Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Life Application Study Bible

Last month, I told you about the NIV Quest Study Bible.  It's a great Bible.  If you missed that post, go check it out.  Today, I'm going to tell you about the NIV Life Application Study Bible.  It has been updated and expanded.  In this Bible, there are thousands of notes and other features that will help you apply God's Word to your everyday life.

*The NIV Life Application Study Bible was provided to me by Bible Gateway in exchange for an honest review as a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The facts and opinions in this post are totally my own.

As I stated in my last Bible review, it is impossible for me to read the Bible through and study it in depth before my review deadline.  There is just too much in there.  What I can do is show you all the features offered in this updated and expanded version of the NIV Life Application Study Bible.

Are you planning to gift someone with a new study Bible?  This one has a presentation page.  Write your own sentiment here before you wrap it up.

The Contents page gives you an overview of the many features this Bible offers you and shows you where to find each feature.

The NIV Life Application Study Bible has a cross reference system.  A cross reference system is important for understanding scripture passages.  Cross referencing helps us understand the Biblical context and background for the Scriptures.

You'll find an alphabetical list of the books of the Bible.  I somehow missed getting the photo but you'll also find a list of books in the Bible in order of their appearance in the Old and New Testaments.  In the New Testament, words of Jesus are in red.

Each book of the Bible begins with a description of the book.  You'll see the author if the the author is known.  You'll learn the time period in which the book was written, key verses, and a timeline - just to name a few things.

Throughout the Bible, there are lots of footnotes.  The footnotes outline and sometimes explains the key points in the passages.

Maps throughout the Bible help you understand the geography of Biblical times and locations of Biblical events.  Maps help you place Biblical events in their historical locations and also help you determine where in our world today that those events happened.

I came across this awesome description of the twelve disciples.  This graphic describes each disciples occupation, outstanding characteristics, major life events, what Jesus said about him, a key lesson fro each disciple's life, and selected references for each one.

A Bible dictionary and concordance helps you understand terms you might not recognize within scripture passages.  A Bible concordance shows you where each word is found in the Scriptures.

I discovered an index to personality profiles.  This is the reference you'll use if you want to learn more about a specific Biblical character.

This NIV Life Application Study Bible contains an index to charts.  It gives you the title to the chart in each book of the Bible and the page where the specific chart is located.

This chart shows you 250 events in the life of  Christ.  You'll see where each event is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Are you interested in learning more about becoming a more effective Christian worker?  There is a section within this Bible that gives you many tips.  This one starts with how to become a Christian.

In the back of the Bible, you'll find many colorful maps.  You can use these maps to build upon what you learn from the maps you'll find within the Scripture texts.

As you can see, there are many things to love about the NIV Life Application Study Bible.  This is simply an overview of all this Bible has to offer.  Whether you are a new believer who is just starting to study your Bible or a seasoned Biblical scholar, you'll find many helpful features in this Bible.

I encourage you to go to Bible Gateway here to read an interview with the NIV Life Application Study Bible's general editor.

You can get your copy here.

This item is available here.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Do You Want to Make a Difference in the World?


The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon about making a difference in the world around us.

Our scripture passage is Mark 6:30-44.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

If You Want To Make A Difference | October 27, 2019 | Pastor Grady Sutton from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus is about 32 years old.  He has been in ministry for about 2 years.  Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, has recently been killed.  Jesus is grieving his cousin's death.  He was tired and needed to rest.  (Mark 6:31)

Have you ever needed a break?  Of course you have.  We all need a break from time to time.  Sometimes we need to take some private time away from our circumstances.  Jesus and his apostles were taking some time to step away privately after learning of the death of John the Baptist.  At this time, Jesus was already well known and it was not uncommon for crowds to gather when they recognized Him.  Even though Jesus had intended to take a break with the apostles, He was moved with compassion for the people who had gathered.  Jesus was tired but he chose to make a difference for the people in the place where He was.

Do you want to make a difference in the place where you are?

How to Make a Difference in the World

1.  Start where you are. 

Begin by caring for the people God has placed in your life:  coworkers, neighbors, etc.  We are all swimming in a sea of lossness.  You might not be a missionary in a third world country, but you live in a neighborhood and people in your neighborhood need Jesus.  Make a difference for them.

2.  Use what you have. 

The disciples told Jesus that they didn't have enough food.  Jesus said, "Tell me what you DO have."

Make no excuses.  Use what you have to make a difference in the lives of others.  Keep in mind that loaves of bread back then were more like biscuits that we eat today.

*Be sure to watch the video above in its entirety to hear my pastor's funny lunchbox story. :)

3.  Do what you can.

You might not have the resources to do Billy Graham type crusades, but you can invite someone to the table.  You can meet someone's need, small or large.  You can tell someone that Jesus loves them.

4.  Give it to Jesus.

Jesus will always do something.  Put it all in His hands.  When the apostles didn't know how to feed the people, Jesus fed them with 5 biscuits and 2 scrawny fish.

What Jesus did for the people on that day long ago, He wants to do for you and me today.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?  He desires a relationship with you.  Then, He wants you to make a difference.

Learn more about how to have a relationship with Jesus here.  Then, go and make a difference.


Image Credit:  Eye of Ebony - Public Domain Image via Freely Photos

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Is God Always Good? (Study on the Book of Habakkuk)

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "Is God Always Good?"  Our Scripture text is in Habakkuk, chapter 3.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Is God Always Good? | Why God? | Pastor Jeff Crook from Christ Place Church on Vimeo.

We can be hopeful even in the hardest times.  This is what the short little three-chapter book of Habakkuk teaches us.  In the first chapter, Habakkuk asked the question, "Why, God?"  In the second chapter, we read about waiting on God.  Today we are in the third chapter where we will read that God is good always, even in the hard times.  

It is easy to say that God is good when things are going well, but can we still say that God is good when life crumbles around us?

As we read through Habakkuk, we see that Habakkuk's circumstances didn't change, but his heart was changed.  God doesn't always change our circumstances, but He changes us.

Read Habakkuk's prayer in chapter 3, verses 1 and 2. 
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.
Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear.
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy. - Habakkuk 3:1-2
Now, read what Habakkuk says in chapter 3, verse 18.
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. - Habakkuk 3:18
Habakkuk Rejoice Pendant
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Things were still bad, but Habakkuk still praised God.

Let's go back now and include verse 17.
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. - Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk 3:17-18

We were encouraged to circle the words "Though" in verse 17 and the word "Yet" in verse 18.  If you don't have your Bible with you right now, go get it if you can.  Find Habakkuk 3:17-18 in your Bible and circle these words.  Remember them.

Let's put verse 17 within today's perspective.  It would be like a total collapse of our economy.  Even so, Habakkuk says that God is good.

I know this is not easy.  In fact, it can sometimes be really hard to say that God is good when the world around us crumbles . . . 

when we get a cancer diagnosis.
when our child rebels.
when we lose a parent.
when we lose a child.
when we suffer financially.
when we suffer a broken relationship.

The list could go on and on and on.

Is God Always Good?

How do we get to a point where we can say that God is good even in the hard times?


1.  God's grace gives us stability.   God never runs out of grace. 
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. - Habakkuk 3:19
Why are high places important?  Remember what we said last week about the rampart?  High places can give us an advantage over the enemy. 

Suffering will either make you humble or it will make you arrogant.  Suffering will make you sweeter or it will make you sour.

God gives us "hinds feet" so that we can tread the mountains.  God uses the tough times to build our character.  Then, later on we can be thankful for the suffering because God used it for good.

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

2.  Suffering and Joy happen concurrently.

God is not only good after the suffering.  He is good during the suffering as well.

Are you facing a crises?

In God, you can have deep peace in the midst of your crisis.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
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Have you received bad news lately?

God will give you hinds feet for the struggle.

3.  We must repeat and remember.

We must remember the discipline of repeating.  Habakkuk continued to praise God over and over again even though his circumstances didn't change.  We need to repeatedly praise God even when our circumstances don't change.  We learn by repetition.  There are 4 gospels in the New Testament:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  All four gospels tell the same story.  Reading all four gospels repeatedly help us to remember the truths taught in the gospels.  God uses the discipline of repetition to teach us life lessons and make us stronger.  

These notes that I'm typing right now are repeated.  First, I write them down in my own handwriting as my pastor preaches on Sunday mornings.  I come here later to type them into my blog.  I do this to help me remember what I'm taught.  I do this so I can come back later to reread my notes in organized groups and so that you who are reading this can benefit from them as well.  

We must remember the discipline of remembering.  We need to remind ourselves of who God is.  We need to remind ourselves of God's faithfulness.  Remember God's Word.  Remember all that God has already done for you in the past.  

Keep your eyes on God, not on your circumstances or the people you might blame for your circumstances.  

Is God always good?  YES!

Our pastor tells the stories of two different men.  Be sure to watch the entire video above to get the whole story.  The gist of the story is that one man was blesses with abundance and He praised God for His faithfulness.  The second man suffered great losses, but he still praised God for His faithfulness.  

Don't lose hope when things go wrong.

God is good all the time.

God is faithful.   

Read all posts in this Habakkuk study here.

Is God Aways Good?  A Study on the Book of Habakkuk

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway