Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Eve ahead!

Tomorrow evening we are having the pleasure of 11 guests at our table(s). I have set the tables with my holiday china - oh, how I love to have guests use it! It has been collected bit by bit for well over a decade, year by year as gifts from my father and step-mom, my in-laws, and my husband. This will be the first time I've had to use so many of the place settings I have. I'm also using new gifts! I am using a new hurricane lamp in my pattern from my daughter's in-loves and 12 Days of Christmas napkins from my husband's boss and wife! What delightful additions these items are to my collection for holiday hospitaliTEA.

We'll enjoy a couple of hours of fun and food before moving to another home for dessert. Our Sunday school class is having dinners at some 5 homes and then meeting together for a plethora of dessert, games, and ending with the service of communion in one home. 

While I'm preparing to roast the beef, make popovers, and prepare a cold punch or hot wassail (depending upon our Oklahoma weather) I am pondering and praying.

"What, Lord, do you want me to drop in my schedule? What focus shall I have this new month and new year? As I prepare to fill in new calendars, put away Christmas decorations, and clean up the house its a time of continuing the heart preparation of these holy days so that as I celebrate Epiphany I can enter the year with listening ears, clear mind, and a ready home.

To quote Nancy Leigh DeMoss from her "A Heart At Rest" 
daily encouragement calendar for today:

At times, the call of God on our lives may require us to relinquish things 
or people we can't imagine living without.

Each year I read through the Bible, have you ever done that? 

I did it the first time to encourage my children who had been challenged to do so by a grandfather. We started out together and 2 of the 4 of us in the family made it through. I never quit reading it through since then for I realized it wasn't difficult, impossible, or boring if one had the right tools to guide your focus as you did so. This year I begin my 17th time of doing so. Wow, I can't believe I just typed that. 
I list each year's date and means of doing so in the front pages of my Bibles. 

Have you thought about reading the Bible daily this year? 
I encourage you to do so; God speaks into your life throughout the year in ways you don't 'hear' if you aren't in tune with His Word and His voice and His ways. 

It takes 15 minutes a day, some days a bit more. 

I follow a reading plan from Walk Thru The Bible called Daily Walk
I have used Bible reading plans that were just lists of references to read and ticked them off as I read each day. I did that my first few years. *yawn* Then I used a Bible that was made for daily readings, you just read from the specially printed Bible and didn't have to search the references out as you read daily from the Old & New testaments as well as a proverb and a psalm each day. Later I read through a Chronologically printed Bible - and that was a frustration at points - 
as a Bible student it was hard to understand why some portions were put in the order 
they were, I realized there was lots of subjective juggling going on in editing. 

So, for the past 5 plus years I've used the Daily Walk, by subscription, you receive it monthly. Some use Bible Pathways (you can access that online or subscribe to receive it by mail monthly).  My husband and I use the Daily Walk and have not found anything that I prefer, though I'm always keeping my eyes open for the next means of reading the Bible through. 
I favor Daily Walk for the points it suggests you note, the history tips it provides, and most importantly, after taking in those details and reading the text for the day, there is always a suggested application, one that you can do that-very-day. 

Or perhaps you have never developed a daily habit of quietly 'meeting' with God, with a Bible, journal, pen, and devotional book. Where to begin?, you ask.
I can't recommend more highly Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book A Place of Quiet Rest.
If you have the habit of taking time each day to spend alone with God, this is still a wonderful encouragement and directing of focus in nurturing a relationship with God.

So, dear reader, consider if this is the year to read the Bible cover to cover, to read the Old Testament only, slowly, meditatively, studying it. Or is God leading you to read the New Testament in meditative fashion, or perhaps it is time to ask the Lord what book(s) of the Bible to chew upon this year. You can find reading plans and study guides for most all manners of approaching it. Whatever you consider, may I leave you with this? We are not told to read the Bible but to meditate it. What difference do you see between the meanings of reading versus meditating? 

For me, it means I can't read fast, can't read casually, 
and can't ignore what I read each day as I go into my day's list of t0-do's. 

How have I matured in my faith this past year? 
In my relationships? 
In the quality of my work and care for your co-workers, respect for my employers? 
Am I changing as I am washed by the Word? 
Have I helped another in their accepting the Lord? Their growth in the Lord?
Am I learning from others? Learning with others?

I pray that I am. I purpose to do my part in this process.

Won't you join me on the journey of growth, bathing in His Word, 
accepting, receiving the transformation of His Word 
in your way of thinking and living?

Truth For Life
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, 
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he mediates day and night
He is like a tree planted by steams of water that yields its fruit in its season, 
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

1 comment:

Debby said...

Thank you for sharing how you read through the Bible. I did it two years ago and it blessed me immensely. It was a very hard year as my daughter and son in law struggled with infertility and I needed God's comfort through His word especially. I was looking to do it again this year but looking for a different way. I ordered a subscription to the Daily Walk.