Connect to God’s Word 2017
At the end of 2015 we posted an invitation to read through the Bible during 2016.
Shirley took up the challenge and posted her year-end musings on Facebook. (She gave us permission to re-post here.) As a reminder, Shirley shared her testimony in chapter 1 of Desperate Dependency. You can also read Shirley’s testimony on the post entitled Christ Is Relevant to Eating Disorders. The DDCommunity Facebook page also included a before and after photo with exciting updates. Later Shirley shared her continuing testimony in the post Christ Is Relevant to MS.
Last January I committed to read the entire Bible in a year. I have always read the Bible, but mainly focused on the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs and my favorite passages or stories. I felt I would never be able to get through every word of the Old Testament because it was a lot of history, so I always passed on the challenge to read the whole thing.
Then a friend of mine shared what God had done in her life through reading the Word and asking Him to speak truth into her life as she read the words. . . . I finished this morning, a day early and even though there were a few days that I missed reading, God always helped me catch up, and not just quit. Thank you, Stuart Heights Baptist Church, for providing the encouraging online reading group, which helped knowing others were reading too.
I’ve learned a lot this year . . .
- That the Old Testament is not boring. . . not even close. It’s not just history, but is a personal story of some pretty messy lives that God ultimately used in powerful ways. It helped me to see that God can change any heart and redeem any situation.
- That reading the Old Testament profoundly affected my understanding of the New Testament. We need to read and understand the Old, to truly understand why Jesus came and what made the “Good News” so profoundly good.
- It deepened my understanding and need for God’s grace.
- That Jesus’ story does not begin in Matthew, He is all through the Old.
- That the Word truly is alive, and made a difference in my days this last year. Some mornings I would read a passage that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. And other times the words would come back to me a few days later in the middle of a crisis with Dad, or when I felt discouraged and did not have a Bible handy. There’s a reason for hiding truth in our hearts. I’ve learned that on a much deeper level this year.
- That I am not beyond the reach of God’s grace. Most of the time I knew this, but throughout the years, the enemy has occasionally brought up my past mistakes and made me feel like I was not really saved. Reading about the imperfect, messed up lives of so many in the OT and seeing how God changed and used them for the good, was so encouraging. But in the last chapter of Ruth where they give the lineage of David, I realized that the lineage of our precious Savior was full of folks just like me. Don’t know that I can adequately express what that meant to me, but my understanding and thankfulness for God’s grace changed. He truly is our kinsman Redeemer.
- That I don’t want to start this new year without a portion of God’s Word at the beginning of each day. I wish I had known years ago that it would make such a difference. I wish I could tell you that I am mature in the faith with a deep understanding now of God’s Word. I’m just not. But my understanding has grown this year and God’s words have influenced my life and choices for the good, and my faith in Him has grown. I have so many questions now and plan to read the Bible again in a year but with a good commentary and a few friends who know the Word much better than me, and can help me.
As I had gotten closer to Revelation, I have to be honest and say that I dreaded reading it with all the symbolism and just not understanding it in the past. I have read the New Testament many times through the years but always skipped Revelation. Now I know I had missed so much. The last few chapters especially were full of the HOPE that only Christ can and will bring. Thank you, Jesus! I will begin again on Sunday. Anyone want to join me?
BTW, I loved, loved, loved reading The Gospel Transformation Bible this year! The commentary notes continuously pointed to the Gospel thread throughout the Bible – a thrilling perspective! Christianbook.com has some amazing deals on The Gospel Transformation Bibles right now!
Revisit last year’s Got Plans post for more suggestions and links! We would LOVE to hear your year-end musings as well as upcoming plans!!!