Thursday, August 26, 2010

End of book - but only the beginning of changes in heart, hand, and life.

The Bible in 90 Days was an adventure to say the least. It was a challenge at times, even for one who loves God's Word, and is in the habit of daily taking it in. It was made sweet by the times God's Word repeated a truth and it was so noticeable that I sat up and grabbed a colored pencil to highlight the truth the stood out in its repetition.

Having a group to share the challenges, ah-ha moments, and delights made it rich. Its like a trip taken with family versus a trip taken alone. It is hard to share sights and experiences using words alone to describe it to friends and family, its far better to have shared memories, photos, and shared history.

The Bible in 90 Days program provides you with a fast paced walk through God's Word that is meant to be shared. The sharing and insight God gives you as you attentively read His Word provides a desire to move into more of His Word when the day 90 comes and you read the final chapter and last verse.

When I reached that point 2 days ago I was speechless, I exhaled loudly - it was a prayer of thanks for His Word, His message, His invitation to life in its fullness.

And so, at our church, we begin a church wide Bible in 90 Days beginning Sunday, September 12th. In the planning for this we've already begun to make brand new friends and deeper other new ones. We are SO excited to hear the heart of our ministers who long for the people of God to take in the Word of God. (Thanks be to God!)

I'm excited for what we'll learn, share, and be challenged by as we read through the Bible in 90 Days this fall - what an Advent season we shall have!

If you are interested and happen to live in the Tulsa, OK area, check it out! We will have multiple avenues of times each week that might fit your schedule to join us weekly as we read through the Bible in 90 days. I'd love to have you as a partner on this journey.


Truth For Life
The unfolding of Your words give light;
It gives understanding to the simple
Psalm 119:130

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Bible in 90 Days
My Journal Post
Week 4

The weeks go faster as we continue to read through the Bible this summer reading 12 pages a day in the specially formatted NIV Bible published for the Bible in 90 Days ministry. We continue to see more of the big picture - of the many kings Israel and Judah had, the good, the bad, and the down right ugly! The bad outnumbered the good, sad to say. As we read through 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles. . . . we learned more about the individual kings as we read their history from 2 perpectives - Perspective is everything! (if you don't know the differing perspectives - read about it yourself, I won't tell ya!)

We just read through Ezra and Nehemiah this past 3 day weekend - oh, what precious books these are! What stands out to me is how far we have come in American churches from the reading and teaching and explaining God's Word. God asked His people to annually read it as a group, to listen to it together. Today we rarely hear more than a verse or two and then lots of stories, quotes from modern books, and movie clips.

God's Word is rich. It is truth. It does not change. It is alive, it can bring change! Man's word is not eternal, it may contain truth, but often contains personal opinion and it changes with popular opinion at that. I need something solid upon which to stand, how about you?

I am jealous of the public reading, teaching, and explanation of God's Word given to the nation of Israel. And yet, I realized I have my own copy. I have many copies - and I do read them, study them, and seek to learn what it means and how to adjust my life to its truth. I have the ability to study, to check word meanings, context, use internet study tools, and do this with peers. I am so grateful for Precept Ministries which teaches me how to study God's Word AS I study God's Word.

How about you? Is your Bible dusty? Is it unread? It is confusing? Does your life line up with the clear teaching within its pages? Join me on my journey by reading through the Bible in 90 Days come September. Can't wait? Join a group online - there are many! One began this journey yesterday. Check it out!

As we read through we almost daily have confirmed that God still speaks to us - His Spirit is ready to give us understanding. My husband and I are needing direction and guidance regarding some things in our lives at this time - and He is reminding us that He has matters under control, we need not stress nor worry (in fact he commands that we NOT worry) and He can be trusted.

Sigh . . . . . . .

what a help this is!

Reading attentively makes a lot of difference. We are seeing some connections as we do this rapid read through the Bible.

Next week I'll be able to join in the weekly meetings of our church's pilot group for the Bible in 90 Days! I can hardly wait! I've been leading a home Bible study that met at the same time as the church group - and we finished today. (I enjoyed the home study but at times wished I could have been in two places at once.)

I'll share about the pilot group's discussion time as we share the points God highlights as we read through Job, Psalms, etc

I'm enjoying this journey, I am already looking forward to repeating this 90 day read wait again this fall when our entire church will participate in this reading plan. Sharing this with others will be a richer trip!

Truth For Life

Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, explained the law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.
Nehemiah 8:4-8

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Looking, longing, and loving

Today we got up, had breakfast at our 'usual' place, then headed north to Bartlesville. We had a destination in mind to personally check out and photograph for our granddaughter.

We grabbed some local BBQ at the spot we like to dine. Then we headed home via a less conventional route in order to view and appreciate the rolling hills, the green country that we know and love in northeastern Oklahoma.

It was relaxing and refreshing from our air conditioned vehicle on this hot summer day. Ahhhhhhh!

Once home my husband emptied our pool, cleaned it, and began refilling it for our afternoon 'sit' and cool off time. As we await the filling he shared the following with me from a Friday morning reading of his. . . it hits the mark.

Walk Closer to God

Looking, longing, and loving — three words to describe the responsibility of the Christian who is waiting the Lord's return.

Looking for ways to know God better, to serve others more sacrificially, to become more like Christ and keep in step with Him.

Longing for the day when you will be free forever from the weaknesses of the flesh, the wiles of Satan, and the whisperings of the world.

Loving God above all, and your neighbor as yourself — the greatest command.

Take a look back, and a look ahead. Are you holding your position in the race of life?

From Closer Walk, June 25, 2010

Truth For Life
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it
then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth
He will judge the world in righteousness
And all the peoples in His faithfulness.
Psalm 96:11-13

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is your treasure and upon what are you hanging it?

This morning I awoke and was resting in bed, checking the weather and my email via iPhone when I heard a loud and long crash of what sounded like china in the house. I'm so grateful it was in the morning and not at night - for I'd have assumed someone was IN my house with me.

I discovered that a teacup shelf unit had fallen - and with it came 6 teacups and saucers. Broken bits of pretty china were all about the dining room. Oh, my!

To work I went sweeping up the bits and peaces, checking which cups I had 'lost'.

Then I set about to check the cause of the shelf falling from the wall. I found that the hook upon which it was held had wiggled out due to: vibrations of our washer and dryer that are placed on the opposite side of the same wall in the utility room. We have had rain, rain, and more rain along with thunder this week and I think that the weather caused the last bit of the hook/nail fixture to wiggle the last millimeter out of the wall - and C R A S H !

Behold - I was grateful to know the sound did not cause me fear, just curiosity, did not cause me grief and tears, just surprise and housework at 6:30 a.m.

As I was reviewing for Bible study this morning I was reminded that we often treasure things/people/relationships above God. The test of this incident revealed to me that I did not treasure my china tea cups, even if I enjoy them, use them, and use them as decor in my living room. I thank God that He revealed to me what I did not treasure.

What gives me greater joy? What do I find delight in and think on throughout each day?

I treasure God and His Word! I hang onto the words of God, more than my necessary food. (to paraphrase (Job 23:12)

On what do we hang our treasure? What do we think will keep it secure?

I was the one who hung up the shelf that came down this morning. I did not think to check it on occasion for safety, I will now, but I did not think about the impact of the world's vibrations through the daily chores of washing clothes plus the storms of life adding its own. And over a period of time, day by day the hook was weakened and unsecured until it could not hold the shelf much less the cups and saucers - and so it all came tumbling down.

What is your true treasure? May this little incident give you pause to reflect with me upon what you value. Join me in humble self-evaluation and consider to what you hold in clinched fist. What will you offer up to God. And what will you treasure that is everlasting, can't be stolen, won't age or deteriorate.

You know what I purpose to treasure, now its your turn to respond.

Truth For Life
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:34

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bible In 90 Days
my journal of the experience

Week Two
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - say that 5 times fast! Try reading it in 1 week - zooooooooooooooooooooooom!

And yet as I read it I remembered many things I'd learned from previous studies of each of these books. It brought to mind richness and revelation of who God is . . . and the main and plain truth is that

He is holy

I picked up and read about these books in the supplementary book for this program called The Essential Bible Companion. This book is essential as a Bible reading companion - it provides the nutshell and main points of history, meaning, and applications lest you missed them.

The many details about the tabernacle in the scriptures read this week provide us with an awareness of how God is to be approached. We can't just walk right up and high five God. He is not one of us. And where he places the tabernacle is in the midst of His people. He desires us to be in His presence.

I'm once again grateful for what God did through Christ to give us the gift of His presence dwelling within us in His Holy Spirit.

Where I go, He goes, what I hear, He hears, what I do, He is present.

He also asks us to be holy as He is holy. He does not ask us to be what He does not enable us to be. I can not in my human effort become holy but with submission to His Holy Spirit I can become like Him, holy.

Whether you plan to read the Bible in 90 days or not, this book is worth adding to your library. The first few pages give the story of the Bible which for many of us, is something we've not been taught in our local church. That is worth the purchase of the book alone.

Truth For Life
for you are a people holy to the LORD your God.
Out of all the peoples of the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be His treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 14:2

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled;
set your hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus Christ is revealed.
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
for it is written:
Be holy, because I am holy.
I Peter 1:13, 14

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Have we come a long way, baby?

Reading chapter 3 of Voices of the True Woman Movement brings us to the chapter on the history of the feminist movement and its impact upon women and society. The feminist movement changes have not been a good thing altogether, which is an understatement! If you do not know how far back the thinking that developed into the movement began, as this chapter provides, you do not realize how very much we have been influenced, even in Christian circles in America, by the thoughts and plans of those who do not consider God and His purposes for man, woman, child, and this world.

Mary Kassian presents this information with humor, reality, and honesty. There is so much in this chapter that I felt it really calls for you, dear reader, to get a copy of this book if only for this chapter alone. My take on it will likely be pooh poohed by you without your own reading of the history.

I observe in the church, my neighborhood, and in the marketplace an attitude in women that is along the lines of "no one tells me what to do, no one, especially not some mere man" I hear those words as quoted or I witness expressions of disgust and superiority. I also see lives lived for oneself ---- shockingly some of these women call themselves Christian.

As I read in God's Word, study it, meditate upon it, I witness God calling men and women and children to a life that is God centered, other oriented. Self centered living is opposite to the example of Christ. We have it all wrong, we are living life in the wrong direction.

Who will be God is the question underlying our lives.

It is not a new question nor a new response.

Women may have gained independence in many ways but have also lost in living life with loving companions for life, extended family & the help and care offered in love to them. When we need no one - we are most vulnerable. And we do not find ourselves, we actually lose ourselves and become more desperate to find meaning and purpose in our lives. We demand from others, are put out with others, can't believe the error in the lives of all those with whom we cross paths. "How dare them!" is an attitude I witness. Far from the example and attitude given to us in Philippians 2. (I recommend you read that today!)

Think about your desire for independence - is it our culture that has led us to it?

Seek the direction of the word rather than the world. Check it out! It is timeless truth.

Truth For Life
Don't, by the way, read too much into the differences between men and women. Neither man nor woman can go it alone or claim priority. Man was created first, as a beautiful shining reflection of God -- that is true. But the head on a woman's body clearly outshines in beauty the head of her "head," her husband. The first woman came from man, true -- but ever since then, every man comes from a woman! And since virtually everything comes from God anyway, let's quit going through these "who's first" routines.
Romans 11:11-12
The Message

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Bible in 90 Days

my journal of the experience

Week One

I have overall enjoyed spending 40 minutes to an hour each evening after dinner reading our 12 pages in Genesis and Exodus. There were a few nights when it seemed like I would never get to the end of my 12 pages of reading - so I would stop, take a breath, pray, and continue on. What keeps me encouraged is that I will be sharing this journey with others, my husband and our small group. I am getting more and more excited to hear about their discoveries as well as to share some of mine.

I am always amazed at the 'first time I've seen this!' details I discover as I re-read God's Word. I am humbled to see how God has reached out to man, come to be with us, seeks to save us and provide a way out of slavery. . . but He does not stop there, noooooooooo. That is where WE often stop. 'got the fire insurance policy! check! that is all I need you for now, God, check with you later!' as we go smilingly off on our own.

He offers us beyond that, He offer us a new life, He provides the setting in a new land. It comes furnished! And we forget this, don't 'hear' it, don't 'see' it and usually continue to plod along, walking uphill each day trying to carve a life out of our time on earth. God offers us life, full life, rich life. Shalom life because He will be with us! Thank you, Lord. Praise you, Lord! Bless you, Lord!

As a note: I like the Bible they have published for this 90 day reading plan, it is good to read a clean copy that does not have study notes to distract the reader. it is easy on the eye text.

It has been fun to share this with my husband as well. We talk about what we discover after each days' reading. God is speaking into our daily lives concerning family, work, and faith. That is confirming things we have pondered upon or upon which we have wanted to action.

More later . . . .

June 7, 2010

Truth For Life

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed:

The Lord, The Lord God compassionate and gracious

slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth, . .

Exodus 34: 6