Beginnings

After wondering for some time why the M'Cheyne daily bible reading plan chose to begin each year by reading Genesis, Matthew, Ezra and Acts, it hit me that each of these books is in itself a beginning.  Genesis is the beginning of God's creation of the universe, earth and mankind.  Matthew is the earthly beginning of the Kingdom of God, the re-creation of those things perverted by sin.  Ezra is the beginning of the Jew's return to the Promised Land after being exiled in Babylon.  Acts is the beginning of the Church. 

Fortunately, the LORD is the God of beginnings.  I am thankful for the new beginnings He forces on us; like the newness of each morning.   Lamentations 3:23 says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness".

On January 1, 2017 we are presented with a new beginning.  My hope and prayer for you this new year is a beginning to faithfully read through God's Word over the course of this year.

Why would we commit to daily spend time reading and studying the Bible?  As a believer, our desire is to be transformed by the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2).  In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul tells us how God's word accomplishes this renewing of our mind, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work".  Also, God promises His Word "will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).  

Each day before you read it is helpful to remember these verses.  Paul is telling Timothy God's word accomplishes four things; it teaches, reproves/rebukes/reprimands, corrects and trains in righteousness.  As we daily read this year, we want God's word to do this work in our lives.  It is helpful to keep in mind these four questions as we read: What is the passage teaching?  How does it rebuke me?  How does it correct me?  How does this passage equip me to be more Christ like? 

Please pray that God's Word would accomplish everything He desires and that the Holy Spirit will apply God's word as we study so we might be those men and women who are complete, equipped for every good work.

One of our fellow studiers, Kyle Talbott an elder in ARCC, discovered the following method of Bible Study.  As I read it I thought of Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap".  So the question to me is "What am I sowing in my heart and mind because for sure that is what I will reap".  This year we are going to be sowing God's Word knowing the blessing we will reap.

R. E. A. P. Method of Reading the Bible

READ

Ask the Holy Spirit to encourage you and impress His word in your mind and heart as you read the Scriptures for that week from the daily Bible reading plan.

EXAMINE

Underline or highlight scripture verses, write in the margins of your Bible or in a journal the questions or thoughts that you have concerning the scriptures you are reading.  Ask these questions as you are meditating on what you are reading:

            What is happening in this passage?

            Is there something you don't understand?

            How does what I am reading today fit with the rest of the Bible?

            How is God displayed in these texts?

            How is man displayed in these texts?

APPLY

After examining the passage and its original context, go ahead and apply it to your life today.  Ask questions like:

            Is there something in this text I struggle with?  Describe it.

            How do I see myself in this passage?

            How will I live differently in light of what I read this week?

PRAY

Meditate and pray over what the Lord has shown you this week in His word and ask Him to give you a heart that will repent of unbelief and trust Him based on who He is and who He says you are. 

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