Here is a helpful Bible Reading Plan to help you stay in God’s word throughout the day. This is the Winter plan which goes from January 1st through the end of March.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil” (Isaiah 9:2-3).
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Heb. 3:12-14).
“The inevitable effect of treating church as worship services and classes is to make the people of God passive and too dependent on ordained experts…If God designed the church to function like a body with every member ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit to other members, in regular interpersonal relationship, then would it be surprising to find that the neglect of this regular interpersonal, spiritual ministry cripples the body in some of its functions and causes parts of the body to be weak and sick? Isn’t that what you would expect” (John Piper)?
“I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, ‘How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn’t have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn’t exist?” David Platt, Radical
“And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isa. 6:5).
“It is remarkable to see the prophet identify himself so completely with those whose sins he has been denouncing in the previous chapters. But in the presence of God degrees of sin become irrelevant. It is the holiness of God which reveals to us our true condition, not comparison with others (Webb).”
“Giving thanks is a sacrifice of praise. A sacrifice, by definition, costs us something. What does giving thanks cost us? What do we have to give up in order to be grateful?
- Pride: Sometimes we’re not grateful because we think we deserve something. We feel that we earned it or that it is ours by right. You don’t thank your employer for your paycheck because you earned it. You may be thankful for your job, however, because there are a lot of people just as qualified as you who don’t have jobs. Giving thanks can be a humbling proposition.
- Resentment: There are times when we’re not thankful because we don’t have exactly what we want (or think we want). Someone else has more than we do, or their life seems to be better. And yet, Scripture says that God gives us perfect gifts (James 1:17).
- Priorities: When Jesus healed 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19), only one of them came back to thank him. Jesus even asked, “Where are the other nine?” The Bible doesn’t give us an answer. Wherever they were and whatever they were doing was more important to them than thanking Jesus. For one, however, giving thanks was the most important thing he could think of. And Jesus told him, “ . . . your faith has made you well.”
There may be other things that keep us from developing thankful hearts—from being grateful people. But these are a good place to start. This year, before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and share your list of things you’re thankful for, grab a few minutes alone with God and ask Him to show you what things might be keeping you from being a thankful person.”
–from the Navigators
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29).
It’s easy enough to see that God is in the business of changing his people into the image of his Son. What’s not as readily apparent is the fact that as people are being transformed into likeness of Christ, the church is going to change as well. This is because the church is the people of God. The church is not an institution. It’s people. It’s you and me, and as God transforms our souls–our minds, wills, words, and actions to look more like Jesus, the church as a whole will begin to change. That is to say, the way we as a church think, speak, and act will become more like Jesus. We are being conformed into the image of our Savior. One by one we are changing, and as we change individually, we will also change corporately.
“Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for Your glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honors, and pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness, and merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;
Help me to know continually
that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for the Son whom You love.”
The Valley of Vision
“At times we find that our time in the Word and prayer before God are dull. Use this opportunity to be humbled by our spiritual impotency and lack of love for Christ, but don’t be discouraged. Instead, apply yourself with steadfastness. When a fire goes out, we may kindle it again by blowing on the remaining spark. No fire is ever rekindled by neglect. So too, by constant meditation upon the Word and by the breath of prayer you may revive again the spirit of grace and prayer within you.”
The Christian’s Daily Walk in Holy Security and Peace (1690)