Category: ” Applying the Bible to my life: What is the key?”

Four words with the power to change your life.


I came across this today. It was posted by a friend of mine,  Angela Digman,  and I wanted to share '~  Do Barbers Exist?</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>A old cowboy went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have<br /><br /><br /><br />
a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"Why do you say that?" asked the cowboy. </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things." </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>The cowboy thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the cowboy left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>The cowboy turned back and entered the barber shop again and<br /><br /><br /><br />
he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"No!" the cowboy exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens, is people do not come<br /><br /><br /><br />
to me."</p><br /><br /><br />
<p>"Exactly!"- affirmed the cowboy. "That's the point! ....<br /><br /><br /><br />
God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world." </p><br /><br /><br />
<p>* God bless and keep sharing the Good News !!!! ~ C4C'it with all of you. It is originally from “Cowboy’s -4- Christ” on facebook. It is meaningful and I  enjoy it. Thank you, Angela, for making it available.

A old cowboy went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the cowboy.

“Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn’t exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.”

The cowboy thought for a moment, but didn’t respond because he didn’t want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the cowboy left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

The cowboy turned back and entered the barber shop again and
he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say that?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!

“No!” the cowboy exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside.”

“Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens, is people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!”- affirmed the cowboy. “That’s the point! ….
God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”

* God bless and keep sharing the Good News !!!!

The statement “the Bible is our only rule for faith and practice” appears in many doctrinal statements. Sometimes, it takes a similar form, stating that the Bible is “the final authority,” “the only infallible rule,” or “the only certain rule.” This sentiment, whatever the wording, is a way for Bible-believing Christians to declare their commitment to the written Word of God and their independence from other would-be authorities.

The statement that the Bible is the “only rule for faith and practice” is rooted in the sufficiency of Scripture, as revealed in 2 Timothy 3:16–17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Because God is sovereign, His Word is the absolute authority in our lives, and by it God equips us for His service. As A. A. Hodge wrote, “Whatever God teaches or commands is of sovereign authority. . . . The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only organs through which, during the present dispensation, God conveys to us a knowledge of his will about what we are to believe concerning himself, and what duties he requires of us” (Outlines of Theology, chapter 5).

When we say, “The Bible is our only rule for faith and practice,” we mean that we hold the Bible, God’s Holy Word, to be our ultimate guide for what we believe (“faith”) and what we do (“practice”). We mean that the Bible trumps man’s authority, church tradition, and our own opinions. We mean we will allow nothing that opposes God’s Word to dictate our actions or control our thinking. We mean that we agree with the Reformers’ cry of sola scriptura.

When the Bible clearly reveals a truth, we believe it with all our hearts. When the Bible clearly commands us to do something, we make sure we are doing it. For example, the Bible says that Jesus is coming back again (John 14:3; Revelation 19:11–16). Since the Bible is our “only rule for faith,” we have no choice but to believe that Jesus is returning some day. Also, the Bible says that we are to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). Since the Bible is our “final authority for practice,” we are bound to abstain from immorality (as defined by the Bible).

We believe following the Bible as our only rule of faith and practice is the safest position, theologically. Fidelity to Scripture keeps us from being “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (Ephesians 4:14). As the noble Bereans taught us (Acts 17:11), all doctrines are to be examined in light of the Bible, and only what conforms to biblical truth should be accepted.

Following the Bible is also the most sensible position, because the Word of God “is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89) and “the law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).

“for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

In the middle of an everyday conversation with a friend, you suddenly sense the Holy Spirit’s tug upon your heart. As you make small talk about the weather and current events, you attempt to disregard the twinge in your spirit, but the feeling intensifies. “Tell her about Me.” It is as if Jesus is whispering the words softly in your ear. Then, a ringing telephone distracts your friend and she walks away. Why didn’t I say something? you think as you allow feelings of regret to flood your mind.

How many times have you felt a strong desire to share the Gospel with another person? Have you ever walked away from a religious discussion with someone of a different faith because you were uncertain of what to say? Do you ever feel compelled but frightened to share the story of how you met Christ?

If you have experienced one or all of these situations, you understand how challenging it can be to speak out with boldness when the Holy Spirit prompts us to do so. This is why it is vitally important to be prepared to share our faith compassionately, effectively, and truthfully.

Sharing Compassionately

There is much to be learned about evangelism, or “witnessing,” from the One upon whom we base our faith—Jesus Christ. The New Testament provides countless examples of Jesus’ compassion and mercy as He embodies the message of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.

This truth is evident in Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well in the fourth chapter of John. When Jesus meets this woman—a known adulteress—He does not reject her. Instead, He shows compassion by explaining the wonderful gift of “living water,” the opportunity for eternal life.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus is shown to be patient and considerate as He “stands at the door and knocks.” Never does He barge in uninvited. As we seek to follow His example, we should proceed in love and refrain from acting critically with regard to the nonbeliever’s lifestyle or past choices. These are areas the Holy Spirit will deal with once this person receives Christ.

Demonstrating the mercy and compassion of Jesus can accomplish two important goals: drawing a nonbeliever’s attention with unexpected love and kindness, and providing him with a glimpse of the acceptance that is available through Christ. Both of these objectives are supported by Scripture.

Colossians 4:5-6 encourages us to conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, letting our speech always be seasoned with grace so that we will know how to respond to each person. And John 6:37 can be used to provide the assurance that anyone who comes to Jesus will not be rejected or “cast out.”

An excellent way to demonstrate compassion is to share the story of our own conversion experience. Since many people struggle with feeling worthy of God’s love, they are eager to identify with another person’s shortcomings. Sharing how we realized the need for Christ in our own lives allows us to establish common ground. After all, no matter what language we speak, where we grew up, or what type of education we received, we are all in need of God’s forgiveness.

The apostle Paul certainly understood the power of personal testimony, as in 1 Timothy 1 he described his thankfulness to God for using him despite his sinful past: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (verses 12-13).

Sharing Effectively

Another important facet of sharing our faith is presenting the Gospel in a way that is both relevant and irresistible to the listener. Being an effective witness generally involves three things:

1. Listening to the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) Recognizing the Holy Spirit’s voice will enable us to act upon His promptings. Since waiting upon and submitting to God’s timing and plan is extremely important (Isaiah 55:8), we must listen carefully to Him while resisting our own urges to forge ahead or back away. The Holy Spirit will also impart to us the gift of discernment. This invaluable resource allows us to “tune in” to an individual’s spiritual and emotional condition, as well as to his or her receptiveness to the Gospel message. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

2. Knowing our audience. (1 Corinthians 9:22) In this Scripture passage, Paul explains his method of reaching the lost: “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” Though Paul was careful to remain obedient to the Lord, it appears that he took time to understand the culture and concerns of the people to whom he delivered the Gospel. Therefore, if we hope to reach the members of a particular social group (single parents, teens, the unchurched, followers of other religions), we must focus on relationship building. In addition, prayerfully studying the trends in our society will allow us to understand the specific struggles nonbelievers face. When we know our audience, we will be better equipped to present the Gospel to them in an effective way.

3. Recognizing our purpose. (1 Corinthians 3:7-9) Though it may be tempting to share everything we know about Christianity all at once, it is important to reveal truth in pieces that can be digested by the listener. This does not mean we are to hide any portion of the Gospel. Instead, we should speak in simple terms, and proceed with patience. For instance, God may be calling you to “plant seeds of truth,” with the intention of using someone else to “reap the harvest”—leading the person into a decision for Christ.

In his exceptional book on evangelism, Finding Common Ground,* author Tim Downs suggests that Christians should place equal importance on planters and harvesters. “What if the harvester, by elevating the importance of his own role, devalues the role of the sower?” he asks. The solution lies in our willingness to perform any act of evangelism that God calls us to do.

Sharing Truthfully

When we are faced with an opportunity to explain to someone how he or she can be “saved,” or born again through faith in Jesus Christ, it is extremely helpful to have an outline of scriptural support written down or memorized. Otherwise, we can be caught off guard, or end up in a precarious situation.

The good news is that this situation can be easily overcome by studying God’s Word daily. Contained within its pages are the answers to help you explain the love for Christ in your heart.

The Bible encourages us to study in order to present ourselves “approved to God . . . accurately handling the word of truth”(2 Timothy 2:15KJV). To carry out this command, we need to fill our hearts with the Word of God in preparation for evangelistic opportunities.

Below is a suggested outline for sharing the basic message of Christianity with another person. At the appropriate time, when the Holy Spirit leads you, use these key points to reach out in love.

An important final note on sharing truthfully: When we receive questions that surpass our knowledge, it is important to admit that we are unsure, as opposed to inventing a response. It is perfectly acceptable to stop and look up an answer in your Bible, or to defer a difficult question to someone with greater scriptural knowledge, like your pastor.

Of course, every evangelistic opportunity will be original because each person is unique, with different life experiences and needs. Therefore, even though there is but one Truth, there are many effective ways in which to share Him—Christ—with others. While we long for chances to guide nonbelievers into a relationship with Christ, there are ways in which we can testify of God’s love every day. Have you considered:

  • Passing along Scripture cards as means of encouragement?
  • Responding with love and assistance to co-workers or neighbors in times of death, illness, or disaster?
  • Sharing topical Christian books with friends who are experiencing marital difficulties, depression, addictions, or problems with children?
  • Inviting college students, teens, or young couples to join you at a church concert or worship service?
  • Starting a daytime Bible study to include retired neighbors and stay-at-home moms?

Now that you have been encouraged to share your faith, are you ready to get started? If the Enemy is still delivering messages of doubt and discouragement to your mind, hold fast to this promise: The Word of God will not come back to Him empty. (Isaiah 55:11) The Lord can use you—your personality, your experiences, and your gifts—to effectively reach others for Him. If you are ready to make a difference for God by sharing your faith, pray this prayer:

“Lord, I know You have called me to share with others the joy that comes from knowing You. Forgive me for the times I have been too busy, anxious, or scared to listen to Your voice. Please begin to show me through Your Holy Spirit how I can serve You by leading people into a growing relationship with Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Determining the meaning of Scripture is one of the most important tasks a  believer has in this life. God does not tell us that we must simply read the  Bible. We must study it and handle it correctly (2 Timothy  2:15). Studying the Scriptures is hard work. A cursory or brief scanning of  Scripture can sometimes yield very wrong conclusions. Therefore, it is crucial  to understand several principles for determining the correct meaning of  Scripture.

First, the Bible student must pray and ask the Holy Spirit to  impart understanding, for that is one of His functions. “But when he, the Spirit  of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own;  he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13). Just as the Holy  Spirit guided the apostles in the writing of the New Testament, He also guides  us in the understanding of Scripture. Remember, the Bible is God’s book, and we  need to ask Him what it means. If you are a Christian, the author of  Scripture—the Holy Spirit—dwells inside you, and He wants you to understand what  He wrote.

Second, we are not to pull a scripture out of the verses that  surround it and try to determine the meaning of the verse outside of the  context. We should always read the surrounding verses and chapters to discern  the context. While all of Scripture comes from God (2 Timothy  3:16; 2 Peter  1:21), God used men to write it down. These men had a theme in mind, a  purpose for writing, and a specific issue they were addressing. We should read  the background of the book of the Bible we are studying to find out who wrote  the book, to whom it was written, when it was written, and why it was written.  Also, we should take care to let the text speak for itself. Sometimes people  will assign their own meanings to words in order to get the interpretation they  desire.

Third, we must not attempt to be totally independent in our  studying of the Bible. It is arrogant to think that we cannot gain understanding  through the lifelong work of others who have studied Scripture. Some people, in  error, approach the Bible with the idea that they will depend on the Holy Spirit  alone and they will discover all the hidden truths of Scripture. Christ, in the  giving of the Holy Spirit, has given people with spiritual gifts to the body of  Christ. One of these spiritual gifts is that of teaching (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1  Corinthians 12:28). These teachers are given by the Lord to help us to  correctly understand and obey Scripture. It is always wise to study the Bible  with other believers, assisting each other in understanding and applying the  truth of God’s Word.

So, in summary, what is the proper way to study the  Bible? First, through prayer and humility, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to  give us understanding. Second, we should always study Scripture in its context,  recognizing that the Bible explains itself. Third, we should respect the efforts  of other Christians, past and present, who have also sought to properly study  the Bible. Remember, God is the author of the Bible, and He wants us to  understand it.

Applying the Bible is the duty of all Christians. If we don’t apply  it, the Bible becomes nothing more to us than a dry, tedious tome, an  impractical collection of old manuscripts. That’s why Paul says, “Whatever you  have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians  4:9). When we apply the Bible, God Himself will be with us.

The  first step toward applying God’s Word in our lives is reading it. There are  hundreds of Bible reading plans available on the web and through various  Christian ministries that we can use to familiarize ourselves with God’s Word.  Our goal in reading is to get to know God, to learn His ways and to understand  His purpose for this world and for us individually. In reading the Bible, we  will learn about God’s interactions with humanity throughout history, His plan  of redemption, His promises, and His character. We will see what the Christian  life looks like. The knowledge of God we glean from Scripture serves as an  invaluable foundation for applying the Bible’s principles for life.

Our  next goal is what the psalmist refers to as “hiding” God’s Word in our hearts.  He says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you”  (Psalm  119:11). The way we “hide” God’s Word in our hearts is by studying,  memorizing, and meditating on what we have first read. These four steps—read,  study, memorize, and meditate—make it possible to successfully apply the  Scriptures to our lives.

Study: While studying certainly involves  reading, reading is not the same as studying. To study God’s Word means that we  prayerfully devote time and attention to acquiring advanced knowledge on a  particular person, subject, theme, passage, or book of the Bible. A multitude of  study resources is available online, as well as in biblical commentaries or  published Bible studies that enable us to feast on the “meat” of God’s Word (Hebrews 5:12-14). We can  familiarize ourselves with these resources, then choose a topic, a passage, or a  book that piques our interests, and delve in.

Memorize: It is  impossible to apply what we cannot remember. If we are going to “hide” the Word  in our hearts, we have to first get it in there by means of memorization.  Memorizing Scripture produces within us a well from which we may continually  drink, especially at times when we are not able to read our Bibles. In the same  way that we store up money and other earthly possessions for future use, we  should “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul” (Deuteronomy 11:18,  KJV). Create a plan for the Scripture verses you would like to memorize each  week.

Meditate: Writer and philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “To  read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” We cannot afford to  “eat” God’s Word without “digesting” it. In the parable of the four soils (Matthew 13:3-9; cf. 18-23),  Jesus tells of a sower who goes out to sow seed in his field, only to find that  some seeds – the Word of God (Matthew  13:19) – had fallen on “rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and  immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun  rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away”  (13:5-6). This, Jesus says, is the person in whom the Word is sown but does not  take root (13:20-21).

Psalm 1:2 says  that the man who meditates on God’s Word is blessed. Donald S. Whitney, in his  classic work Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, writes, “The  tree of your spiritual life thrives best with meditation because it helps you  absorb the water of God’s Word (Ephesians  5:26). Merely hearing or reading the Bible, for example, can be like a short  rainfall on hard ground. Regardless of the amount or intensity of the rain, most  runs off and little sinks in. Meditation opens the soil of the soul and lets the  water of God’s Word percolate in deeply. The result is an extraordinary  fruitfulness and spiritual prosperity” (pp. 49-50).

If we desire for the  Word to “take root” in our lives so that we produce a harvest that pleases God  (Matthew  13:23), we must ponder, reflect, and meditate on what we read and study in  the Bible. As we meditate, we can ask ourselves some questions:

1. What  does this passage teach me about God?
2. What does this passage teach me  about the church?
3. What does this passage teach me about the world?
4.  What does this passage teach me about myself?  About my own desires and  motives?
5. Does this passage require that I take action?  If so, what  action should I take?
6. What do I need to confess and/or repent of?
7.  What have I learned from this passage that will help me to focus on God and  strive for His glory?

Apply: The degree to which we study,  memorize, and meditate on God’s Word is the degree to which we understand how it  applies to our lives. But understanding how the Word applies is not  enough; we must actually apply it (James 1:22).  “Application” implies action, and obedient action is the final step in causing  God’s Word to come to life in our lives. The application of Scripture enforces  and further enlightens our study, and it also serves to sharpen our discernment,  helping us to better distinguish between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

As a  final word, it is important to note that we are not alone in trying to  understand and apply God’s Word to our lives. God has filled us with His Spirit  (John  14:16-17) who speaks to us, leading and guiding us into all truth (John 16:13). For this reason, Paul instructs believers to  “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians  5:16), for He is a very present Help in our time of need (Psalm 46:1)! The Spirit will faithfully guide us into the  will of God, always causing us to do what is right (Ezekiel  36:26-28; Philippians  2:13). Who better to teach how to live according to all that is written in  the Bible than the One who inspired the Bible to begin with—the Holy Spirit  Himself? Therefore, let us do our part by hiding the Word in our hearts and  obeying the Holy Spirit as He draws that Word out of us.