A New Year Examination

Image result for magnifying glass examine self

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

[2Corinthians 13:5]

It’s 2020, let the vision jokes, puns & metaphors begin. All joking aside, a new year is a threshold we cross that inspires many of us to examine how well we’re doing.

Paul wrote about self-examination. It’s a great practice, not just for the new year, but with each new day.

New years resolutions are self-examinations of how we’re doing regarding the outward man. Paul is urging self-examination of the inward.

What does a spiritual examination look like? How do we do it? What do we look for? Paul specifically states, “whether ye be in the faith.” Let’s look to the scriptures for God’s answer to this important question. Since we’re to ‘PROVE’ ourselves, there must then be things we (& others) can see regarding our faith.

5 Things to examine about our FAITH. This is just my list; you search the scriptures to find what else God says on the matter.

FIDELITY: How loyal are we toward God, His church, His doctrine [2John 9]? Do we believe in the ONE church as spoken of in Eph 4:4? Do we attend as we ought [Heb 10:25-26]? Are we giving with regularity and purpose in our hearts [1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 9:6]?

 

APTITUDE: How good are you at handling aright the word of God? Do we study as we ought [2Tim 2:15]? Are we able to teach it [Heb 5:12]? It’s called a sword; can we wield it properly & accurately with love [Eph 6:17; 4:15]?

Do you cry out for the study of God’s word as a newborn baby cries for her milk?

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5; 1Peter 2:2]

INFLUENCE: How well am I at leading others to good works?

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,” [Titus 2:7] How well do I do at edification of the saints?

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

[Eph 4:12]

TELLING the Good News: Jesus told the man released of the legion to, “tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,” how well are we doing? [Mark 5:19]

Are we looking at the field that is “white unto harvest?” [John 4:35] Are we looking for that honest, seeking heart?

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” [Mark 4:20]

Do people see us as people of hope, in the midst of struggles, that want to ask us about that hope?

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Peter 3:15]

Or do they only hear about how bad people are, how bad life is and how bad we have it in life?

HOPE: Let’s examine our own hope of salvation. Are we living in fear & doubt? Are we uncertain of our salvation? Do we believe that we can be saved?

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1John 5:13]

Too many are doubting and this doubt leads to apathy and a negative influence on the rest of us. If we’re in doubt about our salvation then examining of self is in order. We can take the necessary steps of repentance. We have the assurance from God that He will forgive the Christian that will confess her sins. [1John 1:9]

Paul finishes by assuring us, “But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” [vs6] May we each discover an ever-growing faith within us.

 

—Spencer

Another Bible Reading plan 2019

It’s that time of year again when this bulletin is dedicated to helping you find the right bible reading program.

Before I introduce to you the plans for 2019, let’s remind ourselves as to why a regular plan for reading the bible is so valuable.

  • A life without the Bible is an empty life. God has given to us all things pertaining to life & godliness. [2Pet 1:3]
  • We will make mistakes by not knowing it. [Mat 22:29]
  • We’re commanded to study it. [2Tim 2:15]
  • The Scriptures are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:16-17]

Now, let’s look at some plans for 2019.

THE CHRONOLOGICAL daily reading plan. This plan has you reading the entire bible in 1 year in chronological order. You can find these online, or through an app on your smart phone. Some of these apps will even read the bible to you.

THE 30-DAY PLAN FOR NEW CONVERTS. This plan leads the new convert through bible from the fall of man through the redemption of mankind in Christ Jesus.

THE 61-DAY OVERVIEW OF THE WHOLE BIBLE. This plan touches just the highlights of the whole bible. This is a good plan for someone who wants a reminder of major events or is trying to just get an overview before a more complete reading of the bible.

THE MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY PLAN. This plan has a focus on the New Testament. Each day of the week has a theme as follows:

  • Mondays – Read from the Gospels [89 chapters]
  • Tuesdays – Read from Acts [28 chapters]
  • Wednesday – Read from Paul’s letters (Romans – Philemon) [87 chapters]
  • Thursday – Read from the Old Testament [929 chapters]
  • Friday – Read from the General letters (Hebrews through Revelation) [56 chapters]

As New Testament Christians, this plan has a focus on the New Covenant and allows you to read through the New Testament several times in a year (just 5-10 chapters per day), with ACTS being read about 10 times in a year depending on your reading speed. You would need to read about 15+ chapters on Thursdays to complete a reading of the Old Testament.

Imagine, by this time next year you will have read about the Lord’s life 4 times, the beginning of the church up to 10 times and the instructions from the Apostles 3,4 or 5 times!

THE PROVERBS A MONTH PLAN

With any of the above plans, a great addition would be to read from one chapter of Proverbs each day. There are 30-31 days in a month, and there are 31 chapters of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is an excellent book for helping with daily living principles.

The breakdown of the book of Proverbs is as follows:

  • 1-9 the value of Wisdom
  • 10-30 are the sayings of Solomon with a mix of topics.
  • 31 is the word of King Lemuel’s Mother about the godly woman.

A FEW TIPS for Reading the Bible Daily.

  • Just Start. You don’t want to be saying, “I wish I read more” this time next year.
  • Set an appointment for yourself to read your bible. Nothing ever gets done until it’s scheduled.
  • Pray before and after each time you read. [Jas 1:5-6]

There is no downside to reading from God’s word, only an upside. Even if you miss a day, you have a plan to stay on track, keep it interesting and help you to grow.

If you live in the Borger, TX area and would like to study with someone, click here.

Under the Influence

As the New Year fast approaches, I know that many will be celebrating the new year, often while drinking adult alcoholic beverages. You’ve heard about driving under the influence? That is when a person decides to drink alcohol unto intoxication, or imbibing in some other mind altering drug, and then decides to get behind the wheel of their vehicle. In a recent news story, a woman driving while under the influence, ran a red light plowing through a crosswalk, killing 3 people including a child and his mother.

Here in Borger, Texas, it’s listed as DWI; Driving While Intoxicated. According to the Texas DoT website, a first offense DWI charge can get you; “A fine of up to $2,000, Three days to 180 days in jail, Loss of driver license up to a year and an Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license.”

Just the first offense penalty would be enough for me to avoid DWI. When you consider the human costs with the possibility of causing someone’s death or even my own, then without a doubt I would never drive under the influence of alcohol.

But that is the secular human side of me. As a Christian, I abstain from alcohol use. I don’t drink. As I pondered this thing called DUI or being under the influence, I was reminded of a passage I had recently studied in Ephesians;

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” — Eph 5:18

            This verse instructs us to NOT get drunk, but rather to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some would suppose that we should be under the control of the Holy Spirit, losing our own control and free will. But this just doesn’t fit with the rest of the scriptures. Paul had just written in Chapter 3 of the same book:

“…if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,  4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),”– Eph 3:2-4

            When you consider these verses from the same letter together, what you will see is that we need to read and to study our Bibles, allowing those teachings to influence us. To “BE FILLED” with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the Helper promised by Christ;

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”– Joh 16:13

We have the Bible, the scriptures, because holy men of God were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write down the things of God. [2Pet 1:20-21] It’s through the study of the scriptures that we can know the will of God for our lives, to know how to live on this earth and how to get to heaven.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”– 2Ti 3:16

            Jesus charged the Apostles to teach the people “all things that I have commanded you,” and this they did as they traveled, speaking to people, and also as they, with others, wrote these commands down for us today.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. — Mt 28:19

Knowing all of this, let us not be drunk with alcohol or drugs, rather, let us be filled with the Holy Spirit by studying our Bibles, learning what is the will of the Lord.