitalize your Bible study, increase your appetite for knowing and understanding His Word, and further conform you to the image of His beloved Son.

Adapted from “How to Study the Bible” in The MacArthur Study Bible. Copyright 1997, Grace to You. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time













Do you ever stop to consider the importance of reading and studying the Word of God?

I wanted to share another great article about How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time.



This article provides some great pointers on how to do so.

Please read this article and consider implementing some of the pointers that are provided so you can grow deeper in the knowledge and wisdom of Him and grow to enjoy your quiet times all the more!

Blessings,

rlk

______________________________________

How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time
By Adrian Rogers



“Oh how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97


Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. Ten thousand “don'ts” will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Himself Who makes you like Him. But you need to spend time with Him. I want to give you five factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.


The Proper Period
You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. But some time is better than no time, so if you can't start at thirty minutes, begin with ten. It should be your very best time. Don't give the Lord your leftovers. And don't try to find time - make time, and make it a priority. Also find time early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, “… in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” You don't take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day.


The Proper Preparation
A quiet time is fellowship with a holy God. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for this time. First, be physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are out of your mind and you can think clearly. Second, be mentally aware. Be focused, and know He's there. Emotion doesn't really have all that much to do with it. And third, be morally pure and clean. Some people don't have a quiet time because they feel uncomfortable looking God in the face with sin in their lives. 


The Proper Place
Find a place where you can focus. Jesus said enter into your closet and pray (see Matthew 6:6). That simply means find a place of isolation where you can shut the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. Jesus sought out places where He could be alone, and so should you. 


The Proper Provisions
In order to have an effective quiet time, you need the right tools. Here are some tools I use:
  • a readable Bible - Invest in one with plenty of room to jot notes in the margins.
  • a prayer journal - Expect God to give you something and write it down. Also use it to record things you're praying about.
  • a notepad - Write down your daily assignments.
The Proper Procedure
Finally, may I recommend some procedures to follow in your quiet time?


Get still and quiet. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Focus your mind on Him. Calm down, relax, and recognize His presence. Take a deep breath and focus your thoughts on the Lord. 


Get into the Word of God. It's better to start by reading the Bible than it is to start in prayer. It is more important for you to hear from God, even than for God to hear from you. God already knows all about you, but you need to know a lot more about Him. 


Read the Bible for quality and not quantity. It's good to have a goal to read the Bible through in a year, or a similar goal; but that's not the purpose of your quiet time. Also, devotional books are wonderful. But again, this is not the place for them. This is the time when you simply read the Bible with an open mind.
Meditate. As you focus on the Word of God and meditate, let it permeate you. Ask:
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a lesson to learn?
  • Is there a new truth to carry with me?
Record what God has given you. Write down what God says to you and what He tells you to do. It doesn't have to be flowery. You're not writing it for publication or to impress other people. 


Now you're ready to pray. When you pray, pour out your soul. Be natural and honest with God. Tell Him how you feel. Pray out loud. It keeps your mind on track and enables you to stay focused.


Begin to share out of your quiet time. God did not make us to be reservoirs; He made us to be conduits. Tell others what is God is showing you.


Finally, obey what God tells you. Your spiritual train is running on two rails. One is revelation and the other is obedience. And if either rail stops, your train stops. Learn to obey the Word of God.


I pray these simple suggestions will help you have a daily quiet time in the presence of our loving, almighty, powerful God.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Make Appointments with God

One of the most fundamental things we should devote ourselves to each day is spending time with God through prayer and time in His Word.

With all the appointments we schedule and keep throughout “your” day, when was the last time you set and kept an appointment with God? 


Ouch, kind of convicting huh? None-the-less this is an important, a vital question to ask yourself.

Take a minute to read the below article then consider putting, not “penciling in”, an appointment with God on your daily calendar. Doesn’t He deserve your time?

Keep Walking In His Steps,

rlk

_____________________________________________________
Make Appointments with God
Whitney Hopler, Contributing Writer

Imagine that you've been invited to meet with the President of the United States in the Oval Office. You'd likely look forward to your appointment with great excitement. 


Now imagine that someone much more exciting - the God of the universe - wants to meet with you personally. This scenario is true; God really does want to meet with you, and He wants to do so every single day through a private quiet time together. 

Those appointments with God should be a source of great joy for you. But unfortunately, quiet times can sometimes seem too intimidating to schedule or maintain regularly. Here are some ways you can enjoy your appointments with God: 

•    Think about how much God loves you, and expect to be blessed as a result of spending time with Him. View your quiet times as cherished meetings with someone you love.
•    Realize that the more time you spend with God, the greater the intimacy you'll develop with Him. Although the idea of a daily quiet time might seem awkward at first because you might not know what to say or how to recognize God's voice, after a while, you'll look forward to the appointment because it will be like meeting with your best friend.
•    Set aside a consistent time every day to meet with God. Choose a time at which you're most alert and can block out distractions. Although many people choose first thing in the morning after waking up, the afternoon or evening can also work. Try starting out with a half-hour quiet time, and after you've developed greater intimacy with God, increase that time to an hour. It usually takes about five to ten minutes during the start of your quiet time to clear your mind enough to focus fully on God, so don't rush your quiet time. But don't schedule so much time that you become overwhelmed and lose your motivation to continue.
•    Designate a special place in which you can meet privately with God. The place can be either indoors or outdoors, such as a home office or a garden.
•    Relax! Don't feel pressured to perform certain rituals during your quiet time; there is no one "right" way to conduct a quiet time. Think about what activities best draw you into God's presence, then go with those.
•    Seek God Himself rather than anything He might give you. Know that God will meet you where you are and reveal much about Himself to you if you're sincerely seeking Him.
•    Consider following a Bible reading plan during your quiet times. Then ask God to help you apply the verses you read to your everyday life. Meditate on Scripture and memorize it so it will renew your mind.
•    Worship God in some way during your quiet times. Thank Him for His work in your life and praise Him for who He is. If you like, sing a worship chorus or hymn as part of your devotions.
•    Ask God to reveal hidden areas of sin in your life, and make a habit of confessing your sins to God during your quiet time. Then receive His forgiveness and grace to do better. Invite God to use your quiet times to powerfully transform you.
•    Pray for your own needs and desires, and intercede for others. Don't give up; God will answer you in the best way at the best time.
•    Pray against evil in your life and the lives of other people.
•    Ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you during your quiet time to give you fresh strength and grace each day.
•    Consider fasting occasionally to help you focus more on God.
•    Consider writing down your thoughts, feelings, and prayers in a journal during your quiet time to more clearly express them. Read through our ongoing journal to see how God has been working in your life. 

Do you schedule a daily quiet time with God? If so, how does it help you draw closer to Him? If not, what challenges do you face that discourage you from scheduling or consistently maintaining a daily quiet time?

Adapted from An Appointment with the King: Ideas for Jump-Starting Your Devotional Life, copyright 2002 by Joel Comiskey. Published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Book House Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com, 1-800-877-2665.
Joel Comiskey, Ph.D., has served as a full-time missionary to Ecuador. He and his wife, Celyce, have three daughters.