Tag Archives: Bible

Biblical Famine | Starving for the Word

25 Oct

Woman Reading the Bible.

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11″

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3″

Christians used to be known as “people of one book.” Sure, they read, studied and shared other books. But the book they cared about more than all others combined was the Bible. They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense we’re starving ourselves to death.” — Kenneth Berding, Professor of New Testament, Biola University, The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy & What We Can Do About It

We are “starving ourselves to death” via an elected famine in which scripture and Bible consumption are largely ignored; replaced with insubstantial vacant distractions that provide an illusion of fullness. Unlike the people who sought the Word of God and were denied Amos 8:11-12 we have free unfettered access to hearing the One True Living God speak and yet our Bibles often sit unopened. We have chosen Biblical malnutrition over spiritual sustenance…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Biblical Famine | Starving for the Word.

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Our God Speaks

27 Sep

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“For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it.” Job 33:14

Sometimes God can feel distant, unreachable, silent—leaving us bereft, parched, disconnected. We might be tempted to give in to despair when we feel adrift, apart, alone further alienating us from our God who is there; who speaks—even when it is a struggle to hear Him…

Please continue reading here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Our God Speaks.

Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular

19 Jul

potter 2_opt

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” Isaiah 64:8

Created as image bearers –reflections of The Lord, our God. When we first become believers we are transformed into new creations 2 Corinthians 5:17 –vessels capable of shining Christ to those around us. He lovingly molds, forms, and fashions us into His likeness, chiseling and polishing, as we die to self, replacing the idols and masters that hold us captive, pursuing holiness, and mirroring the character of our great God…

Please view the remainder of the article here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Why Settle For Less? | Aspire Beyond Regular.

Bring the Bible Home to Your Heart

12 Jul

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105

Is your desire to spend more time with the Lord –to know Him –to need Him? God has revealed Himself to us through His Word. Every page speaks His name; reveals His character. Our souls cry out for this spiritual sustenance; hungry for The Book. “Open the book to find out out first and foremost who God is…He’s at the center…He writes us a book about Himself…Develop a relationship with your Bible” –Pastor Bob Burris, Disciplines for DelightOur desire to know God increases exponentially as we discover who He is. The more we know Him the greater our heart yearns to purposefully pursue Him. Open The Book…

View the remainder of the article here: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Bring the Bible Home to Your Heart.

God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah

3 Jul

gospel podium_optThe Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

From Saturday June 28

Highlights from Paige Benton Brown “Fearing God in a Fallen World” Nehemiah 5-6″Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…” It is foundational–the awe, reverence, worship, demanded by God by his power and position and glory; fear is the only proper response to the biblical doctrine of God. It is the beginning of wisdom–a perpetual posture, not an occasional exercise.”We can give the right answers but they’ll always be in the wrong place if fear of the Lord is absent from the foundation. Fear of the Lord causes us to submit to God’s authority not because…

Please view the article in its entirety here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > God’s Word Our Story | More From Nehemiah.

Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series

24 May

praying hands_opt“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7b NASB)

Prayer is an expression of our heart, an outpouring of intimacy, a loving dialogue with the Father.The Word of God makes it clear we are to participate in prayer.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Prayer | 3rd in Series.

Valentine’s Day | Be Mine

14 Feb

valentine_opt“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:16-19

“…we were made to crave — long for, want greatly, desire eagerly, and beg for — God. Only God” (Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave).

We long to be romanced (courted, wooed, pursued, chased). Enemy distractions may tempt us into believing the wordly idea that somehow the perfect poetic verse or love note, pounds of chocolate, a fancy restaurant, dozens of flowers and/or some other token of love will leave us satiated this Valentine’s Day. Our misplaced hopes may leave us restless and mired in dissatisfaction craving more; searching for more. 

“Trying to boost our self-esteem by trying to live up to our own standards or someone else’s is a trap. It is not an answer” (Tim Keller, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness).

These intense yearnings emanate from a soul tuned to God; crying out for Him (Psalm 84:2); already in possession of THE ultimate gift freely given; our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ through whom the Holy Spirit was poured out upon us; streaming with God’s love (Romans 5:5, Titus 3:6), drawn in (John 6:44).

“Look at God and understand who He is and what He’s done and when you’ve forgotten about yourself and it’s all about Him, it is then that you have great pleasure; the greatest joy…the glory of God” (Pastor Burris, “The World at War Against Your Soul).

God pursues us, revealing His presence is a thousand little ways like love notes to us His children beckoning us to the cross. If only we would take notice! We need Him, only Him…desperately (Philippians 4:19)!

“Do not underestimate the power of desperation to do good for your soul” (Jon Bloom, The Merciful Gift of Desperation). 

A Prayer on Valentine’s Day (Excerpt) by Scotty Smith

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Valentine’s Day—the day in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates, and cut flowers abound. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness, and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness, and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which our deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you…

My heart is fickle and fragile—still capable of being sucker-punched by sin within, and susceptible to whisperings without. Most of the time I believe you greatly love, desire, and delight in me; but then I also have moments when I can be blindsided by unbelief, temptation and discontent.

Those are the times when I place unrealistic demands on other relationships, including marriage. Instead of living as a grateful servant, I can act like a grace-less orphan—over-expecting from others and under-believing of you. Forgive me and free me from all such nonsense…

Read in entirety here: A Prayer on Valentine’s Day – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Spiritual Disciplines For the Purpose of Godliness| Bible Intake |2nd in Series

30 Jan

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“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7b NASB)

“If I were the devil, one of my first aims would be to stop folks from digging into the Bible. Knowing that it is the Word of God, teaching men to know and love and serve the God of the Word, I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges, and man traps, to frighten people off…At all costs I should want to keep them from using their minds in a disciplined way to get the measure of its message” (J.I. Packer).

Bible intake is a broad term and encompasses the many ways the Word is made known to us. “[There is] no spiritual discipline…more important than the intake of God’s Word” (Don Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life). This particular discipline is inextricably linked to spiritual growth and maturity; where hearts opened to the knowledge of the glory of God crave “the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2-3) and yearn to know and love Him more. Our soul cries out as a “deer pants for water” and “thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:1-2). Quench this thirst by hearing purposefully, reading consistently, studying deeply, memorizing intentionally, meditating thoughtfully, and applying God’s Word accordingly.

Through Bible intake God’s attributes are revealed and His characteristics are highlighted in the Gospels through Jesus giving us access to a deeper understanding of how to glorify God and an amazing love. Seek Him, spend time with Him, obey Him, honor Him…He is jealous for us

How to Get People to Read the Bible Without Making Them Feel Dumb by Trevin Wax

“The Bible is easy.”

“The Bible is simple for a child to understand.”

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the Bible.”

I hear these and other statements at times from well-meaning church leaders and church members. The idea is to shrink the distance from us and the biblical text, to make the Bible seem accessible…with the hope that more people will read it. I think this is the wrong way to go about it. It’s just not going to happen. When we stress the Bible’s “easiness,” we lead our people into two wrong directions. Some will throw up their hands and say, “I must be really stupid because this seems very dense.” Or, even worse, we train people to only look for the easy parts, to be satisfied with daily nuggets of wisdom and never wade deep into the Bible’s waters. Either way, you wind up with people who never feel the satisfaction of studying the Bible on their own.

Instead, I suggest we be upfront about the demanding nature of the Bible.  Let your people know that it’s hard work. It’s a challenge…

Continue reading here: How to Get People to Read the Bible Without Making Them Feel Dumb – Trevin Wax

Additional Resources:

Three Tips for Better Bible Reading | Desiring God

Why Read the Bible? | Desiring God

Five Promises for Your Bible Reading and Prayer | Desiring God

3 Common Ways to Read Scripture – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Hearing Gods Voice 101 | Are YOU listening? | Connect to Women’s Ministry @TACC

 

We Don’t Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real

24 Jan

glory2“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

The world places their hope in pop cultural near death experiences seeking to believe something eternal and glorious exists after death. The desire to have the “ears tickled” by the smoke and mirrors of crafty “myths” leads to a slippery slide down the road of junk ideology designed to entertain and muddle the “truth” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

God’s infallible Word makes it clear Heaven is real and as believers our citizenship (Philippians 3:20) and hope (Colossians 1:5) is there. A child’s purported account should not make it more so to believing Christians who place their trust and confidence in the Lord.

We Don’t Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real by Nancy Guthrie

“Have you read Heaven Is for Real? ” I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count. So let me just tell you—no, I haven’t. I was actually asked by the publisher to read the manuscript to offer an endorsement before the book came out, but I declined. And clearly the lack of an endorsement from me has not hindered sales.

I’ve been hoping that the hoopla surrounding this book and so many of the other” died and went to heaven and came back” books would end. And then I went to the theater over the holidays and saw previews for the upcoming movie based on Heaven Is for Real. So before you ask if I am going to see the movie, let me just tell you—no, I’m not.

The remainder of this article can be viewed here: We Don’t Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

Other articles to ponder:

As citizens of heaven | Mars Hill Church

What Is Heaven Like? | The Resurgence

Citizens of Heaven | Desiring God

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

17 Jan

 lovegodloveothers

“We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19

“God chose the moment…He sat His love upon you…He sent His Spirit to open your eyes to see the beauty of Christ…[to] take you for Himself” (Pastor Burris, The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church).

When the dank dark corners of our heart are flooded with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God we see in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) and the hidden corners are illuminated as we are chosen to Him; the goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and graciousness of the Lord shines through; made visible to a heart no longer blind. His Word ceases to be unintelligible, revealing cogent scripture we can examine and savor; a feast for a newly awakened palate. 

“…a mighty power from God coming upon their souls, conforming them to God, addicting them to God, uniting them with God, making them center on God,…The Spirit that is from God suits us to God and to divine things and makes us savor the things of God and take delight in them.” (John Howe, via Ray Ortlund, Has He Given You New Life).

As believers filled with the Lord’s love from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17) our desires change. We become preoccupied with the Gospel and crave spiritual sustenance with hunger pains welling up from the soul only the Word can quell. 

“I can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, writing about it, reading about it, wrestling with it, reveling in it, standing on it, and thanking God for it. For better or for worse, my focus has become myopic. My passion has become singular.” (Tullian Tchividian, I’m Addicted).

As God’s own possession filled with love poured out, the scope and magnitude of His love via propitiation spectacularly displayed upon the cross creates a spiritual affection for Him and those who belong to Him. We cannot remain comfortable, complacent, apathetic, and outside of community in the shadow of such enormity nor can we not love fellow Christians deeply and intensely. Seek revival; transform and renew your mind; immerse yourselves in the Bible memorizing, meditating, reading, studying and praying scripture so as to truly know the love of God. Ache to love Him more; you cannot love too much. 

The following article offers a love expository and posits love is the most important pursuit:

Love Is Not a Verb, by Jon Bloom

Based on the following statements by Jesus, I would say that love is the most important thing to pursue this year.

[The greatest commandment:] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37–39

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

However, we must be clear on what love actually is or else we will find ourselves lost in the pursuit of it and lose our resolve. Love Is Not Only a Verb…

Keep reading here: Love Is Not a Verb | Desiring God.

Additional Resources:

The Affection of God in the Soul of the Church

Love So Amazing, So Divine | Poured Out, Overflowing

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