Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Importance of Bible Reading Plans

IN LAST WEEK'S POST we discussed the importance of family meals and using the Bible for family devotions. This week I want us to think about Bible reading plans, of which there are many. Navigators, Robert Murray McCheyne, Crossway, Ligonier, and many others have assembled helpful plans. (For more examples go to . Some take you through the Bible in 90 days, some in one year, some longer. But for most Christians a Bible reading plan of some sort is essential.

When thinking about a Bible reading plan several principles are important. First, pick a plan and stick with it. “Sticking with it” is the hard part. Second, don’t be a slave to the plan. I would rather read the Bible slowly, study it, and think hard about it than be forced to hurry through it in 12 months just to meet a self-imposed deadline. I read through the Bible about once every 18 months, but I am in no hurry. If it takes more or less time I am OK. The important thing is reading and thinking hard about God’s Word.

Why a plan? Without a plan we just tend to read our favorite parts of the Bible over and over. A plan forces us to regularly read books we find less exciting. For me that would be Leviticus, Job, Ecclesiastes, and some of the minor prophets. For you it might be different. However, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). That means that it is all—even your less favorite books—part of his revelation to fallen humanity, and it needs to be faithfully read. Besides the more we read the unpleasant books the more pleasant they become.

The important principle is this. Read the Bible! It is the Word of God. It raises the dead. It is a message from heaven. In fact, it is God’s thoughts. The less you read it the less you will want to. But, the more you read it, the more you will want to. So, get involved in a Bible reading plan! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why Family Meals Matter.

IN HER IMPORTANT STUDY of affluent, troubled teens, The Price of Privilege, counselor Madeline Levine observes. “Families who eat together five or more times a week have kids who are significantly less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana, have higher grade-point averages, less depressive symptoms, and fewer suicide attempts than families who eat together two or fewer times per week.” A host of other studies confirm this point. The routine of a regular family meal is crucial for the maturation of children. It emphasizes the importance of family. It also creates an important environment for daily communication between parents and children.

A shared family meal is hugely important to Christians for another reason. It is a regular opportunity for daily exposure to prayer and Bible study. The time doesn’t need to be long. Ten or fifteen minutes will do, but ultimately, it is dad’s responsibility. Real masculinity initiates spiritual activity. You don’t need to be a great Bible scholar. Pass out paper back ESVs, read a paragraph, and ask the kids to explain it. Ask lots of questions. When done, sum up with the right answer and ask one of the children to pray. 

The results will be long-term and massive. You are honoring God and his Word. You are convincing your children that God is central. You are showing them what true masculinity looks like. In addition, you will see fruit in your children and grandchildren. They will imitate you. Your sons will do this with their families, and your daughters will seek to marry men who do the same J.  

If you have fallen off the wagon, if you have gotten out of the habit of family devotions, don’t beat yourself up. Just ask God’s forgiveness, and climb back on board.