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How to live the happy life God created for you
Leontyne Price was born in a small Mississippi town and traveled to New York to study at the famed Julliard School of Music. Subsequently she became the first African-American to star in top-rated operas, famous on every continent where opera is revered. Describing her training she said, I “invested for many years in the principal” of my voice and then continued to the end of her career “singing on the interest.” I’d never heard anyone refer to interest, much less a talent, as other than cold cash.
Spending Your Life
Time is money so how you live will produce payments to you later in life. Our whole life, not just our money is an investment of time, energy, and purpose. If we develop our talents thoroughly eventually we end the strain of trying to do better and better. There is a time in our lives, not when things are easy, but when our professional status is like gliding. All the energy expended previously is now keeping us airborne and productive.
This is the quality that distinguishes an actor who can play roles well into his 60s and 70s, versus one who lasts only so long as her talents are marketable. This is the ability authors gain when they continue to write good books and not just re-write the first big seller.
James A Michener continued well into his 90s writing highly detailed historical novels. About Centennial he said with amusement, “After you read this you will know more about Colorado than you ever cared to know.” You could say that about all his works, but that is what made them great, the attention to minute details. He would do so much research that when he completed one project he had almost enough for another book. His vast personal knowledge based on research had the bizarre effect of increasing itself the more he used it. He was writing on the interest.
Martin Luther King Jr. a Giant before 42
Martin Luther King, Jr in spite of dying at 42 years of age still lived on interest. He studied great literature and his speeches are filled with Biblical allusions and references to history. He spoke with what appeared to be little effort at all. His most-quoted “I have a Dream” speech is a literary gem replete with quotations from other works. That alone makes it worth literary study. Anyone can be a black activist, or a white activist as well, but not everyone can move millions to passion, purpose and hope. He had invested in great literature and became a literary force in the process. Millions live today on the interest he built up for his country.
Two friends of mine have been married 50 years. Not in the best of health now their marriage is supported only by interest. Because they have invested so much in each other’s lives and the marriage between them, they no longer have to work at it. Some couples act lovey-dovey, but not this pair. People frequently ask them about being happily married even when no one has previously broached the subject. In other words their investment shows.
Let me tell you the sad story of a friend of mine whose marriage collapsed after 30 years. She described it in the same terms we have used here, unaware of Leontyne’s prophetic words. She said she had devoted herself to her husband believing her marriage was a 50-50 proposition and for many decades investing in the “marital” bank, even neglecting her relationship with her children. Overwhelmed, one day she was forced to seek support for herself but looking into the joint account balance, she found it barely open. Not only had her husband not invested anything in their account, but he had been withdrawing her steady payments. The account, like her marriage, was closed.
Marriage counselors, especially Christian ones, are often astonished by the numbers of Christian marriages that go under. That story sounds like a good explanation to me.
Itzhak Pearlman, famous first violinist, was playing one day with the orchestra when one string broke. Without missing a beat he finished the rest of the concert using only the 3 remaining strings. Gleefully, the audience rose to their feet in a cheer. This is called playing the violin on interest.
Know when to move on
Sometimes success is knowing when to move on. You have never heard a second rate song by Doris Day, at one time the biggest box office draw in Hollywood, and for good reason. She knew when to leave the stage. She spent her older years working for the betterment of animals. Living on the interest also knows when to turn over the reins to a new generation.
This quality permits a tennis star to leave the court when days of raw physical prowess are behind to become a great coach or talented sports observer. The same qualities that make a good football star can also make a good stock broker, or inner city minister. They are living on the interest.
The interest payment is relative to the initial investment
When the investment of principal is not there, or it is inadequate, that also shows. The skater swings out too wide and catches herself on the board surrounding the ice; she jumps and nearly falls. The skier flies high but lands and slides into the spectators. We groan. In contrast the professional makes it all look so easy and effortless. That is living on the interest.
If you continue to draw down the principal of life eventually there is nothing there. Many elders wake up to find themselves 70 and broke! There is little energy left and the principal is gone. Many a pop star has endured 10 or even 20 years, then we learn they die in an alley somewhere, maybe alcohol, drugs, or profligate living has stripped them of both principal and interest.
Every year a news reporter digs up a story on an aging celebrity recently found in the streets, flop house or rescue mission – a big name at one time – how they fell from fashion and are now living on the handouts from others. They thought the principal of their talent would never go away.
Living on the interest means taking charge of your own life. Judy Garland once complained that she worked herself to death but never saw a profit. Her schedule was grueling. When she died young, the people who spent her millions were identified but now it was too late for her. She, like Elvis Presley, had been fed drugs to help her perform under intense pressure; it cost them their lives. They might have been living on interest but the handlers around them were dipping into the principal of someone else’s life. The robbed her talent for their own use. Talent never dies, we enjoy both Judy and Elvis today, but it can be wasted, mis-used, and stolen.
Winston Churchill could have easily become a sour old curmudgeon when the Parliament rejected his leadership after the 2nd World War, but he had learned that you can take your principal with you. He wrote many English history books receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Interest can be spent anywhere and any time, but the principal is yours and you can carry it with you wherever you want to go. You are the boss of your principal.
Our personal stories are not so dramatic but they can be just as instructive. I am always a future-oriented person, building, studying, working towards the future. Then when I was about 62 I woke up – Hey, I said to myself, I am living in the very future I have been working so hard for. I need to start living right now and I did. I started living on the interest of life invested in education.
1. What investment of your life (remember we are not ever talking about money here) has really paid off?
2. Reflecting on your own life, is there any investment of time and energy that proved to be a complete waste?
3. There are 2 stories here about marriage. While the details are sketchy, can you speculate on what caused one to succeed and the other to fail? What do you think about the idea of “investing principal” in a personal relationship?
4. In our tragic stories here of Judy and Elvis we can empathize with their efforts and their talent. Can you speculate on what they should have done to stop being used so badly? Have you ever been used and called a halt to it? What were the consequences?
5. Leontyne Price and her brother both became famous, he as an admiral in the United States Navy. What do you suppose was common in their upbringing in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi that brought this pair of black children to such accomplishment? What can we do for our children to set them on the path of valuable living?
6. How is it that “talent never dies”?
7. The author told of a time when she turned her life around and started doing things differently. Have you ever closed down one part of your life and gone on to something else? Was it hard to do? What prompted you to that decision?
#Christianlife #divorce #failure
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Today we’ll continue a list of other beings:
Angelos in Greek means messenger. There are two kinds of messengers, those from God and those from Satan. They not only bring messages but also do tasks for their master. Where did they come from?
Satan originally was named Lucifer, light bringer, that is bringing light from God. But he got uppity, thinking he was god-like and he rebelled against the will of God. One third of the angels followed him and they were all changed into evil creatures.
Here is he is called the covering cherub,; he covered the throne and all that reflected glory lit him up. It was too much. And this happens to us too, when we star thinking we are something we are not. He also is said to be the angel in charge of music, or was.
Satan said these words in Isaiah 14:12-14
12 “How you have fallen from heaven,
O [g]star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 “But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
Note that he said “I will” five times. Then God said in response:
15 “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit.
16 “Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will [h]ponder over you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world like a wilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who did not [i]allow his prisoners to go home?’
18 “All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
Each in his own [j]tomb.
19 “But you have been cast out of your tomb
Like [k]a rejected branch,
[l]Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit
Like a trampled corpse.
20 “You will not be united with them in burial,
Because you have ruined your country,
You have slain your people.
May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.
21 “Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
They must not arise and take possession of the earth
And fill the face of the world with cities.”
22 “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and survivors, offspring and posterity,” declares the Lord. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.
God identifies also Babylon, where Satan rules. Babylon is a word which means “gate of the gods” indicating the collapse of everything Satan and his crew have done for many thousands of years. As we see murder, rape, theft, thugs, beheadings, shooting, evil-plans and doing, we need to have hope that all this at some point in history will end. What God has promised He will deliver. “I am the Lord. I change not. Malachi 3:6. “
Be sure to highlight your Bible passages. Start writing down questions you have. There are over 32,000 verses in the Bible so do not be surprised if it takes years to answer all your questions.
The first duty of all men if they want to know God
Selling forgiveness is tough work, not just to individuals but whole societies. Many in Judaism do not forgive as a matter of established doctrine. Genocide, the Islamic position against the State of Israel, is unforgiveness nourished over 3,000 years; and the Chinese told me frankly “I will never forgive the Japanese” for what they did in the 1930s.
Forgiveness of others is hard work for most alcoholics, not the least in forgiving themselves, and many late-middle-age people today have not forgiven the United States military for their mismanagement of the Vietnam War. When a well-known minister said in the newspaper that he would never forgive the man who sold his teenager drugs, he found his congregation slacking off. People know instinctively that this is wrong.
But now to the gift. A decade ago after being hired in a job I soon discovered I was being sabotaged. I won’t go into detail, but perhaps you’ve had a work situation like this one. Eventually, I became physically ill and was forced to leave. That was a convenient, honest excuse since I was baffled not knowing the source of the problems.
While boxing up my goods an employee told me quietly and privately, “You are the 4th one in this job to be driven away.” So in the end I knew who it was but not why. Subsequently I went into business for myself, and as the story goes, lived happily ever after, putting the whole thing behind me. Three years later I learned this man was having an affair with the very same employee who was my supervisor. No doubt his guilt frightened him into thinking anyone too close to the situation might expose him, so we were all sent packing.
Now a decade later while living in China I learned he was up to this same stuff again. The Bible says that we should confront those who have sinned against us. So I contemplated contacting him despite the 12,000 miles which separated us, but I finally put the idea out of my mind.
Then one day sitting alone at my computer God gave me a vision, as the scripture says, “in the twinkling of an eye.” For a split second I was ushered to the Great White Throne Judgment, a sight so frightening I can remember the details to this day. God was excoriating this same man for what he had done, not just to me of course, but the four others and even more after that. There is no way to put this into human terms because it was, after all, God and the Day of Judgment.
The Great White Throne
It was as though one stood stark naked in front of 100,000 people. The withering rebuke was like nothing I had ever heard, and while I was only a spectator, I was thoroughly frightened. I can understand why the Bible says in Revelation that there is total silence in heaven for one-half hour. I was speechless. When we fail to forgive we take on God’s rightful position. When we fail to forgive we take on God’s rightful position. He alone gets to decide on payback, sometimes using governments through the Civil and Criminal laws to carry out His will or eventually the Day of Judgment.
Forgiveness opens up Vengeance
But as to the gift. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.” I knew that intellectually. But why would I see this horrid sight. I can only surmise that if I had not forgiven this man, neither would I ever had this chilling vision. When we truly let go and let God, we get a Holy Spirit view of reality. If I had sought or harbored any kind of vengeance I would have seen nothing – at least on this side of the grave. The gift of revelation was mine because I had completely forgiven.
The power of forgiveness is a frequent topic of preachers. Evangelist Jimmy Johnson preached five days on forgiveness at a Christian Retreat. When people complained about his johnny-one-note messages he said, “When they start doing it I’ll stop preaching it.”
Every week you can hear on TV Charles Stanley preach on this subject. Counselors and psychologists, from New Age to herbal homeopathy, from Black Women’s Health magazine and Edgar Cayce, address the power of forgiveness and its benefits to health. Why spend $200 a hour to learn this – it’s right here free. If forgiveness delivers us from headaches, stomachaches, back pain, sleeplessness, depression, anger and every negative thought our busy minds can conjure up, what a great gift forgiveness is to our mental health.
Forgiveness is not a feeling
And you need not “feel” forgiving. That is a trap. Just make a decision about it and then take control of your mind and emotions and force yourself to forget it. Unforgiveness is holding today hostage and the longer you hang on more and more tomorrows are held hostage. Your freedom, your life is at stake.
The gift you give yourself is the freedom from the depression and souring of your personality that unforgiveness brings. And in my case I also had a chance to see the problem as God saw it.
A leading psychiatrist said, “To know all is to forgive all.” Not so. God does not forgive everything just because He knows everything. All individuals must face a day of accounting, but He does it with His own parameters. And that Day of Judgment also includes praise for duties and obedience met well, or ever better than that!
Judgment is not simply a negative event. There is no universal salvation which is what this shrink implies. But neither is there universal damnation, because we know that innocent children before the day of accountability are accepted in His Kingdom. And of course there is also universal opportunity to settle our books with God before we need to face our accountability. The Bible says so. The Day of Judgment also brings rewards.
1. Do you know anyone who has made themselves emotionally sick (or even you) with unforgiveness? How did they break free?
2. Much of politics, and slanderous politics advertising is based on unforgiveness. Can you think of some recent examples?
3. The author says that unforgiveness holds today and tomorrow hostage. What does this means? Have you seen this happen to you or to others?
4. Do you know of a case of physical illness caused by unforgiveness?
5. The author brings up the issue of universal salvation. The name of this doctrine is Ultimate Reconciliation. How do you understand this issue? What does the Bible say about this? Why do you suppose people believe this?
For an interesting approach to this see http://peacecenter.berkeley.edu/research_forgiveness_cohen.html. Here the conditions and requirements of Judaism are exactly opposite from Christianity. God cannot forgive until (1) the perpetrator repents and (2) the victim forgives, which makes forgiveness for murder impossible.
Who’s Who in the Bible
Today we will give a partial list of Bible participants and how they fit into the 6,000 years the Bible covers. My husband loved football so when we went to the games he’d buy a program. “How will we know who the players are?” he would ask.
Me, I liked the Hebrew National hot dogs. But he was right, when you hear Christians talk about the Bible you can get confused because they know all these names.
is the Hebrew name for the Creator God who has neither beginning nor end. My son said in Trinidad and Tobago they sing a popular Christian song, “Our God is an awesome God” but they change the words. They sing “Our God is THE awesome God” because there are so many other names out there pretending to be the Big Boss God in the Sky.
Adam and Eve:
the two original human beings. They were placed in a real garden on the real earth but they had, originally, glorified bodies which knew no disease, flaw or death. When they disobeyed God they lost the perfect body and got the body like the one you and I have now – flesh, with all the problems that comes with being human. They did not have any inherited disease, not even a sniffle so Ddam could easily live 900 years. But the length of life for humans deteriorated over a period of time.
Then after the flood, the terrarium canopy sheltering earth from harmful UV rays was taken away (all this is in the Bible) and people only had, according the scriptures, 70 years allotted to them.
Yes, the snake talked to Adam and Eve – This was the personification of the person of Satan who defied God with one third of the angels and they were all cast out of heaven. Demons and other evil spiritual forms have a soul, a personality if you prefer, and a spirit, because they are spirit, but they do not have a body. So Satan used a snake for communication with humans. Other animals also could talk with humans until after the flood when God put a fear of man in animals in order to keep them safer. Yes, all this is in the Bible.
Cain and Abel:
two of Adam and Eve’s first children. Cain murdered his brother so you can see sin was embedded in the human heart from the git-go. James Dean starred in a famous movie, East of Eden, based on this idea of envy between brothers. Eden is the name of the original garden which is identified on the modern map as parts of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
The word Bible is the Greek word biblos or simply book, the only one claimed to have been provided to man by God Himself which is why it is capitalized.
Now read and highlight all of Genesis 2.
Start with the Basics
Let’s review. First you learned how to study the Bible. Lesson 2 covered where the Bible came from. Lesson 3 was on God creating everything. Lesson 4 showed how we ended up with so much trouble.
Today’s lesson is on basic knowledge that all people should know.
The book of Genesis gives us an overview of thousands of years of history. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God their station changed. God removed them from the beautiful place where they had been created and now they were under new rules.
This is from Genesis 3:
20 The Man, known as Adam, named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.
21 God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.
22 God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!”
23-24 So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.
This passage shows the reader how God has disciplined Adam and Eve, our distant forefathers, but God also decided to find a way to restore human kind to its original glory and position. This plan of His would take thousands of years.
First God set up a sacrificial system using the blood of animals. It must have been widely known because blood sacrifices are common through our history and throughout the world, all nations, both sophisticated and pagan. As you might suspect the system became a tool of the demonic and the sacrifice of babies was common. We think abortion is a new thing.
In order for God to demonstrate that this was a forbidden practice, he set up a situation where his faithful servant, Abraham, was asked to sacrifice his son. At the last minute, God supplied a ram for the sacrifice, and said, no more sacrifice of human beings. After all he did say, be fruitful and multiply. God wanted many people living on planet earth.
Then He said, another sacrifice would eventually come which would end the blood sacrificial system and bring about a new age. That person was Yeshua, Jesus.
Today take your Bible and read and highlight the following passage:
After this Abraham was forever called the “father of the faithful,” meaning he obeyed God when he did not know whether or not he would receive his son back from the dead. And that is the definition of faith – doing the will of God without knowing the results ahead of time.
The mess we are in
We can look around and see quickly that the pristine universe provided to us is no more. When and How did this mess all start?
God tackles that question immediately in Genesis, Hebrew for the Book of Beginnings.
Genesis 1 :26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [g]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that [h]moves on the earth.”
God’s first instruction to us humans is that we are made in His likeness. Children think of God as an old man on a throne. He is not some scary being in heaven out to cause you grief. He does want to communicate with you. But since people are afraid He made the Bible available to us so He can speak to us.
The words “Fear Not” appear 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year, so we must treat fear as our enemy. Fear will prevent us from hearing God.
His second instruction was to tell them they had authority over His creation, to manage creation, including the animal kingdom and to be productive. Adam was placed in charge with Eve under his authority because, as everyone who is in business knows, only one person can be in charge. He was with Eve when she took the fruit so he was held responsible for what ensued for the rest of time.
But God did have one caveat – they could not eat of the fruit of one tree, and one tree alone in the garden where he had placed them. Well, you know what happened. If you tell little kids they can’t do something, they look for a chance to have some excitement. But Adam and Eve were not little kids.
The two of them got to talking about that command with a snake and they ate the fruit. Some people will tell you that Adam was not there at the time.
Adam was there; the Bible says so in verse 6. Yes, Eve took part, thought it was a grand idea. But the snake, Adam and Eve all got a set of problems as a result.
Here is the passage:
The Temptation and Fall of Man
3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was [a]pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves [b]coverings.
The Problem of Self-Will
In the beautiful, pristine garden where there was no visible evil, this original pair could not see the horrors they were bringing on themselves and the human race by rejecting the will of God.
You could say human history started on that day. From then on it was, as the rest of Genesis tells us, a long descent downhill to a world of depravity and degradation.
And for us in the 21st century, a long start upward to regain what we have lost by now accepting and doing the will of God as individuals faced with the same question – will we submit to the will of God or not? That is the question you will spend the rest of your life answering for yourself.
Don’t forget to highlight these passages in your Bible.
God Creates the Universe
There is an ongoing argument about how God could have created the universe. Typically it goes nowhere because people do not know how to think about it. They get God all confused with His creation. He is not inside the universe; He is outside.
Picture this. You are at a long kitchen table in your house and you decide to set up a model railroad just for fun. You collect all the parts – the railroad tracks, the various cars, engines, little tiny train stations, some plastic people and houses, a few buildings – the Bakery, the Schoolhouse. You find some plastic trees and bushes, a few tiny flowers, plastic dogs and cats and some stick figures on a bicycle. You lay out all this, plug the power source into a wall socket and start having some fun.
This is how God created the universe. He thought about what He wanted to do and over a period of time, it says in the Bible, and He devised a universe where we would live and work. Then when it was all ready, He set it into place. And plugged it in with the sun, moon, stars, everything we now see, and all the stuff we don’t see as well, like DNA.
The universe was not created while God was inside creating it; it was created and then revealed, piece by piece. He says He took six days doing this. I suppose, being God He could have taken two weeks if he wanted to, or three hours. Whatever. But it was all designed ahead of time and then revealed. In fact, in the Hebrew language the word create can also be translated reveal.
Here on earth, in earth time, we think of the universe being created in situ, that is while it was progressing. But we are stuck inside time and God is not. He is in eternity and not confined by time in any way.
That also means He created items old, new, and middle aged. The Bible says so specifically. So we solved that problem of mountains being old. The two people He began with, Adam and Eve, were adults, that is they were able to have children from day one. In other words they both were “old” although not very old, just old enough to have children.
Here is the passage: Genesis 1:11 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
If the seed is in itself, then it was a mature plant. The hen was created mature, with an egg inside. There is no reason to believe that evolution was a progressive thing over millions of years of unplanned accidents. There is nothing in the universe that looks unplanned.
Yes, living things change over a period of time, and adjust to new conditions, some bad, some good, but there is no cause to believe that anything accidental started or progressed over billions of years. If God wanted a billion year old universe to begin with, not a bad idea. He built that into His system.
In the very beginning, it was good, said God. It was pristine. So how did it get to be such a crappy mess?
Well, that is the next part of the story in Lesson 4.
Today read Genesis Chapter One in your Bible and mark all the interesting parts.
Your place in the universe
Where the Bible came from
If you are a person who grew up in a non-Christian nation, or in a Christian nation with little understanding of the Bible you may actually have an advantage. You have very little to un-learn. But, on the other hand, it means you have a big gap in your knowledge.
Seventy years ago in America Bible reading was common in the public schools, both as a religious text and also as a body of literature as the Bible continues to be the best selling book on planet earth. As it should be!
The Bible as God’s Manufacturer’s Handbook.
The first reason to read the Bible is for the rules of living.
The Beginning of Knowledge 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To [a]perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion—
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will [b]attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The second reason to read the Bible is for God to explain Himself and his creation, that is both you personally and this universe. It describes three different time frames, history, pre-history and eternity. It tells why you are here, what you are supposed to be doing during your lifetime and what you can expect after you die. You need to know all this because you will live forever – somewhere. He wants you to know the rules and the reasons.
You, personally, were created before time began and your life here on earth is a time of learning and testing to prepare you for the continuation of your life after death in an eternity. This is the basic outline of what the Bible does and why. The details of life are filled in by you. But the Bible is intended for all 7 billion souls on this planet which this book addresses.
God has a plan for your life – one for you alone – so don’t try to be like someone else.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
As you read the Bible those plans will become clearer to you. God has plenty of time and so do you.
God spoke these words to Jeremiah:
Notice that God claims to have made you in the womb. He had a purpose and identity for him as he does for you. You are not an accident, nor unwanted.
Finally, God also made plans for you after death. Everyone lives forever, somewhere, because you are an eternal being. I’m sure you know this famous verse.
John 3:16 New King James Version 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
You could have everlasting death, but God appointed His son to come to earth for the purpose of saving mankind from its own failures and loss.
And those are the three time frames of the Bible: You were created in prehistory, you have a purpose in history and then finally you have a place in eternity.
Remember to highlight these passages in your Bible.
This series of 10 lessons is for people who were not raised in a Christian home or a nation which has many Christians. We start with the basics here and invite your comments. Before you begin make some decisions.
- Select a quiet, isolated place for Bible reading and study. The devil and all his angels (demons) will do whatever they can to mess this up. Most people select 5 a.m. or thereabouts when others are not up.
- Have a comfy chair and good lighting.
- Have ready colored pencils (highlighters are usually too bold for most Bible papers), a pen to write notes to yourself in the margin. God may speak to you and you want to be able to write it down.
- If this Bible is too fancy to write in get one that isn’t. An easy translation is good, such as the New King James Version. If you don’t have a Bible but you have the Internet, you can copy a portion of the Bible on your computer printer from BibleGateway.com.
- Start your study time with a prayer that God send the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.
God said this book, produced over 4,000 years, is God-breathed. But it was not dictated. Timothy 3:16. And for 4,000 years human beings have been calling it lies. That should not matter to you. This book is for you to study and make up your own mind.
God said in Jeremiah 1:12 that He watches over His word to perform it. So you can expect verification of what He says over a period of time. God is eternal and so is His word. Bible study is not a Sunday afternoon jaunt.
Expect to find verification of His word by 2 Biblical sources as well as in real life. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1.
At first, the Bible is simply information. Understanding comes from applying faith to the scriptures.
Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV) 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Finally Bible reading is like a savings account. Interest accrues over a period of time.
Isaiah 28:10 10 He tells us everything over and over again, a line at a time and in such simple words!”
Now if you have time, mark with your colored pencil each one of these scriptures in your Bible and call it a day.