Archive for the “Reading the Bible” Category

Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

So Many Books, So Little Time

Well, it’s many books, but it’s not really much time. We’ll finish six books and start two others in August, but we’ll do it at the same pace as we’ve been travelling throughout the year – three chapters each day, Monday through Friday.

I’ve had a number of conversations about reading through the Bible recently. It seems that many people have the misconception that they just can’t do it. “I’m not much of a reader,” is what I’ve been hearing.

The good news is that:

(1)  You don’t have to be much of a reader to read through the New Testament in a year. All it takes is reading one chapter each day, five days a week. Even if you are a slow reader, you can probably do that in less than ten minutes. Increase that time to thirty or forty minutes each weekday and you can follow our Resting at the River’s Edge schedule. Over a two year period, you’ll read through the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament twice.

(2)  There are many modern language translations available. You can check out different translations online. Read from several different versions. If you find one you like, head on over to ChristianBook.com and pick it up.

(3)  It’s the inspired Word of God. I confess – sometimes it doesn’t feel like it! But when it does, it’s magical! (That would be magical in the sense of “wow!” and “cool” and “how does God do that?”, not magical in the sense of sorcery of course).

Reading through the whole New Testament and/or the whole Bible pulls the story of God’s plan together in a way that isn’t grasped by reading less methodically. So even if you haven’t been reading along with us yet, I invite you to join us in August.

In August we’ll finish 1 & 2 Samuel – the story of David’s life. God called David a man after His own heart – that seems like reason enough to study his life. In the New Testament we’ll read Collossians, Philemon, and Hebrews. In the book of Hebrews we’ll read about how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all that is taught in the Old Testament – He is our sacrificial lamb; His blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins; He is our great high priest. Mr. T used to say “I love it when a good plan comes together.” Hebrews pulls God’s plan together and spells it out for those of us who didn’t catch it on our own!

May God whisper in your ear as you read with us this month!

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of August’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

A New Year, A New Plan – Let’s keep reading!

In 2009, our Resting at the River’s Edge reading plans took us through the entire Bible in a year. That’s a great thing to do. I love the impact Scripture can have by reading large portions – we get the “big picture” that is easily missed when we only read short passages.  Sometimes what happens, though, is that we fly through what we’re reading without taking time to appreciate individual passages or Scriptures and letting them speak to our hears and spirits.

Our reading plans for 2010 and 2011 will give you more time for just that. They will take us through the New Testament each year, and spread the Old Testament out over the two years. We’ll repeat a couple of foundational OT books both years, but the entire plan will have us reading only three chapters a day, five days a week.

Why is it we only plan readings for five days a week? It’s not that I’m trying to encourage you to take the weekend off. Rather, it’s that I recognize that life rarely goes as planned. Planning three chapters each day for only five days each week provides a relief valve for those days when we read less than we’d hoped we might.

Some people have expressed that they don’t like reading from multiple books at a time. In this plan we’ll only be reading from two books at a time – typically an Old Testament and a New Testament book. We’re not legalistic here! Feel the freedom to read the entire OT book and then the entire NT book (or vice versa, of course) instead of reading from both each day.

So, we begin 2010 with the Book of Beginnings – Genesis, and are pairing it with the Gospel of John. Both look at the the creation of the world. Isn’t it amazing that we serve a God who existed before the world was created? In all honesty, that goes beyond what I can comprehend. What came before the beginning? Eternity past, and God was there all the time – just as He’ll be there in eternity future, after this world is long, long gone.

I hope you’ll be there too. You’ll learn as you read through Genesis that God’s plan has always been to provide a way for you to spend eternity with Him. In John, you’ll learn that Jesus is that way.

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17

Enjoy your January reading! The recommended reading schedule is below.

Take some time to meditate over verses that jump out at you as you read this month.

To download a PDF of January’s recommended reading plan, click here.

2010 RARE January Reading Plan JPG

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  • Doesn’t Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 make so much more sense, having just read Genesis & Exodus in the past couple of months? It does to me. Stephen’s speech used to seem long and boring. But now I find it an amazingly compact telling of the story of the Old Testament. Reading the O.T. so enriches the N.T.
  • Notice the position of Jesus as Stephen saw Him:

55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

    In Luke 22 Jesus says that he will be seated at the right hand of God after His resurrection. In Colossians 3 Jesus is described as being seated at the right hand of God. Apparently Jesus stands up when He sees His saints martyred. Stephen looked up and saw Jesus standing. How hard it must be for Jesus not to come rushing in to save us. But thankfully, He sees the bigger picture.
  • Did you notice the young man who stood by and watched the clothes of those who stoned Stephen? Yes, that was Saul, who later became Paul. At the time of Stephen’s stoning, Saul was a righteous young man in agreement with those throwing the stones.

57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him [Stephen], 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

    Our God is a God who can change the heart of anyone. Thank you Lord!

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Psalm 21 (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1    O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!

2    You have granted him the desire of his heart
and have not withheld the request of his lips.

This morning as I began to read Psalm 21, I realized that David, the writer of the psalm, is the King. So I went back to the beginning of the psalm and read it through speaking in first person instead of third person. In other words, where it says “the king” I read “I,” and where it says “his” or “him” referring to King David, I substituted “my” or “me.” So the first two verses read like this:

1    O LORD, I rejoice in your strength.
How great is my joy in the victories you give!

2    You have granted me the desire of my heart
and have not withheld the request of my lips.

 What a blessing! Try it! It (1) caused me to read the Psalm more slowly and (2) gave it tremendously more personal impact. Sure, there were some verses that couldn’t be taken literally (“you placed a crown of pure gold on my head” v. 3b), but when they were not true in the literal sense, they were surely true in the spiritual sense (our “crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8), “crown of life” (James 1:12), and “crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4) – crowns which we shall lay at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 4:9)). As I read Psalm 21, I briefly thought of these crowns, and reflected on the crown of gold that rests on the head of Jesus (Revelation 14:14). As you personalize Psalm 21, God may bring other things to your mind. That’s the wonderful personalization work of the Holy Spirit.

So personalize it! You’ll be glad you did!

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