Tag Archives: New Living Translation

Faith in Christ: How do we begin? How do we continue?

Faith in Christ – How do we begin?

This morning, I read:

” . . . it might appear that there is nothing you need to do, or can do, to make salvation a reality for you.  And that is true.  Jesus has done it all.  Nothing you do can improve his work.  Nothing you do adds to God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice.  So how do the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice become yours?  You accept the gift of salvation by faith, trusting entirely in Jesus for salvation.  You can do that now through a simple prayer: “Dear God, I trust in Jesus alone.  Please forgive my sins through him, and give me the eternal life secured by him.  Amen.”” 

[from the Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 7:28]

I read those words from the Life Application Study Bible this morning – after I read from Hebrews 7 in my One-Year-Bible, New Living Translation.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I love using the One-Year-Bible.   Each morning, it’s the first thing I read – it’s part of what gets me out of bed early.  My One-Year-Bible has an attractive green and brown cover.  It’s an actual hard-copy Book (also available on eBook) that takes the whole Bible and breaks it up into daily readings.  No hemming and hawing, wondering where will I read today?  All I have to do is open to the particular day of the year – today it was November 6 – and read what’s there.  (Each day there’s a passage from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, one from Psalms, and a verse or two from Proverbs.)

Right next to my One-Year-Bible sits a well-worn copy of the Life Application Study Bible, which happens to be the World’s best-selling Study Bible.  I love using it, too, because after I read in my One-Year-Bible, I like going the next step and asking – What does this mean for me?  What does this mean for my life today?  How does it help me put my life in perspective – in terms of what’s happened in the past, what’s happening now, and what will happen in the future?  Reading in the LASB helps me deal with those questions, and helps explain the verses I’ve just read (for example, Hebrews 7 included verses about how Jesus lives forever, is able to save those who come to God through Him, and intercedes with God on their behalf).  The LASB also helps me think about how those concepts make a difference in my life.

Faith in Christ – How do we continue?

“How can you draw near to God?  The Bible makes it clear that your own body is God’s temple.  Your spirit needs and wants closeness with God.  You want to know the living God personally, not as an idea or concept, not as a distant monarch.  You can draw near to God through prayer, worship, and Bible meditation.  You need not live like a monk, but you probably need more prayer in your life.  The habit of worship has become a convenience to be wedged between sports and other recreations.  Instead, make worship your top priority.  Bible meditation may include verse memory, songs, and quiet personal reading.  The Bible is the word of God for you.  Use it every day and you will draw nearer and nearer to God.” 

[from the Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 7:19]

Once again, the Life Application Study Bible took some of the verses I’d just read in my One-Year-Bible and helped me to think about them in a personal way.

The initial faith in Christ that I began with, many years ago, is the same faith in Christ I need to continue with today.  I began my relationship with God based on faith in what Jesus had already accomplished – His sacrifice on the cross for me, forgiveness of my sin, and the hope of eternal life with Him.

Today, I continue growing in my relationship with God the same way.  It’s still based on what Jesus accomplished on the cross and what He continues to do today.  Today, seated up in Heaven next to God, Jesus intercedes with God on my behalf.   To think that He does that on my behalf is amazing.  Being reminded of what He has done for me and is presently doing encourages me to continue to live by faith in Him.

Blessings,

Ellen

 

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Psalm 23 . . . All that I Need

I was reading the 23rd Psalm this morning in my One-Year-Bible.

It’s so familiar.

It’s so refreshing.

I thought of other times I’ve read it.  I thought of how I memorized it as a child.  I thought of how encouraging it was to one of my friends, Marty Daily, in the months before she died – 14 years ago today. 

Why is Psalm 23 selected so often to be read at funerals and printed on memorial programs, I wondered.

Maybe because it speaks both to life and to death.   It assures us that with God as our Shepherd, we have all we need for both.  That’s mighty encouraging for family and friends of loved ones who have passed away –  not only in processing the death of people who’ve gone before, but also as we give thought to our own mortality.

“Death casts a frightening shadow over us because we are entirely helpless in its presence.  We can struggle with other enemies – pain, suffering, disease, injury – but strength and courage cannot overcome death.  It has the final word.  Only one person can walk with us through death’s dark valley and bring us safely to the other side – the God of life, our shepherd.  Because life is uncertain, we should follow this shepherd who offers us eternal comfort.”  (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 23:4)

While reading Psalm 23 this morning, I listed some of the things our kind Shepherd does for us throughout our lives:


~ He leads us

~ He renews our strength

~ He guides us

~ He is close beside us

~ He protects and comforts us

~ His goodness and unfailing love pursue us all the days of our lives (I remember Dr. Daniel Block saying that he imagines two hound dogs here – (1) goodness, and (2) unfailing love – running after us and nipping at our heels for all of our lives.  I love that picture.)

~He assures us that we can live in His house forever

I’m regularly impressed with how perfectly the whole Bible fits together, and I was impressed all over again this morning.  I’ll explain.

Earlier this week, as I read through the end of the book of Genesis, I came across some tender words that grip me every time I read them.  They’re found in Genesis 48:15.  It’s the scene where Jacob knows that he has come to the end of his life, and he offers blessings to his family members as they gather around him.  Not long before he draws his feet into bed, breaths his last, and joins his ancestors in death, he says, “May the God before whom my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac, walked – the God who has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day, the Angel who has redeemed me from all harm – may he bless these boys . . . “

Hmmmm . . . there was that Shepherd providing again.

As if that wasn’t beautiful enough, the Psalm for that same day (January 25 in the One-Year-Bible) was Psalm 20, which included a verse about Jacob’s God:

“In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry.  May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm. May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem.”  Psalm 20:1-2, New Living Translation

Cool, huh?

I like the verses above for several reasons:

~ They’re encouraging

~ They speak to real life – and the reality of death

~ They were spoken by imperfect heroes of faith (David, Jacob) who understood (eventually) how needy they were.  In their neediness, they exercised faith and looked to God.  And God helped them.

~ They leave me with a helpful pattern to follow

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need.

Are there times that the 23rd Psalm has been especially meaningful to you?

Blessings,

Ellen

Life Application Study Bible, copyright 2004.  Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.  Carol Stream, IL 60188.  All rights reserved.

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And the winners are . . .

Throughout this past week I featured the One-Year Bible for Women, which is a huge favorite of mine.  {FYI, The text of the One Year Bible for Women is the same as other One Year Bibles. It’s the package, the color of the ink, the design, and some of the quotes included that appeal to women folk.}  I mentioned that I would give a copy to two of the people who left comments on this blog.

The winners were chosen this morning through a highly scientific process.  I asked my husband if he would please choose two numbers between 1 and 17. Being a man who likes to make simple decisions quickly, he immediately offered “3 and 10.”  I retrieved the running list of (17) names I had compiled – in the order I received them – and the third and tenth names on the list are Kristina and Michael.

For those of you who are surprised that a man would enter a drawing for a One Year Bible for Women, Michael mentioned in his comment that he’d love to give a copy to his wife.  A thoughtful husband, indeed.  Michael, I hope your wife likes The One Year Bible as much as I do!  Kristina and Michael, I’ll email you for your mailing addresses and put your bubble mail packets in the mail.  (It’s interesting that three of the women who entered this drawing have names that begin with Kris – Kristina, Kristinia, and Kristine.  Popular name.)

Thanks to all who entered.  Please visit again, as I’m planning more give-aways . . .

Here’s an excerpt from today’s reading in The One Year Bible for Women:

Luke 10:25-37 (NLT)

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say?  How do you read it?”

The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’  And ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

“Right!” Jesus told him.  “Do this and you will live!”

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied with a story.  “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

By chance a priest came along.  But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.  Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.  The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man.  If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Most mornings, after my husband and I have read from our One Year Bibles individually, we talk about things from the passages that jumped out at us.  If you were in on our conversation about today’s reading, are there any thoughts that you would share?

Grateful that He is risen!

Ellen


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