Bob’s Boy’s Plans for 2015

This year, I’m reading the entire New Testament. One chapter per day and five days per week. My blog will still be published on Tuesdays and Fridays, with frequent Sunday editions as always. In addition to commenting on the week’s Bible reading chapters, I will be working on growing in faith and in my relationship to the Lord. I hope that you will join me, and that you may be enriched in your walk with God, as I know I will be.

One of the books I am currently writing is about the subject of apologetics. I don’t know how long that one will take to write, as I am just beginning it. But my 2015 blogs will be sure to have much to say on Christian evidences and such, as a result. I am in the editing stages of publishing my 5th book on the Gospel of Luke. The title has been selected, and I will reveal it in this blog before publication.

Reading the New Testament in one year will certainly enrich your life. The average chapter in the New Testament is 30 verses (7956 verses divided by 260 chapters). I selected a chapter with about 30 verses and clicked the link to listen to a reader who reads it at a leisurely pace. It took 3 minutes and 37 seconds. Less than 4 minutes per day out of your life – five days a week – to enrich your life for years to come.

Join me this year, as we strive to get closer to the Lord and make a real difference in our lives,as we prepare for a home with Him!

 

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click here to read or listen to audio of this week’s chapters in Mark

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Prayer – Supplication

Prayer is the language

Prayer is the language (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

Earlier this year, we began a series intended to help us develop our prayer life, with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. As we have emphasized, there is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Today we will focus briefly on supplication.

Supplication is defined as “to ask for humbly or earnestly, to beseech or to make a humble entreaty to.” Philippians 4:6 says:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Another word for supplication that is often used is “petition.” Of course, one thing we do with supplication in prayer is to take our confession to the next logical step in asking God for his mercy and forgiveness. But these humble petitions are not only to be made by us for ourselves. Rather, most important is the use of supplication on behalf of others. Ephesians 6:18 says we are to be “praying at all times in the Spirit,awith all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” It is one of the ways that we are commanded to encourage one another as in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 10:25. Making supplication for others is one hallmark of a truly caring and dedicated child of God. For how can we love others as ourselves without praying for what they need most?

We’ll leave you with this simple prayer adapted from Psalm 50, in which David is grieving because of his great sin against the Lord:

Have mercy on my, O God,
according to thy great mercy;
according to the abundance of thy compassions,
blot out all my transgressions….
A sacrifice to you, O God, is a broken spirit,
a broken and contrite heart—
these, O Lord, you shall not turn away from.
I pray also, O Lord, for your tender mercy
for those among me who are grieving
for those who are in need of comfort
and for those who have turned away
from your loving arms.
Grant them, I pray, the blessing of repentance
and the strength which flows
from your boundless grace and love.
In Jesus name, Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeo...

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeoju Pyungkang Jeil Conference Center near Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier his year, we began a series to help us develop our praying habits, with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this post. There is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the aspect of thanksgiving. Giving thanks to God for the things in our lives that we are blessed with is a very important part of prayer. We all should, of course, thank God for our food at meal time. And we often remember to thank Him for many other things. One way to “step up” the thanksgiving portion of our payers is by examining ourselves and our lives with respect not only to all that we have, but also by considering those who do not have many of the things that we are blessed with in our lives.

As with all prayer, a healthy reading of God’s word on a regular basis will sharpen our perspective by virtue of the personal growth that His wisdom imparts. But more powerful than anything else is a prayer that comes from within the heart. No matter what is going on in our lives, when we take the time to truly contemplate how blessed we are by God’s grace, it is impossible not to be grateful. Based on that assurance, I offer this simple prayer:

Our Holy Father in heaven
Creator of all that is and ever has been
I thank you for the love and sacrifice
of your son and our Savior, Jesus Christ
the author and perfecter of our faith,
And that because of that sacrifice,
we can come to you in prayer and bring our petitions.
I thank you, Father, for the life you have given me
and for the world that you spoke into existence
which holds so many great blessings for me.
Somewhere else, though another is hungry
yet because of your mercy, I am fed.
Though somewhere else, someone has no home
yet I am blessed with a warm and safe shelter daily.
And still you bless me further with good health
and with many dear friends and loved ones
and with brothers and sisters who care about me.
For these and for many other blessings, I thank you with all my heart
In Jesus name, Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cleansing Prayer

This year, we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. We continue to stress that there is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, let’s take a quick look at confession. This is the hardest part of prayer for some people. Most people do not want to admit that they have been wrong. Most of us like to think that we pretty much have it “all together.” And after all, most of try pretty hard to do the right thing most of the time. Except when we don’t. The problem sometimes comes in recognizing and admitting those times when we have been off the mark.

But everyone has sin in their lives, and none are any worse – or better – than any others. It is true for the preacher, the elders of the church, and even for the sweet old lady who loves everyone and never misses a service. Paul said in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 1 John 1:8 says that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But because of the price Jesus paid for us, we have the grace of God, and can have His forgiveness for any sin in our lives. 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What an awesome gift we have been given by our Lord! There is nothing that God will not forgive us for simply be asking in prayer!

Finding the right words to confess to God is easy if we study the scriptures daily, and speak from the heart. Here is a short example of doing so by borrowing from David’s earnest prayer to God for his sins in Psalm 51:1,and 10. We will leave you with that.

Holy Father,
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
In your Son’s name I pray this humble prayer. Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Toward More Effective Prayer

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo.

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. Most Christians pray every day. Many of us pray several times each day, giving thanks to God before eating each meal,  before going to sleep, and whenever else we find the opportunity.

Some of us have our own special times when we approach God at length in prayer. Any time we talk to God in prayer is beneficial to us. It really is not complicated – prayer is simply talking to God. But most of us want to grow – to become better at praying, especially when we pray in public; and we do grow each time that we pray. The best way to improve one’s prayer life is to read and meditate on God’s word, and then pray – and do so often!

As we study and meditate on God’s word, we will often be inclined in our prayers to quote parts of a particular passage that has become familiar to us, and that is perfectly fine. Some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible use verbiage that is contained elsewhere in God’s word. Why would it not be acceptable in our own prayers? In fact, some of the most effective and encouraging prayers we’ve heard contained references to Scripture.

As we have stated, there is no one formula for prayer. But we most often begin with the “adoration” that the ACTS method refers to. And the beginning is a great place for us to start this year of learning to pray better. With adoration, we recognize the greatness of our Lord God, and acknowledge the depths of His power and glory. Consider David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13:

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty,
for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.
In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name

We will leave you to meditate on the following short prayer. If it sounds familiar, it is because the words are adapted from Psalm 19:1, 14; Acts 17:28, and James 1:17. A lot of scripture for a short prayer, but it does serve to illustrate how easy it is to adapt God’s word to our prayers in a meaningful way. With the exception of a bit of thanksgiving, it contains only the “ACTS” element of adoration, but it is a prayer nonetheless.

Oh Lord our God,
In whom we live and move and have our being;
The heavens declare your glory, and the sky above proclaims your handiwork.
We thank you for every good gift, and every perfect gift that comes from above,
Coming down from the Father of lights
With whom there is no variation and no shadow due to change.
In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray.
Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

Growing Daily By Prayer

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

By making daily Bible reading a part of our lives, we hear from God each day, and our lives are enriched. The other half of that communication occurs when we talk to Him in prayer. This year, we have committed to developing our prayer life so that we can pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to our Lord. To begin that effort this month, we have decided to dust off the old prayer box and pull out one of the oldest outlines for prayer method we know about – the ACTS method.

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unknown where this originated, but it has been repeated countless times by innumerable evangelists. While it is true that there is no set of rules or structure for prayer that God wants us to use or has mandated, this method contains very good key elements to prayer that are easily remembered. No, we are not referring to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. People love acronyms because when they are not too complex, they help us remember things.  With that in mind, the elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

The element of adoration is to recognize the greatness of our Creator and that He is worthy of our praise, our worship, and our love for His majesty, His holiness, and His omnipotence. By loving acknowledgement of His awesome power, His boundless goodness and loving care, and the majesty of all that He has created, we give Him the glory of which He is worthy, and we focus our minds and hearts in the right frame of mind for the rest of our prayer.

Through confession in our prayers, we acknowledge our weaknesses to God, admitting that we are in need of His forgiveness to keep our hearts pure. And as Christians, this helps us to stay focused on the reason that we even have the privilege of being able to obtain forgiveness in prayer. We have a “High Priest,” who gave His life so that we could have that forgiveness, and by whom we can approach our heavenly Father in prayer.

Thanksgiving is so integral and important to prayer that we cannot emphasize it enough. We must recognize the love and care that God has shown for us – and continuously does so in all that He does for us. God has given us so many material and spiritual blessings in this world that He has created – not because we deserve any of it, but because He loves us even though we are not worthy of that love.

By making supplication to God, we recognize our dependence on Him for all things. We give Him our petitions, acknowledging and addressing not only our own needs, but the needs of others as well – a key component of prayer. Expressing our love and concern for others to God in prayer builds our faith, and helps us to grow as His children, reflecting the love that His Son had for all people and which He charged us to have as well.

There are many ways to pray, and this method is not the only one that will work.  Also, there is no prescribed order to these elements, nor are they all required in every prayer. But they can serve as a great frame of reference for planning our prayer. That planning – the preparation for prayer is an important aspect that we plan to focus more upon in our study of prayer this year.

We will more closely examine the first element in this method (adoration) next month, as we continue our study in prayer life.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Year in Luke’s Writings! – 2014 Reading Plan

Father reads the Scriptures from a scroll to his family as the mother prepares food to eat.

Father reads the Scriptures from a scroll to his family as the mother prepares food to eat.

Once again, this year we will be following someone else’s reading plan, and once again, it is singularly special! It was not finished at the time of this writing, but I will post the schedule on the “Schedules” tab as soon as I get it.

Here is what I can tell you about it. We will be spending the entire year studying the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts.  The plan’s designer appropriately calls it “Cause and Effect.” We will be reading at the pace of a chapter a week. An easy schedule? Perhaps, but some of the chapters are quite long, and there is no shortage of material to study.

First, 24 chapters of Luke – all focused on the life, death, burial, and Resurrection of the savior, Jesus the Christ. And 28 chapters of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles – from the first gospel sermon ever to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. It is going to be another great year in God’s word, I can  promise you! And we will start tomorrow!

Science museum, Vancouver

Science museum, Vancouver

But, as our regular readers know, since our reading plans are 5 days per week, we have always done something different on Sundays. And 2014 will be no exception. We will still be writing on various subjects and about several different books of the Bible throughout the year. But we will be doing two things on a fairly regular basis.

First, we will have more frequent articles centered on the subject of Apologetics- articles designed to help the christian strengthen his or her faith in God’s word, and hopefully, help prepare to comply with 1 Peter 3:15: “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

Throughout the wilderness journey, Moses talked to the Lord, often begging Him for help in leading the Israelites.

Throughout the wilderness journey, Moses talked to the Lord, often begging Him for help in leading the Israelites.

Secondly, we will try to devote one Sunday article per month to the subject of prayer – the other half of our communication with the Lord. In doing so, it is our hope that we can improve our ability to pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to the Lord and beneficial to those we pray for – and pray with. With God’s help, we hope this will also be an aid to men who often are called upon to lead public prayers in church services and elsewhere.

We hope and pray that these new items on our agenda for 2014 will help us all to grow spiritually in the coming year. We hope you will join us in this effort!

/Bob’s boy