Reading Through the Bible- Complete

So last year, during the weekend of Miss Arkansas (July 14), I was laying in bed trying to be quiet while waiting for my bestie Alden to wake up.
I was browsing on my phone at the YouVersion app.  I was currently doing a #SheReadsTruth study, so I did my daily reading and then decided to browse the Bible Study plans.
I found a one-year chronological Bible study, and decided to read Day 1.  Then the next day I read Day 2.  Then I kept reading.
Some days I read 2-3 days worth of study.  Some days I didn’t have time to read.  I read while on vacation sometimes, and other times I just caught up when I got home.
Most days, I read 15-30 minutes (usually 3-6 chapters at a time).  I read verses that I knew by heart, as well as stories I had never heard of.  It took me just over one year to finish.  I started July 14, 2012 and finished July 22, 2013.
There were days I couldn’t wait to read because I loved what I was reading.  There were days I trudged through because I was reading old Testament laws, or genealogies. But I kept reading.
I kept reading because I felt like I was learning obedience. I kept reading because some days, God would touch my heart and give me the PERFECT verses that I needed.  I kept reading because some days, it was the ideal verse to send to a friend who was going through something.  I kept reading at some point simply because it seemed silly to stop.  I kept reading because I was enthralled with this story that God wrote for me.
I did learn lots of interesting little things, learned a TON about my Jewish heritage and their place in God’s story, but most of all, I got this takeaway from reading the entire Bible:
God’s story is personal and pursuing.
God wants to know us each intimately and personally, and He does an awful lot to pursue us.  If you have noticed good things coming from bad things, people saying just what you needed to hear, protection in scary times….those things aren’t coincidence.  They are God.  Those things are God chasing after you.  I saw it through the entire Bible up until the last verses in Revelation.
Revelation 22:17 “Come! Let the ones who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.”
Jesus wants to quench your thirst- your thirst for more, your thirst for purpose, happiness, and He wants to fill that emptiness inside you.  You don’t have to read a single word in the Bible to feel Him work in your life. But He does require that you come to Him….He’ll pursue you, but you have to come to Him. I hope you know Him (and if you don’t, I’d love to tell you more!)
I don’t plan on putting my Bible away forever or anything like that.  I’m starting a new, more focused study right away. And I can’t wait to see what God will teach me through another trip through His word.

Reading Through the Bible: Jesus’s Part in the Story

I’m not sure that my title for this post is accurate.  I mean, the entire Old Testament basically is pointing to Jesus, and then when He arrives, you get to see a glimpse into his life in the gospels.

I have never read straight through the gospels, but I was so surprised at how little of Jesus’ life we actually get.  The amazing part is how little time there is to the crucifixion and resurrection.  Literally in just a chapter or two, we learn how Jesus died for the redemption and salvation of all humankind, and then He is raised from the dead and ascends into Heaven.

Now, I have known these stories for a long time, and I have read them in bits and pieces before, but to see them all laid out, I wanted more.  I wanted more details.  More explanations.  More reactions. More miracles.

But then I realized, that is faith.  Not fully being able to wrap your mind around it, but believing it.

A couple days ago, I read about “doubting Thomas” who wouldn’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead until he felt the wounds. I don’t want to be like that.

I do believe this story.  I do believe that Jesus, God’s son, came to earth, lived a sinless life, and died for the salvation of humanity by being the sacrifice for our sins – our way into a perfect Heaven that we don’t deserve.

However, there are so many things I struggle with.  I struggle sometimes thinking that God hears my little tiny prayers.  That God cares about my everyday.  But you know what?  If God could give doubting Thomas exactly what he needed to believe, He will give me reassurance too.

As I move further into the New Testament and into the apostles, I’m excited to see my faith strengthened as God gives me just what I need.

He will give you what you need to, you just have to ask.

Reading Through the Bible: From Old to New!

Reading Through the Bible: From Old to New!

I am currently 78% of the way through the Bible.  That in and of itself blows my mind.  When I started, I wanted to finish.  I wanted to establish a habit of daily Bible reading…but I honestly have tried to read through the Bible several times before and failed…so I’m amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness in teaching me obedience and igniting the fire in my heart to learn more about Him.

That being said, this morning, I crossed from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

I have never totally loved the Old Testament. It seemed unrelatable, full of history (not my thing), and a little pointless.  I mean, when Jesus came, He did away with the religious laws in the OT, so I didn’t fully understand why it was there.

Well, I’m certainly no Bible scholar, but here are some observations on the Old Testament.

  • It clearly points to Christ. I mean, HELLO – Isaiah 7:14 says: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Could it be any more clear?
  • It shows God’s grace, redemption, and love through His story with the people of Israel. They totally turned on him, but He gave them grace…even making a plan for them to be protected.  I am reading chronologically, instead of just reading through the Bible, and the last book I read before the NT was Nehemiah…where God rebuilds the wall around Jerusalem and gets them all set back up from rubble.  Talk about LOVE!
  • It shows people of great faith and obedience. I mean, how scary for Jeremiah to have to tell his people their sins and their impending doom? God promised Jeremiah he would be attacked, but not defeated.  Could I obey if I knew that?  Jeremiah was attacked by his brothers, priests, the officials….but he stayed faithful.
  • It shows how detailed God is. I mean, there are chapters outlining who helped rebuild the wall around Jerusalem in Nehemiah.  God was obviously interested in the details about their lives….so he is involved in our details.
  • It shows people who messed up big time, but God still used them. Solomon anyone? 🙂

All of that to say, after reading all of the Old Testament, there is much of it that doesn’t directly apply to us.

There are crazy laws about mold, sacrifices, establishing the priesthood….and other things that don’t matter now that we follow Jesus.  But all of those guidelines make me SO THANKFUL for Jesus.  Before Jesus, most people never encountered the true Spirit of the Lord….which now lives in us believers! Before Jesus, you had to make atonement for your sins.  Before Jesus, you had to follow laws to be a follower of God.  Now, Jesus’s redemption on the cross means we get to have a relationship with God because He made the way. SO THANKFUL.

I can’t wait to see how the whole New Testament plays out.  I know the story, but I’m ready to dive in even deeper.

And a little OT humor for your Thursday. 🙂

Reading Through the Bible Update: Major Prophets

I am now over 60% of the way through the Bible. Let’s be honest, I’m surprised I’ve stuck with it this long.  I REALLY wanted to read through the entire Bible, but anything requiring a year’s worth of follow through is tough for anyone.

I have had to make some major adjustments recently to keep reading.  I started doing early morning boot camp a few times a week.  So I’m having to wake up even earlier to read before I leave.  But I’m not sacrificing my time with the Lord to work out.  That isn’t fair to God.  So I’m up earlier on those mornings to read.

Secondly, I started a women’s study on the book Unglued…so I’m also reading that book and the participant guide…so I’m having to be really intentional on taking time to read that as well without cutting into my Bible reading time.

But I’m still with it.

I’ve hit some bigger chunks to get through: the major prophets.  I finished Isaiah, and now I’m in Jeremiah. They are lengthy books.  But they are full of God’s promises to his people.  I love it!

There are lots of Israel/God dealings in these books, because this was the time of prophets and kings.  I really loved these verses in Jeremiah 33:

14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “‘In those days and at that time
    I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
    he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
WHAT A PROMISE!  A promise of Jesus coming! Amen!
And this one from Jeremiah 31:33
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”
So thankful that God redeemed Israel first, and then redeemed all people through the gift of Jesus.
Looking forward to reading more of this story!