If I Could Only Share One Message—Join the Whole Bible Reading Challenge

Several years ago, I dreamt I’d been given 4 hours to live.

I felt healthy in my dream. Nevertheless, the doctors doomed me to only four more hours of life.  

I agonized over how to spend
those last hours.

I wanted to enjoy my husband
and our three young children, and all my family and friends. But there were
things I needed my children to know before I died. Things that would impact
them for the rest of their lives. For eternity.

If I just told my kids what they needed to remember forever, they’d forget. They were too young to even understand. I had to write it all down.

The clock ticked away my
precious moments as I desperately scribbled into a notebook.

There’s
too much! I don’t have enough time!

And then I woke up.

Whew!


After I woke from that
nightmare, the question continued to nag me. What would I do if I only had four
hours left to live?

And then a new question boggled my mind:

What if I could only share ONE message? What would it be? 


One Message

After more than a half-century of living, I now know what my one message is—and will always be:

Know the Word

Know the Word of God because you’ll never truly know the God of the Word apart from the Word of God.


Know the Word of God because you’ll never truly know the God of the Word apart from the Word of God.

The Knowledge of God

The late pastor and theologian AW Tozer wisely said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Where we get the information that forms our thoughts about God makes all the difference.

Most professing Christians read a verse or a chapter from the Bible here and there, now and then. Best source. Weak commitment.

They depend on getting the majority of their knowledge of God by attending church each week. Unfortunately, too often pastors do little more than give a motivational message with a verse or two scattered throughout.

Even the best pastor pales in comparison to the full Word of God.

A shallow knowledge of God may hold us if we lose a good parking spot, but it will likely fail us if we lose our health. Or a loved one. And when we stand before God on Judgement Day.

We need to learn everything we can about God from God. And He has spoken to us through His Word.

Are we listening?


Join the Whole Bible Reading Challenge

The Bible is the final word we need for everything.

Whether you read it in one year or two. Or even three. Just read it, and read it all.

Reading the whole Bible is the best New Year’s Resolution anyone can make.

Plenty of reading plans abound to help. Choose one from the many listed below:

Perhaps you’d like to start with a free 30-Day Reading Challenge. Revive Our Hearts is working through the Book of Acts together for the month of January. Sign up here.

But don’t stop at just reading
Acts. Keep reading. You only have 65 more books of the Bible to go. (Don’t
panic. A couple are only one chapter long.)

No matter how you get from Genesis to Revelation, remember this:

The goal isn’t for us to conquer the Bible. It’s to let the Bible conquer us.


But What If You’re Not a Christian?

Maybe you’re not a Christian.
Read the Bible anyway.

It’s the best-selling book in
history. That alone makes it worth reading.

But more importantly, one day you’re going to stand before God and face judgment for your conviction that Christianity isn’t true and that Jesus isn’t the only way to heaven.  

You owe it to yourself to
read the whole Bible and consider whether your conviction is actually worth
holding.

With your eternity on the line, surely you want to make an informed decision. You can make a gut reaction without reading the whole Bible, but not a properly informed decision.


Choices. Choices.

We make a lot of choices over the course of our lives. The most dangerous one we can make isn’t to swim with alligators or venture down hard wooden stairs in slick slippers. It’s to ignore the Bible.  

Don’t ignore the Bible. Join me in the Whole Bible Reading Challenge!

Who’s in?




How to Inspire a Love for the Bible


How to Inspire A Love for the Bible by Jean Wilund via ReviveOurHearts.com

Has this ever happened to you?

You snap the lid on your travel coffee mug, snatch your car keys off the counter, and catch a glimpse of your Bible where it’s rested untouched since church on Sunday—five days ago. Your shoulders sag under the weight of guilt as you head out the door. Again. This week was supposed to be different. You promised yourself.

This experience may be all too familiar, but even if the scenario is foreign to you, you’ll probably find women in your church who relate to this frustration—and feel powerless to change. Your women’s ministry team can offer them hope that studying God’s Word isn’t destined to remain a nagging item on their to-do list. It can become a treasured habit.

Three Ways to Help Women Love Studying the Bible

1. Love the Bible Yourself

I wish I loved to cook, but I’d rather scrub the toilet. My mother wasn’t a fan of the kitchen either. When my children were young, I cooked every day, more out of a conviction not to starve my husband or children rather than a desire to create delectable culinary experiences. I worried that my unenthusiastic example would lead my children to also grow up dreading the three words I feared most: what’s for dinner?

Then one of my daughters went off to college and roomed with a girl who loved to cook. Soon her interest in the kitchen grew. By the time she graduated, she enjoyed binge-watching Food Network and whipping out dishes flavored with ingredients I can’t pronounce.

Similarly, I used to wish I loved studying the Bible, but I didn’t. I read it more out of a sense of duty than desire. Then one Saturday morning, a lady came to our church to teach our women the Bible. Scripture dripped from her lips like honey. She didn’t quote it like a well-schooled academic. Instead, she recited it from memory as if recalling a favorite day at the beach or seeing a Monet for the first time. Her wonder over God’s Word and the powerful truths it revealed about Jesus flavored everything she said and did.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.


How to Inspire A Love for the Bible by Jean Wilund via ReviveOurHearts.com




Palm Sunday: Jesus, Our Passover Lamb, & His Triumphal Entry

Happy Palm Sunday! Join me here every day this week of Easter as we follow the footsteps of Jesus to the cross and to His resurrection. Today I read from Matthew 21:1-11. Also, check out Exodus 11-12 to read about the Passover Lamb. Jesus is our Passover Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world. (That's from John 1:29) www.JeanWilund.com

Happy Palm Sunday!

Join me here every day this wonderful Easter week as we follow the footsteps of Jesus to the cross and to His resurrection.

Today I read from Matthew 21:1-11 about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem for the Passover.

Check out Exodus 11-12 to learn more about Passover.

Jesus is our Passover Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world. (That’s from John 1:29)

Jesus didn’t ride into Jerusalem on a war stallion as a King ready for battle but on the colt of a donkey as the King of Peace.

Through Jesus, we find peace with God when we trust in Jesus and in His finished work on the cross for our salvation from sin.

Through God’s indwelling Spirit, Christians enjoy the peace of God.

Join me each day this week to follow the footsteps of Jesus to the cross.




The Cure for Your Anemic Christian Life ~ You Need the Whole Bible

What if a doctor could order lab tests to assess our spiritual health?

Can’t you hear him now?

“I’ll send your blood tests off to the lab and get a full report on your spiritual health by next week. See the receptionist on your way out to make your follow-up appointment.”

What
Would Your Test Results Reveal?

Many years ago my spiritual health test results would’ve come back positive. Or is it negative? Either way, I’m positive my Christian life had negative issues I was incapable of fixing.

Even though I was active in a great church and loved God, something was clearly off.

As a Christian, I didn’t belong to the world, but I sure looked like it.  Fear, frustration, and pride gripped me just as much as it gripped my non-Christian friends.

No matter how hard I focused on being a good Christian, defeating fear, overcoming frustration, and destroying my pride in a single bound, I failed. Again and again.

“911. Can I Help You?”

A life of constant failure exhausted me. Confusion engulfed me. And, frankly, the Christian life began to bore me.

Help, 911!

What kind of Savior could Christ be if He couldn’t save me from more than hell? If He couldn’t save me from fear, frustration, and pride, how powerful could He really be?

But if He could save me from them, why hadn’t He?

How could the God who created this stunning universe also create such a boring religion? Surely He didn’t. But if not, then why did I find Christianity lackluster and draining?

Something was wrong with either God or with me. One of us needed help. Want to venture a guess who?

I prayed and poured out my struggle, and God answered. But He didn’t order tests. He ordered surgery — Hebrews 4:12 surgery.

The Cure for Your Anemic Christian Life: You Need the Whole Bible (via www.JeanWilund.com)

Biblical Surgery

That day I read the Bible differently than I ever had. Before, I’d treated it as a resource for How to Live the Good Christian Life rather than as the living Word of God able to surgically transform my heart and mind.

This time, when I opened the Bible, I flipped to the book of Genesis and set out to find only one thing — God. I looked for God on every page.

As I noticed God’s character and His ways on each page, His truth cut into my heart and mind. And it began to extract lies I’d believed, such as:

Lie #1: Sure, God loves you because you’re good enough and special enough. But I’m not.

God’s Word showed me that His love for me (for us) is based on His character and His choice to set His love upon us, not on who we are or our worth or deeds.

It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers…
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 ESV

We don’t deserve God’s love. Nevertheless, He chose to give it. We don’t have to earn His love. We can’t. But we can receive it and walk in it with gratefulness that pours out obedience and devotion to Him.

This truth thrilled me and transformed my thinking.

Lie #2: The Old Testament is just a long foreword to the real story in the New Testament.

I’d thought the Old Testament was just the backstory to the real story that begins with the birth of Christ. I’d only focused on the New Testament when I studied the Bible.

But I discovered . . .

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures [the Old Testament] the things concerning himself.
-Luke 24:27 ESV

The Old Testament is a vital part of the whole story of the Bible that reveals our need for a Savior, the picture of what our Savior would look like, and the faithfulness of God that even though we’d continue to be His bull-headed, selfish enemies, He’d still be faithful to who He is and what He’s promised and would send His Son Jesus Christ to earth to seek and save the lost through the shedding of His blood on the cross for the sin of the world.

Whew. That was a long but important sentence — and the truth that my mom kept telling me:

You’ll never really understand the New Testament until you understand the Old Testament.

This truth exposed the next big lie I’d believed that lay at the root of why my Christian life had been anemic.

Lie #3: I don’t need to read the whole Bible.

Admit it. You don’t (or didn’t) want to read the whole Bible either. At least not at first. If you did, I’m jealous of you.

I couldn’t mentally overcome its massive size. But not any more. Now I couldn’t wait to read the whole Bible. I got it. I do need to read it all. And you do, too.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Every Christian needs to read the whole Bible because, as in AW Tozer’s wise words:

Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.

A surgeon shouldn’t read only part of the patient’s chart. Patients shouldn’t read only half of their doctor’s pre-op and post-op instructions. And God doesn’t want us to read only a few of the books, chapters, and verses of the Bible. We need it all to understand the message God sent us through His inspired Word.

My journey through the Bible has created in me an intense love for God’s Word that has never waned since the first day I committed myself to it over 20 years ago.

I wish I could say by now that I look just like Jesus and not at all like the world. But alas, I’m still in surgery.

I’m not where I want to be, but praise God, I’m not where I was. Every day God’s Word continues to operate on my heart and mind with surgical precision.

If something feels off about your Christian walk — if it’s not exactly what you’d expected or hoped — your test results might be like mine as well as the prescrition:

You need the Bible. The whole Bible.


Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.
~ AW Tozer



PS — A Great Resource for Studying the Bible

God brought Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth of Revive Our Hearts into my life just as I’d discovered the difference the whole Bible makes in a life. Her love for sound doctrine and her knowledge of the Bible has made her one of my favorite Bible teachers.

In this interview, Nancy shares how she studies the Bible:


How Nancy Studies the Bible


If this post encouraged you, pass it on to your friends via email, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. ~ Thanks!




Can We Trust the Bible? Is it Reasonable? Part 2 – The Resurrection

Can We Trust the Bible? - Is It Reasonable? Part 2 - The Resurrection (From the Bible Study series: Fear Not! You Can Do This. Easing in the Bible One Toe at a Time) via www.JeanWilund.com

Dead Man Walking

The credibility of the New Testament hangs on one event — the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus could have lived a perfect, sinless life and died on the cross, but if He didn’t rise from the dead and walk out of the grave, the entire New Testament unravels.

All 27 New Testament books might as well be thrown into a fire as worthless kindling.

The resurrection of Jesus birthed the Christian church and led to the completion of the Bible as we know it.

If God’s enemies wanted to destroy the church and discredit the Bible, disproving Jesus’ resurrection would have done it.

It should have been quite simple.

Huge crowds followed Jesus for most of His three-year ministry, but by the end of it, His enemies far outnumbered His friends. Few would’ve supported any claim of Him having risen from the dead.

Why So Many Haters?

Jesus’ haters didn’t come together to demand Jesus be crucified over the vast number of people He fed or healed — although a surprising number of Jewish leaders took offense at His good deeds.

His enemies hated Him for His claims and the impact it would have on them.

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

With these six words, Jesus declared He was God.

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth … before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58).

The Jewish leaders understood His claim. No one but God could stand before them and declare he existed before a man who’d lived 2,000 years earlier.

Jesus’ enemies wanted to kill Him because He threatened their religious power and influence over their people. They used His supposed crime of blasphemy — dishonoring God and His name by claiming to be God — as justification.

If Jesus isn’t God, His bold claim is a crime against God of the highest, most offensive order. But He is, so it isn’t.

Most of the Jewish leaders couldn’t see the truth, though. They’d hardened their hearts against Him especially as His miracles stirred up the whole region.

Many of the people who saw His miracles wanted to make him their king.

Jesus — A Blasphemer and a National Threat

Jesus didn’t just threaten the Jewish leaders’ religious power. He also threatened their peace with Rome.

If Caesar suspected mutiny against his rule over them, they knew he’d squash them with his heavy hand.

Even the Jewish leaders who rarely seemed to agree on anything, agreed on this one point: Jesus had to go. And stay gone!

As motivated as they were to kill Jesus, they were even more motivated to keep Him dead. (Executioners rarely face such a concern, but then, Jesus is rare.)

Jesus had said He’d rise from the dead. They couldn’t allow it.

No matter what it took, Jesus simply must remain in the tomb. Stone cold dead.

His resurrection would confirm His claims and indict them for having crucified God’s Son.

After Jesus’ followers laid Him in the grave, the Romans rolled a stone in front of the tomb and sealed it. The soldiers guarded it with their lives.

No one could get in. Or out.

Nevertheless, three days later, reports of Jesus sightings spread across the land.

When word of these eyewitness reports of Jesus’ resurrection reached the Jewish leaders, they tried to squelch them.

Displaying Jesus’ dead body would’ve done it.

For Want of A Body

Jesus’ enemies had everything to lose if He’d risen from the dead.

If His dead body existed anywhere on planet earth, they needed to find it and parade it down the Via Della Rosa for all to see.

They needed to chisel the parade into stone and order a national day of remembrance to ensure the whole world knew Jesus Christ was still dead.

But over 500 people said Jesus appeared to them.

His dead body on display would’ve silenced them.

And yet it never happened.

They never produced a body.

Is it reasonable to believe that the combined forces and resources of Rome and the Jewish leaders couldn’t produce His body if He were still dead?

Or that they could produce it, but simply chose not to?

For want of a body, the leaders resorted to storytelling.

The Disciples — Master Conspirators?

The Jewish leaders concocted a story that the disciples were master conspirators and stole Jesus’ body while the Roman guards slept.

Their conspiracy theory expected everyone to believe that:

  • the same men who’d run away when the soldiers arrested Jesus and cowered behind a locked door after His crucifixion only three days earlier suddenly came together after His death and, without anyone seeing, successfully stole Jesus’ body and hid it forever (Matthew 28:11-15).

  • that even though the Roman soldiers knew they’d be executed if they failed to perform their duties, they willingly admitted to falling asleep. And apparently without any other motivation than honesty.

  • that the guards slept through the rumbling sounds of the massive stone rolling away from the grave, and the disciples carrying Jesus’ body away.
  • that despite all the resources the Jewish leaders and Rome possessed, the simple disciples outwitted them all and hid Jesus’ body so well no one has yet to find it.

Is it reasonable for us to believe that Christianity has survived over two thousand years simply because the disciples were able to hide a dead body that well?

And then dedicate the rest of their lives to keeping that lie by enduring persecution (and some even execution) in order to lead others to trust in and believe in Jesus — the dead guy they’d stashed away?

Is it reasonable to believe that not one of the disciples would’ve finally caved and admitted they stole and hid Jesus’ body?

Is it reasonable to believe they could also convince Saul, the infamous Christian persecutor, to join their conspiracy? That he’d accept the lie and give up his position as an esteemed Jewish leader to become Paul, the impoverished, beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked missionary?

And is it reasonable to believe the disciples convinced over 500 people to agree to say they saw Jesus alive again and to take that lie with them to the grave?

It would’ve been so easy to dismantle Christianity before it even got started if His enemies could only have presented His dead body.

Instead, Jesus presented Himself. Alive.

Next Time – Tangible Evidence

So far, abductive reasoning has encouraged us to conclude it’s reasonable to believe God exists, and thus the seemingly wild claims of the Old Testament are reasonable to believe. (See Can We Trust the Bible? Is It Reasonable Part 1.)

Abductive reasoning also leads us to conclude it’s reasonable to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, on which the entire New Testament hinges.

Next, we’ll look at evidence we can hold in our hands that show us we can trust the Bible.