Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Almost there.

Surprisingly, I'm just a few chapters away from my Bible Reading goal that I mentioned a few months back.

I started last January or February and was on the sloooow track until these past couple months when I decided I wanted to have it complete by the time our baby arrives.

Now I just have a few chapters in Isaiah and a few chapters in Psalms left. Almost there!

First of all, let me say how privileged we are to have this Book. Our culture has more access than any in the past, more commentaries, more understanding of the history of the time... it's amazing.

And if I truly, truly believe this Book is the inspired Word of God- that he uses His words to inspire, rebuke, and to love me dearly, I should be jumping out of bed every morning and sprinting towards it (like I used to dart to the computer first thing in the morning during college when Kristian and I were dating to see if he had written me an email.)

Sadly, that's not always the state of my heart.
Taking on this challenge has been good for me. As those of you know who have done it, there are days that you'd rather be doing anything else than reading Leviticus or Nehemiah, and there are weeks (or months) when you might get way behind.

That's ok. The discipline part of it is good... the obedience.

There were some days when I was absolutely fascinated by what I was reading and overwhelmed by God's love. It's amazing that the God of the New Testament is the same one as the Old, though they often times seem so different. Our acceptance by God in the New Testament can only point us straight to Jesus.

Jesus' life and death for us is amazing in light of the Old Testament when the responsibility of sacrifice rested on the people. I was struck by that often.

Here are a couple thoughts I wanted to share if you're starting a Bible track in 2010:

1. Pray before beginning each read that God will reveal something new to you.

2. Look for attributes of God throughout and highlight with one specific color.
This will make your Old T reading a lot more enlightening, or it did for me. It was kind of like a game. Some of his characteristics are a bit more hidden in the Old T, but it's fun to try and look for them. If you have time, make an exhaustive list and look back on it later.

3. When the going gets tough, listen!
And by listen I mean literally listen to the audio version online.
I have to admit I was intimidated by Revelation. So I decided to play the audio while I did the dishes. It was AMAZING! I was suddenly enraptured by this incredible story. The realization that the crazy things happening in Revelation were revealed to John by God (making them true if you believe the Bible is true) was incredible. It made life here seem so small compared to the amazingness of what is yet to come, and the hugeness of God.

Plus, the narrator's voice is awesome. And he lives in NYC. Just search for your desired book, and then click the little audio button at the top of the page. (I wouldn't recommend this for every single book because it might be easy to get distracted by other things and not really hear what's being said, but it's a great option once in a while.)

4. Skip around if you need to.
If you find yourself really hung up on a certain book and it's preventing you from moving forward, skip ahead to another book or group of books that will jump start you again. This happened to me around 1 Chronicles so I skipped ahead and read the Minor Prophets and then went back later. (I also would say not to get too hung up on reading every single name when there are pages and pages of them. Glance over them and make sure you don't miss any pertinent info and then begin the next chapter.)

Besides that... enjoy!

And listen for what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you through the inspired Word of God. How privileged we are.
Don't give up, even if you get behind. It is not a chore to read, it's an honor and a delight.