Book Review: 9 Common Lies Christians Believe by Shane Pruitt

Book Review: 9 Common Lies Christians Believe by Shane Pruitt
The cover of this book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

9 Common Lies Christians Believe and Why God’s Truth Is Infinitely Better is a book that takes nine phrases and explains why they are misperceptions. However, this book doesn’t stop there. Like the title, if you  just say, “9 Common Lies Christians Believe,” the reader doesn’t really understand the purpose of the book. The book takes those lies and shows how the truth is indeed better.

This book really had an impact on me. You see, some of these phrases are ones I’ve used and even sought for comfort, and they weren’t effective. Many of them (in my opinion) are just to the left or right of the truth, but to seek these things and not scripture can leave a person unfulfilled and even disenfranchised because they have only a partial understanding on what it is to be Christian, and the lack of a complete truth becomes an effective lie that works against the faith.

Shane Pruitt does an amazing job of breaking down each phrase and clarifying it with solid theological information if not direct Biblical reference, which might be the only gripe I have on this book.  It’s been about three months since I finished the book, so I can’t be sure, but I don’t recall any scriptural reference, which I think would have multiplied the effectiveness of the premise.

I don’t want to take from Pruitt’s book, so I’ll only tease a few phrases he looks into:  Follow your heart. God just wants me to be happy. God doesn’t give more than you can handle.

This image of Mr. Pruitt was taken from his website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

I’ve used almost all nine of the phrases in the book (I think). And this book helped me see in a different light. Some of these things I have come to learn through my own walk in life, but this book validated a lot of those evolved ideas. Others I realize what I meant, but what I meant (connotation) was vastly different than what I said (denotation).

I think this book is something I’d recommend to anyone new in the faith or someone who is interested in becoming a Christian.  Obviously, the best book to read is The Bible. This book does provide some pretty good context to a lot of things many Christians say or even think.

Thanks for reading,


Sonnets For My Savior 30

Sonnets For My Savior 30

The Body

Where is the body you worked so hard to bury?

What happened to the guards you set to watch the grave?

Rejoice believers and be merry,

Look, there is no body in the cave!

Man has found the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Indeed the body John the Baptist lay in Syria.

But where is the body of the Son of Man?

The truth is those who would deny him lack the most basic criteria.

Some have claimed he was stolen in the night.

Doubters say the body was concealed.

Couldn’t Rome and the Pharisees find a body with all their power and might?

Instead the Faith grew with no body revealed.

If emperors and armies sought the body and could not see,

the only logical reason is that He is risen! He is risen indeed!



Lazarus sleeps while his sisters cry.

They send word, but the time has not come.

They fear Lazarus is doomed to die,

but this trail is for the will of God to be done.

Four days, Lazarus slept.

Jesus arrived, already knowing what had occurred.

He looked upon the sisters and wept,

but what happened next, would change all who saw and heard.

“Come out!” the Lord had said after they’d rolled the stone away,

and out Lazarus came, strips of linen around his hands and feet.

Many saw and believed that day,

From then on, the hypocrites plotted, blind in their conceit.

They never thought to ask themselves the meaning of the event,

that the world could look and see that Jesus was truly, truly God sent.


Reason For Suffering

True, some people suffer for the sins they commit.

The wickedness of the wicked is upon himself.

Relief is there for those who turn to Christ and submit,

but only death waits for those who relies on themself.

There are also those who suffer so that God may be glorified.

Observe Job and see how he endured.

Be patient and trust God will provide,

Do not turn to sin for comfort, but hear these words and be reassured.

Still those who are truly blessed are those who suffer simply for his sake.

Blessed are those who are persecuted and reviled!

For the Kingdom of Heaven awaits!

Rejoice, for your rewards have been gathered and piled!

For whatever reason one thinks he may suffer,

Seek Christ; trust in him and no other.


To Control Ourselves

Some seek to use the Word to lift themselves up.

They use scripture to justify their own goals.

They have no interest in drinking from their own cup.

In seeking to condemn others, they only risk their own souls.

Some seek to use the Word to do as they wish.

They only seek the words that validate their own desire.

They treat the word like some sort of buffet dish,

but this path only leads to fire.

The saints are called to judge each other.

God judges those outside.

But consider also before you call out your brother,

what sins of your own are you trying to hide?

When we pull our Bibles from the shelves,

we should use it first to control ourselves.


The Greatest

He who would be first should be last.

Those who would be greatest should serve.

Let man’s pride be left in the past.

For we’ve already received more than we deserve.

Seek to be the servant of all.

Welcome the little children in his name.

Listen to hear His glorious call,

rather than seek your own fame.

A servant is not greater than his master.

A messenger is not greater than the one who sent it.

To serve the self is the path to disaster.

But blessed are those who serve and submit.

Care for the children and welcome them;

those who do receive Christ and the Father who sent him.


The Greatest Power

There is only the one creator.

He who made all.

There are none who can do more,

And all power is His to call.

No burning star,

Can shine as bright.

No crashing wave

Can match His might.

Other powers desire

What tiny spark he gives

But none can match the fire

Of the eternal God for which we live.

No other power can compare

Against the Lord, our God, who made the sea, land, and air.


Hold Me

Hold me tightly, Lord, in your mighty hands.

I know none can take me from you.

Your might is greater than anyone understands.

Whatever comes, You can carry me through.

Grip me more tightly, Lord, that I might be nearer

Nearer to you every day.

As You carry me, my eyes become clearer.

As I am with You, I see a better way.

Hold me, Lord, and let me take my rest in Your grace

Because I have none of my own.

I have no hope if I plead my own case;

I am forgiven through Christ alone.

Hold me tightly, Lord, that I might feel you with me.

Your embrace is comfort; Your love sets me free.

Book Review: The (NIV) Bible

Book Review: The (NIV) Bible

NIVGreetings all,

This review has been long in coming. It was easily my favorite book of 2018 (for a number of reasons)So a real in-depth review of this book is simply not possible. There are numerous versions with commentaries for each book. So I took some time to think about what I could offer that I haven’t already said.  So here’s what I came up with:

Why the Bible? As I’ve said, this book changed my life. I see and think differently.  My coworkers have noticed. People who hang out with my family notice. The more I try to read and understand how to live Biblically, the better I feel, and the more blessed I feel. Despite some low lows in 2018, I had a source of comfort, support, and wisdom.

Favorite Books:  My favorite book of the Bible is actually Job. Why? Because that guy suffered. That guy had everything, lost everything, and gained even more. His story gives me context to my life. His behavior during his trial gives me perspective on how I’m supposed to act during my trials. It’s not a “fun” book of the Bible or even very comforting. But it is edifying. It gives me perspective that I don’t think I would see the Bible, Christ, salvation, or suffering the same way without it. A close second is Romans.  I’m not sure which of my old blog posts I went into detail on that, but I did. I’m sure if you search Romans, M.L.S. Weech, you could see an in-depth perspective on why that book means so much to me. The short version is that I find that book to be the most comforting book in the Bible. That’s probably different for anyone (my wife seeks the Psalms for comfort for instance), but that’s my vote.

Image taken from the Covenant Community Church website. This image is not an endorsement or condemnation of CCC or its doctrine. I simply wanted an image for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Books I Struggled With the Most: I’m currently reading 1 Chronicles. I’m starting to put together what it’s doing. But I’m at a complete loss in this book. Yes, that makes it harder to enjoy. Also, it’s repetitive. Now, I’m certain there is a wisdom and there are many secrets to glean from this book and many others. One idea I’m playing with is a study of Christ through his genealogy. 1 Chronicles makes that sort of study possible. Some may argue Matthew or Luke, and they’re not wrong per say, but Matthew skipped a number of  generations to simplify memorization. 1 Chronicles lets me fill in the blanks. I also struggled with Leviticus. I understood what it was setting up a bit more, but it was a lot of direct information.

Bible StudySo I close this with another attempt to explain why I think reading the Bible is such a worthy endeavor. First it is my personal opinion (I’m unaware what my church thinks on the subject), that simply reading the Bible with an open mind is honestly one of the best things one can do if they are interested in salvation. Now, let’s assume you’re not saved and have no interest in being saved. Very well.

This book is still the richest single collection of narratives, poems, and historical information one can hope to find. Let’s get the tangental comment of historical out of the way. First, not even a scientific atheist would argue the existence of a historical Jesus. Debate the other aspects if you wish, but no one denies it. Even still, that’s not actually what I mean. I’m referring to the Epistles, which are actual letters written by actual, historical people to actual, historical readers in archeologically verified locations. Letters from Paul, James, Peter, and John are like finding an old World War I person’s journal or letters to home. This is my basis for the term historical information. Sure, one can read a thousand books on a thousand locations, but the Bible provides one book about dozens of locations.

So whether for spiritual purposes or educational, reading the Bible is a pursuit most worthy.

I hope you’ll choose to try it. If you have questions on where to read or why, I’d be happy to offer you my thoughts.

Thanks for reading,






Book Review: Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong by John MacArthur

Book Review: Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong by John MacArthur

Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong: A Biblical Response to Today’s Most Controversial Issues by John MacArthur is a book that offers Biblical perspective on a great number of issues. It was compiled by MacArthur and the leadership team at Grace Community Church, according to the book’s Goodreads page. I read this because I truly desire to have a Biblical mindset in all I do.

This book was honestly hard to read. This has nothing to do with grammar or structure. It’s hard to read in some places because of the blunt nature of the story. It doesn’t belittle or demean in any way (at least not from my perspective), but it doesn’t leave any room for doubt on what the Bible says about a great number of things.

Image of John MacArthur taken from his website for review purposes.

I honestly intend to read this again not that I’ve had some time to do more Bible study and prayer. There’s a natural instinct people have when they hear any religious leader speak on what might be earthly sensitivities. Some of the information on this book challenged me. 

To be clear, while I have a great amount of respect for Dr. MacArthur, his books are not a replacement for Scripture or doctrine.  I don’t think he’d ever want them to be. As hard as it may have been to face some of the subjects this book covered, I think any person should at the very least search his or her own heart and question the motives for their beliefs. I’d take it one step further and say that I’d like to read this book and then reference the associated (or attributed) Scripture for further understanding.

I find myself bucking at some of the stances, but that might be a result of the hardness that’s in my heart. Some of these stances are ones with which I agree fully, but that might only be out of self validation.  I feel another read-through with intense study on the associated Scripture is the best way to seek truth.

This book isn’t for people who are only curious or passingly interested in Christianity. A stance this strong on issues this hotly contested is a mirror that challenged my reflection. My perspective is that faith is something people grow in. I’m in a different place in my walk than others. The problem is, this is an argument commonly given by self-proclaimed believers who say words but don’t grow in the faith and aren’t becoming more sanctified.

As I type this, I think about the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23). Hardened hearts aren’t going read this story and find anything but frustration. Hearts enamored by the things of this world will be choked off from any wisdom one might glean from these words.

Truthfully, the only singular authority in the Bible is God. Men study it to learn His meaning for His word. A book like this for me forces a person to seek that Word and let it change his heart for the better.

What I know this book does is provide information, a stance, and a Biblical platform to guide these. I don’t have any metrics, but I would hypothesize this book has to be among Dr. MacArthur’s most contested. The truth is in the Bible, and I hope to reflect on those passages and pray on their wisdom.

Thanks for reading,


Sonnets For My Savior 25

Sonnets For My Savior 25

The Word

Sit and discuss the Word.

Read every chapter and verse.

Reflect on what you heard.

However, the meanings of the Word are not diverse.

Too many seek what they desire

rather than what the Word means.

Do not lead yourself astray and conspire

to alter the Word to fit your own routines.

Read to discover the author’s intent.

Do not look on the truth with fear.

For the Word is truly Heaven sent,

and the wise consider its literal meaning dear.

Do not sully the Word with your own interpretation,

for that is the path to heretical deception.


Why Come

Why do you come to Him?

Was it because he filled your bellies?

Do you think he’ll cater to your whim?

What you feel in your heart, he sees.

He can provide sustenance.

He can heal our illnesses.

Yet we should seek Him for repentance.

We should act as His witnesses.

Indeed he came to serve,

but serve as a ransom.

That service was already more than we deserve,

for the gift of His grace is handsome.

Indeed people call to Jesus for a great many things,

but the first thing we should seek is the salvation he brings.


Moses the Witness

Moses saw Him, but not then.

He was the scepter who rose from Israel.

Though Moses knew not when,

he knew Jesus would come to save his people.

Moses told the people God would raise another like him from among them.

He said, “It is to him you shall listen.”

But when Jesus came and spoke to them,

they did not listen to a word that was spoken.

They claimed to obey the law,

but they refused to come to Him.

Despite every miracle they saw,

they chose instead to cling to sin.

Whoa to those who ignored Moses’s testimony,

for it is written, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.”


Bad Leaven

They replaced the word

with their own traditions.

They did what they preferred

forsaking the Lord’s commissions.

These men strained out a gnat

but ate the whole camel.

They knew exactly where their hearts were at,

but they chose pretense while being hypocritical. 

Their teachings and actions were done for the sake of men.

Their desire was to be praised by others.

Their eyes had drifted down from the Lord in Heaven,

allowing people to dishonor their fathers and mothers.

Leaven like this should always be rejected

lest the paths of those who eat of it be misdirected.



With faith as small as a mustard seed,

mountains can be moved.

Through faith, we receive all we need,

and, through faith, all obstacles can be removed.

Trust in the Lord, for he is faithful.

Trust in the Lord, for he is generous.

Don’t let time lead you to think Him forgetful;

for his timing is perfect, and his deeds are wondrous.

Faith can heal the sick.

Faith can protect us in dangerous situations.

True faith stays through thin or thick.

Faith can turn people into nations.

Our greatest reward shines like the sun,

for those who have faith in Christ, receive His salvation.



His grace is sufficient for all.

It is the way we are justified.

Blessed are those who hear His call,

for all who are justified are also glorified.

It is good for grace to strengthen our hearts.

For we are saved by grace and not by works.

Christ is the one who, to each, imparts,

the grace that brings light like sparks.

His grace is a gift

we do not deserve.

Yet His grace can lift,

all who are called to serve.

We are free from the oppression of sin

because of the grace we received from Him.


Approach With Humility

They came to bring Elijah to account,

One captain with fifty men.

They thought their number was a large amount,

but fire came down and consumed all of them.

Again another captain came,

and again, they made demands.

Again, fire did rain,

and consumed each and every man.

Finally came a third,

and he fell to his knees.

This captain feared what had already occurred,

so he approached Elijah with fear and unease.

So do not approach the Lord and expect to impress with your power or ability,

instead approach him always with the utmost respect and humility.

Sonnets For My Savior 21

Sonnets For My Savior 21


He held fast to the truth,

and his faith remained strong.

Every member of the Sanhedrin gnashed his tooth,

but Stephen knew he wasn’t wrong.

They charged him with blasphemy,

and he responded with scripture.

He described their own history,

and it was more than they could endure.

They dragged him out of the city

and stoned him to death,

but even during this atrocity,

he forgave them with his dying breath.

This is the price every disciple must be willing to pay.

One can only hope he faces death with the grace Stephen had on that day.



He persecuted Jesus’ followers.

He wanted to hunt them down.

On the road to Damascus, Jesus demonstrated His power.

Saul was blinded and led, by hand, to the town.

Three days he was without sight.

Then Ananias was called to heal him.

So it was done, and Saul saw the light.

He began to preach the gospel even at the risk of life and limb.

He became Paul, apostle to the gentiles.

With zeal, he planted church after church.

He went on to write 13 books of the Bible, called epistles,

Think, all this happened after he began an evil search.

Jesus converted a man driven by an evil obsession,

and now Paul stands as an example of Christ’s great redemption.


A Sling

A giant taunted a cowering king;

He shouted and cried for a fight.

Goliath was tall, powerful and frightening,

and he mocked Israel all through the night.

Then came the son of Jesse,

who heard Goliath’s call;

He said to the fearful king, “Let me!

for as the LORD wills, this giant must fall.”

Goliath saw the boy

and mocked him with boasts

Though the giant had a sword and spear that could destroy,

with David was the Lord of hosts.

For David defeated Goliath before the giant could take one swing,

and all this was done with but a stone from a sling.



I could give all I own.

I could sacrifice everything.

I could even break every bone.

But without love, it doesn’t mean anything.

I could provide great instruction.

I could lead with effectiveness.

I could even direct an amazing production.

But without love, it would all be meaningless.

I could offer great speeches.

I could learn every wondrous thing.

I could even study all Jesus teaches.

But without love, I gain nothing.

If I can only receive one thing from the Lord above,

let Him bless me by filling my heart with love.


The Seats of Power

God the Father

is from whom we exist.

His wisdom is far greater

than any human could enlist.

Christ the Son

is through whom are all things.

Every battle he has has been won.

All hail the King of Kings.

The Holy Spirit

will teach us all.

Blessed are those who hear it,

for those who can’t shall fall.

The seats of power are occupied by these three,

which can only mean there should be no room for me.



Keep my heart from folly;

don’t let my temper become hasty.

For I must be Holy as you are Holy,

And I can’t be that if I’m angry.

Help me be still;

Help me wait for You.

Let me focus on Your Will.

Help me do as you want me to.

Rather than let anger rule me,

let me be silent,

and trust in thee,

so my frustration might relent.

Help me put on a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Please hear my prayer, God of encouragement and endurance.


Give Them Up

“When I was a child,”

“I spoke like a child,”

“I thought like a child,”

I Reasoned like a child.”

Have I given up childish ways?

If I haven’t, can I claim to be a man?

Reveal the distractions that cause one’s heart to stray.

If we see them, we should forsake them if we can.

For a child clings to what he wants

and not what he needs.

A child resists his assignments

and when he is spoken to,he doesn’t heed.

If I am to grow in spirit or in life,

I must cast aside those things which cause me strife.

Sonnets For My Savior 18

Sonnets For My Savior 18

With All Our Hearts

How does one praise a God so wonderful?

How do we show our gratefulness?

What voice can sing a song a fraction as powerful?

What deed can show an ounce of as much faithfulness?

What number of prayers compares to infinite blessings?

What amount of service compares to Jesus’s sacrifice?

What amount of money can pay for the joy He brings?

What can we give that compares with His gift of Paradise?

Our hearts overflow with the love that He’s given.

We can only hope our deeds bare any worthy fruit.

We were doomed unless we were forgiven,

for Christ has pulled our souls from disrepute.

So how do we thank him; how do we even start?

We simply praise him always and with all of our hearts.


Give Me Rest

We are weary and burdened;

let us come to you for rest.

We turn to you when we are frightened;

Hear us, Lord, and grant our request.

We’ve risen early and stayed up late in vain;

we pray grant us sleep.

In times of suffering, our hearts in pain,

we turn to you, our souls to keep.

Now, in peace we lie down and sleep.

You alone, make us dwell in safety.

Watch over us, Lord, your humble sheep,

We submit to your will in humility.

We release our ambitions; All selfish efforts we cease.

Instead we lay our burdens upon You in hopes of peace.


Never Let It Leave

The peace in my heart is more than I’ve ever known.

It fills me and makes me glad.

The Lord has made soft my heart of stone.

Now I see things as I never had.

You’ve made it so I can forgive others.

You’ve helped me be content in any situation.

You’ve provided for me the fellowship of brothers.

This wonderful feeling can only be the gift of salvation.

My heart’s desire is that this feeling never fades,

for I know the emptiness that was before.

Today your glorious grace pervades,

and I hope this joy grows more and more.

Let it stay in my heart forever.

Let it never leave me, no, not ever.


Full of the Spirit

When grace replaces the rage in my heart,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When I begin a task I had been afraid to start,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

Your strength replaces my weakness.

Your grace covers my iniquity.

Your wisdom turns my cleverness to foolishness,

but trust in You turns my madness to sanity.

When I worry not for myself, but for Your will,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When my heart might shatter, but instead remains still,

I offer thanks, for I know You are with me.

When Your Sprit fills me,

anxiety falls away, and I give thanks, for you have made me free.


His Power

We exult in the all the Lord does,

for there is no one like Him.

He gave up His Son for those He loves,

so we glorify God in prayer and hymn.

He is the one God who can do all things.

No feat or thought is beyond his capability.

He created the rivers from which good water springs.

Through Him even the barren gain fertility.

No army can defeat Him.

No government can censor Him.

No power can defy Him.

No wicked can escape Him.

We pray to Him in any hour,

for no trial or need is beyond His power.


Him Crucified

There is nothing but Christ, and him Crucified.

This is where our Salvation rests.

Only in him does our faith reside.

Where we failed, he passed all the tests.

His perfection, for our iniquity.

His obedience, for our rebellion.

His strength, for our frailty.

Our life, from his resurrection.

Some may not understand.

They may count our wisdom as foolish.

But those who rely on their own strength can’t comprehend the might of God’s hand,

so they are blind to what His will can accomplish.

But our faith doesn’t rely on the wisdom of men.

Instead we hope in God’s power, Amen.



How patient is the Lord of all,

how slow to anger?

How long does He wait for us to hear his call,

for our devotion to Him, He is eager.

Still he waits and forgives over and over again.

His gave His Son so he might pass over our transgressions.

He endures the fickle hearts of men,

who even still refuse to offer their confessions.

Abounding is His steadfast love,

waiting for all to reach repentance.

Gracious is the Lord above,

Offering every man the opportunity for acceptance.

Do not let him wait anymore,

God is waiting, so what are you waiting for?

My Top 3 Reads of 2018

My Top 3 Reads of 2018

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to share my top three reads of 2018 with you all.  Goodreads says I’ve read 37 books in 2018. It wasn’t quite as much as last year, but it’s a solid amount, especially considering how much happened. This list was made without regard to publisher, format, or author.

How I did it:  I kept track of books I liked and mentally compared one to the other. Without further delay, here’s my list.
51C+CI-HrZL#3 Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook: You can find my review for that book here.  This book was my at one point my favorite that I read this year. It had a slow start, but man are those characters awesome, and I just love the action in the story. Of the three, I’d want this made into a movie most. I think this is the first in a series, and if it is, I’ll be picking up the other books once the series is over.





So that’s my top three. What are yours? Why? Do you have a review you can link it to? I’d love to reblog it for you.

Thanks for reading,


Sonnets for My Savior 12

Sonnets for My Savior 12

Why Do We Suffer Part I

Some ask why we suffer?

The challenge is to claim no good God would allow such.

Why do men hurt one another?

Why would He let pain fall on any who worship Him so much?

The noise grows louder when those who praise Him face pain.

They ask who would follow a God who allows His followers to come to ruin.

The temptation is to turn from Him and curse His name.

The desire is to turn from Him and rely on what lies within.

They do not know or remember the trials of Job.

They don’t know or remember that Jesus told them they would face resistance.

They want only a God who gives and blesses, but they do not know

that God is sovereign, and sometimes He tests us to se if we’ll go the distance.

It is easy to worship when one has blessing on top of blessing,

but it takes true faith to remember to praise Him even in our suffering.


Why Do We Suffer Part II

How easy is it to sing praise when one is happy?

How easy is it to forget to praise when one is sated?

One proves faith by keeping it while unhappy.

One is blessed even if it seems his end is fated.

We don’t crave the cups we must drink,

nor do we eagerly await the cross we must bear.

But neither can we fail to think

that when times are hard that God is still there.

We endure because today’s suffering doesn’t compare to tomorrow’s glory.

We endure because that’s what suffering brings.

The grace He provides is promissory,

of the blessings He’ll give in the next life for which we’re aching.

We suffer, and there are many reasons,

but blessed are those who honor God in good or bad seasons.


Let Us Be Grateful

You led the Israelites out of Egypt with your powerful miracles.

Yet soon after, they rebelled.

They foolishly thought lack of food and water were sufficient obstacles

to the God who held apart the Red Sea no matter how it swelled.

You granted Your people their portions,

Yet they fell away even after you sent your Judges.

You worked through Samuel, Eli, Abdon, and Sampson to execute your actions,

but time after time they turned away, forgetting their pledges.

They had, yet they wanted more.

They made demands even after you freed them from slavery.

Let us learn from those who came before,

and not become ungrateful, turning to acts that are unsavory.

Let us be grateful to you always!

May we keep you with us all of our days!


Our Cross

You carried Your cross for our sins;

let us carry ours to glorify you.

Your yoke is easy, and light is your burden,

so we seek to follow you.

We must deny ourselves our desires

and take up our crosses.

Of your gospel, let us be testifiers.

Let us praise you no matter what transpires.

We offer our lives for your sake;

we submit to your example.

When you come again, let us be awake

let the fuel for our lamps be ample.

For there is no profit worth our souls,

so let following you be our only goal.


Our Rock

Let us build our homes on the rock.

This foundation will protect us in the storm.

Great are the words you’ve given Your flock.

Let us hear them and conform.

You are the pillar of our lives.

With you as our foundation, we can stand.

We wait in hope of the day Your Son arrives,

so we can live with him in his Holy, remade land.

Let us stand firm with You.

Let us be always guarded by Your armor.

Let us be diligent in all that we do,

to make sure our efforts show you honor.

Protect us from the winds, and don’t let us fall.

For you, mighty God, are the rock of all.


Your Grace

Your grace is the only reason for our forgiveness.

Your grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Your grace is truly limitless.

Your grace guards us when temptation calls us to shameful deeds.

Your grace is how we receive mercy.

Your grace is given to the humble.

Your grace aids us in the midst of controversy.

Your grace abounds when those who love you with all their heart stumble.

Your grace delivers us from the dominion of sin.

Your grace toward us is never in vain.

Your grace through Your Son has made us heirs with Him.

Your grace comforts us when we are in pain.

Your grace makes it possible for us to live.

Your grace is such a great gift for you to give.


The Way, The Truth, and The Life

He is the only path to see our Father.

He is the example to follow.

Only He could pay for our sins, no other.

He intercedes on our behalf because our words and deeds are hollow.

He gave of his body for us.

His blood was poured out for many.

He endured our punishment for us.

He gave for us more than any.

His lessons guide those who follow his truth.

His lessons teach any who can hear.

His lessons are for any adult or any youth.

His blessings are great when one keeps him near.

He is our Savior who gives life after death.

Let as pray, follow, and serve him with every action, and every step, and every breath.

Book Review: How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur

Book Review: How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur

(NOTE: As with last week, please don’t worry about the For a Few Credits More review. I simply review things in the order that I finished them, and this was next on the list.  It looks like I’ll review the next story in that anthology in next week.)

Bible studyAfter I finished reading the Bible all the way through, I was happy I’d done it, and I truly felt better, but I didn’t feel wiser. Anyone who just sits and reads the Bible is doing a great thing in any area of study, reading, or literature, but I wanted to understand it.  This is where How to Study the Bible by  John MacArthur comes in.

MacArthur establishes a few prerequisite for the study of the Bible. I understand them in one context, but I’d still challenge anyone to read the Bible all the way through and not be changed by it.  Detractors might say that anyone who reads anything with an affirming mindset will only become more convinced, and those people are correct. I leave these choices to the individual.  If you are saved and open to the Holy Spirit, I do believe you will find more value. I just also feel that anyone who does the same thing I did, read it and see what you learn and feel, will be positively impacted by it.

MacArthur provides a few key aspects that boil down to a concept called hermeneutics, which is the interpretation of the Bible. It’s not what people think. It’s a way to understand the context, language, and syntax used when the Bible was written.  Understanding the audience and the purpose of the information is key to having a greater concept. Reading the Bible isn’t about looking for affirmation to one’s thoughts; it’s about reading the Bible to better understand what it says. Where most people get frustrated with people who carelessly through scripture around, I’d advise others to go to the source interpret what it says rather than look for evidence to what you think.

The basic mechanics of study involves the approach to reading and making sure one understands the aforementioned hermeneutics.  From there, it’s reading with a purpose.

I’m currently trying this.  As early as I can in my day, I read my New Testament section.  I started in Romans because it’s my second favorite book in the Bible. I read it (the whole thing) once a day for thirty days. (I’d say it took about 45 minutes a day.)  One twist I added (because I find making a thing your own increases effectiveness of learning) is I started tracking what Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) Romans connected or cross-referenced with most.  I’m doing this with the John MacArthur English Standard Version Study Bible.  So in the notes, each time I saw a Gospel mentioned, I made a mark.  I did this both in the Bible and on a note pad I kept around.  If you’re curious, Matthew was mentioned more than 16 times (That’s just what I have on my notepad and doesn’t include the totals from the marks I made on the book). Mark was mentioned more than twice. Luke was mentioned more than seven times, and John was referenced more than 19 times. Again, these are just the numbers I have right in front of me.

I also took notes. I tracked words or phrases that come up a bunch of times, just to see if I could identify themes. Matthew won the overall count, so I broke that book of the Bible into chunks of seven. I read Matthew 1-7, and I just finished Matthew 8-14.  As I type this, I’ve just read Matthew 15-21 for the first of 30 times. That’s how this book recommends going through the New Testament. That might be a bit more than I can chew, but I’m torn between wanting to dedicate the time I read and the amount I read with how intently I can read it. I have pages of notes on Romans, and not so much on Matthew. I am reading it, and a lot is sticking. I also find the Epistles a bit easier as they’re clear messages rather than narratives as the Gospels are. Still, I read what I committed to reading and try to hold on to what I read (The repetition of 30 times helps).

The end of the night is for my Old Testament reading. That’s just starting at Genesis 1:1 and working through it. I read about a chapter a day there.

What I’ve discovered is pretty cool.  Doing this, I see a the connections. Many argue the Old and New Testaments conflict.  There’s a reason for that. Jesus came to further explain and uphold the law (Matthew 5:17-20). One thing Jesus did was com and separate a legalistic, ceremonial sense of justification from the real source of salvation (his death on the cross and resurrection).  But we see other things. As I read about Rahab, I found Matthew 1:1, and realized, “Hey! That’s the same woman from the Old Testament!” Those connections are simply astounding. And, the conflicts are resolved when one has the context for it.

I guess I’m going to digress here because this was a major sticking point in my growth with Christ. The Pharisees and Sadducees had started to rely on the Law and ceremony. They’d become hypocritical.  Jesus quotes the Old Testament at least once a chapter. The Law is still the Law, but through Christ we have Grace. Through the Law, we are condemned. We need the law to understand how impossible our salvation is on our own.

Christ helped us better understand the law and how we are to act individually and with each other. (The sermon on the mount is pretty much all about that. Matthew Chapter 5-7.)

Reading the Old with the New makes it easier to understand the context of the law and appreciate the grace God gave us through his son Jesus Christ.

I have a few other plans regarding how I’ll read and study the Bible. My intent is to read it again and again. The trick is, I want to look at it in every way I can, seeking to understand what it says more than evaluate how I feel about it or what it means to me. This is something people do too often. First, Word of God is our Sword of the Spirit. We use it to fight temptation and stand strong. In terms of apologetics,


we use it to understand context. I’m wary of those who use it to attack a brother. I have a plank in my eye, I don’t have time to look for the speck in my brother’s eye (Matthew


I’m not saying any time someone quotes scripture at you, they’re being a hypocrite. But the spirit of why one is doing something matters.

I’m thrilled with this book and the approach it offers. If you’ve read the Bible, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense, I wouldn’t stop there and say, “It’s not real.”  First off, the Bible isn’t like a story to read (It can be, but that’s the lowest use of it).  It’s a manual. It’s a reference book. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a single text book I’ve read once through and considered myself a master at the subject.  But to study anything effectively, one needs a study approach, and this one is really giving me more insight.


Thanks for reading,