Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Here’s this week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

The second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

The daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books.

Old Testament

New Testament


Religion Newsmakers of 2013

RealClearReligion has compiled a list of the biggest religious newsmakers (not newsworthies) of 2013. Newsworthies would be another list altogether, and would probably be full of people we’ve never heard of, men and women laboring for Christ’s kingdom in obscure places all over the world but making a bigger spiritual and eternal impact than any or even all of those named below. But God alone could compile such a list, for He alone knows what is really worth something in His kingdom. In the meantime, we have to make do with the newsmakers.

1. Pope and Change
If nothing else, a contender for the headline of the year. It’s quite remarkable how the Catholic Church turned it around with Pope Francis after the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

2. Oxbridge’s Finest
For someone who expected to be forgotten 5 years after his death, C. S. Lewis’s influence continues to grow. The 50th anniversary of his death, new movie deals and biographies, kept him in the news. But number 2 on the list? Fanboy writing this one, I think.

3. Born Again, One Last Time
Billy Graham’s last sermon and poignant last message to America.

4. Binders Full of Women
I must have blinked because this one passed me by. 2013, The Year of the Mormon Woman? Who would have thunk it?

5. Reza Aslan’s Zealot
This story really annoyed me at the time. Apart from that infamous FOX interview, Aslan’s book would have rapidly faded together with all the other hostile re-writes of Jesus’s life.

6. God, Guns, and Ganders
Even before the Phil Robertson GQ interview, the Duck Dynasty family had five books on the New York Times bestsellers list.

7. Rebranding Southern Baptists
Southern Baptist Russell Moore makes the list for his winsome cultural engagement. Speaking the truth in love, with equal weight being given to the “love.” Difficult line to walk, but his warm smile and general happiness with life has helped smash many caricatures.

8. Cauldron of Controversy
I don’t suppose any list would be complete without Driscoll on it somewhere for some reason. But his clothes? Seriously?

9. Atheism’s Old Man
Richard Dawkins, the Driscoll of New Atheism, lost a few arguments and a few media fans this year.

10. Aqua Buddha Strikes Back
I have no idea what Aqua Buddha is all about but the piece is about Rand Paul and his question to Obama: “Did You Seriously Spy on the Pope?”

11. Bombed in Boston
The Boston marathon bombing by two USA-based Muslims.

12. Still Prosperous
Joel Osteen gets on the list for a hoax story that many Christians hoped was true.

13. Tips Against Jesus
Still not clear whether the truth or falsehood of this was ever established.

14. Love Loses
Rob Bell gets on the list for all the wrong reasons, not least causing 1000+ people to leave his church. That won’t burnish the brand.


Check out

Infographic (Download)
Josh Kwekel put together this one page Christ-centered summary of the Old Testament.

5 Things Christians Should Stop Saying
“We mean well, don’t we? But sometimes our attempts to say something spiritual actually come out unbiblical, or at a minimum, not very helpful. Here’s the 5 I hear the most…”

Joel Osteen talks Preaching Sin, Materialism, and Gay Marriage
It’s as bad as you think it will be.

Communicating with People who Have Dementia
Very helpful counsel from Chris Bogosh.

Can You Trust The Bible?
Todd Pruitt has put together a list of resources to help people understand and embrace the doctrine of the Scripture’s inerrancy.

How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014.
Justin taylor must have spent the whole of 2013 putting this resource list together.


Incarnate Shock and Awe

As I was thinking about Christ’s incarnation the past couple of days I couldn’t help pleading with God that He would shock me and awe me again with this stupendous truth. It’s grim how routine and normal it can all become. How I want to get to and stay at “Great is the mystery of godliness – God was manifest in the flesh!” Here are a few verses that I penned about this yesterday (audio link).

 

Shock and awe is a military doctrine,
To overwhelm a nation with aerial bombardment.
Rapid, massive, relentless attack,
Render futile and vain any thought of fightback.

No slow gradual increase of growing intensity.
Attack every building, and road, and facility.
Engulf and submerge in death and destruction.
Impact the senses with jolting sensation.

No more reasoning, logic, diplomacy, persuasion,
It’s now about feeling, vibes, and emotion.
Terrorizing, paralyzing, terrifying, petrifying,
Hundreds and thousands gladly surrendering.

………..

God shocks and awes with a special strategy,
Drops grace and truth in a human body.
Targets overwhelmed with life and salvation,
God invading via incarnation.

He had reasoned and argued with little return,
Laws, poems, and stories, but very few turn.
Thousands of words in Old Testament verse,
Now grabs our attention with Word made flesh.

……….

No more dreams or visions,
But God in skin and bones,
Shocking us and awing us,
To turn us from our sins.

No more mere human go-betweens.
But God, direct and real,
Shocking us and awing us,
To melt our hearts of steel.

It’s the end of all priests,
God suffers and bleeds,
Shocking and awing,
Changing hate to loving.

No more God in cloud and fire,
But God in body and soul,
Shocking us and awing us,
Drawing to Him as our goal.

Not angels in human form,
But God in human flesh,
Shocking us and awing us,
To save us from our mess.

Fully man and fully God,
Both in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Born for slaughter by the sword,
To pay a price none could afford.

……..

The truth gets so cold and routine,
Lots of facts but little feeling.
Shock and awe distant sounds.
We’re just doing the rounds.

First baby, first kiss, first flight,
Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon might,
We see, we hear, we sense, and we feel,
But God as a baby? It’s no big deal.

……..

O God, come and help us,
Start a fire in our hearts,
We know all the doctrine,
But want feelings not just facts,

Jolt, jar, jog, and jerk us,
Pop our eyes, drop our jaw,
Stop our tracks, light our love,
With renewed shock and awe.

God and man.
Decisive. Incisive.
Dramatic. Climactic.
Emotional. Sensational.
An eyeful. An earful.
A mindful. A heartful.
Powerful. Wonderful
Shock and awe.

God and man.
Thrilling. Startling.
Electrifying. Hair-raising.
Breath-taking. Heart-taking.
Marvelous. Scandalous.
Inscrutable. Incredible.
No precedent. No parallel.
Riddle. Mystery.
Shock and awe.

……

God shocks and then awes,
Our heart to impress,
That sin is so serious,
Word must be made flesh.

Real flesh, Not a phantom,
Not a counterfeit or con.
Weak flesh, not a superman
Tired, hungry, sad, alone.

Whole flesh, not a sample,
Fully human out and in,
From embryo to adult,
And all steps in between.

Holy flesh, though sorely tempted,
More than any ever born.
Spotless, pure, immaculate,
Though suffered every storm.

Dead flesh, still God.
Eternal flesh, still man,
And will forever be.
How great the mystery.


What Were Jesus’s First Words?

The first words most babies speak is “Dada.” Seems a bit unjust after all the hard work their mothers put into them, but there you go.

I don’t think fathers should get too proud though. Instead of honoring their dads with their first word, it’s more likely that one of the first babies said “dada” and one of the first men jumped in and claimed the word as a self-identifier.

“Dada!”

“Did you hear that honey? He said my name!”

“Your name’s not Dada!”

“It is now”

Something like that.

Jesus’s First Words
But what about Jesus? What were his first words as a baby?

Perhaps you’re saying, “What a ridiculous question! We aren’t told and it doesn’t matter.”

Well, we are told. And it does matter.

“When He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come – In the volume of the book it is written of me – To do Your will, O God’” (Heb. 10:5-7)

A bit more than “Dada” isn’t it? He quoted Psalm 40.

And a bit earlier than most babies. “When he came into the world.”

When was that?

Was it when He was delivered in the stable and breathed His first breath?

Or was it nine months earlier, when  he was conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb?

Probably the latter, as that was “when he came into the world” and into the body prepared for him.

So how did he speak in the womb?

He didn’t of course. An embryo can’t speak and didn’t speak.

The End and the Beginning
Hebrews 10:5 is not speaking of Christ as man, but of Christ as God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle is given a secret look behind the curtain of heaven to hear what the Son of God said as He departed heaven and, a blink later, arrived on earth. These were the words on his heart, mind, and lips as He entered Mary’s womb and this world.

He looked back on the history of Israel, saw hundreds of thousands of animal sacrifices, slaughtered bodies piled up to heaven, and said, “THE END.”

He looked ahead and saw His own body start to develop as He joined with Mary’s egg in her virgin womb, and cried with delight, “The BEGINNING.”

He saw a human body, a divinely prepared body, a bleeding body, a dead body, a resurrected body. And said, “Behold, my body. Behold, I’m coming. This is what the Old Testament was all about. I delight to do your will O my God!”

What excitement, what energy, what enthusiasm for the task!

What unforgettable first words.


Check out

14 Books to Kick Off 2014
Great way to begin the new year.

Bible Land Blogs
Thanks to Charles Savelle at Bible X for this great tip off. Lots to explore here for anyone interested in the geography of the Bible.

When Nothing Created Everything
Want to start an argument a conversation with your evolutionary friends?

Biblical Manhood and Pursuing Platform
Seeking it for self or using it for the Lord.

Duck Dynasty: Where Will It End?
Key paragraph in Marvin Olasky’s article: “Where does it end? Can’t we make distinctions anymore between someone who wants to beat up homosexuals and someone who (1) affirms what the Bible says, (2) recognizes that gays are also made after God’s image, and (3) notes that all of us, without exception, are sinners? Must we all applaud propaganda? Can’t we oppose bullying attempts from both sides?”

This Year’s Biggest Discoveries in Science
Read through biblical lens, especially #5 which reads more like fiction than fact.