CITIES

I’ve never enjoyed African cities, traffic, noise, pollution, diesel fumes, congestion, and expense. The Bible says,  “I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11 But that’s hard to do.

I was in the city a few weeks on special assignment. I caught the bus, thanking God for a seat. Then the bus stopped. An elderly woman couldn’t climb the steps so several passengers reached down to help her. No one near her gave up his seat so she clutched the pole.

My seat was in the middle. I stood and pointed to it, but maybe she’d stay there,  gripping the pole. Other passengers helped her to my vacant place. She thanked me and smiled.

Glancing at two military officers, I watched their hard, cold stares turn to warm expressions. Maybe actions spoke louder than words in a Muslim country. “If anyone sees his brother in need and does not help him, he does not have love.” 1John 3:18

Griping the overhead bar I was content for it is more blessed to give than to receive even if it was only a seat on the bus. Maybe, God gives us exactly the right thing to help another person.

Then a man offered me his seat. This had never happened so I’d often stood going across the city. There’s another verse,  “Give and it will be given unto you.” Luke 6:38

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READING

Born-again Christians have personal relationships with the Lord. We talk to God daily through prayer, His Word, and listening to what He tells us as we seek to obey Him.

Every believer in Christ has a different personality and spiritual needs. Therefore each believer must discover a Bible reading plan that’s best for him, one that ministers to him by encouragement, inspiration, instruction, or command.

Each morning I read in the places that I left the previous day because I prefer whole stories in context. I place more emphasis on Christ’s Words, so I read through the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, these 89 chapters consecutively four times a year. This is followed by the remaining NT, 171 chapters, twice a year.

But I start each day in a chapter of the law: Genesis through Deuteronomy. Then I read a chapter in the history books of the Bible, Joshua through Esther. After that I read a chapter from the book of songs and proverbs, and finally a chapter in the OT prophets.

I’ve been doing this since I was in Bible College and it seems to satisfy my spiritual needs, encourage me, and keep me challenged.

Every believer must develop his own reading plan, but find one that blesses you.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Timothy 2:15

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IDOLS

Idol worship today looks different from idolatry in the Bible. Idols now in our culture and country include personal identity, self-importance, position, money, self-gratification, power, phones, and pleasure. Idols can be anything that takes the place of God.

Many of us have idols, including myself at times. But sometimes we don’t realize something is an idol until someone points it out to us. An example often used is work, you may work sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. You no longer have any time for church, Bible reading, prayer, or even family. Work than has taken the place of God.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3. In the Bible sometimes the word ‘god or gods’ (small letters) can mean idols.

When Moses was convincing Pharaoh to let the people go. God’s final judgment was killing the firstborn. God said he was bringing judgment on all the ‘gods’ of Egypt. Exodus 12:12

To determine if you have any idols in your life here’s a little test. Ask yourself these questions.

How do you spend your free time?

Where do you spend your money?

Who or what gives you joy?

What is always on your mind?

Ask God to help you get rid of the idols in your life.

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