This morning I began reading in the book of Numbers (Click here for BibleGateway daily reading: https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/chronological/today). Honestly, when in the last time you read through the book of Numbers? I know it's not really the book we chose for our devotional reading. However, it is God's inspired word given to us to read, meditate, apply, and delight ourselves in. So, I challenge you subscribe to this helpful website, which once subscribed you can receive e-mail reminders of your reading, or you can get their free app on your smartphone, which will send you a reminder as well. I want to encourage you to read your Bible and ask God the Holy Spirit to guide and teach you in His truth. Ask Him to show you how to apply it in your daily life, as your seek to submit to Him. Beware, this may may require some hard work and diligence to do, but it worth it.
Let me suggest a few helpful reading tips for reading the Bible (especially the Old Testament):
1) Ask for God's help to understand what you are about to read. If He does not reveal to you the truth of the text you nor I will ever know the truth. He must reveal it to us.
2) Consider who originally wrote the text and the original audience whom it was written to. In other words, it is helpful to know the historical context of the book you are reading. Many Bibles now offer a summarized introduction to each book.
3)) When I read I want to make sure I am following the narrative (story) closely by observing each scene change, or a change in the conversation between characters. This will help you follow along in the narrative as you seek to find the main point.
4)) As I read I am looking for repetition that the author uses, which often "jumps off" the page that will solidify the main point of the passage.
5) After I have read the passage, I am asking myself these questions so what did God intend for the original audience to receive out of this text? Which in return will tell me what God intends for me to receive from the text.
6) As I am reading the text I am reading through gospel lenses. In other words, one can not make sense of the Old Testament separated from the gospel, which we have through the New Testament. All the types, shadows, and prophecies found in the Old Testament were fulfilled by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7) After seeking to know the original authors intent in writing the text, following the narrative closely, looking for repetition, seeking to find the main point or message in the passage, seeing how it relates to the gospel, then and only then do I ask, "so what?" How does this passage apply to me? What does God want me to do now? I found found the meaning to the text in its original context, how it relates to the gospel, and now I pray asking God the Holy Spirit how and to help me apply what He has revealed to me through His Word.
8) After I am finished reading my passage, and pray for God's help to apply what He has revealed to me, I sit and write a half- full page in my journal. This my apply to the passage I just read, maybe a prayer concern, or just a thought of what God is doing in my life.
So, this is the way I read devotionally in my quiet time each day. I am not saying you have to do it "MY" way, but just do it some way. I cannot stress enough the importance of daily bible intake. I know for pastors we are constantly studying, reading, and preparing sermons. However, we need to take off our "work boots" and put on our "house slippers" by delighting and enjoying God in reading His Word devotionally. I want to encourage Christians to set aside 30 minutes a day, preferably at the beginning of your day, to seek the Lord through reading His Word devotionally. I have often heard Christians who talked about their devotional life and was jealous because I lacked the discipline to do it on a consistent basis. Let me encourage to start today, by spending time with the Lord in His Word. You won't regret it!
Let me know how it goes or if I can assist you in anyway. Blessings!
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Leviticus 24:1-4 "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly.Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly."
It has been said, "that 20 percent of the people in the church do 80% of the work in the church." I am not sure if I whole-heartedly agree, but I do find a trend within the church of a small portion of individuals who give themselves fully to the Lord's work. God in His divine wisdom has not called a small group of people to take on all the work of ministry as it relates to the kingdom of God. How do we know this? 1 Corinthians 12:14 reminds us, "For the body does not consist of one member but of man."
In our text this morning, the Lord commanded the people of Israel to gather the oil for the lamps. This was to ensure the priest in the temple were able to minister non-stop. However, the Lord gave Aaron a task, as well. He was to make sure this lamp was arrange from evening to morning.
Many believers today would say, "oh, well it is just olive oil," or "Aaron has got it covered. Let him take care of it." That was not God's intended purpose. God desired all of His people to be actively involved in ministering unto Him. The sad reality is this; many Christians miss a tremendous blessing by not serving in the body of Christ, known as the Local church.
So, where do you serve in your local church? Do you consider it a blessing and a privilege to serve the living God of the universe in being apart of His work and plan? **I would love to hear how God is using you.
If you are not actively serving in your local church, I encourage you to repent, pray, and seek out church leadership asking how you can be apart of serving in your local church.