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Christian Living

Immerse Yourself in the Bible

Meditate On God’s Word by Reading a Passage Over and Over

I advocate reading the Bible every day. To make the most out of it requires a plan, such as reading through the Bible in the year. I do this often, but sometimes I want to slow down and focus on a specific text. It’s an issue of quantity versus quality.

To meditate on God’s Word requires taking time and pursuing a quality approach over a quantity mindset. One way to do this is to read a passage over and over. This can occur in one sitting, or, even better, over multiple days. This is how we can immerse ourselves in the Bible.

1 John

I’ve been doing this with the book of 1 John for the past few weeks. Each time I go through John’s letter, I gain new insight. Often, I see something that seems so obvious and wonder why I never noticed it before. Such is the case with immersing myself in 1 John.

First John is a delightful book in the Bible that most people don't give enough attention to. Click To Tweet

So many people revere the gospel of John, and I’m surprised their affection for the apostle’s words don’t carry over to his three letters in the Bible. I hope to change that.

First John, I’m discovering, is a delightful book that most people don’t give enough attention to. It has many parallels with the gospel of John, which I covered in my book Living Water.

Love One Another

Now I’m working on the follow-up book, Love One Another, that covers 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. I’m really excited about the insights I’m seeing and can’t wait to share them with you.

As I immerse myself in the Bible—as I immerse myself in this passage of Scripture—I rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance, which is another technique to meditate on the Bible.

I have my outline done for the book and have begun writing. You can follow my progress on my Coming Soon page. And, of course, once I publish the book, you’ll find it on my Books page. Look for Love One Another.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Meditating on God’s Word

Our Actions Are Birthed Through Our Thoughts

It’s essential to read the Bible, but beyond that we should also study Scripture. Even more important, however, is meditating on God’s Word. This is because when we meditate on what the Bible says, it changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

Read the Bible

As followers of Jesus, we learn more about him and how to be his disciples through Scripture. By reading the Bible we get a glimpse into the life of Jesus to see what he said and what he did. Then we can emulate his actions and obey his teachings to become more Christlike.

Study Scripture

Reading the Bible is a great start. I do it every day and encourage everyone to do with as well. Yet beyond reading God’s holy word is to examine it. We should study Scripture.

In the Old Testament we see Ezra devoting himself to studying the law, that is the Jewish Scripture—the Old Testament of the Bible—specifically the Torah, the first five books of the Bible (Ezra 7:10).

In the New Testament, Jesus commends the Jews for their diligent study of the scriptures, which testify about him (John 5:39). Today we have both the Old and New Testaments for us to read and study so we can learn more about Jesus—and about God.

Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do. Click To Tweet

Meditate on God’s Word

Studying scripture is a rewarding endeavor, but we must make sure we don’t do it to amass knowledge but to inform our understanding of God. Paul warns the church in Corinth to pursue love over knowledge, saying that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Though the context of Paul’s instruction is about food sacrificed to idols, his warning to not allow ourselves to become proud over our knowledge is a warning we should all heed. We don’t want to take pride in our knowledge about the Bible, to become puffed up by what we know.

Instead, we should take the next step and meditate on it. We should hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). We do this as we read, study, and meditate on the Bible.

Studying Scripture puts the Bible’s words in our minds; meditating on God’s Word puts it in our hearts. This is where it needs to be; this is where it must be if we are to apply what we read in the Bible to what we do and say.

Drive Our Actions

As we meditate on the Bible—as we hide God’s Word in our hearts—the desired outcome is that we won’t sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Though meditating on God’s Word won’t make us sinless, it will help us to sin less.

This is because what we put into our minds influences what comes out of our mouths and what our body does. Meditating on God’s Word changes what we think about, which affects what we do.

The old computer saying is GIGO—garbage in garbage out. What we enter into a computer is what we can expect to get out of it.

The same is true in our lives. If we fill our minds with junk—with the thoughts of the world, evil, and ideas contrary to the Word of God—that’s what we can expect our minds and our bodies to produce.

Yet if we fill our mind with the thoughts of God, by meditating on God’s Word, we can expect a positive and God-honoring result.

May it be so.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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New Book: Dr. Luke

(Dear Theophilus series, books 1–2)

Want to learn more about the Gospel of Luke? Seek insights from the book of Acts?

Doctor Luke wrote the two powerful New Testament books of Luke and Acts, giving us a compelling one-two punch into better understanding the life of Jesus and the work of his followers.

Grow in your faith and deepen your understanding of Jesus and his church from these two amazing books in this special box set.

In Dr Luke, lifetime student of the Bible and founder of the website ABibleADay, Peter DeHaan, digs deep into the beloved Gospel of Luke to unearth 40 thought-provoking gems that can inform your beliefs and transform your life. Then build on that foundation by exploring 40 more jewels from the book of Acts.

Part devotional. Part Bible study. Life changing. No fluff.

In this book, you’ll discover:

  • The way Luke viewed God, and how his view might change your view
  • The people who angered Jesus the most, why they frustrated him, and how this applies to us today
  • The importance of community and getting along
  • The example to minister to each other, serve as priests, and tell others about Jesus
  • The model of sharing life with other believers

In Dr. Luke you’ll encounter eye-opening insights from passages you thought were familiar. Find fresh truths as you gain a broader appreciation of Luke’s biography of Jesus and the account of his followers as they formed the Christian church.

Ideal for both individual or group study, this book includes scripture references and questions inviting readers to go deeper.

Get the Dr Luke book today to expand your understanding of Jesus and his church.

[This was first published as Dear Theophilus Box Set, Dr. Luke.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Start Each Day with God

Make Spending Time with the Almighty a Priority

God deserves our best, not whatever’s left over at the end of the day—if anything. This may be why he told the Israelites to give to him their first fruits, the first of their harvest (Exodus 23:16). That’s why we should start each day with God, with a focus on our Lord.

Here are some ideas to start each day with God.

Seek Him Before You Get Up

Before I leave my bed each morning, I turn my focus to God. I thank him for what happened yesterday, for the sleep that rejuvenated me, and the potential of the day ahead. I begin my day with a focus on him, which sets the foundation for what happens next.

Give Him Your Day and Invite Him into It

Before I arise, I thrust my arms into the air in a physical display of worship, giving the Almighty my day and inviting him into it. And the days when this feels the most difficult to do are the days when I need it the most.

Thoughts of trying to navigate the day without my Lord’s help are foolish.

Morning Prayers

At this point I’ve thanked God and prayed for my day. I’m up and have used the mindless task of shaving to shake the slumber from my soul. I’ve done some basic exercises and am (mostly) alert.

I now ask for God’s blessings on my family, for future generations of my family, and those closest to me. This prepares me for what follows.

Read and Study His Word

Next, I spent time reading and studying his Word. Sometimes this is part of a regular reading plan. I often make notes about key insights the Holy Spirit reveals to me from that passage. Though most people do this in a journal, I do it on my computer, organizing my observations by book, chapter, and verse. This way I can merge my thoughts for the day with observations from prior readings.

Other times my Bible reading and studying is in preparation for the book I’ll be working on that day. If I intend to write about a certain passage, I want to first fix my thoughts on it and meditate on it.

I’ve been doing morning Bible reading the longest and it’s ingrained into my day. It’s a lifelong habit that I formed. Only rarely do events distract me from it. I invest about fifteen minutes—though sometimes more—each morning focusing on Scripture.

This action is essential for me to best start my day with God.

Then Take Him Throughout Your Day

With these prerequisites complete, I feel ready to move into my plans for the day. But when I skimp on them, it’s not the best way to start each day with God.

End Your Day with Reflection and Thanksgiving

Though the focus of this post is about how we start each day with God, in some respects this effort begins the night before on how we end each day.

As I snuggle into bed my goal is to thank God for the day and what he enabled me to do. I pray for his blessing on my sleep and that even in my dreams I will hold every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is what I struggle with the most. This isn’t because of a lack of will, but because some nights I fall asleep before I can take this step, or I slip into slumber halfway through.

In case I missed doing this or fell short, that’s why I try to begin the next day by thanking God for the prior one.

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Click To Tweet

Start Each Day with God

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Though I don’t always do this as fully as I’d like to, this is how I try to start each day with God.

I pray that you have a regular rhythm for your day that begins with and focuses on our Lord. And if not, use these ideas to encourage you to move forward and place your focus on the Almighty as you begin each day.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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For Unto Us

40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah

In a world of distractions, this devotional Bible study on Isaiah reminds us where to put our focus and what this faithful prophet can teach us.

Isaiah’s powerful words in the Old Testament look forward to a time when the Messiah will come, the much-anticipated king who will rule over Israel.

Although Isaiah’s key message was directed toward the Israelites, his words still bring hope and comfort to a weary world today. For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that Jesus not only came to dwell among us, but is still our wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, and prince of peace.

For Unto Us offers forty days of practical teaching and inspirational encouragement as we study the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah and their connection to Jesus and how we live today.

This devotional Bible study offers a compelling look at Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Messiah—the promised one of Israel who brings hope and peace.

For Unto Us will help you to:

  • hold on to a strong faith when times are uncertain
  • foster a sense of awe of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished
  • pursue justice for the vulnerable
  • embrace the coming savior who will welcome all people of all nations
  • inform our life today for a better tomorrow

For Unto Us gives accessible and no-nonsense insights into God’s most prolific prophet. You’ll learn how to connect his writing to your life and apply his words to your world today. With practical application questions and additional resources, you’ll discover an amazing prophet whose words can still inspire us.

For Unto Us is a great resource for those searching for an accessible and clear devotional on Isaiah that won’t overwhelm. Open the pages of this book, and uncover the truths of Scripture that bring comfort and hope each day. 

Get your copy of For Unto Us today.

[For Unto Us was originally published at Dear Theophilus, Isaiah.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

What Is Sexual Immorality?

The Bible Calls Us to Live a Life of Purity and Avoid Being Sexually Immoral

In studying Revelation for my upcoming book, A New Heaven and a New Earth, two recurring phrases are sexual immorality and sexually immoral. The Bible decries this is something to avoid. But that begs the question: what is sexual immorality?

No Moral Absolutes?

The world teaches us that there are no moral absolutes. It asserts that it’s up to each person to determine what is morally right for them. This sounds nice; it’s accommodating, but remember what the Bible says in Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes? That is, everyone did as they saw fit (Judges 17:6).

This attitude of each person choosing their own moral path separated them from God, and they fell victim to a series of oppressors as a result. We can’t define what morality means at an individual level and expect our determination to please God.

Since it’s not going to work to decide for ourselves what it means to be sexually immoral, let’s look at what the Bible has to say.

Sexual Immorality in the Old Testament

Though we might assume this is an Old Testament concept, warnings about sexual immorality occur mostly in the New Testament.

There is one lone verse in the Old Testament about sexual immorality. You may guess it’s in reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, but it’s not. Ezekiel says that Sodom’s sin was their failure to help the poor and needy, Ezekiel 16:49. He doesn’t mention their sexual practices.

The one Old Testament reference to sexual immorality occurs when the men of Israel engage in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who use sex to entice the men to worshipping their gods instead of the true God. The Lord Almighty is not pleased (Numbers 25:1-3).

This doesn’t mean that the Old Testament is silent on the concept of sexual purity. The law of Moses repeatedly lists—with squirm-producing unease—the relatives who people can’t have sexual relationships with (Leviticus 18:6-23). I’d have been much more comfortable with Moses simply saying to not have sex with a close relative and left it at that.

Sexual Immorality in the New Testament

In the New Testament, Jesus warns against sexual immorality, Luke covers it in the Book of Acts, and Paul writes about it to the various churches—especially the Corinthians. And John’s epic end-time vision addresses sexual immorality too, making it abundantly clear that it’s something we should avoid.

What Does the Bible Say?

In the NIV, Scripture prohibits adultery (sex between a married person and someone other than their spouse), mentioning it forty-five times. The Bible decries prostitution (sex for money or personal gain), mentioning it thirty-six times, with prostitute showing up seventy-four more times. Rape (forced or nonconsensual sex) appears nine times. The evils of incest (sex between closely related relatives) is directly mentioned once, but the concept shows up repeatedly.

Though not mentioned in the NIV, the KJV speaks against fornication (sex between unmarried people) thirty-five times.

Lest there be any doubt, these two hundred various mentions of sexual conduct never occur in a positive manner in Scripture. We can, therefore, use these biblical passages to show us what it means to be sexually immoral.

Sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage. Click To Tweet

It’s clear from all these verses that sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage.

If our determination of sexuality doesn’t align with what the Bible teaches, then we’re out of step with what the Word of God proclaims and what God desires for us.

Even if society applauds us for doing so, God does not. In the end, it’s God’s opinion that matters, not the world’s.

What About Matters of Conscience?

The Bible makes it clear about what sexual behavior is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Paul, however, does make an allowance for conscience, but it may not be what you think.

Paul allows believers to pursue an even higher standard. Abstinence. Paul models this and recommends it as an ideal, but he doesn’t command it. He makes sure we realize it’s optional (1 Corinthians 7:1-7).

Given All This, What Is Sexual Immorality?

In the delusion of an anything-goes worldly mentality, as followers of Jesus we should adhere to the biblical teaching that sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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New Book: That You May Know

That You May Know: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke

Do you want to experience Jesus in an extraordinary way?

Immerse yourself in a forty-day devotional Bible study on the Gospel of Luke that will give you a life-changing perspective of Jesus. As an eyewitness to Christ, Luke’s biography of Jesus is the longest book in the New Testament. But even more significant is his contribution to our faith and understanding of Jesus.

Through this study, you’re invited to witness the beauty of Jesus’s heart as you learn how to live out your faith in meaningful ways.

Each day includes a brief, compelling devotional, challenging application questions, and additional Bible passages to study.

By savoring the timeless truths of Jesus through forty days of devotions, you’ll discover how the impact of Jesus’s life radically transformed countless hearts and lives. Use it for your personal study or with a small group, and see Luke’s Gospel from a renewed perspective.

Whether you’re a new believer or a seasoned follower of Christ, That You May Know has so much to teach us about Jesus’s life and sacrifice. Now you can understand these encouraging truths in a way that’s clear, concise, and challenging.

That You May Know will help you:

  • Discover 40 key passages that will shape your faith
  • Learn how to live out your faith in everyday life
  • Draw closer to God and experience renewed hope
  • Gain a fresh perspective on the life of Christ
  • Discover how Jesus transforms your life today

Renew your perspective of God’s extravagant grace by diving into this powerful devotional book that will help you see Jesus with renewed eyes and discover what it means to follow him.

Rediscover how the stories of Jesus impact you today, so that you may know the certainty of Christ’s love and sacrifice for you.

Get your copy of That You May Know and gain a fresh perspective on Jesus’s life so you can face each day encouraged in your faith.

[That You May Know was first published as Dear Theophilus.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Listen and Obey

Be Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only

I write a lot about the importance of reading Scripture and studying God’s Word. But reading and studying the Bible is not enough. We must apply what the Bible teaches to our daily lives for it to matter, for it to change us and impact the world. We must listen and obey what Scripture teaches.

If we hear the Word of God and don’t apply it to our lives, we’re deluding ourselves. Paul, a most knowledgeable man himself, writes to the church in Corinth that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Today’s church focuses on knowledge and rarely mentions putting that knowledge into action. Often this knowledge righty focuses on the Bible, but if we don’t do what it says, if we don’t obey, it accomplishes nothing. Instead, through our knowledge, we become puffed up people.

James writes that merely listening to the Word of God isn’t enough. If we only listen, we deceive ourselves. His prescription is clear: do with it says (James 1:22). The requirement is obedience. Action should be the outcome of our Bible study.

Over the years, many people have told me they want to join a good Bible study. That’s a God-honoring desire, yet for most of these folks, they think that merely reading and studying and talking about Scripture is enough. They don’t realize that they must listen and obey.

Their Bible study, they reason, will honor God. And it will, to some extent. But what God wants us to do is to read his word and apply it to our daily living. He wants changed lives more so than informed minds.

Read God’s Word and then do it. Listen and obey. Click To Tweet

We can read about loving our neighbor, but until we actually do it, what does it matter? If we know we need to love others and don’t follow through, what good is that to them? And what good is it to us? Knowing and doing are two different things.

I think it was Joyce Meyer who said that most Christians already know more Bible than they’re putting into practice.

Don’t be one of those Christians. Read God’s Word and then do it. Listen and obey.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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New Book: Beyond Psalm 150

Discover More Sacred Songs of Praise, Petition, and Lament throughout the Bible

The Psalms capture our emotions in a unique way, but they’re not limited to one book of the Bible. Study more sacred songs that appear from Exodus to Revelation.

Explore the beauty and delight of the psalms that appear throughout the Bible. You’ll learn about songs of lament and praise as you immerse yourself in the lesser-known poems of Scripture, written by people of faith, like Moses, Esther, Mary, and more.

Biblical psalms recognize what God has done throughout the history of his people. Beyond Psalm 150 is a treasure that helps you to uncover these awe-inspiring songs of worship and praise that often get missed in the study of God’s Word.

Both a devotional and a Bible study, Beyond Psalm 150 gathers these buried passages to make it easy to immerse yourself in their themes, meaning, and poetic style.

Each psalm in this book includes a reflection, a thought-provoking question, and a blessing, giving you the chance to understand and appreciate these expressions of worship in a fresh, new way.

In Beyond Psalm 150, you’ll:

  • Discover sixty-seven songs of worship that don’t appear in the book of Psalms
  • Explore how you can apply these words to your life today
  • Develop insights about each psalm in the context of the story
  • Dive deeper into the Word to better understand each song
  • Explore Biblical worship songs throughout the Old and New Testament

Beyond Psalm 150 will help you gain a greater appreciation for the God who holds history in his hands and how he has shaped the lives of people just like us.

Peter DeHaan, PhD, is an author of over 18 devotionals, biblical-based studies, and church resources. He yearns for Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

If you desire to deepen your faith and embrace the variety of psalms scattered across the pages of the Bible, then dive into Beyond Psalm 150.

Perfect for your personal study time or small group, Beyond Psalm 150 will help you to understand these beautiful songs of praise as you worship a mighty God.

Read Beyond Psalm 150 and enhance your understanding of the psalms throughout God’s Word.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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