January 30, 2011

God, Who is Like You?

Holy God, with eyes like fire,
What could I do to please You?
Is there anything in me You could desire?
Is there any good that I could do?
Entangled in sin up to my eyes,
Even my “good” deeds are as filth.
I'm worth nothing but the pyre.
O God, who am I before You?

Mighty God, with eyes of flame,
Who am I before You?
I look at the many works that You have made
There is nothing You can't do.
Your deeds are marvelous,
Your wonders are grand,
And I am but a rebellious slave.
What is my worth before You?

Gracious God, who formed my being,
What is my worth before You?
Surely I am dust and filthy as the lowest thing,
And unable to stand before You.
But You formed my inward parts,
And knit me together in the womb.
Every part of me You have always seen.
How do You not see my sin?

Glorious God, with radiant face,
How do you not see my sin?
From my egregious evil You turned Your eyes away.
As Jesus took my place, condemned.
His righteousness now mine,
My penalty paid by Him.
Your holy wrath is now assuaged.
O God, do You love me so?

Wondrous God, who sent Your Son,
Do You love me so?
Five wounds attest the answer yes, the vict'ry's won
You've washed me white as snow.
Nothing in me but what You've done
In You only is my hope.
Bought by Your grace,
You've made me Your son,
God, who is like You?

-Nathan C. Matthews

January 29, 2011

Thoughts on Bible Reading Plans

Last January, I made a New Year's resolution to read through the entire Bible in one year, as many people do. I must confess that, though I have stuck with my reading plan, I have not in fact completed the plan yet. Still, I intend on completing this goal, but partly due to some inconsistency in my reading and partly because I have chosen to slow my reading down, I still have two months left. That being said, I thought that I would share my thoughts with you on reading the Bible in a year.

First of all, I think that wanting to read through the Bible is a noble and good desire. And reading the Bible quickly and in large sections has it benefits, if done correctly. Foremost of these benefits in my mind is the overview of the grand story, the meta-narrative. When we read books and chapters at a time, we can sometimes see better how things connect to one another and how the Bible truly is one story, with books written down at different times by different God-inspired authors.

Also, when reading quickly through, we can have a general idea of what each part of the Bible is about. This may allow us to know where to look when specific trials come our way, and have an idea of what areas we would like to study further.

On the other hand, I don't think that it's healthy to normally read Scripture in large portions without digging deeper. The Scriptures are breathed out by God and have riches farther down than we'll ever be able to delve. Therefore, we are called to meditate on God's Word and to write it on our hearts, and I believe that this is best done in smaller portions. I know there are times when I have spent more than an hour simply trying to understand a single verse. Because God's Word is deep and because our hearts are sinful, often we will have to grapple to truly comprehend and appreciate the beauty of this treasure, something that often can't be done with large portions of text.

The one qualm I had with my particular Bible reading plan (The Discipleship Journal Plan) was that often while reading in the Old Testament, I had to read between 3 and 5 chapters at a time to stay on track. Now, this wasn't always that bad, particularly when I was reading through the narrative portions, but especially when I tried to read books like Isaiah or Lamentations, I simply wished I could have had more time to take it in.

All in all, I think that trying to read the Bible in a year is a worthwhile endeavor and I think that I may attempt to do so every few years. But, I also believe that this should be accompanied with careful and specific study in the Word.

January 17, 2011

A Blog in Renewal

So, it's been a while since I last blogged. I've been on an unplanned, but needed break to refocus myself and organize my life a little more. But, it's good to be back with a renewed vision for this blog and how to carry it out.

As always, my ultimate goal for this blog is that God would be glorified. To this end, my posts will continue to be for the purpose of edifying other believers and pointing them further to God's Word and His glory in the cross. However, I feel that a couple of changes are in order.

First, I will be making a greater effort to post more original content. At times, I have felt that this blog has simply been a compilation of what other people are writing and creating. While I will continue to post content from other blogs, I simply will be writing more myself and posting here.

Secondly, I want the posts that I write to be more Bible-saturated. Because of this, I will be writing more about what I am wrestling with and thinking through in Scripture. And the things which I write about which are not directly Scriptural I want to be more obviously biblically informed and grounded.

These are my two New Year's resolutions of sorts for this blog- 17 days after the fact, but I pray not too late.  



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