Andrew and Di 12:00-6:00pm

The Word For Today

Why study the Bible 2

'You have become dull of hearing.' Hebrews 5:11 NAS

Paul writes: 'You have become dull of this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practise have their senses trained to discern good and evil' (Hebrews 5:11-14 NAS).

The key word in this passage is time. The people to whom these words were written had a learning disability: 'You have become dull of hearing,' meaning you are slow to learn. By the time you ought to be entering university, you've got to go back to primary school and learn your alphabet all over again. By the time you should be communicating the truth as teachers, you need to have someone communicate the truth to you. Note the phrase 'solid food is for the mature'. Who are the mature? You're mature if you've trained yourself through constant use of Scripture. The mark of spiritual maturity isn't how much you learn, it's how much you put into practice.

In the spiritual realm the opposite of ignorance isn't knowledge, but obedience. Obeying the Scriptures is the key to spiritual maturity. In the long term, you retain about 10 per cent of what you hear, 50 per cent of what you see, and 90 per cent of what you do. So: 'Don't just listen to God's what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves...if you do what it says...God will bless you for doing it' (James 1:22-25 NLT).

Soulfood: Jer 1-3, Luke 2:41-52, Ps 59:1-8, Pro 14:21-22


Why study the Bible 1

'Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word.' 1 Peter 2:2 NAS

Daily Bible study is essential to your spiritual growth.

Professor Howard Hendricks writes: 'When our kids were youngsters growing up, we set up a growth chart on the back of a closet door. As they grew, they begged us to measure how tall they'd gotten and record it on the chart. It didn't matter how small the increments were, they bounced up and down with excitement to see their progress. One time after I measured one of my daughters, she asked me the sort of question you wish kids wouldn't ask: "Daddy, why do big people stop growing?" How could I explain that big people don't stop growing - we just grow in a different direction? I don't know what I told her, but to this day the Lord is still asking me, "Hendricks, are you growing old, or are you growing up?" How about you? How long have you been a Christian? Nine months? Thirty-nine years? The real issue is how much have you grown up? Step up to God's growth chart and measure your progress. That's what the apostle Peter meant when he wrote, "Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation." Just as a baby grabs for the bottle, you grab for the Bible. The baby has to have milk to sustain its life physically; and you have to have the Scriptures to sustain your life spiritually. So the first reason for studying the Scriptures is that it's a means of spiritual growth. It is God's primary tool to develop you as an individual.'

Soulfood: Hosea 11-14, Luke 2:34-40, Ps 21, Pro 14:17-20


Rebuild your integrity

'If I have cheated...I will pay back.' Luke 19:8 NIV

Zacchaeus got rich by taking more taxes from people than his Roman masters demanded, and pocketing the difference. But after he met Jesus, he said, 'If I have cheated people...I will give them back four times as much' (Luke 19: 8 NLT). Consequently, Jesus said, 'Salvation has come to this home today' (Luke 19:9 NLT).

Integrity isn't about regret, or seeking to minimise painful consequences, or attempting to do damage control. It's about honest repentance, making amends and living in a way that guarantees you'll do things differently in the future. Writing about integrity, one pastor says: 'People look around them at promiscuity, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and mourn its passing. They see officials taking bribes, business leaders demanding kickbacks, investors parlaying inside information into untold wealth, and they lament the demise of integrity. They read about battered wives, jobless husbands, and abused children, and wonder what happened to caring.' The Bible says, 'The integrity of the upright shall guide them' (Proverbs 11:3 NKJV).

Rebuilding your integrity means humbly acknowledging that sometimes your thoughts aren't fit to print, or that you've hurt someone and need to make things right. It's reported that 50 per cent of American Christians cheat on their tax returns; that's roughly the same percentage as those who don't claim to follow Christ! The point is: integrity is who you are when nobody's looking. Job said, 'Does he not see my ways...If I have walked with falsehood, or if my foot has hastened to deceit, let me be weighed on honest scales, that God may know my integrity' (Job 31:4-6 NKJV). Starting today, rebuild your integrity.

Soulfood: Hosea 6-10, Luke 2:21-33, Ps 17, Pro 14:13-16

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