Bible Reading Plan for 2022

One of the difficulties in reading the Bible is confusion over the how each book fits in with the chronology of the other books. This is especially true with the Old Testament prophets.

This Bible Reading plan will include a list for each book in chronological order (or at least in order of its period in the Old Testament).

It is still possible to read the whole bible in about one year, just 15 – 20 minutes per day.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” [Eph 3:4] “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Rom 10:17]

These bookmarks will help you to know how each of the books of the Old Testament and the Prophets fit into the narrative. The book of Job fits in the Patriarchal period. The Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, & Song of Songs fit into the time of the United Kingdom under David & Solomon.

Here is a chart showing you how much time it takes to read the Whole Bible in 1 year or years, or multiple times in a year.

May God bless our efforts to know more of His word.

     — spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help.

To ASPIRE to a quiet life

The last few years have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty. The reality is, since the fall from the Garden, every year is a year of uncertainty.

time and chance happens to them all.” [Ecc 9:11b]

Even with all this uncertainty, the Scriptures show us that it’s possible to smooth out the hills and valleys.

As we approach the New Year, many of us will be setting resolutions for 2022. Before we decide on what weight we want, or financial goals, let us consider what Paul told the saints at Thessalonica.

Read 1Thess 4:9-12.

v9-10: “But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another; for indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, that ye ABOUND more and more;” (emph mine seb)

The first thing we notice is the goal to ABOUND in LOVE. That’s a worthy goal. Faith, Hope & Love are 3 great things, but the greatest of these is Love… [1Cor 13:13]

  • We start by Loving the Lord thy God (Mat 22:37),
  • We are to Love Others (Mat 22:39),
  • We must also Love being Virtuous in keeping God’s commands (1John 5:3; John 14:15),
  • We ought also Love our Enemies (Luke 6:27).
  • We ought also to Love His Appearing in the Sky (2Tim 4:8).

v11a: “and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,”

The second thing Paul writes what we might say, STAY IN YOUR LANE. The word “study” is philotimeomai, and means, eager or earnest to do something: labor, strive, study. [Strong’s Greek Dictionary]

In other words, we are to STRIVE for peace, not to STRIVE with others. This is not to say we should roll over whenever someone teaches error. Rather, it’s about not STRIVING over pointless matters. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” [Rm 12:18]. We’re to strive for a quiet life, which means that we won’t be busybodies nor disorderly [Rom 13:13; 1Peter 4:15; 1Tim 5:13; 2Thess 3:11-12]

v11b: “and to work with your hands…

Part of living a quite life is through working to PROVIDE for the care of our own households. This wasn’t the first time Paul wrote about working to provide for our own; [Eph 4:28] nor was it the last time [1Tim 5:8].

v11c “…, even as we charged you;”

This is not Paul’s own guess work; to live a quiet life is an INSTRUCTION from the Lord. [1Cor 14:37].

v12a “that ye may walk becomingly toward them that are without,”

To live a quiet life ultimately is about our influence toward all. Paul wants us to have a good REPORT from outsiders so that we will not hinder the gospel. This is also a qualification of Elder. [1Tim 3:7; 2Co 8:21; Col 4:5; 1Pet 2:12]

v12b “and may have need of nothing.”

Finally, Paul concludes that we are to EXCEL in these things so that we “lack nothing.” Once you carry your own water, you will appreciate every drop. [Gal 6:5]. This doesn’t mean we won’t need someone’s help sometimes, just that we should be striving so that we won’t need it.

Paul often worked so as not be a burden on others so that the gospel would not be hindered. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” [2Thess 3:7-9].

As we think about 2022, let us ASPIRE to Abound in Love, to Study to be quiet, as Instructed by the Lord, to have a good Report of outsiders, and to Excel more & more. May God bless us all.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

Why We Left the World

It was a dark and stormy night that frigid evening in November of 1997. It was dark, and the storm was within our hearts, because we had just learned some things about our condition toward God.

By that time my wife and I had been engaged for a few weeks in some simple bible studies with Uncle Charlie.  

The study had just ended having studied what God required of us to receive His grace. We didn’t answer at that moment. Uncle Charlie said, “Ok then, I guess I’ll be going.” I knew he wanted an answer, but none came.

After he left, we talked. We talked for an hour.

WHY WE LEFT THE WORLD.

We weren’t terrible people; we were just a young couple with 3 children trying our best to take care of ourselves. We both believed in God but never really knew about our responsibility toward Him. Until that night.

That night we realized the LOVE that God had toward us and the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We realized that this LOVE was demonstrated through the death of Christ on a cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We realized that to LOVE God we must keep His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Luke 6:46)

That night we heard a very clear EXPLANATION from the scriptures about our sin condition and the sin solution. There were no words without a passage to support them. The passages themselves are very EASY to understand.

  • I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
  • Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33)
  • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)

We knew that it was an all or nothing decision. Before we would do anything, we agreed that this was an all or nothing endeavor.

God would not take a half-hearted lip service. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) We had a godly FEAR of the Lord. A mix of Reverence, Awe and Terror. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31)

We agreed together, but when? “Now,” we said. “TONIGHT.” To delay may mean death. It was well after 10:00pm when I called Uncle Charlie to tell him we desired to obey the gospel in water baptism. He asked, “when?” I answered, “TONIGHT.” He joyfully replied, “LET’S GO!” Had he tried to put us off, or schedule a TIME to be baptized we would likely never have done it. We knew that the TIME was right now, as soon as possible. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

What is the biblical TIMING for baptism? Immediately upon understanding your condition toward God and understanding what HE requires of thee. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33)

That night we put on Christ through baptism. That night we obeyed the Gospel. That night we began our newness of life.

We slept peacefully that night knowing that we had done what the Lord had commanded to be done. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice giving thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15)

— spencer

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God.

One thing that keeps us from talking to others about the Gospel of Christ is the fear someone will challenge us with something we don’t know how to answer. We are also afraid of steering anyone in the wrong direction, so we do nothing.

What if I told you that the vast majority of challenges you will encounter could be traced back to just a few simple principles? What if I told you that if you learned these handful of principles you could answer most OBJECTIONS to the gospel? How would that affect your confidence?

We need not study the teachings of denominations. If we study these few truths, we will be equipped.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] 

How would you like to learn just a few biblical truths and be able answer all these errors…?

COMMON ERRORS taught by denominations.

Saved by Faith only, Grace alone, Eph 2:8-9 only, There’s Nothing man can do to be saved, Baptism does not save, John 3:1-5 is physical birth, The Jailor was told to just believe, What if you’re in a desert without water, Infant Baptism, What if you’re on the way to be baptized and die, What’s in the water, It’s a good idea to be baptized but not necessary, The Bible Doesn’t say we can’t do ___, We have liberty to do whatever is not spoken against directly, We don’t have to be accurate with the word of God, You’re a Legalist, The End justifies the means, We draw people in with Bands, brews & burgers, varying Worship activities & practices, varying days of corporate worship, Tithing v giving, Rapture, TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the saints), Racial Prejudice, Men & women roles, women preachers / pastors, Popes, Cardinals & Priests, “God spoke to me,” Predestination, “I’m too sinful to be saved,” Marriage Divorce & Remarriage, Marriage perversions, Holy Spirit gifts, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mormons, Speaking in tongues, “God called me,” Seeing visions & dreams, Premonitions, mediums etc, Hardening pharaoh’s heart, Why does God allow evil, God is not good because of evil & pain, God isn’t good if He doesn’t end evil, God is not good if He can’t stop the evil, God has a plan for you, Demon possession, Direct operation of the Holy Spirit, Instrumental music in worship, David used instruments, Sabbath keeping, Feast days of the Old Testament, the 10 commandments, “What about the Thief on the cross,” “John 3:16 is all I need,” It’s just love, Love not Legalism, “You hate people because you judge them,” “there are Many ways to Christ,” God’s Love is so big that He has Many drawers (one for every denomination), Denominationalism, division in Religion, “God called you to your church and He called me to my church, Many churches, There are many ways to Christ, “many ships headed to one destination,” Institutionalism, Herald of Truth, In Search of the Lord’s way, Missionary Societies, church sponsored institutions, the sponsoring church, clothing rooms, general benevolence, “Christians aren’t supposed to debate,” “Let’s agree to disagree,” Once Saved always saved, Emotionalism, Gnosticism, “you think you’re the only ones going to heaven,” “You’re closed minded,” and more.

Yes, you can. By thoroughly learning a few foundational biblical truths, you can answer all of the above errors.

8 Foundational Truths

  1. Everyone MUST obey the Gospel to be saved.

[2Thess 1:8-9; Heb 5:8-9]

  • All AUTHORITY is in Christ, and His commands are written in the New Testament.

[Mat 28:18; Luke 6:46; 1Cor 14:37]

  • God is NO RESPECTER of persons.

[Acts 10:34; James 2:1-12]

  • The INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit is complete.

[John 20:30-31; Eph 3:3-4; 1Cor 13:8-13; 2Tim 3:15-17]

  • The FREE WILL of man is never infringed.

[Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15; Mat 15:14; Philemon]

  • The Old Testament Law has ended.

[Hebrews 7,8,9,10; Col 2:14]

  • LOVE does not mean the acceptance of sin or that repentance is not required of us.

[John 13:35; 14:15; 15:14; Luke 6:46; 1John 5:3; 1Cor 13]

  • There is only one DOCTRINE of CHRIST and we are not to change it by adding to it or taking from it.

[2John 9; Rev 22:18; De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6]

These 8 truths, if learned well, will aid you in facing nearly all of the challenges you will face in your personal evangelism.

May God Bless you all.

2021 Easy Bible Reading Plan

No photo description available.

How to EAT an Elephant?

One Bite at a Time.

The answer to this question is one way of talking about beginning & finishing an enormous task. Another illustration… “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I’m inviting you on a journey with me in 2021. A journey through the scriptures. Admittedly, it appears at first as a daunting task. Some have said, “where do I even begin?”

I can empathize, the Bible is…

66 Books, with 1,189 chapters.

There are

929 chapters in the Old Testament.

260 chapters in the New Testament

Where do we begin?

How do we stay motivated?

What does it mean to me?

The answer to these questions is the same answer to the question; “How do you EAT an Elephant?” One bite at a time.

Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life.” This discourse about Himself, He is not referencing the Lord’s Supper. Rather, He is encouraging followers to learn everything we can about Him. This is done through reading His word. [John 6:22-68]

Following is a 3-step overview of how to EAT an Elephant, then a Bible Reading Plan for 2021;

3 Steps for how to…

EAT an elephant?

The first thing is to break it into

EASY to manage, smaller bites. (A Bible Reading Plan)

Just as we have regular eating times, we should set an

APPOINTED time to bite, chew & digest. Nothing ever gets done until it is scheduled. (Set an Appointment with yourself)

The hardest part has been in taking the first bite, now just

TAKE another bite. Then rest a bit. Chew on what you’ve read.

Psalm 1 says; “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (emp mine seb)

The Hebrew word for meditate literally means to chew the cud. It is an agrarian term used for us to compare how cows digest their food & how we can study God’s word. Cows sit and ‘chew the cud’ so as to squeeze out as much nutrition from their food as is possible. So, take small manageable bites. Meditate upon what you’ve read. Then TAKE another bite.

Here is an easy Bible Reading Plan for 2021. Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Maintain your own pace, each according to their own ability.
  • If you miss a day, just read what is appointed for that day.
  • Read to understand not just to get through the material.

Pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5]

2020 BIBLE READING PLAN

 

The new year is upon us and so too a new time to renew our efforts to read the Bible. Here are a few reasons why we ought to have a plan for reading the Bible:

 

We are commanded:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [2Timothy 2:15-16]

 

It gives us faith:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. [John 20:31]

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. [Romans 10:17]

 

It gives us understanding:

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [Ephesians 3:4]

 

It gives us confirmation of what is preached:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. [Acts 17:11]

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. [1Thessalonians 5:21]

 

It thoroughly equips us for every good work:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is 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. [2Timothy 3:16-17]

 

It helps us to defend the gospel:

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]

 

It will prevent our stumbling and provide an entrance into the kingdom:

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [2Peter 1:8-11; cf vs 5-7]

With all of these reasons, why wouldn’t we read?       –Spencer

 

SPOTTING A FALSE TEACHING

 

 

 

 

It is absolutely clear, God has warned us over and over to beware of false teachers, false doctrine & perverted gospels.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,” [2Peter 2:1]

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” [1Timothy 4:1]

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” [Galatians 1:6-8]

This being said, the next question becomes, how do I spot a false teacher, teaching or doctrine? Below are three easy ways to distinguish a false teaching from the truth.

3 SIGNS OF A FALSE TEACHING

ONE: MAKING ASSERTIONS WITHOUT BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. No BOOK, CHAPTER or VERSE. A young man once told me that he knew his denomination to be true because he FELT it was. Another person told me that he knew his denomination was true (different from the other man’s) because he FELT it. Yet another said something similar, they FELT that God had led them to the truth. Each of these folks are in different denominations teaching different things about the same subjects.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1Corinthians 1:10]

TWO: REDEFINING TERMS TO FIT THEIR NARRATIVE. Some false teachings just try to change a single word or the definition of that word. Satan added “not” to the command of God in Genesis 2:16-17. Today, folks are adding “not” to Mark 16:16. In another example, they change the definition of the word “for” in Acts 2:38, from “used as a function word to indicate purpose” to make it mean, “because.”

In another example, the word “baptism” in the original Greek language means, “to immerse.” Change agents have modified the definition to include “sprinkling or pouring.” If you can change the definitions you can change the doctrine, or so you think. Read the following verses and see if “for” means the same thing.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 2:38]

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matthew 26:28]

Is Jesus saying in the second verse, stated BEFORE He shed His blood, that His blood is shed “because” sins have already been remitted? Certainly not! Keep the definitions true and you’ll read the truth.

THREE: THEIR ARGUMENT RELIES ON IGNORING OTHER BIBLE PASSAGES ON THE SAME SUBJECT THAT CONTRADICT THEIR POSITION. While it is true that salvation is by Grace [Eph 2:8-9], and that it’s by faith / belief [Acts 16:31], it IS NOT TRUE that we are saved by “faith alone.”

 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” [James 2:21-24]

 

Recently, a person I had been studying with took some of the questions to their ‘pastor.’ They sought evidence from him for his assertions about ‘faith only’ & ‘once saved always saved.’ They questioned his ‘proof’ with the REST of the scriptures. He then said to this person that it would be better if they left this denomination. WHAT?! A false teaching or teacher may have a ‘proof text’ but it doesn’t stand in light of the whole counsel of God.

A truth teller will use the Bible for his teaching, will use the Biblical definitions of words (defining words by the meaning they had at the time of the writing) and will take the “whole counsel of God.”

The false teacher, will add to God’s word, take away from God’s word, or they will “wrest the scriptures” to find the meaning they want [2Peter 3:16], which are condemned in God’s word.

We here, in the church of Christ, strive to remain pure & true to God’s word. We seek to know God’s will in all matters great & small. We do it for the simple reason that we want to go to heaven. We hope you want that as well.

–Spencer

WHY MEMORIZE VERSES? Part 2

Last week we looked at 4 of 8 reasons to begin a Bible Memorization Plan. To recap here are the first 4

1: DEFENSE FROM SIN.

2: HELP IN TIME OF NEED.

3: AS A BIBLE STUDY AID.

4: EVANGELISM.

Today we will look at 4 more reasons to commit to bible verse memory.

5: TO LIVE SOBERLY & RIGHTEOUSLY. God’s word contains the instruction for Purity, Holiness and Godliness. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” [Titus 2:12] For us to live the best life we can that glorifies God, we need to know what He expects. Peter reminds us of God’s word when he wrote; “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1Pet 1:16]

6: TO LIVE A JOYFUL LIFE. God’s word reveals so much about human nature and gives us hope that we can do better. In Proverbs we read; “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.” [10:28]. That HOPE exudes from us during times of trial, drawing others to ask; “of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Pet 3:15b] Another proverb says; “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:” [17:22]. Not many of us have faced such a difficult life as Paul, but he could still say; “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” [Phil 4:4]. We can find delight in the study of God’s word; “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” [Psalm 1:2]

7: TO RIGHTLY ENCOURAGE BRETHREN IN THEIR TIME OF NEED. Many times, we don’t have the words when one of our loved ones is facing tragedy & loss, but that doesn’t prevent us from speaking. Oftentimes we say the wrong thing, or worse, say something unscriptural. This should not be. We can encourage others much better with sound words from God’s book. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” [Heb 13:5]. There are words in scripture that, “…comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” [1Thess 5:11] The entirety of scripture can bring comfort; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” [Rom 15:4]

I’ve saved the best for last…

8: JESUS DID. I saved this one for last so that it remains foremost in your mind. Jesus quoted nearly 200 verses from the Old Testament. He quoted God’s word when He faced Satan in the wilderness. He quoted scripture as He taught. He quoted scripture as He faced those who tested Him. Over and over He quotes scripture. Having been raised in a Jewish home, memorizing scripture would have been a part of His upbringing, “And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” [Deut 6:4-9] Why wouldn’t you follow His example?

WHERE SHOULD YOU BEGIN?

In the last article I suggested you begin with those verses on God’s plan of Salvation. Another helpful set of scriptures to memorize would be those that answer the critics. Paul wrote; “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” [Col 4:6] this can only be accomplished by knowing what some of the challenges are and how to answer them.

  • What about the Thief on the Cross?
    • Luke 23:43; Col 2:14
  • Salvation by Faith Only?
    • James 2:24
  • The bible doesn’t say we can’t have instruments in worship.
    • Col 3:16-17
  • We can have fellowship halls to eat and drink in.
    • Rom 14:17; 1Cor 11:22

Brethren, the scripture is a treasure trove containing the wishes of God for us in how we are to live, how we are to love and how we are to get to heaven. But it must be mined, learned and written on our hearts.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. [Psalm 37:31]

Hearing Jesus

There was an old TV commercial where an actor in some public place would say, “My broker is EF Hutton, and Hutton says…” then everyone would immediately go silent, not a sound could be heard. You could hear the proverbial pin drop. Then the narrator would break the silence saying, “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.”

You’ve had that feeling before. That moment when you knew you were in the presence of someone with whom you cherish, or someone who’s words would have a profound effect on the world. It may have been that time when a loved one was taking their final breath and you held yours straining to hear their final words.

That’s what it was like for some who were in the presence of Jesus as they listened to His final public teaching, prior to the cross.

After Jesus cleansed the Temple, He was teaching them daily. Whereas some were seeking a way to destroy Him, others hung on His every word.

And could not find what they might do: for all the people were VERY ATTENTIVE TO HEAR HIM.” [Luke 19:48]

According to Luke’s account, He TAUGHT and PREACHED the GOSPEL [Luke 20:1]. Oh, can you imagine hearing the gospel message from the very lips of the one who was about to endure it? The Gospel is “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” [1Cor 15:3-4]. They may not have realized the full meaning of what they heard, but Jesus did. In just a few days He would be betrayed, falsely accused & tried, scourged & then death by crucifixion.

Can you hear Him pleading? Can you imagine His passion? If you could sit in on that sermon, in our time, what would you be doing? Would you be playing on your phone? Would you be thinking about lunch? Would you be wondering how much longer He will go on? Would the cares of the world block out the voice of the Savior?

The Gospel Message:

The message of the cross is so important to our lives that it must be heard and understood. Although we can’t go back to that time, it becomes even more important for us to pay attention. We have not His voice, but we have His words.

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” [John 12:48]

It’s so amazing and yet so sad that a message so important is being ignored by our friends and our family. If that weren’t bad enough, there are those who seek to destroy it. Just as there were back then. Earlier in Luke, Jesus warned, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” [Luke 11:23]

The message of the cross is still strange to many ears today, just as it was foolishness to some back then [1Cor 1:23]. The message is too difficult for some today, just as it was to some back then.

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? … and walked no more with him.” [John 6:60,66]

As the new year approaches, and as we ponder our resolutions, let us take time to silence the noise of the world and take time to listen to the Son of God through His revealed Word. To read it, ponder it and to incorporate His teaching into our lives. Let it continue to convert us and be incorporated into every aspect of our lives so that others may see a light of hope emanating from us. May we hang on His every Word. [2Timothy 3:16-17; 1Peter 3:15; Matt 5:14-16]

Becoming a Butterfly

We may never know what is going on in the mind of a caterpillar. What we do know is that its singular purpose seems to be the devouring of every leaf in its path until such time that it stops eating, hangs himself upside down and spins around itself a silky cocoon. Within about two weeks, the caterpillar breaks out of its self-imposed prison emerging as a beautiful butterfly.

You probably already have an idea of the 2 normal lessons of the caterpillar;

FIRST, it’s about devoting our time to nourishing our minds with the word so that we can go through our own metamorphosis.

Peter said, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” [1Peter 2:2] He uses the metaphor of a newborn babe to express the same idea, that of devouring the word of God to grow and to change.

Jesus also used the idea of eating when He spoke about His word in John 6; I am that bread of life…I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” [48, 51]

THE SECOND typical lesson is about transformation. Romans 12:2a states; “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” The Greek word ‘transformed’ is ‘METAMORPHOO’ which means to change. Just as the caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis, we also go through a transformation through the ‘renewing’ of our minds. This involves taking what we have devoured of the word and pondering it, thinking on it and learning it so that it causes that renovation of our mind.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” [2Timothy 3:14]

THERE IS ANOTHER LESSON we can learn from the caterpillar, it is the lesson about sharing. You see, the butterfly acts very much like bees in that they are pollinators for plants. Without the likes of these creatures, there would be no plants, no flowers and no food. In addition to this vital role, they are beautiful and share with us the splendor of God’s handiwork.

The lesson on sharing is, for me, the more fantastic of the lessons. The key to incredible and lasting growth is to share what you learn. Sharing has a certain transformative effect on the one doing the teaching.

As scary as it is, talking to people about God, Jesus & the Word has a powerful effect on your own personal growth. When you teach 10 separate people about the Gospel, they only hear it once, whereas you get to HEAR IT 10 TIMES! Every telling of the Wonderful Story of Love strengthens the next.

Another incredible benefit to you is when they oppose you with their denominational views. In your struggles to learn how to answer each one [Col 4:6] you become even stronger and more knowledgeable. These are the keys to lasting knowledge; teaching it and defending it.

It’s been said that a person who never uses what they learn will lose it. This agrees with the Scriptures. “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” [Mark 4:25] In children it has been identified as ‘summer learning loss.’

Each time you share the Good News, not only will you continue to be transformed, but the other person may as well. You may have caught them at the right time or because of your own relationship with them your words penetrated their otherwise closed heart.

Why else should we develop the transformative mindset? In the same principle that tells us to use it or lose it, it also teaches that we shall receive even more than what we already have!

“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” [Matt 25:28-29]

The amazing thing about teaching is also found in love. It’s said that to receive even more love you must give it. The more you give, the more you get of love AND SHARING.

The bigger & better you get enables you to give even more, and the more you give, the more you will receive.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” [Luke 6:38]