I am SO excited about reading the Bible again this year. Last year, I decided to follow the REAP plan (which I’ll explain in a bit) with the Little grasshopper. Though there were many days I missed or only read part, I always caught up and ended up finishing the plan three weeks ago.
Which means that now, for the first time (even though I’ve been a Christian for almost ten years!) I have read the WHOLE Bible. The boring parts (yes, I find lists of temple dimensions of numbers of bronze cherubim boring, sometimes) the confusing parts and the hard parts (hard in so many ways). And it was and continues to be SO encouraging. All the time, God will bring to mind the stories he’s woven in my heart to encourage me. Stories I know because I FINALLY took the time and effort to read them.
This year, I’m reading with Aster, Crissy, the Little Grasshopper again, and anyone else who wants to join.
I’m going to experiment with REAPing some on the blog, to encourage.
And though i KNOW it’s not about performing, I’m going to try very very hard to read according to plan every day because i really want to be that accountability and encouragement for my friends.
So REAP means Read Examine Apply Pray. The example of how to do that can be found here. http://www.austinstone.org/files/reap.pdf
When I REAP, I rarely follow this exact method. I first read each section individually (to read the whole Bible in one year, this reading plan (http://austinstone.org/files/ReadingPlan2009.pdf) has a section of text from four different parts of the Bible for each day) and usually underline/mark/highlight/takes notes in my Bible (nope, it’s not a sin.) Then, since I’m a big journaler/pray-er in general, I prayer journal about whatever stuck out and ask God to put that lesson in my heart to stay. Or something like that.
But for me, the most important part is
a) I READ it. EVEN THE BORING OR HARD PARTS and
b)I try to understand and learn from it.
There aren’t wrong answers. Sometimes I do more research online or in some of my old Religious Studies books or in my study bible or by asking my pastors (who
LOVE don’t yell at me when I don’t do my homework before hand ;)) Sometimes I laugh at the stories. Sometimes I get so wrapped up that I end up late for something because God’s story, when he helps your heart care, is REALLY capturing.
Like this morning, I read Gen 1, 1 Chronicles 1, Luke 1 ( i was supposed to stop at v 25 but it was too good) and Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8.
I had already underlined things from previous times reading. This time I read, out loud, like I was reading to a kid. I got choked up near the end when I thought of how creative God was in creating creation. :) He didn’t have to do it meticulously, but He did. He was the first artist, delighting in beauty and light and timing. I took a moment to pause and just experience creation around me, praying to love Him more as I see how he made it all for us, his people, who He love.
1 Chronicles 1 :
Oh genealogies. Everyone loves em. Actually, I’ve never met anyone who did. Here are three things that help me with these long lists of names
- I read them out loud and try to pronounce them. Some sound pretty entertaining. Like why would you name your children DishOn and DishAn ? Yeah, bet those brothers never got confused.
- I imagine my aunt telling me the stories. Literally, I think of times she was over the sink, peeling potatoes, telling me about the tios and tias I never met and how they’re all connected. I’m a story person so this just helps me care.
- Sometimes I draw diagrams to help keep track of who matters where.
I got confused about the kings because the story, like all stories, has to jump back and forth a little. So I just drew a little diagram for my own personal understanding at the time. If you critique the theology of this picture, I will…not do anything but it will be unkind and antithetical to the point so please don’t.
I LOVED reading this, remembering all the sweet moments of the advent season we just celebrated. I reveled in how blessed Mary was, and how much trouble that caused her. I prayed I would find the delight of the magnificat (the song mary sings after Gabriel announces the big news) in my own heart when looking forward to God’s plans.
An amazing passage, and a beautiful reminder that God keeps “timing” in mind, despite the fact (or maybe better because) he exists outside of it. I took a moment to trust God in prayer and meditation – thanking him that he controls the seasons for our best.
Woosh!! I know that was SO much information, but I’m leaving the continent in three days and I want to make sure my friends are well equipped to start this adventure with me. now, GO!