First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008
815-544-6402

Monday, December 31, 2012

Script #122


Beloved,

While "devoting" as part of preparing for 12/31's brief intimacy commencing at 11:50 p.m., I listened to the archived version of 12/30's second worship service in the sanctuary.

It confirms what I said to elders a few months ago - that we have elders who are called to bring messages to the family when our Lord has other plans for me and we do not need to bring in hired fire.  Indeed, as the revival deepens, broadens, and expands on the corner of Lincoln and Main, more and more and more gifts will be unleashed akin to the glorious message on 12/30.  If you have not heard it, please do not deprive yourself and go to www.bnnsradio.com and click on the archived version.  If you need help in finding it, call 815-544-6402 between 7am-noon.

I am praising the Lord for Elder Ev's obedience to the Word and courage to communicate His heart to...

I have been asked why I no longer announce when I will not be cooperating on the Sunday message.  If you know someone who has asked this question, that person really needs to listen to the message on 12/30.

Also, you may want to catch the archived version of what happened at our "unfenced" table on 12/24 via www.bnnsradio.com

Religion has ended on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere.

The relationship(s) has/have begun.

Praise the Lord!

I pray your/my/their/our 2013 is filled with an intimacy with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that exceeds anything heretofore experienced breeding refreshment, strong calm sanity (OC), and supernaturally enabled obedience to honor Him in holy, holy, holy gratitude.

Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface

of

Bible Reading

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Devotional Bible Reading)

The Bible is our manual. 

It tells us about God’s love for us and how we can love Him back.

While it’s sometimes/often hard to obey His Word in Jesus as attested in the Bible, it’s more truthful than cliché to admit, “God said it!  We believe it!  That settles it!”  We don’t dare say, “We know that’s what God says in Jesus and the Bible, but we think…” 

Fortunately, we know Jesus forgives how we don’t measure up to the manual as long as we trust Him as our Lord and Savior.

Simply, the Bible is a personal love letter from God to us.

Whenever we read it, we get closer to Him and experience more of His love for us as we are increasingly compelled to love Him back.

A little exercise with 1 Peter 5:6-11, which can be applied to almost any part of the Bible, illustrates our personal relationship with Him.  Read the following sentences aloud and say your name when a ___ appears:

            If ___ will humble her/himself under the mighty hand of God, in His good
            time, He will lift ___ up.  Let Him have all ___’s worries and cares, for He is
always thinking about ___ and watching everything that concerns ___.

Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world
are going through these sufferings too.

After ___ has suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through
Christ, will give ___ His eternal glory.  He personally will come and pick ___
up, and set ___ firmly in place, and make ___ stronger than ever.

To Him be all power over all things, forever and ever.  Amen!

Devotional Bible reading, discovering God’s love for us and how we can love Him back, includes approaching every word reverently, redemptively, realistically, and regularly.


Reverently – Because we believe the Bible is inspired or God-breathed, we approach it with attention not contention.  Our privilege/responsibility is to read it and enflesh its clear truths into our lives.

Redemptively – Because we believe God wants us to know about His love for us and how we can love Him back, we know immersing ourselves into more intimacy with Him through devotional Bible reading will supernaturally restore more love, joy, peace, patience,


kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control into our lives.

Realistically – English is a notoriously imprecise language; hence, there is not one translation/paraphrase of the Bible that is pure and perfect in every way.  That’s why taking the time to read the Bible in different translations/paraphrases will yield more clarity and certainty about the content. 

Regularly – Giving the first and last words of the day to God in devotional Bible reading is a good start!  Be sure to include parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament in your daily plan; and while daily plans vary, remember this cardinal rule for devotional Bible reading: read the book more and more and more than books about the book!

I would never suggest my daily plan is better than anybody else’s; however, I am reminded of Moody’s retort to someone who didn’t like the way he did it: “I prefer how I do it to how you don’t do it.”  While I tend to stay with the NET, NIV, NKJV, NLT, RSV, Message, and Voice, I start every day by reading parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament, read one book from either sometime during the day, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct my final reading of the day. 

Yes, I look at the originals on occasion and often become preoccupied with one book over others for seasons; yet regardless of the reverent, redemptive, realistic, and regular plan, Eugene Peterson’s conclusion has convinced me by experience/expression: “As we read, and the longer we read, we are in conversation with God.”

Please note this is a brief and incomplete guide to devotional Bible reading!

Devotional Bible reading is different from reading the Bible to prepare a Bible study lesson for Sunday School, homily/sermon/message, write a paper, or some other kinda academic, ecclesiastical, or professional pursuit. 

Devotional Bible reading is more about increasing our personal relationship with God than preparing to help someone else through exposition of a text(s); meaning we allow Him to direct us as we encounter Him in the Bible more than decide how we want to communicate Him to others.

Devotional Bible reading recognizes the necessity of getting closer to God in a personal way as a prerequisite to communicating in a corporate way.

Finally, my home pastor Harold F. Mante suggested this general rule for getting closer to God that can be applied to devotional Bible reading: “Be slow!  Be steady!  Be solid!”

Intimacy with our Lord increases as we increase intimacy

with Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and regular
fellowship with His family of faith
uncommonly called the Church.

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?
Are you searching for something/Someone real, honest, timely, and true to…?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)

Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.

And so much…

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