Today. beside the tree or right where you are. All you have to do is show up, because Jesus showed up. It’s that simple. If you don’t know where to start or what to read, here are a few simple suggestions:Read More
She sat it down between us, beside the rosebud on the white linen tablecloth, a small silver pitcher of hot fudge. Then the waitress gave us each our own scoop of ice cream. This was our tradition, ever since Grandma had passed away, how I'd come for lunch and we'd end our time together with two bowls of chocolate mocha swirl and that ample portion of melted fudge to share. And he was so good at sharing it with me, before liberally applying it to his own bowl.
But Grandpa shared more than dessert. Passed down more than a sweet tooth. The stories he'd tell and the listening I'd do, then the dreams I'd confess and the prayers he'd pray. Back and forth, sharing this way.
This one afternoon, leaning back between bites, I told him how I'd just begun reading through the Bible with a small group of friends. "I can't believe I've never done this before," I confessed. "Twenty years a Christian and I've never read the whole thing. It's a little embarrassing, because I say that I believe the Gospel message more than anything else, but I've never read the whole story."
Grandpa pushed his empty bowl aside then scraped his spoon along the inside cavity of the delicate pitcher. "I read the Bible cover to cover four times before I was a Christian." That's all he said, then licked his spoon clean.
I knew most of the story, that he was raised by a Christian woman and acted the part, then in college he only went to the church because that's where the pretty girls were. Even saved his money to buy a 1920 Model T, so that he could pick up the young ladies and take them to the local Christian gathering for the young adults. But this I didn't know, how he had read it all, from Genesis to Revelation, during those growing up years, never moved to believe until the preacher's daughter said that she wouldn't date him until he was an honest-to-goodness born-again believer... and suddenly something clicked.
Clicked so hard and so deep that the rest of his life was spent telling people about how they too might also know God in a real and intimate way.
During World War II, on carriers throughout the South Pacific, Grandpa preached to the Navy men. On trips ashore he brought his Bible, looking for island churches who needed a visiting pastor. Then after the war, Grandpa took a job with Dr. Irwin Moon, founder of Moody Bible Institute of Science, putting on sensational evangelistic shows at the World's Fair each year. Wowing audiences with scientific experiments Grandpa would then talk about the God of all creation; the One who had ordered all matter through the cosmos and then came down to earth to have an intimate relationship with His people.
All this from a man who had read through the Bible four times before he believed. Genesis four times. Exodus four times. Leviticus four times. Judges four times. Deuteronomy four times. Joshua four time. Judges four times. Ruth four times. You get the picture.
All of it... four times.
I am my Grandfather's Granddaughter in many ways, but this isn't one them. Unlike Grandpa, I believed with all my heart before I read one word from my Precious Moments Bible with my own eyes. As a young child I knew God lived in my heart before I knew anything about that biological organ that beat there in my breast. And not once, since that childlike faith took root, have I doubted God's existence or His great big love for me. And yet, I never knew the whole story. And what a story it is!
The first time I read through the sweeping tale of God's redemptive love in its entirety, I was 27 years old. Just a small band of newly married women at church, with no formal Bible study leader, simply the Holy Spirit guiding us individually. Once a week we got together to share what we were learning. Insight, life application, and a healthy dose of awe were shared together week after week for 52 blessed weeks. And the overarching theme, we all discovered, was how God used every story along the way to point us to Jesus.
By the time we finished the Old Testament and turned the page into Matthew's gospel account, we were primed like never before to experience the birth of a savior. Our Savior! And as we wrapped up Revelation we all celebrated John's prophetic vision of our passionate warrior God returning again to take His people home. Cover to cover - Genesis to Revelation - Creation to the fall to His triumphant return.
Do you know that whole story?
On Monday, June 1st, 2015, I am beginning another walk through the pages of God's Word. Once a week I will blog about what I am learning and ask you to share what you have gleaned. Leave your lessons in the comments below each week for our sister sojourners to learn from too.
Four times, Grandpa read through the Bible before He believed and was saved. And I just realized that this is going to be my fourth time through. Will you join me for your first, second, third, fourth... tenth time through God's Word? It is alive and active, and you will be changed if you come to it with a heart to receive, a heart purposed to find God.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
How I wish I could sit down with Grandpa today, over hot fudge sundaes, and ask him to join us this time around. Cover to cover, Genesis to Revelation, Creation to the fall to His triumphant return... However, Grandpa is a little preoccupied these days, living the final outcome of this redemptive story on the other side of glory.
So that leaves you and me. This is your formal invitation. If you are a Christian, and you have believed all your life but only scraped the surface of God's Word, join us. And this invitation is for you, my non-Christian friends. Would you read through the Bible with me? It's the #1 best selling book of all time!
Stay tuned... more information is coming. In the meantime, print up this chronological reading schedule and ready yourself with a sturdy Bible. I just ordered this ESV Journaling Bible, and am eager to fill the ample margins with notes and verses about what I'm learning as we sojourn together. Or do what my eleven year old does and download This Bible App on your phone. If you want to be sure to not miss a blog-post chronicling the journey, sign up to receive email updates. It's going to be an exciting ride.
A special thank you to the women I walked barefoot with through every thin page, 13 years ago - that was holy ground we treaded upon, and I am forever changed because of it. Kelli, April, Anne, Jana, Andrea, Alison, Julie, Bonni, Shannon...
And to the women in my midst today who have already reached out with a resounding yes, I have no doubt that we are in for a marvelous adventure together. Jenni, Heather, Pamela, Suzanne, Jennifer, Cindey, Angie, Jenn, Christy, Jacqui, Jessica, Corona...
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
I'm an easily swayed woman. Not the best trait when raising three strong-willed boys, that's for sure. I say no but then they say please, and I sort of bend under the masculine pressure with a well... maybe... okay... only to wonder why they always argue with their Sweet Mama. Then I say yes to a book, starting at page one, but three chapters in I'm onto something new and I never really finish it. Another yes becomes a no. Add to it the fact I'm a creative personality and inspiration is never in short supply around here; I start a project with vision and enthusiasm and then get distracted by tomorrow's fresh batch of inspiration. Truth is... I don't finish lots of stuff. Even the homeschool closet in the hallway. Twice a year I take everything out and start to sort through it all... but there's just too much and I'm overwhelmed, so in it all goes again. While I'm careful not to make "vows", swearing to the Lord this or that, knowing that I don't often follow through with what I plan and purpose, I'm aware that this lack of stick-to-it-iveness is a Spiritual thing, because the fruit of God's Spirit in my life includes self control. Or at least it should.
Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.'
Often I camp out on Galatians 5:22-23, praying over that fruitful list, asking God to grow each piece in my life as I learn to abide in Him. Recently, as I've prayed, He has given me the eyes to see my lack of self control. And so, since the fall of last year, I have spoken three big yeses, in part to develop that muscular fruit.
Number One: I said yes to a seven week Beth Moore Bible Study! I haven't done that since the boys were born in quick succession. Unfortunately, my husband travels quite a bit for work and I homeschool during the days, so meeting up with a formal group didn't happen for me this time. Still I kept at it. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but that seven week study took me twenty-seven weeks... However, I made it through and was so blessed to have stuck it out.
Number Two: I am up to my neck in the writing of a book. Now I've said yes to book concept after book concept for years on end, each idea inspiring and exciting me, but this time I partnered with a friend who has a stick-to-it nature as tenacious as any I've seen. I'm learning so much from her about perseverance amidst the busyness of life. One foot in front of the other, day after day, page after page, chapter after chapter, goal after completed goal. And the end is in sight! What fun it will be to share it with you all when the time is right.
Number Three: And then there was this forty day fast. HOKEY PETE! I had no idea what I was suggesting when I casually threw the idea out there, just after Easter. I knew I needed to get my body off of sugar for the sake of my physical and emotional health, for the sake of calm parenting, for the sake of letting my light shine, but I had no idea what a challenging journey it would be spiritually for me. Even today, on day 37, I'm seeing strongholds fall from my life. Far greater than the shackles of sugar addiction and grumpy afternoons, this fast has shined a spot light into the hidden corners of my life. God keeps illuminating this core truth, "I want all of you... I even want your willy-nilly lack of follow-through. Muscle-through this, Darling, bcause with me you can! Do not give up! Press in and press on, that you might know me!"
I want to know Christ—yes... Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14)
Therefore, with the goal of knowing Him at the forefront of my being, today I am committing to another yes.
A BIG, RESOUNDING YES!
A yes, that will take the heart-muscle of self-control. A yes, I am hoping, that you'll make with me in the weeks and months ahead. So, are you ready for it? Get real quiet now so that you can hear the invitation way down deep in your heart...
I'm going to read through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
Did you hear that? I'm going to begin reading through the Bible, and I want you to join me! I want to experience the sweeping tale of God's passionate pursuit of His created - and I want that for you too. I'll be embarking on this adventure on June 1st and will be praying for y'all in the days to come, that God's Spirit will be pricking at your hearts to find Him real and alive and eager to engage with you between thin pages of a life-changing book.
You've got to know this about me... I'm not much into formulas when it comes to faith. I'm not going to tell you exactly how this should go down - that's up to you. You may read the Bible through in 365 days, or choose to ingest it real slow-like in the early morning hours before your little ones wake. Some of you will want to find a solid commentary to hold in your hands, learning what it all means phrase by inspired phrase, explaining the mysteries of God's Word chapter after chapter. Others will choose to order a journaling Bible and do creative lettering and watercolors in the margins, as the Spirit inspires. And still others of you will download this Bible app to your phone, and listen to the spoken Word while you work out in the early mornings.
I am not at all concerned with how you seek, only that you do - how you are to meet with Him, at what time, or the amount of pages you daily read is up to you. What I am hoping and praying for is that you and I would simply seek The Lord through His Word, and find Him faithful there. That we would say Yes to Him in this big way! And that our yes will be yes, from cover to cover, that we might discover, with the help of His Holy Spirit, all the yeses He has spoken over our lives in Christ.
Will you consider joining me?
I will most assuredly write posts along the way about what God is teaching my own heart, however, I will not be leading you - Not as your Bible Study teacher in the journey, but a sojourner by your side, along the way. God's Holy Spirit is the One who will be leading this trip through His Word. Does that seem a little esoteric for some of you? Well, rest assured, you will find Him to be more real and near to you than ever before as you cultivate ears intended to hear, and a Yes-Heart committed to draw near to Him.
Have you ever wanted to discover the entire story of God's plan, from creation to His triumphant return? Then come along for the adventure of a lifetime!
Say Yes with me... it will absolutely change your life!
Or a full money back guarantee.