Read an Excerpt
One Minute BibleFOR STARTERS for THE FIRST new 90-DAYS christians
By Lawrence Kimbrough
Broadman & Holman PublishersCopyright © 1999 Broadman & Holman Publishers
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTime to Make a Change
Whether you're just now coming to Christ, or just getting serious about it for the first time in a long time, you'll find that God is always willing to join you on the starting line, but never content with letting you remain the way you are. Or the way you've been. Want to see some changes in your life? You've come to the right place.
Why Me? Why Now?
How God Draws You to Himself
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.... "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day...." "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day...."
For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him...." "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
John 6:35, 37-40, 64b-65; Jeremiah 31:3b
Calling your conversion experience a decision for Christ doesn't begin to convey the truth of the matter. Yes, you made a decision based on your own free will. Yes, you were perfectly free to make a different choice than you did.
But look at the whole thing on balance-from God's perspective-and suddenly your decision to follow Jesus looks a lot less like a bold move on your part and a lot more like a stunning victory on His part. He fashioned everything there is about you in His own mind. He set you in a particular time and place. He's been carefully arranging people, situations, and events in your life, waving His arms in front of your face, pleading with you to look back, to see the cross, to know the love that paid every last dime on your escalating debt of sins, to experience more freedom and joy and peace and contentment than you ever thought possible. Looks like your hardest decision was trying to say no all this time.
Remember Your Roots
The Rise and Fall of Man
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.... When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:1-4, 6-8
Say hello to the deadwood in your spiritual family tree. They go by the names Adam and Eve. And they've taken you far away from your roots. Not that we'd have done any differently had we been in their bare feet, but Adam and Eve's decline into deception cost them much more than a nice, cozy home in the garden spot of the world. It cost the entire human family everything God had created it to be. Because of their sin-or the Fall, as it's commonly called-mankind refused his rightful, original place of perfect, guilt-free fellowship with God, and landed with a thud on a dark, remote nowhere land a million miles from home-spiritually depraved, hopelessly lost.
Ever since then, the human quest has been to rediscover his lost worth, to understand why his innate desire to be better than he is-and to enjoy a relationship with a God bigger than himself-has always ended in such disappointing failure. There's only one way back. And you've found it. Say hello to Jesus Christ.
Good Cop, Bad Cop
The New Man and the Old
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
When you welcomed Jesus into your world, He restored the blood supply to your spirit-that part of you that had been beaten and left for dead by the thugs of sin and deception. He gave you a new heart, complete with a guarantee of full protection against the punishment of hell, against the fear and finality of the grave. He placed in you His own Holy Spirit to give you a new way of thinking, a fresh awareness of God's presence, and a promise that one day your faith would pay off with a one-way ticket to paradise. But look who's still hanging around. Your heart may be in heaven, but God's left your feet here on the ground, where the person you used to be can still have a say in your choices and remind you how much fun you all used to have together. Don't be surprised when civil war breaks out in your heart, when you're torn between the God you love and the temptations that still know how to play your song. Your sinful self is beaten, but he's not going without a fight. Get ready, though. He has his weaknesses, too.
Power in Your Corner
Your All-Sufficiency in Christ
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.... I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:16-21
Trusting God to help you overcome your sins and shortcomings sounds so spiritual, doesn't it? Turning everything over to God, letting God handle your problems, giving your burdens to the Lord ... can't argue with the wisdom there. But when it's just you and your bad temper, or your runaway sex drive, or your weakness for cherry cheesecake, where do you find the strength to say no? You might not guess it to look at you, but you have available to you-right now-the same kind of power that God "exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead" (Eph. 1:20). And as you begin facing even your toughest challenges with the weapons of prayer, Bible truth, worship, thanksgiving, accountability, and other specific strategies that you'll begin gaining through experience, you'll see sin's deception for what it is, you'll turn your back on habits that have had your number for years, and your heart for instant gratification will be changed into a heart that knows where its power lies.
One Step At a Time
Learning to Walk with God
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.... Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.... But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:1-5; Hebrews 5:13-6:2; 2 Peter 3:18
No one enters the Christian life as middle management. Just like there's only one way in-through belief in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross-there's only one way up. And it starts on the ground floor. But don't worry. It's anything but boring in the minimum-wage mailroom of Christian maturity ... for at least two reasons:
Your enemy, Satan, knows that your fire is burning pretty bright right now. He also knows that you're vulnerable to a relapse (modern attention spans and commitment levels being what they are). He'll have plenty of temptations to keep you busy once the new wears off.
But on the other hand, God promises you room for steady advancement if you're willing to work hard in His training program, committing yourself to His Word, to His church, to His tried-and-true philosophy of aspiring to bigger things by being faithful in the small things. New blessings and discoveries can spring up from all over when you're just starting out. You won't find this much joy in anyone else's company.
Like a Little Child
Seeing God as Father
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.... Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.... The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.... Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! ... Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14, 16-17; Matthew 7:9-11; James 1:17-18
When God wanted to put His love into terms we could understand, He painted Himself in the biblical imagery of a Father-not the kind who rants and raves, fussing about the way you keep your room or teaching you how to drive by pounding the dash-board every time you change lanes in traffic. Not the kind who's tied up (again) at work, or only visible from the waist down behind his morning paper, apparently unconcerned with the things that matter most to you. Neither is He a doting grandfather, mindlessly doling out dollar bills so you can buy your fill of candy and bubble gum. This Father who asks you to walk with Him will ask more of you than anyone possibly could-your life, in fact, for the privilege of being on personal terms with the God of the universe. But in return, you'll receive a love that's so complete and unconditional, so honest and pure, so rich in mercy and long on patience, that you'll want nothing more than to please Him, to make Him proud of you, to find your reason for living in His gentle smile.
Excerpted from One Minute Bible by Lawrence Kimbrough Copyright © 1999 by Broadman & Holman Publishers. Excerpted by permission.
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