Remembering My Creator, Volume 1, Number 1, June 2010

Remembering My Creator

Volume 1, Number 1

Theme: Daily Bible Reading

In This Issue:

• Daily Appointments With God by Randy Sexton

• Try a Bible Study Buddy by Shannon Harden

• Daily Meditation upon the Word by Jordan Shouse

Daily Appointments With God

By Randy Sexton

Recently I bought for my Son, Ryan, who just became a Christian, a little book by Michael Kast titled My Faith: Getting To Know God, His Son and His Word, Appointments With God – 150 daily encounters with the Word. On the back cover it says,

“He knows you’re busy. Some days you’re just trying to survive. But what would happen if you took part of every day and met just with him? You know, sort of an ‘appointment with God.’ An encounter with his Word.

Meet with God each day and discover his incredible promises, his charac6ter and his love for you. He’s the One who created time. The One who manages the universe. The One who knows your doubts, your struggles and your heart.

Use this book in your time with God to take an honest look at your faith. You’ll get to know Jesus’ life and teachings. His power. His sacrifice for you. And, you’ll dig into some unbelievably cool stories in his Word. It’s all true.

HE’S WAITING

In each encounter, you’ll write about:

Things to remember

Things God is teaching you

Things to act on

Things to pray about

So, grab your Bible, a pen and this journal. Choose a time and place that work for you. You’ve got a divine appointment. He’s waiting.”

I don’t know anything about Mr. Kast’s religious background or his positions on theological issues. What he says here “resonates” with me and I appreciate what he has attempted to do in his two Appointments With God journals that I have seen. I have incorporated his approach in my Reflections on My Daily Bible Readings column.

As we launch this new Remembering My Creator page, we invite you to read along! This page is targeted to young people, especially those new in the faith. We have several young Christians who have committed to writing for this page. Writers will include Jordan Shouse, Ian Harmon, and Shannon Harden. We encourage you to launch your own daily appointment with God. Get in the habit of early morning bible reading/journaling and see if it does not improve your prayer life and strengthen your faith!

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them… (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

Please continue to read with me young people and post your comments or send your private comments to me at randy.sexton@achristiansvoice.com. Have a blessed day!

Try a Bible Study Buddy

By Shannon Harden

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” – Matt 4:4

Reading God’s word is an important aspect of growing as a Christian. But in our day and time it can sometimes seem like something that gets forgotten about. So, the question is: How do you keep up with your daily bible schedule and grow from reading God’s word?

To be honest, keeping up with my reading is the greatest struggle that I have. Not only do I have to remind myself that I’m not too busy to do anything I set my mind to, but I don’t have the personality that can do a “normal” bible reading schedule. I think it’s important in our life to figure out what personalities God has given us. Some love to study independently; some can rise at dawn and do their studying before they start their day. I am not one of those people. Feeding ourselves daily with God’s word is so important that we must reflect on what we need to accomplish our goal. Often we can get into the mindset that we are “too busy” or we just become lazy.

So for me, the thing that helps me the most is finding a bible study “buddy.” I realized a long time ago that I need encouragement to do many things in my life. I just flat out don’t like doing things on my own. I no longer see this as a weakness, just reality. God made us as social people, which is why he created another being for Adam in the garden and I believe that’s why we have the church. We need encouragement and for people to help keep us be accountable. I personally need that encouragement and accountability in various aspects of my life. So in a lot of things that I do, I like to find a “buddy.” I find travel buddies and exercise buddies… why not a bible study buddy?

So if you struggle with having a consistent bible study maybe finding a friend who will just check in with you to keep you accountable or you can discuss what you’ve learned – will help you to get your spiritual nourishment. But be forewarned: you must find a good buddy. Finding someone who is not encouraging and doesn’t hold you accountable will not help you to improve your daily reading habits.

Daily Meditation upon the Word

by Jordan Shouse

What comes to mind when you think of the word strength? Some may be led to think of body builders who can lift immense weights with ease. Some think of powerful beasts like lions and bears, strong forceful animals. The Kentucky Derby passed by a few months ago. Noticing the horses as they pounded around the course, one could not help but notice the concept of strength. What about a tree? For many, trees are probably low on the list as that which characterizes the concept of strength. However, in the 1st Psalm, the tree is what the writer uses to talk about one who is strong. Notice the passage. Psalm 1:1-3.

While the beginning of this Psalm is a series of actions, built up with a stark contrast, what I want us to focus upon is the tree. Did you notice the detail the writer gave about the tree? It is firmly planted by the water. It yields its fruit. It does not wither. Whatever it does it prospers. Think about the truth behind this symbolism. A tree firmly planted is much like a wall; concrete, solid, and immovable. Cars have wrecked into trees going racing speeds which leaves the car in millions of pieces yet the tree unmoved. Strong winds blow houses to bits, yet the mighty tree with its large roots stands firm. The tree truly is a strong force. But in this passage, the writer is not focusing on trees. He attributes this concept of strength to one who “delights in the law of the Lord. And in His law he meditates day and night.”

I would venture to say that a common goal as Christians is to become strong. I don’t believe anyone has the desire to be weak or feeble. We want strong bodies, strong minds, strong houses; likewise wouldn’t we want strong faith? The Psalmist said that strength is the product of one who meditates in the Word daily. Do you know what that word meditate means? It doesn’t mean to sit cross legged and hum. Meditate is a lot like chewing. When we chew, we take our time with that which is in our mouths, enjoying the tastes and flavors we are receiving. To meditate upon the Word is to think about the passages I’ve read. Throughout my day, I’m thinking about those verses, allowing them to run through my mind and produce congruent thoughts and attitudes. When I read of the passage in Genesis 6, of God’s command to Noah for the construction of the ark, through my day I may be thinking thoughts like, “What would I have said, or how would I have reacted to such an enormous task and yet a strange command?”

Did you catch the other phrase from the Psalmist in our passage: “day and night.” The Word of God is my fuel for the soul just as food is for the body. Imagine going a day without food. The same is with the Word. The Bible is my source for encouragement, support and strength. The Bible is my firm reminder of my responsibility to the will of God. The Bible is the only source of faith. Stronger faith, deeper faith, grounded faith, just like the mighty roots of a large tree; it all comes from daily reading and meditation of the Bible. Have you read today?

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Monday­­­­­­, June 21, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 7-9

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Instructions are given on how the Guilt Offering is to be offered (7:1-10).
  • Instructions are given regarding the peace offering (7:11-36).
  • The installation of the priesthood is described (8:1-36).
  • The first services in the tabernacle are described (9:1-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • The Lord expects one to “take ownership in” his offering and to be focused in how he brings it to the Lord (7:29).
  • The inauguration of daily sacrifices in the temple signals God’s coming down upon His altar to dwell intimately with His people.

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • My own hands shall bring the Lord’s food offerings.
  • I will shout and fall on my face when I see fire come out from the Lord and consume the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For a reverence and awe for the things of the Lord

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Sunday­­­­­­, June 20, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1-2

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Paul greets and prays for the saints in Christ who are at Philippi, thanking them for the partnership with him in the gospel (1:1-11).
  • Paul reflects upon his imprisonment and how the gospel.is still advancing. He expresses great confidence in the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ to deliver him, whether by life or by death (1:12-30)
  • Paul encourages these brethren to unite in love and humility, looking to Christ as the perfect example, and to live as lights in the world (2:1-18).
  • Paul offers Timothy and Epaphroditus as examples of a service-centered life (2:19-30

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • “Joy” and “affection” and “hope” and “love” and “rejoicing” are words that should be a regular part of the Christian’s vocabulary and of his life!
  • Even when in dire physical circumstances, we can be a force for advancing the gospel when we maintain a can do attitude that says, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain!”
  • Our manner of life is to be WORTHY of the gospel!
  • What a better place this world would be if we all had the “mind of Christ” who took the form of a servant!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will do all things without grumbling or complaining!
  • I will do nothing from rivalry, or conceit but in humility I will count others more significant than myself!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For a servant’s heart like Timothy and Epaphroditus had!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Saturday, June 19, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Luke 13-14

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Jesus teaches the importance of repentance (13:1-3)

*Jesus teaches through the parable of the barren fig tree, the mustard seed and the leaven, and heals another on the Sabbath (13:6-20).

*Jesus teaches that He is the narrow door and weeps over Jerusalem (13:21-35).

*Jesus heals another on the Sabbath and teaches through the parables of the wedding feast and of the great banquet (14:1-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*When sin is committed it must be followed by repentance or doom is the consequence!

*God expects his children to bear fruit and to grow, and to work the works that He has given us to do!

*We should have concern for the lost!

*It is better to be humble than humiliated!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will make each day count in my spiritual growth. I am not yet the man God wants me to be!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*Lord, dig around me and put manure on me that I might bear fruit and not be cut down!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Friday, June 18, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Ezekiel 7-12

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Ezekiel receives his vision against the “land of Israel” (7:1-27).
  • Ezkiel’s vision of idolatrous worship in the temple (8:1-18).
  • Ezekiel’s vision of the city-wide slaughter of idolaters (9:1-11).
  • Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of Jerusalem by fire (10:1-22).
  • Ezekiel’s vision of the judgment on wicked officials and an oracle of hope before God’s glory departs (11:1-25).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • These things were done so that they would know that God was in control and this message appears repeatedly (7:4, 9, 27; 11:10, 12)
  • How far man call fall from what God intended us to be when he created us and put us in the garden! To cause God to say, “Do you see what they are doing , the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary?” (8:6)
  • Even when we are surrounded by evil, God’s people can mount a revival of hope and spirit and faith (11:13-25).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
  • I will preach a message of hope and faith!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For a spirit of kindness!
  • For a love of the souls of all!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton


Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 5-6

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • The father makes another appeal to his son to remain sexually pure, warning him to stay far away from the allure of the immoral woman (5:1-23).
  • Practical warnings are given about the risks of putting up security for another, of being lazy, and of exhibiting character traits that the Lord hates (6:1-19).
  • The father make another appeal to his son to remain sexually pure by seeing past the immediate temptation to the consequences that would result (6:20-35).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • God created man and woman to enjoy sexual pleasure but it is to be confined to marriage (5:15-20).
  • Those who fail to exercise self-discipline and who despise reproof will find themselves groaning at the end of their lives because of what awaits them (5:11-12, 20-22).
  • Being a good steward of what God has given us demands that we be prudent in how we commit our resources (16:5).
  • God demands of us a good work ethic and character traits that build up and encourage rather than those that tear down and de-moralize (6:6-19)
  • We cannot put ourselves into situations of temptation and expect to walk away unscathed (6:20-35).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will rejoice in the relationship I have with my godly wife!
  • I will discipline my body and keep it under control!
  • I will be prudent in the use of the resources that God has given me.

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For hands clean and ready to do the work of the Lord!
  • For feet that will endure the Christian race to the end where the crown awaits!
  • For continued energy to be an encourager among brothers!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton


Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Wednesday­­­­­­, June 16, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 72-74

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Psalm 72 “is a royal psalm, praying that the heirs of David’s line (beginning with Solomon) might have success in the task that God has assigned the kings (namely, ruling God’s people well, protecting the poor and needy, and bringing blessing to all nations of the earth).”
  • Psalm 73 “is a wisdom psalm, helping those who sing it to rest content even when unbelievers seem to get along without a care in the world, so that the faithful are tempted to join them. Their help comes from taking to hear where the different life paths of the faithful and unbelievers are headed; each one is going toward either nearness to God or separation from him, a nearness or separation that will apply both now and in the afterlife.”
  • Psalm 74 “is a cry of anguish over a disaster that has befallen God’s people; the temple has been laid ruin (quite possibly the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem). Thus this is a community lament …(and) recounts God’s mighty deeds in the past, especially the exodus; here that recounting serves as a ground for the prayer; do not let the Gentiles scorn the God who has done such things.” (ESV Study Bible, pp.1025-1028)

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • God defends the cause of the poor, gives deliverance to the children of the needy and crushes the oppressor (72:4)
  • All kings fall down before Him and all nations serve Him (72:11)
  • We should praise God for the wondrous things He has done (72:18).
  • Sometimes we are envious when we see the prosperity of the wicked but, when we go into the sanctuary of God, we understand and we discern their end (73:3,16-17).
  • God will hold our right hand and He will guide us with His counsel if He remains the strength of our hearts and our portion forever (73:23, 26).
  • Psalm 74 reminds me that sometimes we lament our condition, thinking God has “cast us off” (1) and that “his anger smokes against us.” (1) Perhaps we even think that our lives are “perpetual ruins” (3) as the foe scoffs and reviles God’s name (10)! At times like this it helps to remember that God is “working salvation in the midst of the earth” (12), that he “divided the sea” (13), “crushed the heads of Leviathan” (14), “fixed the boundaries of the earth” (17), and that He has “regard for the covenant” (20) and takes care of the downtrodden and the poor and needy among His people (21)!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will praise God for the wondrous things He has done!
  • I will not envy the prosperity of the wicked!
  • I will seek God’s counsel and allow Him to be the strength of my heart!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For eyes that see the wonder of God’s creation!
  • For ears that listen for God’s voice and His instruction!
  • For a heart that beats in unison with God’s people!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Tuesday­­­­­­, June 15, 2010

Today’s Scripture: 1st Kings 14-18

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • A description of what happens to Jeroboam for his disobedience in wanting two houses instead of the one he was promised (14:1-20).
  • The events that have been occurring simultaneously in Judah are described (14:21-31).
  • The reigns of Abijam and Asa, kings of Judah are described (15:1-24).
  • The reigns of Nadab, Baasa, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab, kings of Israel are described (15:25-16:34).
  • “Elijah is introduced… His first task is to tackle the problem of Baal worship that Ahab has introduced into Israel in 16:31-32, and to demonstrate beyond all doubt that Baal is no more a god in any real sense than are Jeroboam’s bull calves (17:1-24) (ESV Study Bible, p. 632).
  • Elijah challenges and defeats the prophets of Baal (18:1-46).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • God makes it clear how differently He treats the house of David, “because for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem” (15:4).
  • In history, both sacred and political, we see the rise and fall of nations. If history teaches us anything, it is that God determines the course of events, not any king, or president or any other political official!
  • Idolatrous worship was at the root of Israel’s problems. It can be the cause of problems in our relationship with God as well!
  • What the Lord promises, He fulfills! (God commanded Joshua to pronounce a curse on anyone who might rebuild Jericho, Joshua 6:26) We see Hiel of Bethel reaping the consequences when he built Jericho in the days of Ahab’s reign in Israel, 1st Kings 16:34.
  • “…it is the Lord, not Baal or any other “god,” who controls both life and death, both fertility and infertility.” (IBID).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will recognize and praise God as the determiner of the course of events!
  • I will be careful to allow no idols to come between me and my God!
  • I will do what God has asked of me, believing that He will do what He has promised for me!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For a stronger faith!
  • For a deeper love!
  • For a focused hope!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Monday­­­­­­, June 14, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 4-6

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Instructions regarding the sin offering, for making amends for one’s broken relationship with the Lord, are given (4:1-5:13)
  • Instructions regarding the guilt offering are given (5:14-6:7). See this note in the ESV Study Bible, p. 222 “The distinction between the offenses covered by the guilt offering and the offenses related to the sin offering is puzzling. In general, however, the offenses here appear to be more serious, as shown by the fact that the sacrificial animal is more costly (a male instead of a female) and that the sins are described as a ‘breach of faith’ (5:15).”
  • Instructions regarding the proper handling, eating and disposal of the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the sin offering are given (6:8-30).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • I better understand the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and what that accomplished for me, as His disciple! With Leviticus as a background, I better understand such passages as 1st Peter 1:19; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 5:3-10; and 13:11.
  • Leviticus shows what it meant to be a holy people serving a holy God, living by rules of conduct, and worship. This helps me to understand How God expects me to be a disciple of His Son, Jesus Christ!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • “Composed as Israel was preparing to become a settled nation in a promised land, the book has affinities with the utopian literature. Literary utopias both describe how people live in an ideal society and also offer an explanation of the institutions and practices that produce the society this is pictured (ESV Study Bible, p. 214).
  • Thinking of Leviticus in this way causes me to reflect upon that ultimate utopia when we take up our residence in heaven. As I contemplate the glories of that existence, I sing the words of my beloved father’s favorite song, “If we never meet again this side of heaven, as we struggle thru this world and its strife, there’s another meeting place somewhere in heaven by the side of the river of life. Where the charming roses bloom forever, and where separations come no more. If we never meet again this side of heaven, I will meet you on that beautiful shore.” As we sang that song, in my dad’s memory at the Sexton – Farmer reunion this past weekend, I longed to share it with him again on that beautiful shore!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • Help me, O Lord, to remain faithful until death so that I can be reunited with my beloved father on that beautiful shore and sing with him once more, but a NEW song (Revelation 14:3) …

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4-6

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to unity, instructs them about using various gifts, and teaches about the new life in Christ being experienced by the Gentile Christians (4:1-32).

*Paul gives general instruction for holy living as he teaches about purity of life by avoiding evil deeds and and associations and adopting holy practices (5:1-20).

  • Paul teaches about submission to others (5:21-6:9).

*Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to put on the whole armor of God, standing in the strength of the Lord, standing firm and being constant in prayer (6:10-20).

*Paul concludes his letter by greeting various individuals who have meant so much to him in his Christian walk (6:21-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*There is a “walk” that we are to practice that must meet a certain standard! That standard is “the calling to which we have been called.” The grade we are to achieve is called here by Paul, “worthy.” Not just any half-hearted attempt will do!

*This “walk” will cause us to eagerly desire to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”! It will motivate us to celebrate the “ones” we have in common in Jesus!

*What a wonderful work He has given us, this work of the ministry for building up the body of Christ!

*When we do not equip ourselves appropriately, and “grow up in every way…into Christ,” we expose ourselves to the dangers enumerated by Paul: being carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, and by craftiness in deceitful schemes!

*We all need to be renewed in the spirits of our minds.”

*The model for pure living for us to strive for is described here.

The model for the family relationships for us to strive for is described here.

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will speak the truth in love to my neighbor!

*I will let no corrupting talk come out of my mouth, but only that which is good for building up!

*I will put away all bitterness, and wrath and anger and clamor and slander!

*I will be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*To be renewed in the spirit of my mind, everyday putting on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness!

*Courage and love to motivate me to speak the truth with my neighbor!

*To be angry and sin not

*That I give not opportunity to the devil!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton