Wednesday, 21 December 2011

New Year Wishes

We have many wishes for xmas and the new year. But this song the favorite of my senior pastor at lifespring quite captures my desire for the coming year and indeed my entire life.

May you find it too an inspiration the life to come. God bless you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2012.

Studying the Word, 5 Tips

From my reading Matthew 13, i realized i needed to take more time and  interest in reading, understanding and applying the word of God. It is then i recalled some tips i read some times ago, and today i decided to take some time and review them.
What follows are about five basic ways to approach bible study, i hope you and i will learn and keenly apply what is good.

  • Reading: Just going through the bible, getting familiar with its message, histories, personalities etc, noting things that stands out for you. Things that you would want to come back to for further understanding and clarification. This reminds me of set books in high school, the way i would just take the novel and read, underling here and there, writing notes on the book margin. At times i do this with my bible, though it have been quite random without systematic plan, but i intend to do it now  more deliberately and regularly. 
  • Interpreting: Getting to know what the bible means by what it says. Going back to the set book example, we used to seek to comprehend what the characters meant, or intended. It is like when you read a poem, you tend to draw a message out of the words and the phrases. I tend to think it is the same with the bible, when we read, it says something to us, a message, getting to know what the writers, or the voice in the text meant consist interpreting. There are various resources available for helping us interpret the bible.
  • Evaluating: When we have an interpretation, it does not necessarily means it is the correct one, hence we need to evaluate our interpretation / understanding of the Word to ensure it is consistent with the entire truth. Many have started cults based on erroneous interpretation of the word. Just the way we used to use study guides, teachers and fellow students to clarify and enhance our understanding of the set books, we need to discuss with fellow Christians, church leaders and cross referencing through the bible to make sure our understanding of the Word is the correct one.
  • Applying: Put into use all that we have learnt from the word, there is an article from which i go all this from, and will just quote what it says about this: If there is a command to be obeyed, obey it. If there is a promise to be embraced, claim it. If there is a warning to be followed, heed it. This is the ultimate step: submit to Scripture and let it transform your life.
  • Correlating: Add together all the bits of knowledge we have gathered to form a clear understanding of the truth and a basis of the doctrine that drives and defines our faith.

NB: There is an article that covers this in much more depth, i actually borrowed a lot from the article.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Hearing the word

In Matthew 13 Jesus gave the parable of  the sower, who went to sow his seeds. The seeds fell in various types of grounds.

  1. Some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up
  2. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root
  3. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants
  4. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
The explanation.
Before Jesus explained  the parables to the disciples, He talked about insight and understanding-  that is going beyond the physical senses of seeing and hearing, to the point where we involve our mind, our emotions and our souls.

  • When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. What would make my heart be like the path? The paths are usually dry, hard and without any cover hence when the seeds fell, they were exposed and the birds had it easy picking em up. when we do not take time to let our souls be softened by God's spirit, when we walk in sin, and not repentant, our hearts becomes dry and there is no place for God's word.
  • The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. This is when we receive the word with excitement but do not take time to meditate on it, and apply the word to our lives. It does not take enough depth, it is when we are unwilling to take the risk of been vulnerable with the God's word, it is when we fail to make the decisions the word we have heard compels us to make. Since we do not allow it to be part of us, anything can make us go away from the word.
  • The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. This is when we receive the word alright, we meditate on it and make decisions to follow it, but we get concerned about things like wealth, wealth here could be material, emotional or social, our need to fit in a group, to be accepted, not to look stupid etc make us compromise the word we received, we believed in. Thus the word gives no fruit. It also when we doubt God, his word and His love. 
  • But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” This is when we allow the word to work in us, producing the beautiful fruits of God's will in our lives, making us achieve what He intends for our lives. May God always help us to achieve this beauty.