A.W. Tozer

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I love this from Chris (my lovely husband) who writes at Soterion.org (when he gets the time). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
~ Sarah xxx

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Another timely word from A.W. Tozer:

“This we have heard: “I am a born again Christian and I am happy that my sins are forgiven and I go to church on Sunday because I like the fellowship!” We ask: “Do you not go to put yourself in the way of spiritual blessing?” The answer: “No, I am saved and I do not need anything!” We ask: “Have you offered to witness, to pray, to encourage, to assist, to participate in your church’s life and outreach?” The answer: “No. My church seems to get along very well without my help!” Brethren, this “non participation” kind of faith is a strange parody on Bible Christianity. Men and women who say they are believers just cancel themselves out. Is it something we have learned from the sporting events? – the great majority are spectators. They come and sit! If there is any true spiritual life within us, God will give us a gift of some kind and the humble soul will find something to do for God!

In my time as a pastor of a church, I found myself continually grieved in my heart by this strange phenomenon of which Tozer speaks. Christians who were not willing to relinquish their own sovereignty to Christ, and then throw their “all” into the precious blood-bought community which Christ had generously placed them in. And this was unfortunately not a rare occurrence, no, regrettably this was the norm. Oh how my heart grieved over this. And yet, my dismay over this situation was also met with caution. Caution over self. Because I pondered then, as I ponder now, how much have I really thrown myself into this precious blood-bought community which Christ has generously placed me in?!

Bibles and Bible Study …

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In my opinion the best bible to read is one that is not sitting on a shelf, it is a Bible that is wide open in front of you, and most importantly one that you can understand easily. Please don’t get stressed or worried about what translation you have. Reading God’s Word is the reason we have a Bible. I was at a church and a young man was about to read some scripture from his Bible. Before he started reading he apologised to everyone because he had an NIV Bible and the others preferred a different English Bible translation. My heart sank. When did it become okay to pressure this person or that person into feeling bad about their bible for any reason? I often read The Message Bible at church, I don’t apologise for it, I just let everyone know that I am reading from The Message. I let them know because if they read along with me The Message is quite different and probably won’t match word for word to their Bible translation. I find The Message Bible refreshing for a change but I don’t use it as my study Bible. Anyhoo, with that being said; don’t feel bad no matter what translation of the English Bible you have. You have a Bible and that is a good thing! This post is more about sharing information, there is no musts or do’s here.

Why read the Bible? If you want to know God then you will want to read His word. By reading the Bible you get to know the heart of God. God gives us understanding when reading His word. We were created to have a relationship with God. The more you know Him the easier it is to know His will and live your life in a way that pleases Him. When you feed on the word of God it nourishes your soul and the trials of this world is much easier to handle. We are also able to help, feed and nourish others. For example if your car is not maintained OR if you put the wrong type of petrol (gas) in it, OR if it has no petrol (gas) in the tank your car will not get very far. And it won’t be able to take you to where you need to go. We are like that too, we might get taken in the wrong direction, or we just won’t get very far if our spiritual tank is empty, or if we are filling up on the wrong stuff.

Are you a bit confused about which bible is best? Easily done, as there are loads of different bibles to choose from. It is a personal choice, everyone has their favourite translation. I would recommend New Living Translation, New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version and lastly New International Version for study bibles. The first three are good word for word translations and are easily understood. NIV is easily understood but not necessarily a word for word perfect translation.

What Bible translation do I use? I use lots of different translations but I typically like the NLT or NIV for studying. I use my iPad and iPod daily for reading my Bible. It has all the translations I could ever need or want offline and online. I read through the whole Bible starting in Genesis and finishing in Revelation each year. Each day I read part of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. It only takes a small amount of time anywhere from 20 minutes the longest is about 40 minutes a day. For ease of going through the Bible I listen to Daily Audio Bible. I change Bible translations each week and have done this over the last two years. The reason I like to change translations is because I like to be challenged about what does this mean or that mean. When a different translation comes along to what you are use to it can make you think. For me it is a matter of discipline to go through the Bible each year. It is not something everyone must do, it is a personal decision, choice and my preference.

Along with going through the Bible each year I also like to read books by Christian authors. I also like to do my own topic studies. This varies from taking one book from the bible and studying it or using other resources like books and DVD’s. I also like resources where everything is packaged together including the leader’s manual, DVD’s, work books (member books), and journals whether it is for individual study or group bible study.

If you don’t attend a Bible believing church, or if you have had a mixed up church background. Or if you can not go to a Bible study with mature Christians. Or even IF you are having problems understanding your Bible. Or if confusion is setting in. I would highly recommend using a Bible translation like the New Living Translation AND doing a Beth Moore Bible Study for personal growth. I would definitely keep using Beth’s material until you are able to have a solid foundation. It may take a few years. Thankfully Beth has loads of resources. Beth takes one topic at a time and does an in depth study. Don’t be discouraged it can be easy for anyone to get confused when studying your Bible on your own with little to no guidance. Persevere you are worth it! I love this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

“By eliminating simple obedience on principle, we drift into an unevangelical interpretation of the Bible. We take it for granted that as we open the Bible, we have a key to its interpretation. We no longer depend on God for the answers and understanding, depending instead on our [own] understanding.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Below is a bunch of resources you might enjoy ~ Sarah xxx

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CLICK HERE FOR AN ONLINE BIBLE

CLICK HERE FOR AN EXCELLENT THEOLOGICAL RESOURCE

CLICK HERE for Beth Moore Resourses

CLICK here for Beth Moore Resources in Australia

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FUN VIDEO

What I believe …

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I was spending a day with a precious friend recently. She had many questions ranging from, which bible translation is best, to questions relating to “end times” eschatology. She had been given advice from many different people and, as can easily happen, had gotten confused. There were a myriad of topics and questions that needed some good answers, and on top of all this, our children were needing our attention too: there just wasn’t enough time left in this one day. Furthermore, we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time we live along way from each other so we were excited to be able to spend time together. So we talked about so many things, with everything jumbled up together. I wish I could have stayed for a weak learning and studying the Bible together. But we only had a day.

So I thought I would start a series on my blog about un-jumbling or unknotting some of the messy bits of Christian life that we can easily find ourselves involved in from day to day. I thought to myself, “why not start at the beginning with the basic’s of what I personally believe!” With that in hand, I could then move onto different topics such as, “which Bible translations are good, better, best and why?” All translations have their strengths and weaknesses, but what could they be? The King James Version was a good English translation in 1611, but now we have many more manuscripts and a far better knowledge of translating Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (the original languages the Bible were written in). Is it better to have modern English translation which we can understand easily, or stick with the good old KJV? Another topic we might address is: “How do we grow in faith in this fallen world?” As you can see there is quite a bit to ponder and think about. There is plenty to cover, and of course I am still learning too.

For today I’m going to focus on the basics, or I might find myself knotted up in a ball even before I get to the point of this post.

Okay, so today’s post is about what I believe and where did those beliefs came from in the Bible. It isn’t everything I believe and it certainly isn’t all inclusive but it is a start. AN ONLINE BIBLE CAN BE FOUND HERE

I believe as Christians we all may vary in opinions and views about smaller issues regarding Christian faith. We are all on a journey learning and growing in our own personal faith. And I strongly believe it is okay to disagree, but we should not be disagreeable. As Philip Schaff once wrote,

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

Here are the essentials I believe in:

I believe that there is one true God who exists in a perfect relationship of three persons in a Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Furthermore, I believe that each Person of this Trinity is God, (1 Corinthians 8:6 6:44; Romans 1:7; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1 Acts 5:3; Hebrews 9:14; John 4:24; Matthew 28:19).

I believe that Satan was a powerful angel who rebelled against God and was kicked out of heaven. He now operates in this world as God’s enemy along with numerous fallen angels called demons. Though he is capable of much evil, he can only go as far as God allows. His final judgment is certain, (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:10-12; Revelation 20:10).

I believe that Jesus was literally conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin named Mary, (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-33).

I believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

I believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son. He willingly came to our world as a human to live among us in order to show us what God is like, reveal God’s love, truth, and provide us with God’s salvation. He is the way to have a relationship with God. Though Jesus lived a perfect life, He was crucified, taking the death penalty that we deserved for the wrong things we do called sin. After three days Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sin and death, (Matthew 1:23; Hebrews 9:14;12:2; I Peter 3:22).

I believe that salvation is available to everyone through Jesus. This salvation can only be received by faith—it cannot be earned by religious works. I believe that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ: through His name, person, work, and grace. Our sins can be forgiven and we can begin a relationship with God, (John 14:6; John 3:16; Romans 4:4-5, 5:1, 5:8).

I believe that all of humanity has fallen short of God’s glory and have sinned and are in need of salvation; and that is the reason Jesus came to the earth, (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23; John 14:6).

I believe that all those who are saved through faith in Christ make up the church, (the body of Christ). I value the body of Christ regardless of what denomination they may belong to, (1 Corinthians 12:13).

I believe that all believers have been given the task of sharing the Good News of Salvation. I believe in repentance of sin and baptism. I believe in full immersion water baptism of believers in Christ. I believe that those who trust Christ should be baptised as a public testimony of their faith and new life in Christ, (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; Acts 22:16).

I believe that Jesus is coming back again to this world; no one knows the exact day or time. When He returns, those who have trusted Christ throughout their life will be raised up to spend eternity with Him. Those who have refused to trust Christ will be judged and will face eternal punishment, (1 Corinthians 15:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

I believe that those who die without salvation will be eternally separated from God and His people, (Psalms 9:17; Psalms 73:12-19; Luke 16:23.26; John 12:48).

I believe that those who belong to Christ will inherit eternal life in a literal Kingdom born of Heaven, (Isaiah 65; Zechariah 14).

I believe that it is important to remember Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross, (along with His life, and resurrection), by sharing Communion with other Christians. Partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine are symbols we use in remembering Christ’s sacrifice. It spurs us on to living our lives for Him as we remember that He gave His life for us, (1 Corinthians 11:24).

I believe that all 66 books of the Bible are the “only” inspired written word of God to the world. I believe that the Holy Bible is the word of the living God. I believe the Bible was God breathed and that the writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is the complete gospel message, from Genesis to Revelation, (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12).

I believe that God is the creator of all things, that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in control; with all power to do as He wills, (Jeremiah 32:17; Ephesians 3:20; Psalms 139:1-4; 1 Samuel 2:6-9; Psalms 24:1).

This is some of what I believe; by no means all, but a good start. But perhaps I can finish today with a quote from Ernest Boyer Jr. who said,

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, ‘Do you believe there is a God?’ you may find yourself answering, ‘No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.’”

Nourishing the Soul

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Are you nourishing your soul? Or are you starving yourself? Are your partaking from Jesus daily, who is the word and the bread of life?

Deuteronomy 8:3 (NASB)
“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”

Philippians 2:14-16 (NASB)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the WORD OF LIFE, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”

Matthew 4:4 (NASB)
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘ MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”

John 6:58 (NASB)
“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

In the last few years I have been reading the Bible from cover to cover each year. When I say read I mean hear the Bible being read to me. Once you start reading the Bible through each year you fall in love with it. Even though the book of Job wasn’t on my schedule this week I just had to read it on top of my regular DAB reading. I also enjoy doing other bible studies and reading Christian books as well. I have an audio dramatization of the Bible called The Word Of Promise which is fun. There are many different ways to read the Bible. Why not try and find which one works best for you 🙂

My main reading is from the DAB portion of going through the Bible it only takes from 20 to 30 minutes a day. Such a short amount of time for HUGE benefit. If you can watch a 30 minute TV show you can easily read your Bible for 20 to 30 minutes per day. You don’t have to start on January the 1st, you can start today. Have you thought about joining DAB and have Brian read to you? It doesn’t matter when you start, it just matters that you are nourishing your soul with goodness from the Word of God. There is so much ugliness in the world and we are fed lies continuously. The healing balm of truth direct from the Word of God heals and soothes the aching heart.

I belong to a community called Daily Audio Bible where we go through the Bible, encourage and pray for one another. I download podcast each day FREE from iTunes. If you would like you can check it out here at Daily Audio Bible.

My reading plan link is here – ” Reading Plan

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Never Too Old

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C.S. Lewis

Remember those moments of dreaming about meeting the “man of your dreams”? Or dreaming about seeing your baby for the first time. Will it be a girl or boy? What colour hair or eye’s will he/she have? Or perhaps it is a dream of being able to hold a long awaited baby of a dear friend. There is such joy in dreaming!

What about nature? Is there anything you have longed to see or experience here on earth? I remember seeing Niagara Falls for the first time with my family. It was a dream I had since I was a little girl. Who would have thought a little girl born in New Zealand miles away from the USA would ever get to see Niagara Falls? Niagara was more beautiful and powerful than I ever could imagine. It sure is a testament to God’s majesty, creativity and glory. I’m grateful our God is a big God who also is interested in the very smallest of dreams of a little girl. Our God is interested in the smallest of desires, goals and details of our lives.

What about your dreams and your firsts and your lasts? Saying hello to a new friend and saying your goodbyes to old and dear friends. How about your big dreams and your small ones! Do you still have them? Or have they been tainted by time, circumstance or life? Maybe it is time to re think and let go of some unhealthy dreams and goals? BUT also it might be time to enjoy setting new goals and dreaming new dreams and perhaps take some sage advice from C.S. Lewis and remember that “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

One Thousand Gifts

So I have read the first chapter from “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. It is completely and utterly captivating. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book. Ann is a talented and gifted writer. If you want a revelation and a life changing read then this is the book for you.

If you want to do what I did and read one chapter for free before you buy.

Or you can buy the book from Amazon.com and also Dayspring.com
The video is from YouTube and is a trailer for Ann’s book.