Psalms by RB 31

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LORD JESUS, the cry of my heart rings out
Father, God, I wish to have a strong relationship with You,

My Lord, my God, I yearn for You
My Father, my Savior, I long for Your presence in my life

O LORD, the God of my fathers this is my deepest desire
Only through You may I attain it,

Through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, I may know You
Through Your Sacrifice I may stand before You,

Without Him, there could be no hope
Without Him, I would not know You,

LORD, I seek every day a closer relationship
You are my goal and my desire,

To walk after You
To seek after Your ways,

O LORD, the God of my fathers this is my deepest desire
Only through You may I attain it.

Psalms by RB 30

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I stand in the midst of pain
But in the LORD I find refuge,

I live in the midst of struggle
But in Jesus I have strength,

The LORD is my refuge
God is my shelter,

In Him my soul finds rest
My body finds safety and sleep,

The LORD has placed His hand around me
Who can take anything from his grasp?

Through the blood of Christ Jesus
I have been declared righteous,

If God is for me
Who can stand against me?

The LORD, most high, has secured my way
Through conformation with the Son,

God has made the path
Through the sacrifice of Jesus,

He shall guide me
And my way shall be sure.

Psalms by RB 29

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LORD, my God, I am drowning
The tide of life rushes over me,

The Things of this life are not under my control,
LORD, I have no power to control these circumstances,

But LORD, I know who is in control,
Father, I know who has the power in ever circumstance,

The great and mighty One,
The all powerful God of the universe,

The One who said the world “Be”
And the world became,

The One who made all things,
LORD, You are in control,

LORD, I fall before You,
I bow myself to the ground at Your feet,

I ask that you would pluck me out of my trouble
Lift me from the very midst of my strife

Yet, LORD, not my will be done,
But Your will be done,

LORD, I beg that You take this cup from me,
That You would take it from my hand,

LORD GOD, I pray not my will be done,
But Your will be done,

LORD JESUS, I seek that You would remove this burden,
Take this yoke from my shoulders

Father, not my will be done,
But Your will be done,

LORD, You are in control,
I will rest in You

Daily Bible Reading Adventure

Well today I started an adventure, with my wife. We are reading The Daily Bible published by Harvest House. The layout was designed and a devotional commentary was written by F. Lagard Smith. I’ve my copy of it for a while and I read a good portion of it. The actual text of the Bible is NIV (1984 ed.) which I have read several times and had used (as it was the translation of my main Bible for a time before I started using the ESV more). So as far as the text of the Bible itself it is using a solid translation and I am not here to debate translation.

What I am here to write about is the journey of the way that this Bible is laid out. It is laid out without verse and chapter numbers in the text, as it is trying to encourage reading, and it is laid out in chronological order. This means that some books appear in different locations or the text of some books appears one after the other. This is most apparent in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles where we have many books being woven together. The Prophets are placed at the time at which their prophecies were given and many of the Psalms are placed at the time that they were written.

It is also very apparent in the Gospels and Acts. In the Gospels we have the four Gospels being woven together into a Harmony (for more on Gospel Harmony click here). A Gospel Harmony is something that the Church has been trying to put together since the early days (about the second century with the Diatessaron) and this Bible presents one version of a harmony. Acts is a very interesting versions with the Epistles of Paul being laid out in their place in Paul’s life.

All of that really is beyond the point that I’m trying to make. I enjoy reading. I read a lot! This Bible lends itself to that very much. In the margins of next to the text it gives the references of the text that you are reading so that you can easily reference any passage that you are reading. The commentary devotional doesn’t take you out of the passage but it helps to bring your focus to what you are reading. Personally I really like the layout. I’m really enjoy the experience of reading this Bible and the experience is different. The books aren’t laid out in the typical manner (for any tradition) and so it makes a very good way to make the text new and fresh again.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to make the Bible new again or to anyone who is just looking for a way to read the Bible and keep at it. As the title says the readings are broken up by day and it makes it easy to read through the Bible in a year. This is a great addition to anyone’s library and will reinvigorate anyone’s reading experience. I recommend it for anyone and everyone.

Christmas Thought – 2015

Today is the day to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Christmas really is a weird time. It was chosen by the Roman Catholic Church to bring in all the pagans who were already practicing a festival on that day. So as we all know Jesus wasn’t really born on Christmas day. It really is as good a day to celebrate as any other, arbitrary, day.

But putting aside all this for a second I look at Christmas for Christmas’ sake. What is the purpose of Christmas? In all honesty I grew up in a household that, although Christian, did not celebrate Christmas. (No, we were not JWs.) So as something that I do celebrate now with my wife and daughter, I have to ask that question. In today’s Christianity what purpose does Christmas have?

Sadly, for a lot of people, it means they go to church (for the first time since Easter) hear all about the virgin birth and (maybe) a gospel message, then they go home. Later on Christmas day they open presents they’ve been worked all year to buy. In this hypothetical person’s life consumerism has obviously taken the lead in Christmas. Is this what Christmas is about? Blatant and unabated consumerism? For others it is all about balancing out their imaginary scales of right and wrong, the scales of karma, if you will. Volunteering, baking, helping others, giving gifts (consumerism again), and spending time (read putting up with) family top the list of things that add positive karma.

Is any of that Christmas? Pastors over the years have come up with many great sermons as to the “Biblical Christmas” or the “Message of Christmas” but I ask you to find in the Bible where it actually talks about Christmas. Yes the “Christmas Story” is there at or near the beginning of three of the four Gospels, but that is missing the point. The Bible is silent on all of our holidays.

Christmas’ purpose? We can read in Matthew of His birth and the visit of the wise men (which was not on the day of His birth). We can read another account of His birth and the visit of the shepherds (which disproves a winter date) in Luke. But these do not readily point out the purpose of Christmas. I think the Gospel that has a “Christmas Story” that points out its purpose the best is John’s Gospel. In the prologue to John’s Gospel (John 1:1–18) John gives a summary of the whole Gospel.

John shows us how God came to earth to take away the sin of the world and allow believers to become children of God. Some have said that the Gospel of John does not have a Christmas story, much like the Gospel of Mark. I, however, think it has one of the most complete Christmas stories, without having to read the whole Gospel through to figure it out. It even mentions His birth (“And the Word became flesh” verse 14).

We briefly touched on its purpose, but really Christmas has no meaning without the cross and resurrection. Jesus could have come all the same way He did and without the cross and resurrection it would mean nothing. That is what I am remembering this Christmas season and I hope you will too. As you spend time with family and give and receive gifts I pray you will remember Christmas’ purpose. That all the sin of the whole world was taken away once and for all and whoever believes in Jesus as their savior will have eternal life.

Merry Christmas Everyone!