May 4, 2012 Bible Reading
Personal Civil War
Today in Judges we read an awful story. Ok it was also amazing. Let’s call it “amazingly awful”. Brian Hardin unpacks it in the DailyAudioBible Podcast and does a fantastic job of answering “How could God allow this to happen”. You should listen to it, but basically because of a couple of decisions (made without the Lord in mind) a Civil War breaks out amongst Israel.
I decided to take a more “macro” approach and look at all four pieces of scripture today (I did consult the Almighty first . I have often thought of the Children of Israel and their story as my own personal story. They do things on their own, they fall, they cry out to God, He saves them, they do things on their own… etc. etc. Sounded too much like my life for me NOT to get it (even though I can be thick-headed).
Because of seeing the Children of Israel that way I realized while reading John today, that John the Baptist discusses another Civil War. The War within. John the Baptist discusses his purpose. JTB foretells the Persona Civil War we all must face in order to follow Jesus. More of Jesus, less of me. That sums it up, but let’s take a look at the way God’s chosen messenger says it.
He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV)
We must die to ourselfs in order to be Born Again. We must put off the old man and put on the new. We must die to our repetitive sins and fight back against them. This is one of my favorite pieces of scripture:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:13-18 NIV)
We must become less, so He can become greater in our lives and it is going to be a FIGHT!
Proverbs… Ah The Proverbs
Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. (Proverbs 14:22 NIV)
May God be included in the foundations of your plans. John the Baptist quoted in John (unrelated to each other by the way) says:
A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. (John 3:27 NIV
So when I find myself struggling, I should first consult God. To deal with this personal civil war of dying to self, He can and will help me. To practice less of me and more of Him is tough. It is work! Let’s look back at Proverbs one more time.
All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty. The wealth of the wise is their crown,
but the folly of fools yields folly. (Proverbs 14:23, 24 NIV)
It’s about where you put your work. I plan on putting mine into the Kingdom of God. I know I will get knocked down a few times, but that’s ok. Character comes from that. Not to mention, God gave us the Holy Spirit too to help with where to go and what to do. The Holy Spirit is not only our guide but also our comforter. So, though I may get knocked down there is nothing to fear for The Holy Spirit is there to comfort me as well.
The 15 Minute Challenge
15 Minutes. That’s all it takes to read through the Bible in a year. 15 minutes per day. Would you sit down and listen to someone talk to you about an investment for your retirement for 15 minutes? How about your doctor? Do you listen to them for 15 minutes to invest in your health? Your boss? 15 minutes to invest in your career? I encourage you to take the challenge of reading the Bible for 15 minutes a day and invest in your eternity. Go on… we’ll wait.