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Archive for the ‘practical stuff’ Category

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Over the last several years, I developed a bad habit. As soon as I wake up, I pick up my phone and check email, Twitter, Facebook, and a couple of news sites. With rare exceptions, that has been the way I begin my day.

Recently, I heard something that made me think about what I was doing. The obvious point was made that beginning one’s day looking at the screen of a smartphone may not be the best use of time. I already knew that, but it was good to hear the reminder. Then, thankfully, there was a suggestion offered: Begin your day with the Bible, not the phone. Or, to put it more simply, remember this acronym – B.B.P. (Bible Before Phone).

About a week ago, I decided to try it. Every morning, immediately after I wake up, I pick up a paper-and-ink study Bible (not a phone app) and read it. Based on a challenge given at church, I started reading in Psalm 119. Here’s what I do: I read the passage once. In the case of Psalm 119, it’s divided into 22 sections of eight verses each, which correspond to the Hebrew alphabet, so I’m reading eight verses each day. Next, I read the explanatory study notes for that section. Finally, I read the passage again. There may be a time of prayer and meditation, but not always.

This is a simple method anyone can use. It can be added to your regular reading, study, and meditation upon God’s Word. It doesn’t take long and is a great way to start the day – Coram Deo (before the face of God)!

I urge you to try it!

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Kevin DeYoung provides 15 helpful tips for discerning truth from error when it comes to Bible teaching in this post. False teaching is rampant in today’s church and the first thing we need to be able to do is know it when we hear and see it. As Paul told Titus, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (2:1).

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We all worry. But here’s something to think about:

If you worry and the thing you worried about happens, then your worrying didn’t prevent it. If you worry about something and it doesn’t happen, you worried for nothing. Either way, worrying is a waste of time.

Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?” (Luke 12:22-25)

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If you’re married, you need to read this article by R.C. Sproul, Jr.! Please read it. You’ll be glad you did.

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Hearing the voice of God in the Word of God – the Bible – can become, if we’re not careful, like having a cuckoo clock, living in the flight path of an airport, or living next to train tracks.

Let me explain. The initial sounds of a cuckoo clock – the rhythmic tick-tocking and the regularly-scheduled “announcements” of the wooden bird – can run the gamet from quaint and interesting all the way to annoying and irritating. The constant scream of jets taking off or landing close to where you live can be either comforting or maddening. The constant rumble of trains, which can be heard with all of your windows closed and doors shut, is an interruption and at the same time soothing. What cannot be denied is that what we notice, and can’t help but noticing, at the start slowly becomes imperceptible. You never think that it will happen, but you find yourself sleeping through the night never once being awakened or even bothered by the sound of the cuckoo clock, plane, or train.

What happened? We got used to hearing those sounds and began to tune them out. The little wooden bird is still chirping; the plane’s engines still roar; and the train still sounds it’s whistle and rumbles and rattles down the tracks; but we simply don’t hear it anymore.

The same thing can happen to us as we hear God speaking to us from His Word. We hear sermons, attend Bible studies, read and study the Scriptures on our own, listen to podcasts, take part in Sunday School classes, attend conferences, and have dozens of other “intake points” for God’s Word, but gradually and almost imperceptibly we simply don’t hear it anymore. The author of the book of Hebrews said, “Concerning him (Melchizedek) we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (Heb. 5:11).

It may be that we’ve heard the Word of God preached and taught (or even read it) so many times that it goes in one ear and out the other, never managing to stick to the Velcro of our heart – our mind, affections, and will. It’s incumbent upon us to guard against this – the cuckoo clock syndrome – with everything we have. Pray that God would give you the wisdom to recognize it and the strength to avoid it as you live coram Deo (before His face).

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I had the privilege of preaching on 1 Peter 4:7 this morning called “Pray.” Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: In light of the end of all things, be clear-minded and self-controlled people of prayer.

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Super Bowl Myths

Thank you, Joe Carter!

He’s written an excellent piece debunking four very common myths surrounding Super Bowl Sunday. Maybe you’ve heard them and maybe you’ve passed them along to others. We need to put them to rest once and for all. You can read his piece here.

Enjoy the game!

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