Posts Tagged “Malachi”

Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013

You’re almost there! This month’s schedule represents the last month of a two-year reading plan. If you’ve been with us for the whole time, you’ve read through the entire New Testament twice and the Old Testament once. If you read the additional readings each month, you completed the Old Testament twice. Congratulations!

We’ll start a new reading plan next month and I’m already looking forward to it. As I’ve read through this plan, I’ve identified things I’d like to change about next year’s plans. But that’s for another blog. If you have any ideas, please let me know. Comment on the blog, send me an email or past a message on our Facebook page.

In the meantime, don’t short-change this month’s readings. Read them with the Christmas season as a backdrop. Savor the final words of our Lord as you read through Revelation. Watch for all the prophecies about Jesus as you read through Isaiah. Enjoy and praise as you read the Psalms. Dwell in the love of God as you read 1, 2 and 3 John. I’m so looking forward to reading this month. Hope you are, too!

The following buttons will open PDFs of the November/December bookmark or all bookmarks. After the file has opened, you can print it or save it to your hard drive from your browser’s file menu.

Click here for the Sept/Oct 2013 recommended reading bookmark. Click here to download all bookmarks for 2013.

The December Reading Schedule also appears at the end of this blog.

Enjoy your reading! We’d love to hear what God speaks to your heart. Email me, leave a message on our Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for December is below.

2013-12Dec RecRdg

Here’s how the Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules are organized:

  • The first two columns of the schedule allow you to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice over a two-year period. You will typically read about three chapters a day if you follow this reading plan.
  • The “Additional Readings” column put you on a plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. You will read between four and five chapters a day if you follow this plan.

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

Help! I’ve Fallen Behind and I Can’t Catch Up!

As I prepare this last Resting at the River’s Edge recommended reading list for 2011, I somehow “all of a sudden” find myself 22 chapters behind! Now that translates to just about a week, but I like to stay a couple of days ahead so that I can write blogs related to passages you’re reading that day, the next day or you’ve just read the day before. And here I am in late November finding myself 22 chapters behind. Well, at the end of this blog you’ll find December’s reading schedule, but I think my own situation provides a perfect jumping off place for when you’ve fallen behind in your reading. (I’m guessing there a few of you out there who share my situation!) Here are some tips:

  • Don’t fret over it! Our pastor shared the definition of “fret” in his sermon last week. The definitions included:
    • Feel or express worry or discontent
    • Cause corrosion, gnaw into something
    • To become eaten, worn or corroded
    • Irritated state of mind, vexation

Wow! That’s certainly not a condition or state of mind conducive to meeting with God as you read His Word! Let it go.

  • Keep at it! Don’t let being behind schedule keep you from continuing to read. What’s the worst that can happen? Instead of reading through the Bible by December 31, 2011, you’ll finish some time in 2012. Sounds good to me! You will still have read through the Bible and that’s the important thing. It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God.
  • Don’t rush through your reading just to stay on schedule! It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God. (Is there an echo here?)
  • Realize that catching up just might be possible! Our reading plans schedule about three chapters a day. Here are some ways to catch up:
    • If you’re able to add one chapter each day, you’ll catch up almost two days each week.
    • Read three chapters on Saturday or Sunday (or both) and you’ll catch up one or two days each week.
    • Spend your lunchtime reading your Bible. You’ll catch up at least one day, perhaps more, each time you do this. You might even decided that it’s a great way to relax at lunch!
    • Arrive at an appointment about fifteen minutes early. Spend the time reading your Bible. You’ll catch up another day. This is a great thing to do on Sunday morning if there is a quiet place you can read before service. It really prepares you to enter into worship and the message.
    • Carve out some “me and God” time in your schedule. This is absolutely the best thing I’ve done in my walk with the Lord and I look forward to it each week.

Implement one or more of these things for a few weeks and you’ll find yourself catching up quickly.

  • December’s reading schedule is great for this season. Don’t hesitate to stop reading where you are, read along with us in the month of December (think Revelation and Psalms), then pick up where you left off in January. Or begin following the December schedule while you employ some catching up techniques to previous schedules.
  • Remember: It’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God!

So, friends, keep at it. I commend you for all the reading you’ve done – even if you’re three months behind schedule or more! The monthly schedules will continue to be available here all throughout the coming year. Enjoy your reading and your time with God.

Now before I get back to my reading, let me provide you with a short synopsis of our December reading:

  • We will begin the book of Revelation on November 29th  and we’ll finish it on December 29th. We will end the year reading about the future. I love that God’s Word doesn’t teach us only the Law and history and how to live in this life, but it gives us a glimpse into the future – some of which we can only imagine, and some that seems so bizarre that we can’t even imagine it. Still, He trusts us with such knowledge. Wow! Enjoy this book and if it gets too confusing don’t let it get to you! Just ask God to reveal what He wants you to understand and keep reading. What you can’t understand will simply begin to lodge itself in your spirit for the time it’s needed.
  • We’ll finish the minor prophets by reading Malachi on November 30th. Note that this is a slight change from the schedule that was published in November. I changed things up a bit to read the book of Malachi before finishing the Psalms instead of after.
  • We will begin reading the rest of the Psalms on December 1st and finish them on December 30th. I can’t think of a better way of ending the year than with Psalm 150 which begins and ends with the phrase “Praise the Lord.”

I know the month of December is a busy one for everyone, but friends – enjoy your reading throughout the month. Remember, it’s not the schedule, it’s the content and meeting with God!

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for December is below.

To download a PDF of the December 2011 recommended reading plan, click here.

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A Season of Hope and Expectation

As we enter the final month of our Resting at the River’s Edge readings, we’ll be reading about the life, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus, and then the great book of Revelation, which is “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave [John] to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation 1:1-3) We’ll enter the great Throne Room of Heaven as we continue to read and praise with the living creatures and elders:

Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.
Revelation 4:9-11, and 11:16-17

We’ll end the year with as the Bible ends:

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Revelation 22:20-21

There are some other books thrown into the mix, but the highlight for me is always the revelation of Jesus and worship around His throne.

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the year! I pray that God has blessed you as you’ve been diligent in His Word throughout 2009. Whatever shall we do in 2010?

To download a PDF of December’s reading schedule, click here.

12DecReading JPG

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I’ve just been reading in Leviticus about all the offerings the Israelites were to offer to God and what (finally) struck me is that in every case, they use the word “offering.” It might have been a peace offering or a guilt offering or some other kind of offering, but they were always an “offering.” They may have been required offerings, but they were still offerings. That is, the Lord required these offerings as a way for them to receive forgiveness (albeit temporary forgiveness) for their sins or show their devotion to Him. And yet, they are called “offerings.”

What began to sink in was the attitude of humility that the word “offering” carries with it. An offering is something given in hopes that it will be accepted – the husband-to-be offers his hand in marriage to the woman in hopes that she will say “yes” or an offending co-worker brings a cup of coffee or donut in hopes that relationships can be restored and peace can returned to the office. An apology is an offering – it is given in humility and in the hopes that it will be accepted. The attitude of the heart in each case is humility and hopefulness. Of course with hopefulness there is anticipation of good things to come.

When I read in Leviticus 5 that a person is to bring a lamb or a goat, but if he cannot afford that he can bring two young doves or pigeons, and if he cannot afford that he is to bring a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, I am ashamed to admit that the thought that ran across my brain was “who’s to say what he can afford?” Immediately the Lord whispered in my ear – “It’s a heart issue.” In other words, our hearts ought to be so devoted to God and so sorry for our sin that we desire to bring the very best and most we can. It’s not a “how little can we get away with to make up for our sins?” Rather, it’s how much can I offer to the Lord to show Him how sorry I am and how much I love Him?

And that brought me to the question – “How do you view your offerings?” Are they obligations, or are they opportunities to express your love to God? Do you give them as a part of your Sunday morning routine, or with an attitude of humility? When you write out your check or search for the money in your wallet, is it just something you do out of duty, or is an act of worship? Don’t get me wrong. Obedience is a good thing. Bring your tithes into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10). But obedience that is not done with the right heart is its own form of rebellion. Think of the child who spits out his apology in obedience to his parent’s command. The child was being “obedient”, but not making a sincere offering from his heart. No, in his heart there was rebellion – “I’ll say I’m sorry, but I won’t mean it. So there!”

I doubt that you make your offerings with the same blatant attitude as that child, but I know that there are times when I unthinkingly offend God by giving my offerings with a heart that isn’t fully “in the moment” (that is, I’m not even thinking about it, I’m just on autopilot) or has a hidden agenda of expectations from God instead of humble anticipation of His acceptance of my offer. When we are “in the moment” and our attitude is humble anticipation, imagine the joy we can receive when we know that our offer has been accepted!

Scripture teaches that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). That doesn’t mean He loves the giver who is a cheerful person. That means he loves it when we give with a cheerful attitude – and that means we are in the moment – purposefully thinking about what we’re doing and doing it cheerfully.

Lord, forgive me for all the times I have spent the offering time on Sunday morning reading the bulletin instead of making my offering to You in humility and joy. Forgive me for the times I write out my check out of obligation instead of with joyful anticipation of bringing joy to the One I love the most.

The Offering God Gave
Notice that it was in this same attitude that God gave His offering – with His whole heart and in humble anticipation of the joy to come when His offering would be accepted by men and women. That offering, of course, was His Son Jesus, whom God gave as the sacrificial lamb – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Do you see that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament system of sacrifices and offerings? That He is our sacrificial lamb, offered once for all?

Unlike the other high priests, [Jesus] does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
                Hebrews 7:27 (NIV)

The question is “will you accept His offering?” It is an offering consistent with those we’ve read about in Leviticus, but of such a higher degree that it issues in a new covenant. The new covenant holds the promise of an eternal inheritance – life forever more – even for those who have not kept the old covenant.

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
                Hebrews 9:13-15 (NIV)

Should you have any doubt, let me be clear. God is calling you. He is calling you to serve the living God. He is calling you in love.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
                1 John 4:9-10 (NIV)

Will you accept his offering? What will you offer back to him in response?

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