Tag Archives: Witness Lee

The Mystery of Human Life Infographic

Look who made her first infographic!  It’s not perfect, but I think it’s pretty good for a first-timer!

For more information on the content of this infographic please visit Living Stream Ministry.

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12 Practical Points on Bible Reading

This is an awesome post from HoldingToTruth.com about how to read the Bible.  The twelve points are divided into three sections as follows:

The proper attitude for reading the Bible

1. Have the attitude of contacting God Himself

2. Have the attitude of coming to receive spiritual nourishment

3. Have the attitude of coming to receive enlightenment

Some simple ways to read the Bible

1. Read the books of the Bible sequentially

2. Don’t read too much at one time

3. Blend reading of the Word with prayer

4. Underline precious verses

5. Don’t seek too much understanding

6. Muse on the Word

Some tips on time

1. The best time to read the Bible is in the morning

2. It is best to read the New Testament in the morning

3. Try to set apart at least ten minutes at a time

 

I highly recommend you go to the actual blog post itself, because there you’ll find lots of helpful verses and extra commentary for each of the twelve points.

Do any of you have any other tips for reading the Bible?

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A Stable Christian Life

Last night right before I went to bed I remembered that I hadn’t read the New Testament all day.  I knocked out the Old Testament in the morning, but put off the New.  It was late and I was tired, so the idea of not reading quickly came to mind.  But almost as soon as the thought of abandoning the Bible came to me, another thought came in.  “Why would I do that?  The Bible’s my rock.  It’s the basis of my Christian life and everything I believe.  I think I can sacrifice a few minutes of sleep for one chapter.”

This is not a new predicament, or one that is exclusive to myself.  Everyday Christians around the world have to fight to get into the word.  Whether they’re fighting culture, apathy, governments, etc., there is always a struggle to get into the Bible.  A lot of Christians think it’s unnecessary for them to read the Bible.  “I won’t understand it anyway, so why waste my time.  I’ll just go to church or watch church on T.V. and let someone else explain it to me.”  This is something I hear a lot, and have been tempted to indulge in myself.

In 2008 I went to a sort of Christian training for college students.  The topic was the book of Philippians, and something one of the brothers said came to me last night.  He told us that “Without the Word of God to go along with the bountiful supply of the Spirit, our Christian life can be unstable…. The Word never changes and is always the same, so it can stabilize our Christian life.”

Isn’t this good?  I’m so unstable and constantly fluctuating.  One minute I’m praising the Lord and the next I’m completely immersed in the world and my own problems to the point that I forget about God and focus on my pitiful self.

There’s a parable in Matthew 7:24-27 that portrays my situation perfectly:

“Everyone therefore who hears these words of Mine and does them shall be likened to a prudent man who built his house upon the rock.  And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they beat against that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  And the rain descended, and the rivers came, and the winds blew, and they dashed against that house; and it fell, and its fall was great.”

The translation I’m using has fantastic footnotes.  I want to share two of them here, one for the word “rock” and the other for the word “sand”.

Rock – “Rock does not refer to Christ but to His wise word, the word that reveals the will of His Father who is in the heavens.  The living and work of the kingdom people must be founded on the word of the new King for the accomplishing of the will of the heavenly Father.  This is to enter in through the narrow gate and walk the constricted way that leads to life.”

Sand – “Sand refers to human concepts and natural ways.  If we live and work according to our human concepts and natural ways, our living and work will be founded on sinking sand.  This is to enter in through the wide gate and walk the broad way that leads to destruction.”

This is so true.  Without the word of God, all we’re left with is our own ideas of how to live a proper Christian life.  We may look to other people and philosophies, but how we apply what we see and appreciate in those people and philosophies still depend on our “human concepts and natural ways.”  But even though certain traditions and ideologies may look solid and trustworthy on the surface, they’re really just sinking sand with no support.  The only way to really have a stable Christian life is to read the “wise word” of God.  People and philosophies come and go, but the Bible is constant and unchanging.  There is no other way to know the Father’s will or receive the grace needed to walk the narrow and constricted way.  So which do you want?  A house that is stable and strong, or a house that can fall with a change in the wind?  Oh Lord!  Keep us all in Your wise word!

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The Lord’s Prayer (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my look at the Lord’s payer in Matthew chapter 6.  You can read part 1 here.

This is the entire prayer:

“Our Father who is in the heavens, Your name be sanctified; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”

This time I’ll focus on verses 11-13, beginning with “Give us today our daily bread.”

The devotional I’m using points out that in this prayer for the kingdom, the King doesn’t want us to worry about tomorrow, as verse 6:34 indicates.  Instead, he wants us to pray for our daily bread.  This means living by faith.  When I read this I immediately thought about the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  The only thing they ate during that time was the manna sent by God every morning.  They were specifically instructed to not store any manna for the next day or else it would bread worms and stink (Exo. 16:20).  This was their daily bread.  They trusted that Jehovah would send the manna the next morning, so they didn’t worry about saving some for later.  The devotional says “The kingdom people should not live on what they have stored; rather, by faith they should live on the Father’s daily supply.”  O Lord!  I want to live like this!  I don’t want to worry about tomorrow or trust in what I have!  Teach me how to live by faith and trust in Your provision!

This prayer also indicates that we need to take care of our relationship with others.  I’m so independent that I usually have no thought concerning others.  If I hurt someone’s feelings, I just think “Meh.  They’ll get over it.”  Or if someone hurts my feelings, I simply avoid them until I forgot why I was mad at them in the first place.  But this isn’t what the Lord tells us to do in verse 12.  I need to actively ask the Father to forgive my debts and not make the lazy excuse that I’ve been washed by the blood of Christ, so I’m good as far as sin is concerned.  I also need to forgive others as opposed to my usual modus operandi, which is to let everything callous over and hopefully go away by virtue of sheer forgetfulness.

I thought the last two paragraphs on this devotional were pretty outstanding, so I’m just going to let you read them for yourself:

“The prayer to the Father concludes in this way: ‘For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.’  Here is the realization and praise of God’s kingdom, power, and glory.  This also refers to the Triune God.  The kingdom is of the Son, which is the realm in which God exercises His power.  The power is of the Spirit, which carries out God’s intention so that the Father can express His glory….Thus, the prayer taught by the Lord in His supreme teaching begins with God the Father (v. 9) and also ends with God the Father (v. 13).”

“Such a critical prayer surely increases our seeking of the kingdom of the heavens as the Father’s heart’s desire and affords us our need of the divine supply of grace to fulfill all the supreme and strict requirements of the kingdom of the heavens for the Father’s good pleasure.  On the one hand, we are seeking for something according to the Father’s hearth’s desire.  On the other hand, we have the supply to fulfill something for the Father’s good pleasure.”

Isn’t this good?!  I never saw the Triune God in this prayer before.  How wonderful to see the deeper significance behind this prayer!  This isn’t just something to repeat in a rote way!  It’s a pattern of a prayer that can actually increase our seeking for and desire of the Father’s will!  But it doesn’t end there!  This prayer also gives us the way to ask for the grace required for meeting the Father’s requirements for the kingdom of the heavens.  This is how I want to pray.  Lord make me a person that prays prayers that take care of the Triune God, my daily necessity, my relationship with God and with others, and also of Satan!

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A better use of my mirror

I used to share my apartment with a roommate.  Out of courtesy I tried to keep things as clean as possible for her and do my chores.  This included cleaning the bathroom and washing the nice, big mirror every other week.  But when she moved out, I had the mirror, and the bathroom, all to myself (what girl wouldn’t love this situation?!).  But a funny thing happened.  Instead of cleaning the mirror, I started writing on it.

We all stand in front of the mirror for some length of time in the morning and evening when we are getting ready to begin and end our days, but about a year ago I decided to redeem that time for my Christian walk.  That’s where writing on my mirror comes in.  I had heard a friend talking about how she used to write on her mirror with dry erase marker to cram for tests while she got ready in the morning, and I thought “Why don’t that with prayers?”

Ever since then it’s been a habit of mine to pull out a dry erase marker whenever I’m touched by a certain verse in the Bible, a prayer I hear in a meeting or read in a Christian book, a hymn I want to sing, or a particular burden God put on my heart for someone else.

Here are a few examples (please excuse the towels and awkward angles, I didn’t wanna get in the pics):

These are some verses from Philippians 3:12-14 and 2 Timothy 1:9.

They say “Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.”

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages.”

This one is just a bunch of prayers I either heard or read that I wanted to apply to myself and my situation.

“Lord I want to live and walk in You.  Lord, I pray that You will be the good land to me in my experience, and that every aspect of my living may be in You.” – Life-Study of Joshua

“Make the sky in my being like awesome crystal.” – Ezekiel 1:22

“Lord, make me desperate to live You.” – Colossians 3:4

“Lord, keep me in the divine stream for the rest of my life!” – I don’t remember where I got this one, but I still like it.

This is a hymn I’ve sung many times with Christians on Campus.

It’s wonderful to start off the day singing “Draw me dear Lord, draw me today.  From everything else dear Lord, draw me away.”

It seems simple, but writing things like this on my mirror have really made a difference in my Christian life.  So instead and fretting over my how my hair looks or thinking over my failures for the day while brushing my teeth, the beginning and end of my days are spent singing and praying.  It’s a precious habit that I hope I will never give up.

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Coals burning coals

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not feeling all that great.  I’ve got insomnia and headaches and blah blah blah, so the thought of not going to a church meeting is really appealing.  Last night Christians on Campus and some christians around the area had a prayer meeting.  I somehow managed to drag my nasty, stinking, dead self to the meeting, and let me tell you – I got revived.  I wasn’t jumping up and down and shouting hallelujah all over the place, but I was warmed up.  It was so good to just be around other people who were enjoying God.

I heard an illustration once that the Christian life is like a bunch of coals.  If you have a pile of coals, they’ll burn each other for hours.  But if you separate one of the coals from the pile, it will cool off pretty quickly.  That’s what happens to me when I separate myself from other Christians.

That experience last night reminded me how precious Christian meetings are.  I know a lot of Christians (some of my family members included) think it’s enough to just have a personal relationship with the Lord without attending Christian gatherings.  A personal relationship with our dear Lord and Savior is extremely important, but that’s not all there is to the Christian life.

John 20:24 says “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.”

Seems like an odd verse right?  Well, the Bible I’m using has a fantastic footnote for this verse:

“After His resurrection the Lord came to meet with His disciples, beginning from the evening of this first day.  Thus, in the Lord’s resurrection the matter of meeting with the saints is crucial.  Mary the Magdalene met the Lord personally in the morning and obtained the blessing (vv. 16-18), but she still needed to be in the meetings with the saints in the evening to meet the Lord in a corporate way to obtain more and greater blessings (vv. 19-23).  Thomas missed the first meeting that the Lord held with the disciples after His resurrection, and he missed all the blessings as well.  However, he compensated for it by attending the second meeting (vv. 25-28).”

Can you believe that?  Mary had seen the Lord in His resurrection – something no one else was privileged to see.  She went to the tomb early and hung around until she saw Him.  She had one of the most wonderful, personal, and intimate experiences a believer could ever have with the Lord.  She met him face to face after He resurrected from the dead and before He ascended to the Father.  You’d think that would be enough to sustain her in her Christian pursuit for a while, right?  But according to the Lord, it wasn’t.  He told her to go to the brothers and meet with them.

In Hebrews 12:2 the writer (probably Paul) said he would “declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise to You.”  In 10:25 he goes on by saying “Not abandoning our own assembling together, as the custom with some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Wow, this was Paul.  In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Paul tells us that he was “caught away to the third heaven” and into “Paradise” where he “heard unspeakable words.”  This man, this same man, told us to not abandon our own assembling together.  Even though he saw things that no one living human being had ever seen and heard things that no other living human being had heard, he still made a point to attend Christian gatherings with pitiful and lowly little believers like me.

The same Paul wrote Ephesians 4:16 “Out from whom all the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.”

Paul not only met with the other believers, he realized that he needed the other believers.  He didn’t go to meetings to fulfill some religious obligation, but he went to get joined and knit with the other members of the Body of Christ for the growth of the Body of Christ.  He even says in 1 Corinthians 12:14-22 that every member of the Body has a different function, and that even the members who appear to be weaker are necessary.  Hallelujah!  Even I’m a necessary part of the Body of Christ!

This is so good!  Don’t miss the meetings!  You receive blessings in the meetings!  You get built up with and encouraged by other Christians in the meetings!

There’s a lot more I could write on this topic (and I feel like this is all kind of scattered thanks to my lack of sleep), but I think I’ll end it here.  Maybe i’ll continue it later.

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Why I read my Bible today

I don’t have a T.V. in my house, but I stayed in a hotel room for the last couple of nights that did have a T.V.  I didn’t spend very much time watching it, and when I did turn it on I watched something on TLC or a Disney movie.  But even that small amount of time in front of the T.V. had an affect on my being.  I just felt dirty.  Not dirty in the sense of doing something overtly sinful or disgusting, just…cloudy and far away from God.  Almost like when you wash your hands with really soft water, and you can’t quite get all of the soap off and are left with some sort of gross film on your skin.   I left Tulsa with crafty, Kung Fu Panda film on my being and I needed a way to get it off.

This is where the Bible comes in.  Usually when I’m in this condition, the last thing I want to do is read the Bible because I’m afraid to come to God in His word.  I already feel so far away from Him and I don’t know how to come back.  Sometimes I think that if I study the Bible really really hard and memorize lots of things and get super awesome at spouting off verses after I’ve read a chapter or two i’ll feel better about myself.  Like I’m a good Christian again.  But actually, making me feel like a “good” Christian isn’t a function of the word.

There’s a wonderful illustration in a book called Crucial Principles for the Christian Life and the Church Life:

“In Shanghai a sister once said to Brother Watchman Nee, ‘I read the Bible diligently, but after many times of reading, it seems that nothing remains within me. I forget everything that I read. Since I cannot remember what I read, is it still necessary for me to read?’ Brother Nee answered her by using the following illustration. In the countryside in China the women wash rice in baskets made of willow branches. These baskets serve as strainers. The women fill the basket of rice with water, and all the water passes through the rice and the basket. Regardless of how much water they add to the basket, eventually not one drop will stay in the basket. The water simply comes and goes, passing through, and no water remains. Brother Nee pointed out that after water passes through the basket many times, both the rice and the basket are washed. Brother Nee said that we are like the basket. We need to allow the water of the word to pass through us again and again. Perhaps nothing of the word will remain, but neither will any dirt remain. If for one week we come to the Word for at least ten minutes each morning and allow the water of the word to pass through our being, we will be made clean. However, if no water of the word comes and goes in our being, after one week we will be quite dirty. Whether or not we come to the Word makes a real difference in our Christian life.”

This is so good.  I just need to be simple and come to the Bible in a simple way. I don’t have to do anything.  The rice doesn’t do anything.  It just gets in the basket and lets the water pass over it again and again and again.

Oh Lord!  Make me a person who comes to Your word again and again!  Several times a day!  Lord I need to be washed from so many things!  Thank You for Your living word that cleanses me!

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