Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Let the Word of Christ Dwell Richly"

In our church there is a ministry of prayer groups specifically for the wives of our missionary families. Each wife has a group of ladies that meet monthly to lift her up in prayer, to specifically bring their family's needs before the Lord, and to encourage her in the work of the ministry. I have been blessed to be part of the group for Robin Ireland whose family ministers in Ukraine. What a gift to be a part of their ministry. To hear of the answered prayer and know I was on the ground level of the work being done there- what an amazing thought. They are an incredible family that has been faithful to the Lord for over 12 years on the field, and even having been home on furlough... a time of refreshing... have been busy in the ministry of our local church!

I give you all of that ground work to say this. I look to Robin for so many things. I truly follow her as she follows Christ. At our January gathering, she threw down a challenge. I did not know at the time that others had taken this up on Jan 1st, and it was already Jan 5th. I really thought, "OK If Robin says I need to do this, it needs to be done".

"What is it" you say?

Well, if I were to tell you she said bungee jump or climb Mount Everest twice in the next four months, while exhilarating and a challenge, it would still pale in comparison to her real "throw down"... in true Bobby Flay manner. She whammied me with both fists, and I like a bleating sheep said... Well why not?!

Again... why all of the suspense?!?!

I don't want to let you down in the revelation of the challenge. If you feel a bit like I did when I heard it, I completely understand. It doesn't sound daunting or even that hard. In fact, the humble and meek 'voracious lover of all things challenging' part of me thought... "Oh this will be a stretch, but not a complete impossibility"... I now think anew.

It is this.

Read the Bible through in four months.

Please... if you feel a twinge of a let down, February first is coming! I dare invite you to the same commitment! The chart Robin gave us has us starting in Genesis, John, as well as Psalms and Proverbs scattered throughout. It has been an incredible time! I have always been a big Bunny Trail person. I find something that I don't get, and I dig it through to the bottom of my limited mental capacity resources. While it is great for the sake of actually reading and learning, I think I have read the entire Bible cover to cover a few times, but I am not really sure! I know there have been times that I skipped over here or there for the sake of chasing down some reference, and then I get so absorbed in that part I just continue reading! There were several months I felt like I read through Isaiah and Jeremiah three times!

So what has been some of the biggest "Ah Hah!"s through this past month?

1. I love to read the Word of God. He is The Master story teller. The truths of the Word and the pictures he paints in the Bible are better than any novel.

2. There is something to quantity... and not just quality. This - I am sure - applies to more than reading the Bible.

3. When I put more of the Word in my mind and my heart, I feel the difference in my spirit. It is more than a knowing I have read my Bible. There is change from my core.

As I read today in Deuteronomy 15:18

It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee; for he hath been worth a double hired servant to thee, in serving thee six years: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all that thou doest.

The Lord was giving commandment how to deal with servants after their years of service. What struck me was the owner was told to give a booty load of stuff to the servant, that they go not out empty handed for all their service. It shall not seem hard unto thee... is what the Lord said would be part of their reward for obedience. To obey in truth, one must know what is required and expected. And that must be learned from reading the rule book- The Bible. I want obedience to not seem hard unto me too. That will be accomplished through reading and reading and reading. This schedule is helping me do that- purposefully.

4. It is good for me to be seen reading my Bible in front of my children. Not to be a show or so I can look holy, but because they should rightfully expect that all this reading will make a difference in me. That means I must become more God-like to them. This is not an act of chance or accident. With purpose, the Word of Christ is dwelling richly in me, and by allowing the Spirit have free course in me to make the multitude (...!...) of changes that need to be made, I can become more conformed to the image of Christ. Lord, this is my prayer!

5. 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

My mind is willing to allow God to have his perfect way in me but in truth, I feel like I don't have enough faith, or belief, or patience, or ability to be what God wants of me or for me. Praise Him it is according to what I hath that God will work this in me and His working in me is NOT according to what I hath not! So I must let all my lack be counted as weakness that He will be strong. In reading these past few weeks, I am learning of the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the same yesterday, today and forever. Reading it through quicker than I ever have has made the Word seem like a true tapestry where everything so intricately weaves together. I know it does from my teaching, but to actually experience it first hand has been a work of the Spirit. I know God better even through these short weeks of pouring in the word. His mercy and righteousness, his attention to detail and still the master orchestrator of his Grand Plan. To know my body is to him now what the temple of Exodus and Leviticus was. To know that within me, that is within my flesh there dwelleth no good thing, but within my spirit dwells The MOST HIGH GOD. To imagine that he finds this habitation -my life- preferable to the gorgeous Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy of Holies. That all of the gold and brass, tapestries and jewels- what this world calls precious, are as nothing in comparison to me in him and he in me. Mind blowing stuff.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;

If you were interested, I have put a general guide to some reading schedules. I challenge you!

5 PAGES DAY Through in 365 days = 12 months - 1 time Year
10 PAGES DAY Through in 180 days = 6 months - 2 Times Year
15 PAGES DAY Through in 120 days = 4 months - 3 Times Year
20 PAGES DAY Through in 90 days = 3 months - 4 Times Year
30 PAGES DAY Through in 60 days = 2 months - 6 Times Year
60 PAGES DAY Through in 30 days = 1 months -12 Times Year


Anonymous said...

Lol My mom is doing that too!
~orange girl said...

I like your approach. You have calculated exactly how many pages you need to read a day to meet your four month goal. If you stick to it, you will make it.

One suggestion is to have a notepad handy for questions that you want to go back to. That way, if there is something you want to dig into deeper, you can make a note of it, then keep on reading.

A good point of understanding the Bible is to approach it with a willingness to believe what God says and to strive to obey Him. As I point out in my blog, we all need God's help to understand the Bible, and God gives that help to those who believe Him more than their own opinions or traditions. God may sometimes test us on this by showing us a point of truth that is different from what we believe or want to believe. If we believe Him, then He can help us understand more truth in the Bible, one point at a time. But if we choose our traditions and opinions over His word, if we interpret the Bible to fit what we already believe, then God's help stops and the understanding stops.

Christina J. Ford said...

My friend did the reading through in a month this past month, she said that she really liked it! So I also love your blog, how did you get it so nice??? mine is really boring;( I don't know how to do all the fancy stuff. sniff* sniff*