Bible in 90 Days Tips

I’m participating in the Bible in 90 Days program with Mom’s Toolbox again. I’m thoroughly enjoying it!¬† My mom and sister are reading this time too, so I’m excited to be on this journey with them. My other sister got hung up last time, so maybe she’ll finish it with us! ūüôā I thought I’d share a few tips that have made it easier for me.

5. Schedule my reading time, don’t expect it to just happen.
4. Read without studying.  Keep a notebook handy to write down questions to research later.
3. Write down observations in that same notebook. Include the scripture references!
2. Get a bookstand to lift it up so you don’t get headaches from looking down so much.¬† (This was trouble for me until I did this. It won’t work well with a soft Bible though.)¬† If I used cookbooks, this would come in handy in the kitchen too!

1. My best tip… get a small, non-hardback Bible!¬† I wanted this all the way through last time and didn’t do it.¬† This time, I did it on day 3!¬† I bought a Holman gift Bible at Lifeway and it’s been wonderful!¬† Last time I read my study Bible and because it was big and bulky I had to get settled on the couch to read it comfortably.¬† Because this is such a great size, I can keep it in my purse, pick it up for 5 minutes at a time wherever I am, and (the best) hold it up while I’m lying down in bed!¬† ūüôā¬† And because it was five bucks, I’m keeping all my notes in it instead of in a separate notebook.¬† I love it already!¬† Mattie seems to like it too.¬† She keeps telling me I need to let her have it, because I have enough Bibles already.¬† Yes, I have a stop at Lifeway on my list for my sweet girl.¬† How can you tell a kid they can’t have your Bible?

I’m not going to blog specifically about my journey this time as I don’t want it to appear that that is my motivation for doing it, but you’ll probably be hearing about some of the things the Lord is teaching me through His word.¬† I will encourage you to pray about reading the Bible this way at least once.¬† It has been life changing for me.¬† I really don’t think you’ll be sorry!

Bible in 90 Days ~ I’m Finished!

I finished up last night!¬† Woohoooooooooooooo!¬†¬† Amy over at Mom’s Toolbox has asked those of us who wrote about our journey to sum it all up for others to read about.
I decided to read this way, because I felt the Lord nudging me to do so.¬† I knew it would be a challenge, so I chose the winter as a time to do it, because I leave town the least!¬† Over all, it was a challenge in discipline.¬† With an assignment of 45 minutes to an hour a day, I knew catching up wouldn’t be very easy! so I had to stay on top of it in order to not be discouraged.¬† I had to choose to have calm weekends, so I could catch up if need be.¬† I had to choose to get out of bed when I didn’t want to.¬† I had to choose to keep my eyes open when I wanted to close them.¬† I chose to read the Word instead of any other books during this time.¬† I had to choose to read instead of write (which is why I have a few weekly gaps to fill in on my Bible in 90 page)!¬† But all of those were worthwhile sacrifices and God gave me the desire to make every one of them!
I have read the Bible through before once, but it was slow and disjointed.¬† This time was far more enjoyable. ¬† This is the best way I know to describe it:¬† You know how people are all excited and close when they come back from a trip together?¬† They can tell you all of their stories, and you can laugh and look at their scrapbooks, but you are quite clearly missing major pieces of the puzzle.¬† So then the next time you go along and all of the inside jokes, struggles and successes make sense because you are there in the middle of the action this time.¬† Well, this time I was “in the middle of the action” instead of counting on others to “feed” me.¬† This time I got to read it, soak it in and let it change me, because I was there in person – engaged, committed and hungry.
Reading large portions at each sitting allowed me to see the verses in context which offered a much more appropriate application.¬† Reading it as a whole in such a short time period afforded me the opportunity to remember what I read in Genesis and Exodus so I could relate it to what I was reading in Revelation without having to look it up again.¬† Spending this much time in the Word gave me time with Him that I had been spending on otherwise worthless tasks, and I believe that’s just a blessing to Him.¬† And the best part?¬† Reading it all in 90 days makes the celebration in Revelation all the more victorious as I’ve been “pulling” for His people all the way through!¬† He wins!¬† There is a triumphant end to this story we’re living!!¬† I knew that when I started, but it’s a lot more fun to read it this way.¬†
I have a list of things I want to research now that I’m finished.¬† I understand the big picture in a whole new way than I did 90 days ago, but a small growth in understanding has left me seeking answers for new questions that have arisen as others were answered.¬† I like this unsettled feeling though.¬† I think it’s called hunger.¬†¬†
I’m starting off with a word study on my word of the year: grace.¬† I really wish I knew Hebrew and Greek, but I’m going to have to stick with a word study for now.¬† As far as a daily plan, there was kind of a big hole today without a big chunk to read, so I’m going to have to jump back in with a plan!¬†¬† I have learned I do much better on one than if I’m just reading randomly.¬†¬†
If you’ve read along this time, I’d love to hear about your experience!¬† And if you haven’t read the Bible in 90 days, I would certainly encourage you to do so.¬† Amy at Mom’s Toolbox is starting another group July 11, 2011.¬† Don’t just “read my stories and look at my scrapbook”… get in on the trip!¬† Let me know so I can be praying for you and encouraging you.¬† Maybe I’ll just do it again with you.¬† ūüôā

Click here to read all about my Bible in 90 Days Journey.
I read with over 1000 people this round! Go see what they have to say!

Bible in 90 ~ Week 10 ~ Treasured by God?

So I’m catching up on week 10 blogging.¬† This was one week I was behind a couple of days after being out of town, so since I was behind I certainly didn’t have time to blog about it!¬† But behind in writing or not, I did have a bit of an “Aha!” moment this particular week.

I have questioned before if all of God’s promises are for me.¬† Not because I think I’m not good enough (I know I’m not good enough for any of it!), but just because one says something in one conversation does not mean that is something they feel to every other person who may read it in the future.¬† I’m just not that easy to convince.¬† I’m not David, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea… you get the idea.¬† God wasn’t speaking to me when He said “I know the plans I have for you,” “Be ye strong and courageous,” “I will be with you,” etc., so who says I have the right to assume those comments of love are meant for me as well?¬† Or this one that was certainly encouraging, though I didn’t see it as for me when I read it in a vision Daniel had:

“Daniel, you are a man treasured by God… for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers… Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!”¬†
Daniel 10: portions of verses 11, 12, 19
But this was my moment… I know I’ve heard that God shows no preference… Romans 2:11 says, “For God shows no favoritism” and while Paul is talking about salvation, rewards, judgment and wrath, I think it’s a reasonable stretch to conclude that He would be non-preferential when it comes to treasuring His creation as well. I know that I treasure my children, and if I could bypass my flesh, I would wholeheartedly treasure them without any interruption of feeling caused by frustration.¬† But because God is without sin, and His love for us is perfect, then I believe He can treasure His children even while we are frustrating Him!¬† So I think I’m willing to believe that I am treasured by God just like Daniel was!

Bible in 90 ~ Week 11 ~ Do I ask Him to leave?

Week 11!¬† I can’t believe it!¬† The time has gone so quickly and I’m almost done.
This week I’ve read all four of the gospels and started Acts.¬† It was refreshing to read the fulfillment of the prophecies so quickly after reading the prophecies… I actually remembered what I had read so I caught on instead of having to see it in my Bible notes somewhere.¬† ūüôā
The gospels are full of the stories we were taught in Sunday School, so I think they’re really easy to skim over (in a bad way).¬† I struggle to go deep in them because they’re old hat, in a way.¬† But one verse caught my attention when I read it.

Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.  Luke 8:36-37
God was performing miracles, fixing a nuisance (surely a demon possessed man would be a nuisance, right?) and¬† they asked Him to leave because they were afraid!¬† I think we metaphorically “ask Him to leave” by ignoring His Spirit’s leading, seeking elsewhere for advice more suited to our liking, making our own plan and backing it up with scripture to justify it, and a whole host of other actions. I wonder how often God is right in the midst of doing work for my good and I ask Him to leave in fear of what else He might do?

Just in case… and an imaginary friend story

Just in case anyone wonders if I’ve given up on reading, I haven’t.¬† In fact, I’m almost done!¬† We’re down to the last two weeks, and it’s still on my list as one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.¬† I haven’t had time to blog about the last few weeks, though I really want to.¬† I’ve been sick, Mattie was sick, then we were out of town loving on a beautiful new niece and visiting my growing up family (which I can never get enough of, I must say), and I’m in the throes of Luke 14 planning for this year’s event which is April 8 & 9.¬† Not to mention I’m still reading about an hour each day!¬† Reading comes before blogging about reading.¬† ūüôā

I do want to share what the Lord is doing as I read though, so you’ll just have to wait.¬† I will say this: He is stirring and shaking up a lot of things I’ve thought I understood!¬† There is a lot I think I took a lot at face value as I was taught by others, but He’s stirring my spirit to get down into the nitty gritty on my own.¬† Good, good things, but things that aren’t as easy to believe as I think we’d like them to be.¬† It’s also been neat to jump in to the New Testament and watch the prophecy fulfillment unfold so close after reading all of the prophecies.¬† Honestly, I don’t think I ever really paid them much attention in the past when I’ve read them.

On a totally less spiritual note, something exciting is happening here on Friday!¬† I promise I’ll post about it when it happens.¬† ūüôā

And Mattie’s most recent imaginary friend story:¬† I heard her repeatedly telling her “friend,” Kara, “No, Kara!¬† That’s rude.¬† You must stop that!” But her bedroom door was closed, so I wasn’t quite sure what Kara was so insistent on doing.¬† Come to find out when I snuck up there, Kara had a terrible case of gas (helped by the beloved whoopie cushion Jacob bought Mattie for her birthday) and insisted on flatulating at the table.¬† Apparently, Kara thought it was quite funny!¬† Can you tell what happens at dinner around here?

Off to read… I’m the book of Mark behind, so I have to catch up tonight!

Bible in 90 ~ Week 7 ~ Hmmmmm…

I crossed the halfway point this week! ¬†It’s not been easy, though. ¬†The kids have been sick. ¬†I’ve been up in the middle of the night. ¬†The books I’ve read this week weren’t connected to anything else, so it was very hard to stay “interested” so to speak. ¬†But I stick with it because I know it’s a blessing to the Lord. ¬†And I ask Him to meet me there in my weakness and fill me with His word.

This week I read through the second half of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. I struggled with these not only because much of this section is random (for lack of a better word) phrases or isolated paragraphs, but also because much of it is figurative and that’s not something I comprehend without thinking through it, especially because I know pretty much nothing about Hebrew culture of 500BC! ¬†I have also learned about myself that I really am just more encouraged by seeing God work in situations, and these books don’t really have a context offered. ¬†(I think when I do this reading style again, I’m going to buy a Chronological Bible and divide it into my own reading for 90 days. ¬†That would make these passages come alive and make sense.) ¬†I don’t tell you any of this to be complaining, but to keep it real.

*** I think I should put this disclaimer before the rest of this post… ***
The remainder is loaded with theological questions, and I don’t intend to make anyone stumble if this is all one ever reads on my blog. ¬†I just think it’s worth thinking about, but if you don’t have a strong foundation of faith in the Almighty God, the God of the Old and New Testament, I think I’d leave this alone for now! ¬†

I think one other question that keeps coming to my mind is this: Just because it’s in the Bible, are these promises for me, are these thoughts I should have? ¬†I know the Lord loves David, and I know David was inspired by the word of God to write many of the Psalms, but does that mean that I can claim the promises David thought were correct about God? ¬†See, it’s all well and good to pray this prayer from Psalm 139 as David did:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 

That makes me feel great and I think many of us would claim that as a statement of theology as if God spoke it Himself.

But how would you feel if you were in my small group and I started quoting this one from Psalm 109 during my closing prayer?

1 My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, 2 for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me;
   they have spoken against me with lying tongues. 
3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. 4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. 5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
 6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand. 7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. 8 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. 9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. 10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. 11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. 12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. 13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. 14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD;
   may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. 
15 May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may blot out their name from the earth.
 16 For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor
   and the needy and the brokenhearted. 
17¬†He loved to pronounce a curse‚ÄĒ¬†may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing‚ÄĒ¬†may it be far from him.¬†
18 He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water,
   into his bones like oil. 
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,like a belt tied forever around him. 20 May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.

See what I mean? ¬†That’s not one anyone would claim as something right from God’s mouth, not the God of the New Testament anyway. ¬†I know it’s comforting to read these emotional poems that David wrote to God. ¬†And I know it’s nice to believe that everything David thought about God was true, but is it? ¬†David clearly had some misperceptions in his life!! ¬†So how do I decide which of these poems are the ones I should pray as well? ¬†How do I decide which of the Proverbs were just Solomon’s ideas and which ones are “promises” I can claim and put my faith in? ¬†What makes it okay to own some verses of scripture and not others? ¬†

Maybe this is why Psalms is not a book that brings me comfort like so many other people I know, though I ceratiainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.¬† I myself wrote a whole post last week on Psalms that comforted me!¬†¬†I guess because I’m pretty black and white and like proof, I just like putting¬†my cards in the scripts where God was an active role playing member (documented, I mean, not just understood) and what he said and did was written down on paper… no confusion there!¬† ¬†I’m sort of just playing Devil’s advocate in opposition to the other side of my brain. ¬†I’m certainly not questioning my faith in the inspired word of God, and I do believe that every word is in the Bible because God wanted it there, but I think this is worth looking at.
Any thoughts?

Bible in 90 ~ Week 6 ~ God is My Rock!

This week I read some of Nehemiah, all of Job and we’re into Psalms. ¬†And I have to say, I definitely enjoy reading more when it’s a part of a whole story. ¬†I know it all fits together, but Job is an isolated story and Psalms aren’t really connected if you’re not reading them intertwined with the appropriate chronological event to which they apply. ¬†So this isn’t my favorite section at all, but I know God put it in here so it matters to Him!

As I’m reading through Psalms I notice the verses that jump out at me are the ones that talk about God being our rock. God has given me a personality that lends itself to being in leadership in positions or relationships, whether or not I’m looking for it. ¬†Because of that, it’s easy to think I have to bear the load, get it all done, be the strong one, and yet trudge through unaffected.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
Psalm 18:31
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
Psalm 61:2-4
My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2
¬†It matters to me that there is someone else who is the Rock, the Stronghold, the Fortress, the Strong Tower…¬†because¬†that means I don’t have to be!

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:1-3

God, You are glorified in my trials when I turn to You. ¬†I have trials I don’t want to navigate and stories I don’t want to be mine to tell, but You allow them so I will seek You. ¬†Oh God, ¬†put a new song in my mouth so I can praise You! ¬†Allow me to show others Your power. Turn their hearts so they will put their trust in You.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 

Psalm 51:16-17

Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord to Thee.
Take my moments, and my days. Let them flow with ceaseless praise.
Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine. 
Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.
Frances R. Havergal

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Bible in 90 ~ Week 5 ~ It’s good to be home.

This week we read 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah.

This was a favorite verse:
“As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles 28:9

Then in Nehemiah 8 the Israelites are back from their Babylonian exile and getting settled again. They had a public reading of the law and celebrated the Feast of Booths. They had not celebrated like this since the days of Joshua and “there was tremendous joy.” (Neh 8:17) I just kept thinking, “It’s good to be home!” After disobedience and subsequent discipline when there is reconciliation and all is right there is such rest. I’ve experienced it firsthand and the relief is often palpable. How good our God is to always allow us to come home to Him!