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The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11 (NKJV)

This verse is filled with great promises offering hope. The Lord will:

1) guide you continually,
2) satisfy your soul in drought,
3) strengthen your bones,
4) make you a flourishing garden, and
5) make you a never-failing spring of water.

1) The Lord will guide. The road may be uncertain. The road may be bumpy. It may be very dark ahead. You may have no idea where you are going (most of us don’t), but He is with us. He will lead and guide us continually. God is our G.P.S.–He knows exactly where we are at any moment, and He will take us to where we need to be next. See Exodus 13:21-22.

2) The Lord will satisfy your soul in drought. Spiritual drought is inevitable. Just as there are mountain tops and valleys in the spiritual life, there are also deserts to cross. As we pass through the desert seasons, we experience drought. We get all dried up. God brings water of the word to refresh us and hydrate us. Then He brings His Spirit to seal us and protect us from the heat and dryness until the season changes.

3) The Lord will strengthen your bones. In life, we can grow weary. It can be the result of physical illness, aging or simply from trials and tests that sap our strength. God sees this need in our life, and He promises to restore us to strength. See Isaiah 40:31.

4) He promises to make us like watered gardens. In my mind’s eye, I see the watered garden, a beautiful tapestry of diverse shades of green leaves and stems, along with all different colored flowers, The word that comes to mind is life. A well-watered garden brings forth life. Psalm 1promises that the man who delights and meditates in God’s law will “be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3. The prophet Jeremiah said, “blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8.

5) He promises we will be springs of water that never fail. In John 7:38, Jesus promised, “he who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. The living water that flows out of us–believers—will bring life to those around us.

For further study on this passage:
1. Recall a time of drought either at the time of your salvation or in your walk with God when He satisfied your soul. Describe in a few sentences or paragraphs that experience.

2. When you imagine a watered garden, what do you see? How do you see (or not see) yourself like a watered garden?

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Read Psalm 5
Because the Psalm is short, try to read it over several times during the week. Maybe even in different translations.

Psalm 5 is considered an individual lament psalm because it is a cry for help to God in a time of distress.

1. What background and/or historical knowledge do you have for this Psalm?

2. What is the Psalmist asking of God in the opening verses?

3. What does David (Psalmist here) have to say about God’s conduct and character? (Verses 3-6)

4. How does David describe his time with God? (Verses 7-8)

5. How does David describe his adversaries?
Going Deeper: From what you know of his life, who were some of David’s adversaries?

6. What do you learn about David from this Psalm? God? Believers (those who love God/righteous)?

7. What application can you make to your own life?

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Hopefully, you were reading your Bible this year. There are many different ways to read systematically through the Bible. This is the most effective way of ensuring you are not “cherry-picking” scriptures to read – that is choosing those parts of the Bible that say the things that you like and don’t confront you in the areas where you are not lined up with God. It is important to study the whole counsel of God to know God and to be able to walk with Him consistently – in the good times and in the tough times.

The following are some links to help you find a schedule of reading that suits your desires:

Blue Letter Bible reading plans

Ligonier Bible Reading

Christianity.com

While it is not the time frame in which you finish reading the Bible through, it is the consistent, daily, verse-by-verse and chapter-by-chapter reading of the Bible that makes a huge difference. It is not that you will understand everything or apply everything, but it is the idea that you are exposing yourself to the entire revelation of God. By doing that consistently over time, you will begin to see that the word of God will change you.

I also recommend that as you read through the Bible, you write down verses or sections of scripture that minister or speak to you on any given day. This writing out of scripture helps to reinforce it in your mind. It also helps you to meditate on it as you write it out by hand.

The benefits of a journal are to numerous to go into here, but perhaps that is a topic for another post.

May the LORD richly bless your efforts to study His word consistently every day of 2017.

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In preparing for the coming year of building Biblical literacy, it is important to evaluate last year’s progress and to take a spiritual inventory of sorts. Consider the following questions as just some of the aspects of your spiritual life to consider:

1. What did you learn about studying the Bible this past year?

2. What books of the Bible did you read? Study?

3. Did God give you a scripture(s) this year? If He did, explain how that spoke to you throughout the year.

4. Did you share with anyone what you were learning from the Bible this year? Explain.

5. Did you share your testimony this year with anyone? Explain.

6. Did you lead anyone to Christ this year? Explain.

7. Did you disciple anyone in their walk with God this year? Explain.

8. Did anyone disciple you in your walk with God this year? Share your story.

9. What would you consider the spiritual highlights of this past year for you?

10. What, if any, spiritual goals do you have for the coming year?

As you consider these questions, feel free to post a comment sharing how God has brought you forward in your knowledge of Him and His word in 2016. I am sure this would be encouraging for everyone.

May God bless you as you close out 2016 and may He embolden you as you march forward into 2017.

Soli Deo gloria!

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Read Genesis 27
1. What does Isaac ask Esau to do? Why?

2. What does Rebekah do?

3. What does Jacob do to disguise himself? Why?

4. What does Isaac do in Genesis 27:27-29?

5. What happens in Genesis 27:30-40?

6. What is Esau’s response? What does Rebekah do as a result?

7. Copy Proverbs 14:1. How does this apply to Rebekah? To you?

 

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Read Genesis 13.
1. What does Abram do after leaving Egypt according to Genesis 13:4?

2. A dispute arose between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. How did Abram resolve the dispute according to Genesis 13:8-12?

3. Abram seeks peace with Lot and he even allows Lot to choose the land first. Read Psalm 33:16-22 and consider how Abram trusted in the LORD. How can you apply this to your current situation?

4. What do you learn about Sodom from Genesis 13?

5. Copy the promise of God to Abram in Genesis 13:14-17 below.

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The story of Abram (later known as Abraham) spans more than nine chapters in the book of Genesis. In order to be able to study the life of Abram and his part in God’s plan of salvation, we must look to chapters 12 to 20.

The introduction to Abram begins at the end of Genesis chapter 11. Re-read this section.
1. Record what you learn about Abram in Genesis 11:27-32.

2. Record what you learn about his wife, Sarai (Sarah).

3. What does Hebrews 11:8 tell us about Abraham (Abram)?

Read Chapter 12 of Genesis which begins with the call of Abram by the LORD.
4. What does God tell Abram in Genesis 12:1-3? How does Abram react?

5. What additional information about these events to you find in Acts 7:2-4?

6. In Genesis 12:7, God makes a promise to Abram. Copy it here. What does Abram do in response?

7. What does Abram do in Genesis 12:10? Why?

8. What does Abram tell Sarai to do when they get to Egypt in Genesis 12:11-13? Why?

9. What did Pharaoh do with Sarai? Why? What did he do for Abram?

10. What happened to Pharaoh after Sarai came to Pharaoh’s house? Why?

11. What is Pharaoh’s reaction to Abram when he finds out about the situation?

12. What do you learn about Abram from this story? What was Abram’s solution to his situation? What should his solution have been?

13. What do we learn about Sarai from the situation? Do you agree with what she did? Why or why not? How did God protect Sarai?

14. What does 1 Peter 3:1-6 add to what we know about Sarai (Sarah)?

 

 

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