Foundation Stones, Part 1 Sunday, January 4, 2015
And the king commanded them to quarry large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones, to lay the foundation of the temple. I Kings 5:17 (NKJV)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. I Corinthians 3:10-13 (ESV)
- The Word of God: “The Rock”
- Prayer: “The River”
- Giving and Generosity: “The Resources”
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25 (ESV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
Horace Greeley: “It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.”
Paul Tripp: “Growing up, my father made it a priority to read the Bible to us every morning. I don’t remember him ever making a comment or explaining a verse, but he diligently woke us up for ‘family worship’ at 5:00am. I don’t know the final spiritual state of my father, so I can’t say with certainty why he chose to do that, but something significant happened to me during those devotional readings: I was introduced to the power of God’s Word.”
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. II Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)
Develop a way of regularly reading the Bible.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne
“You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read a small bit of an Epistle also. Turn the Bible into prayer. Thus, if you were reading the First Psalm, spread the Bible on the chair before you, and kneel and pray, “O Lord, give me the blessedness of the man”; “Let me not stand in the counsel of the ungodly.” This is the best way of knowing the meaning of the Bible, and of learning to pray.”
Five Unhelpful Ways to Study/Read the Bible
Adapted from Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word (Crossway, 2014), pp. 38-44 | posted 8/03/2014
Here are some common unhelpful ways to read and study God’s Word:
- The Xanax Approach. Feel anxious? Read Philippians 4:6. Feel tired? Read Matthew 11:28. The Xanax Approach treats the Bible as if it exists to make us feel better. Bible study is about finding comfort for my issues. The problem with this approach is that I ask how the Bible can serve me, rather than how I can serve the God it proclaims.
- The Pinball Approach. Lacking a reference or any guidance on what to read, I read whatever Scripture verse I happen to turn to next, ricocheting from one passage to the next. But the Pinball Approach gives no thought to the culture, history, authorship, or original intent of the passage.
- The Magic 8 Ball Approach. Remember the Magic 8 Ball? You just shake it and wait until it provides a clear answer to your most difficult questions. But the Bible isn’t magical and its primary function is to transform us rather than to answer our most pressing questions.
- The Personal Shopper Approach. We don’t actually study the Bible; rather, we shop around for Bible teachers or preachers who suit our tastes. This isn’t all bad, but it can prevent us from taking ownership of Scripture. Much like the Pinball Approach, we ricochet from teacher to teacher and topic to topic without getting the tools to study God’s Word for ourselves.
- The Jack Sprat Approach. In the English nursery rhyme, the character Jack Sprat “could eat no fat.” We take this approach when we’re picky eaters who refuse to digest certain parts of the Bible. But all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable. We need a balanced diet to grow into maturity
Magic 8 Ball
The 20 answers inside a Magic 8 Ball are:
- It is certain
- It is decidedly so
- Without a doubt
- Yes definitely
- You may rely on it
- As I see it, yes
- Most likely
- Outlook good
- Signs point to yes
- Reply hazy try again
- Ask again later
- Better not tell you now
- Cannot predict now
- Concentrate and ask again
- Don’t count on it
- My reply is no
- My sources say no
- Outlook not so good
- Very doubtful
Ten of the possible answers are Positive(●), five are Negative (●), and five are Neutral(●).
Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.
1. The Bible has REVEALING
The Bible shows us what God is like.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7 (ESV)
2. The Bible has EXPOSING
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)
We Find Our Own Stories in the Bible’s Stories
Greg Asimakoupoulos, Mercer Island, Washington; source: Brian Mains, “Marion Shurtleff makes amazing discovery in used Bible, finds childhood essay she wrote 65 years ago,” WCPO Digital (5-28-13) | posted 6/17/2013
In late 2012 seventy-five year old Marion Shurtleff purchased a Bible in a used book store near her home in San Clemente, California. After making her purchase and returning home, she discovered a couple of folded pages tucked in the middle of the Bible.
The contents of the yellowed notebook sheets contained a child’s handwriting that looked familiar. To her amazement, Shurtleff discovered her name at the top of the first page. When she looked closer she realized that she was actually reading a four-page essay she had written as a ten-year-old to earn a merit badge for the Girls Scouts in Covington, Kentucky—more than 2,000 miles from where she had just purchased the Bible.
By her own account, Shurtleff was deeply moved. “I opened the Bible and there was my name,” Shurtleff said in a phone interview from her home. “I recognized my handwriting. I was shaking, literally. I was crying.”
Although it remains a mystery how the essay ended up in a Bible in a used bookstore half way across the country, one thing is certain. When we look deeply into God’s Word we see evidences of our lives, too. In the pages of Scripture we see individuals just like us—people who pursue faith and hope in God, people who also battle depression, doubt, lust, and pride. As we read the biblical stories about Abraham, Ruth, David, Mary, and Peter we also recognize our own life story.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
3. The Bible has TRANSFORMING
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:11-13 (NKJV)
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18 (ESV)