How to Have Bible Party, part 1

Recently I led a one-hour class at our church on how to have a Bible party (a.k.a. a personal study and devotion time). The response was very positive.

Thank you so much for the class last night. It’s exactly what I was looking for! Everyone who goes to our church should have been there! It is that important!

I might need a bigger notebook. This just makes you more hungry for the Word!

Then I saw this comment:

I couldn’t make it, but would love the syllabus!

Umm, there was no syllabus.

However, I did give everyone the essential tools for putting on a great Bible party — a blank spiral notebook, a sharp pencil and a Bible. I believe with all my heart that developing the habit of consistent time in God’s Word is an absolute key to growing spiritually. Over the next few days, I’ll share the gist of what we talked about at the class.

It’s time to par-tay.

Bible sparkles

Three things to get straight before we dig in:

1. The Bible is about Jesus, not you. The goal in studying is not to find yourself in the pages, but to find God. This is not a self-help book where you will find 10 steps to your best life. When you open the Bible, you are putting yourself in a position to receive so much more. Moses said it: “These are not just idle words for you, they are your life.” Deut. 32:47

Study time is not meant to be like an ATM machine, where you withdraw a tidbit to get you through the day. Instead, think of it as making deposits into a savings account that will provide you with an astounding return on your investment.

2. The purpose of studying the Bible is not to accumulate information and facts so you can impress everyone at your next small group discussion. “God has not given the deep things to the smartest people, but to the most eager people.” (Matt Chandler) The goal to grow in biblical understanding is never to say, “I have answers,” but to say, “I love God more than ever.”

3. We desperately need a solid grounding in The Word. In a confusing culture where truth is relative, we need to anchor ourselves in God’s truth. The current secular worldview believes truth is inside of us and is ever-changing. In reality, the truth is outside of us and is fixed. If we give 90% of our time and attention to the world’s interpretation of truth, we will become confused with a skewed understanding. Instead, we need to steep ourselves in the Bible, root ourselves in its teaching, take a stand on its solid ground.

When officials at the federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing are trained to spot counterfeit money, they only study the real thing. They don’t pour over every fake dollar bill. By knowing the genuine article inside and out, anything false that comes along is easily identified. Let’s do the same and commit to becoming students of the Real Thing.

Next:
How to Have a Bible Party, part 2: Where Do I Start?

Spinning Wheel

Today, I found this gem.

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The chore spinner.

Obviously, Jake was too small to contribute at the time.

Or maybe he was just the 4th child,
the baby of the family,
whose only job was to be cute.

Seeing this piece of history made me smile at how things have changed.

All that free labor has now become management.
They are teaching their own kids to set, clear, load and sweep.

Thank goodness I still have PB.
He’s making real progress.
I cook and he cleans up.
No spinning required.

Arbor Day

Last year, I declared Arbor Day to be the official holiday of the Biddick siblings. My two brothers, my sister, their spouses and PB and I gathered around the table for a meal and to catch up.

arbor

We don’t get together for major holidays anymore. There are 29 grandchildren between the four of us, so the inevitable branching out has taken place, as it should. Yet, long stretches of time can go by without us seeing each other. We needed our own holiday. Arbor Day was perfect.

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Our grandfather was a tree man. Grandpa was chosen as “Woodsman of the Year” in 1982, at the age of 87. He loved trees and owned timber land in Mississippi and Wisconsin, where he operated a logging and timber sawing business for many years. He planted hundreds of trees in his lifetime.

This year, Arbor Day also happened to fall on what would have been our mother’s birthday. I think she would’ve been pleased to know we reminisced and laughed together over memories on her birthday.

I used the “farm dishes” for this year’s 2nd annual gathering. When my siblings saw the table settings, there was a collective “ahhhh”. These were our “Sunday only” dishes — usually piled with roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and homemade dinner rolls.

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It’s good to spend a day with people you love.
I hope you had a happy Arbor Day.
Mine was pretty great.

Word of Triumph #6

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:11-12

   Angels took heavenly messages to Zechariah, to Mary and to Joseph, setting up the King’s arrival on earth. They announced the birth of the Messiah to lowly shepherds. Perhaps they watched over the Christ Child as he grew from an infant to a toddler to a young boy. Angels tended to Jesus after His forty day fast and confrontation in the wilderness with Satan. These celestial beings strengthened Christ after He wrestled with the crushing decision to go to the cross.

   I wonder if they watched in horror as their Lord writhed in pain from nails and thorns and verbal abuse. Did they look at the Father, hoping He would give them a sign to go and rescue the Beloved Son? Were they perplexed as to why He would go to such lengths for those simple and crude creatures who didn’t return His love?

   Angels do the Lord’s bidding, usually in quiet, behind-the-scenes ways. But when the Lamb of God and Lion of Judah enters the throne room of heaven as Victor, the heavenly beings will not be able to contain themselves. Too many to count, they will lift up a song with such loud voices, the skies will reverberate. They will add as many words as they can think of to heap on their praise.

   Jewish rabbis in the ancient world believed that whenever people gathered together to sing hymns of praise to God, they were joining their voices with the perpetual music of heaven. So let’s jump in.

   Worthy is our Jesus — worthy of power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise and ….. and…… and……

Lord, I’d like to add my voice to the throng singing Your praise. Well done! You fought the good fight and won the day! Bravo! Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

 

Thank you for reading along on this Lenten journey! Blessings on your Holy Week observance and your Resurrection Day celebration!

Word of Triumph #5

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:6-7

  On game day at U-W Madison, Camp Randall can seat 80,321 Badger fans. The stadium is listed in the top five loudest venues in college football. Things really get rocking between the third and fourth quarters when the “Jump Around” tradition cuts loose. Eighty thousand people jumping up and down create seismic movement that has been measured on a Richter scale two miles away from the stadium.

   That’s nothing compared to what we have in store for us when we hear the great multitude roar in heaven as the triumphant Lamb of God takes His place on the throne. John did his best to explain what he saw in his vision, but there just weren’t words for this scene. He heard a sound that was something like a stadium full of cheering people. It sounded something like rushing water at flood stage or kind of like booming thunderclaps. John witnessed a tremendous uproar as millions upon millions shouted in unison, “Hallelujah!”

  In the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, John the Baptist was the first to recognize the Messiah by saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” At that point, no one was cheering and there were no “Hallelujahs”. That was before the cross.

   A total and complete victory over Satan, sin and death took place on Mount Calvary. The Romans may have intended the cross to be an instrument of torture, but Christ turned it into a symbol of triumph. And one day we will add our voices to the great multitude, roaring His renown with peals of praise.

Lord, I have yet to experience the most exciting event in my life. The day I join in Your victory celebration at the close of the age will be like nothing I’ve ever seen or heard. Hallelujah!

 

Word of Triumph #4

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. Joel 3:14-16

   When C. S. Lewis chose a character to represent Christ in the Narnia series, he didn’t think twice. A lion was the perfect central figure in the retelling of Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection.

 From “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”:
 “Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great Lion.”
 “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
 “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

 The only place in scripture where Jesus is referred to as a lion is in Revelation 5:5, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” In the next verse, Jesus appears as a Lamb. So what was He? A Lion or a Lamb? The answer is “Yes.”

   Jesus was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), but He roared from Zion. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” it was not spoken with a weak gasp. Oh no. This was a triumphant shout of victory! Every bit of every person’s sin in the past, present and future was stamped PAID IN FULL. The cup of suffering was drained, as life drained out of the Son of God. His voice rent the air, “Done!” Complete. Accomplished. Fulfilled. Nothing left unfinished.

   We are among the multitudes in the Valley of Decision. The great day of Jesus’ return to earth is near and we must choose before He comes. Will you follow Jesus, a Lion-King who is not safe, but good?

Lord, Your voice of triumph filled the air on that day. I look forward to another day when with a shout and with the trumpet call of God, You will return to rule and reign. Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!

Word of Triumph #3

Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15

   The Message version of Colossians 2:15 says it like this: “He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.” Now that’s a word picture for you! It may seem to us like a strange thing to say, but everyone in Paul’s day knew exactly what he was talking about.

   “Upon conquering an enemy, the Romans would hold a parade. They would take the conquered king, strip him naked, and drag him through the crowd behind the conquering king or commander for all their subjects to see. He would be humiliated and insulted, but that’s not all. They would also cut off the thumbs of his hands and the big toes of both feet. This was to assure the subjects this enemy would never be a threat to any of them again. He could not hold a sword and he would never be able to run again. There was no need to fear him any more. Any rumor about him ever challenging Rome again would be scoffed at because the citizens had seen him in the parade.” (Andrew Wommack)

   This is what the cross did to Satan. Jesus not only beat the devil, but He had a triumphant procession to display the devil to the universe as a totally conquered foe. Rumors have been circulating for centuries that Satan is still a powerful opponent to be reckoned with, but that’s not true. All our enemy has left are lies and fear. When temptation or attack comes our way, we just need to remind the devil that Jesus triumphed over him at the cross and that he has been stripped of his authority and power. Tell him you were at the victory parade.

Lord, thank You for disarming the powers of evil by putting them on public display and shaming them in front of the whole world. Help me to resist Satan’s lies and stand firmly on the truth that You have conquered the enemy.