“Not Neglect So Great a Salvation” By Using Our Spiritual Tools

do & teachFor those of us following a one-year Bible-reading program, we have just two days to go to finish (today is Dec. 30)!  On a chronological program, just Rev. 12 to 22 to finish reading the Bible cover to cover!

Several times during the year, I’d get two or three days behind and have to read about 10 chapters to catch up.  Man, what am I doing neglecting my daily Bible study! It always makes me think of Heb. 2:3.  Curry, what are you doing neglecting so great a salvation!

toolboxWe must not neglect using the

Five spiritual tools in our Christian toolbox:

Bible study—do regularly each day.  Give God your best time.  Put God first in all aspects of your life if you care enough to control the “cares of this world” (Matt. 13:22).   We must eat our daily bread (Matt. 4:4).

Prayer—Enhances if you combine with Bible study.  Ask God for understanding of what you will study and commit to putting it into practice (Psa. 111:10).   So few realize this key principle of the Bible:  When you understand God wants you to do something, you must obediently begin doing it to really come to understand!  And the corollary:  If you stop doing something you once faithfully did and understood, in time you will forget everything.

Talk to God in prayer and He talks back to you from His Word.  If not sure where to turn in the Bible, no need to stall in frustration:  if it’s the 30th of the month, read Psalm 30—and way to go!—even 60, 90, 120 and 150.  Do that pattern each day and you’ll read all the Psalms each month!

Give God thanks for a new day as you’re waking up in bed.  End your day with prayer and you’ll likely sleep better because God gives to His beloved sleep (Psa. 127:2), probably much better than melatonin.  Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17)—being in an attitude of prayer all day long.  But two of God’s greatest servants—David and Daniel—set the example of praying three times a day (Psa. 55:17, Dan. 6:10).

Effective Bible prayers have one common ingredient.  Follow this link to make sure you are taking advantage of it!

Fasting—If there is a power tool, this is it!  Some things “come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).  Jesus said “when you fast” but didn’t say when.  Fasting is commanded only once a year on the Day of Atonement.   After 48 years in the Church of God, the consensus from ministers and faithful brethren was that a good guideline is:  once a month.   An ideal formula is one hour prayer, one hour Bible study, one hour meditation—repeat.  But don’t ever become robotic or clock-bound in place of being a child of God sharing precious time with your Father and Older Brother!

Meditation—This is not chants, mantras, or twirling beads.  This is focused thinking about spiritual matters or a Bible topic.  David said he meditated “all the day” on God’s law—obviously not about how it was supposedly done away! (Psa. 119:97)—and about God’s majesty and wondrous works (Psa. 145:5).

Regular fellowship—“Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25 New Living Translation).

Sorry, the Bible does not support “I hate organized religion!”   There might be valid reasons why you have to stay home such as health, but church services via the Internet cannot remotely compare with fellowshipping together in person.

geese flyingAnd God expects more of us than to just show up and warm a seat.  “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (v. 24).  Ask God to guide who you talk to and inspire you to say what they need.

When I think about not neglecting so great a salvation

I think first about making sure to use these five tools in our Christian toolbox “left we drift away” (Heb. 2:1).

When I was about 10 years old, at Blue Lakes north of Las Animas, Colorado, floating in an inner tube safely near shore, suddenly the wind came up and I just drifted farther and farther from shore!   I knew how to swim but I was afraid of deep water.  My double-minded paralysis left me drifting out to waves getting bigger every second!  My Dad rescued me, roaring out to me in our power boat, plucking me from the inner tube and reminding me of how God the Father rescues us!

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it”—George Orwell.  Drifting is one of the

Seven Ds in Hebrews

The other six are departing (3:12); diligent (4:11); dull of hearing (5:11); despising truth (10:26); draws back (10:38); and discouraged (12:5).

It’s thrilling in our Bible study

Temptation Adwhen we suddenly see new light on an old scripture!

With Heb. 2:3 I always focused on the part about not neglecting.  But in part two we’ll see that the emphasis should be on:  SO GREAT A SALVATION!  

You won’t have so much trouble fighting not to neglect so great a salvation if you see what a great salvation is offered you!

new map 88 countries

 

 

Four Years as a Blog!

Shall We Go Another Year?

It makes you think when you ring in another year with a blog.  After 295 posts, is there anything left to say about building the Family of God?

Yes, because we all should keep learning and growing.  After 48 years of learning God’s way from the Bible, it seems like there’s more I don’t know than early on when I knew everything.   And I keep forgetting so much that I need to restudy.

You find out how much you don’t know when you try to teach others.

Thanks so much for shares.   You probably don’t realize it but you have a vital part in God granting readers in 88 countries (Matt. 24:14, 28:18-20).  Note the spots on the world map below where there are no red pins yet.

Shall we go another year?  You, as a cherished reader, have a big say in that!

new map 88 countries

How to Solve a Celebrity Cipher

Let’s solve one here together so you see exactly how to do it!

Have you tried to solve a Celebrity Cipher, a common newspaper puzzle featuring a quote from a celebrity, and just given up!  For years I couldn’t see how in the world anybody could figure it out!   I’d never get past the given clue.

Now I have fun solving each day’s cipher.  So can you!

A lot of How-to’s tell you

♦   Do them in pencil and do a lot of guessing.   I do them in ink and rarely scratch out.
♦   Count letters and memorize which letters are most likely to be used in various combinations.  For example, here’s the frequency of use for the alphabet:   E, T, A, O, I, N, S, H, R, D, L, U, C, W, M, F, Y, G, P, B, V, K, J, X, Q, Z.   It doesn’t hurt to know this, but I seldom have to call upon it.

Let’s solve a celebrity cipher right now together to show you how to do it!

Here’s a typical sample.  Now don’t run scared—follow the simple steps below the cipher.   First print this out [such as copy to Word and print] so you can do it with me now.

Celebrity Cipher

  1.  Always start with TODAY’S CLUE:  C = Y.  This clue is often crucial to solving the cipher—usually a letter you would least likely figure out.   This one letter might tip you off what the whole word is!  Right away it tells me the first word is likely either WHY or ANY.  It’s not likely WHY because there’s no question mark, so you’re not really guessing to make OTC = ANY.   Anytime you figure out letters, fill in those letters throughout the cipher.  Be a careful scribe because if you make an error, it can really throw you off later!  Watch your handwriting for the same reason!
  2. Scan for a one-letter word.  This O will either be A or I.  Rather than guess it’s more likely A than I based on word frequency, just look at the other O‘s.  The first word isn’t likely I_Y [IVY, ICY] so O = A and confirms that the first word is ANY like you already deduced!   Now you can see that OKW = AND because it can’t be ANY which is already taken.
  3. Scan for contractions and note how many letters total and how many letters after the apostrophe.  An apostrophe will be followed by S, T, D, M, LL or RE.  Since K=N, rather than needing to know all contractions and their frequencies of use, you can deduce that this one is ISN’T, CAN’T, DON’T or WON’T.  Patience, no need to guess yet!
  4. At this point you often hit a “What do I do now?” feeling.   One rule to know is that no letter can be itself—these are called substitution ciphers.
  5. MK = _N and it is either IN or ON because O was A.   It is apparent from considering the other M‘s that I is the right one.  This results in MUK’R = ISN’T with U = S.  Now you see that the first name is likely either SAM or SAL.  The only SAL I know is Sal Mineo, and the last name isn’t that.  Secondly, go with M because FMJ can hardly be _IL and is likely HIM and that makes FOU = HAS.  Everything is fitting with M rather than L.   While solving a cipher, your “guesses” must fit context and sentence structure.   
  6. Now we make our breakthrough!  Note the long word MKRGVGURGW which is already INT_ _ _ST_D.  This has three G‘s but before you bother running odds for possible combos, you can deduce the T_D will be TED and MKRGVGURGW = INTERESTED.  So OVG = ARE.
  7. At this point words are filling in, and I can perceive the last  name is ending in SON.  It can’t be SEN or SIN because we already used those letters.  And, though I don’t know who he is, I’ve heard of SAM LEVENSON.
  8. So PFD = WHOYDDV = POOR, since there are no MOORs being discussed!  So YOVGKRU = PARENTS and LMW = KID.
  9. TDDLU becomes either LOOKS or the more obvious in context BOOKS that PARENTS would give a KID.  Well, some would give LOOKS but we already had L.  So TDDLU = BOOKS.
  10. To fit in context, FDSUGBSX = HOUSEFUL.
  11. Solved!

    So Sam Levinson says “Any kid who has two parents who are interested in him and has a houseful of books isn’t poor.”

    Follow these same easy steps and strategies to solve Celebrity Ciphers!  See “How to Solve a Difficult Celebrity Cipher”

new map 88 countries