Ramadan is the holiest time of year for Muslims. Sadly, it is also a time when persecution against Christians in Islamic countries increases. This year Ramadan is June 18 through July 17 . Click here to sign up to receive the Open Doors 30 Day Ramadan Prayer Guide. During this season of Ramadan, let’s join together and pray for Muslims to know the peace of God and for Christians who live in Muslim countries to be strengthened and protected.
Have you ever been to Israel? I have always wanted to go and must admit that I was pretty jealous of everyone I knew that was able to go. Every person I’ve ever known who has made a trip to the Holy Land has come back saying it is life changing. They say that you will never read the Bible in the same way again. I thought this trip-of-a-lifetime would always be just out of my financial reach and probably would never happen. However, 4 years ago it happened! I went to Israel! And I must tell you, that everyone was right. It is, indeed, life changing and you will not view the Scriptures – or really the world – in the same way again.
David and BJ Lawson of Hope and Help International are leading a tour to Israel this year and you are invited! The Lawsons are seasoned teachers of the Word and have led tours to the Holy Land with Precept Ministries International for 15 years. The Scriptures will literally come to life as you sit among the backdrop of history while receiving biblical teaching on site.
For a pdf of the brochure, click here and print. (You can view the brochure below.)
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Don’t say, “I can’t afford it!” Start saving (and praying) now! Forget Disney World and all those other vacations that will have no lasting impact on your life. Take the vacation of a lifetime and go to Israel with the Lawsons!
Have you ever wondered what your spiritual gift is? Or maybe you didn’t know that you have a spiritual gift. God’s Word teaches that each believer is given at least one charisma (gift of grace, divine gratuity, spiritual gift) by the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. Knowing your gift helps you accept your place in the body of Christ and helps you function properly within the body and, therefore, causes the whole body to function properly. Best of all, God is glorified most when we are fulfilling His purpose in our lives.
How can you find out what your spiritual gift is? There are several ways. First, study God’s Word and pray. The primary passages dealing with this subject are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4. Precept Ministries has a wonderful study on Spiritual Gifts that goes into these passages in depth. (Order a workbook here.) Second, ask a godly Christian who knows you pretty well what he or she thinks your gift might be.
Another way is to take a spiritual gifts test. Be careful with this and remember 2 things: (1) Any test, no matter how good, is still written by man and is, therefore, fallible and (2) You need to understand the scriptural definition of each gift before you can properly understand how to use your gift.
Here is an online spiritual gifts test that is pretty good. After answering all the questions, your results are sent to your email address. I took it myself, and the results seemed right on target for me. Do your studying first, then take the test. Let me know what you thought of your results. I’d love to hear.
*You can also listen to this class discussion (Romans Part 4 Lesson 3). It will help guide you through the Scriptures mentioned above.
It’s a brand new year and a perfect opportunity to begin a daily Bible reading plan! Here are some plans and Bibles that I suggested last year. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. Just start reading today and keep reading each day. When you miss a day, don’t worry about it. The important thing is to keep going!
Happy New Year!
There are 25 days until Christmas! Can you believe it? If we aren’t careful, the busyness of this season can overtake us and we completely miss the wonder and miracle that we are supposed to be celebrating. A good way to get into the spirit of Christmas and to celebrate the birth of the Savior is by counting the days with an advent calendar. And there are so many ideas online that are very easy to make yourself! There are also lots of free printable advent calendars as well. Click the links below and begin the countdown to Christmas with joy and anticipation instead of stress and worry!
Click here for 30+ free printable Christmas Advent Calendars rounded up by the Mein Lila Park blog.
Click here for free advent calendar projects and templates from AllCrafts.
Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the New Year on the Jewish Calender. The above artwork is both amusing and informative. (I found it here.) Another great source of information about this and other Jewish holidays (all things Jewish, really) can be found here.
Rosh Hashanah 2014 begins at sundown on September 24 and ends at sundown on September 26. So, yes, Happy New Year! In September!
Recently I was in a Christian bookstore and saw near the register a large column of books artfully arranged to draw the attention of shoppers. Having done its job of attracting my attention, I picked up one of the books and read the title – The Story, NIV: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee. I guess I’ve been out of it because even though this book was published in 2011, I had never heard of it. Anyway, I thought, “Hmmmm…. yes, the Bible IS the story of God and His people, but why did they need to write a book reiterating that? Can’t we just read the Bible to get the real story?” Apparently not.
The store employee explained to me that the book was different from the Bible in that the story was arranged chronologically. Okay, I have no problem with a chronological Bible. He went on to explain that it is the chronological story of the Bible written in novel form. Whoaaaahhh. Wait a minute. What?
A novel is defined as “a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes.” The Bible is NOT a novel. It is NOT fiction. Men and women write novels. God writes unerring truth. Novels do not have the power to change a life from the slavery of sin to the pursuit of righteousness creating a new creature in Christ. Only the living, breathing Word of God can do that.
A foundational tenant of Christianity is the inerrancy of Scripture. Second Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” In other words, every word in the Bible came from God the Father to God the Holy Spirit to men. These men wrote what the Holy Spirit told them to write. What they wrote were God’s words not their own words. (A wonderful book explaining how books were chosen to be in the canon of Scripture is How We Got the Bible by Neil R. Lightfoot.) Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” The word “inspired” means God-breathed. God literally breathed out the words of the Bible. It is His Word to us. It is His story.
The title of the book leads one to think that this is another translation or version of the Bible not a novel. I don’t believe that the authors or publishers intended to deceive anyone, but I think it is misleading. And am I the only one who is tired of the dumbing down of Christianity? Everything has to be easy. Everyone wants the Bible CliffsNotes and the short road to holiness. No one wants to put any real effort into knowing God. It makes me think of Hosea 4:6 where God laments to the prophet Hosea that His people are destroyed because of a lack of knowledge of who He is and of His Word.
That’s where we are today. Christians would rather read short works of fiction than apply themselves to deep Bible study. That’s just too much effort. The good news for them is that The Story only has 31 chapters instead of 66 books like the real Bible has. Personally, I think if the Bible is God’s letter to us – and it is – and if He wrote 66 books in that letter – which He did – then we should read every one of them. And not just read them. We should study them, meditate on them, and live by them!
Please don’t read The Story to find out what God’s Word says. Read the original, unabridged version called The Holy Bible. (And while we’re on the subject, please don’t read The Shack by William P. Young to understand God’s love for you. You’ll find that in the Bible, too!) Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – can ever replace your own personal discovery of the Scriptures. If you don’t know where to start, then click here for a free download on how to begin to study the Bible for yourself. Also, Precept Ministries has the best Bible studies available for every skill level. Click here to see what they offer.
Books about the Bible are not all bad. However, we should spend way more time reading the Bible itself than we spend reading books about it. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then the Holy Spirit lives in you. One of His jobs is to be your Bible teacher (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27). How awesome is that? Become a student of His Word today!
It’s that time of year when school is starting back in most communities, and it is also the time when weekly Bible studies are starting back after the summer hiatus. Here at Precept Camden we are continuing our study in the book of Genesis and are picking up where we left off before summer. We are using Precept Ministries’ Precept Upon Precept workbooks which break the book of Genesis into 5 parts. We are getting ready to start Part 3. You can find all the info here on how you can study with us either in person or online.
If you are studying the book of Genesis, here are some Key Word Symbol Sheets that correspond to Genesis Part 1 and Genesis Part 2. Please remember that these symbols are just suggestions created to help you with marking the text which is one of the tools of inductive Bible study. They are suggestions. Feel free to make up your own symbols. The important thing is to get in the text and dig deep into the truths of God’s Word.
Click here to download a pdf of the Genesis Part 1 Key Word Symbol Sheets.
Click here to download a pdf of the Genesis Part 2 Key Word Symbol Sheets.
For more downloadable Key Word Symbol Sheets, click here.
Photo courtesy of here.
Ramadan is the holiest time of year for Muslims. Sadly, it is also a time when persecution against Christians in Islamic countries increases. This year Ramadan is June 28 through July 27 . Click here to sign up to receive the Open Doors 30 Day Ramadan Prayer Guide. During this season of Ramadan, let’s join together and pray for Muslims to know the peace of God and for Christians who live in Muslim countries to be strengthened and protected.