Monday, September 8, 2008

Romans 4-5

All week, I have been thinking about how grumpy I am. I have been wondering about this "joy of the Lord" business. If the Joy of the Lord is supposed to be my strength, my lack of it is clearly the reason I keep failing at doing what I want to do. Then, what do you know? Right there in my reading for this entry, Romans 5:1-5 is all over me:

Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God's grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God's glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.

We have joy with our troubles because of the hope we have of sharing God's glory. What am I supposed to do with that? I read another blog this week where the writer wrote an interview with a dead friend. He does not seem to believe in Christ or heaven, but at the same time, he was grappling with the idea that everything can be really bad in "life," but it's still OK in the big picture. That's what this is all about. God does not think my problems aren't bad. He is saving every tear in a jar. It's just that he knows that everything is also OK, and He has given me a way to plug into that. It's my choice whether I want to take the small view and have sorrow alone, or take the larger view and have both sorrow and joy, knowing that someday I will have only the joy.

Easier said than done. I've heard a dude by the name of Zig Ziglar put this concept this way - not a quote, just my paraphrase:
The transition from believing that God promises life to having faith in that promise is like the change in how a girl thinks of her wedding day when she becomes engaged. Every little girl, to some degree, dreams of being a bride. She looks at magazines and imagines what it will be like for her. Girls used to keep a "hope chest" of all the things they collected for thier future wedding day. Then, one day, a man puts an engagement ring on her finger, and all the hopes and "ifs" become possibilities and "whens."

I was not the girl who had fantasies of being the Princess in my wedding gown, and when I got engaged, I started looking on e-bay for a dress. Maybe that's why I'm having such a hard time with this joy thing? I don't have a huge capacity for dreaming of "happily ever after." Still, the second part of the verse resonates with me. I have felt hope, and I have felt love. These things are what sustains me, and I have always thought that they were enough. I guess I'm starting to question that now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Romans 1-3

Confession: I had to look at the schedule to see what book I was supposed to read next. I was a little dis-heartened to see that I am 2.5 months behind schedule already. Hmph.
Anyway....every time I read verses like this one:
Romans 3:10
As the Scriptures say: "There is no one who always does what is right, not even one."
I think of this video I saw (no, I'm not going to imbed youtube again) of Kirk Cameron interrogating strangers on the street about whether they had broken any of the Ten Commandments.
"Have you ever stolen anything?" Of course, almost everyone said no.
"Have you ever lied?" Most people failed that one, but some still held out. That's how God defines not taking his name in vain, according to Kirk, which is a commandment. This goes on by degrees, but he eventually gets down to the question no one can deny - "Have you ever lost your temper with someone?" (or something along those lines), which, as it turns out, Jesus defines as breaking the comandment not to murder (Matthew 5).
When I watched this, I remember equating it with crazy evangelism - aggressive, over-the-top, unreasonable. Then one day I found myself sitting at day spa getting a facial. O.K.- just stay with me. I had never had a facial or any other beauty-treatment thing before, but my dad got me a gift certificate and there I was. The esthetician was about my age, and somehow got onto the topic of this Bible study she had joined. She was a "seeker," and had never really looked into Christianity before. She had randomly joined this Disciple class, which is a super-intense, start-to-finish Bible study program, and she thought it was interesting, but she didn't really relate. When I asked her what she meant by that, she told me that they just kept talking about how we were all sinners, and she didn't feel like a sinner. Then out of my mouth comes this Kirk Cameron-esque drivel about sin being "anything that separates you from God." God is holy, so sin is a comparison to holiness, not some relative "good-person-ness." And as I sat there thinking she was going to spit in my avacado mask, I realized that this was resonating with her. We had a really good conversation for the rest of the hour, and I was just amazed.
The more I encounter people who are hostile toward Christianity, the more I find out this is the big hang up. No one wants to think of themself as a "sinner." For some people, like the facial lady, it's just a mis-understanding of sin. These people know they are not perfect, but they also know they are not worthless, and they are ready to have those two things reconciled. Then there are the folks who really think they are perfect and are down right insulted at the thought of needed anything from anyone, much less salvation from God.
I enjoy reading Julie's motherhood chronicles at, but she is a somehwat aggresive atheist, and I am often taken aback by her posts. Last week, I got caught up in the comments to this post, and the two topics that I have been struggling to unite in this one post were confirmed:
1- people don't like aggressive evangelism
2- people really don't know what the Bible says about sin and salvation, but they think they do
Oh, and by the way, God made it our job to tell them the truth, whether they like it or not (1:16)
I am not ashamed of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—to save the Jews first, and then to save non-Jews.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Matthew 28

This post is many things -

The end of the first book I've completed.

A return after a long break/abscence/period of neglect.

Really tough to write.

My favorite song these days is Sunday by Tree 63. Here's a cute video with the song as background.

So, lately I have been living like it's just plain Friday - like Jesus died and that's the end of it, if you're in too much of a hurry to listen to the song. I don't feel good physically, I'm not getting enough sleep, the kids are endlessly sick, and my job is miserable.

Sometimes, that's how I look at the gospel story, too - like we're in this holding period, this long epoch of time where everything is a bummer and there isn't much to be done about it because, hey, "we live in a fallen world," "God didn't promise happiness in this life," or pick some other churchy platitude.

Reading the Word, I can't maintain that attitude. Jesus was already ressurrected from the dead. Yes, "Sunday" is still coming in the big picture - God is going to redeem the world and reign over it, and that is in the future. But Sunday already came, too. Jesus already defeated death and he already gave you and me the power to live in victory. The world - as in creation - is still in bondage to sin, but I am not. I don't have to feel sorry for myself and drudge around here in my infirmities and irritations. I'm still going to have suffering, but God already redeemed my sufferings. Not one second of unhappiness is wasted, but rather every bump and bruise is doing God's work - every tear is shaping my character by the same miraculous power that let the Colorado River shape out the Grand Canyon.

I don't enjoy it, but I have no reason to wallow in it:


The angel said to the women, "Don't be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, who has been crucified.6 He is not here. He has risen from the dead as he said he would. Come and see the place where his body was. And go quickly and tell his followers, 'Jesus has risen from the dead. He is going into Galilee ahead of you, and you will see him there.' " Then the angel said, "Now I have told you."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just for fun

I'm having a tough week. My entries have been a little more preachy and a little less personal than I want them to be the last 2 weeks. I'm just not willing to write about the junk that is bugging me these days.

Anyway, here's a video that keeps me going on days like today. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Matthew 26-27

These chapters contain a bunch of the stories about Jesus’ life that we get familiar with in church – The Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. This time when I read them, I was more aware of how these chapters deal with multiple revelations of the true character of the people surrounding Jesus in his final days in his earthly body.

The high priest Caiaphas and his associates are shown to be afraid of the power of the people. They plan to arrest Jesus after the Passover feast to avoid a potential riot. Judas is shown to be a betrayer. All of the others disciples are shown to have questions about their own faith:

In the evening Jesus was sitting at the table with his twelve followers. As they were eating, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will turn against me."
This made the followers very sad. Each one began to say to Jesus, "Surely, Lord, I am not the one who will turn against you, am I?"

Jesus asks them to pray with him, but they all fall asleep instead. This verse hits home with me. That’s just how I feel in my walk with Jesus. Here he is, asking this one thing of me, and I can’t even stay awake to do it. Like this blog – I can’t set aside 30 minutes a day to put my thoughts together and write them down consistently. I’m encouraged that Jesus doesn’t give up on them. He doesn’t let them off the hook, but he still wants them to come with him when the time comes. He is faithful enough for their unfaithfulness – he believes in me enough for my unbelief.

Next, Jesus calls out the people who come to arrest him on the duplicity of their schemes, coming to arrest him in secret like they haven’t had every opportunity to arrest him in public.

Then Jesus said to the crowd, "You came to get me with swords and clubs as if I were a criminal. Every day I sat in the Temple teaching, and you did not arrest me there.

Peter is revealed in his denial of Christ to fear man more than he fears God. Pilate, the great leader, is unwilling to take the authority that is his and casts the accountability for Jesus’ death on the people. The people are happy to take it on, not knowing that they are cursing themselves. They are revealed as thirsty for blood. I have always felt a little scared and confused by the behavior of the “masses” in these scenes. Maybe that comes from the fact that my first exposure to this scene was from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and I always here them singing “Crucify Him” in my head when I read it. At the time, I really didn't know what Pilate was going to do, and I remember feeling shocked when he made his decision to go with the crowd. But maybe there is another explanation for their behavior. When you find yourself in the presence of true righteousness, isn't there a moment when you have no choice but to flee it or face your own unrighteousness? Jesus wasn’t going anywhere, so I imagine that those who could not accept their faults would be driven to expunge Him from their presence.

Finally, Jesus’ true character begins to come out. We read this story knowing the end, but to the actual players were more like the 8-year old me at the theater - there was some mystery to it. They saw the miracles, they heard the claims, but in the end, surely they were watching and wondering if it would all stand up. If this man was the son of God, the Messiah, his story couldn’t just end with death at the cross at the hands of an impotent leader and an angry mob.

Then the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces, from the top to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks broke apart. The graves opened, and many of God's people who had died were raised from the dead. They came out of the graves after Jesus was raised from the dead and went into the holy city, where they appeared to many people.
When the army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything else that happened, they were very frightened and said, "He really was the Son of God!"

And that is what it comes down to - He really is the Son of God.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Matthew 21-25

Listen, friends - I have been reading these verses and parts of these verses over and over. These five verses are saying three things that go together and are so BIG, so tough, so significant, I hardly know what to write. Here it is anyway, because I need to move on. (verses are NAS version)

1 - You can't fake it with God.

23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Jesus is addressing the pharisees throughout these passages. Again and again, he calls them on their bluffs. They try to set him up, challenge his authority. How dare they? They know his answers before He gives them - and this time he refuses to even respond to their foolishness.

2 - You can't put God off unitl a later time - there is just no tomorrow with God.

24:17-18 "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. "Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.

24:44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

We have no business living for ourselves today and promising God our tomorrow. God already bought your yesterday and your tomorrow with his own blood. But here's the deal - He gave it back to you. You get to use it how you want to use it, and you can either use it for His purpose or use it for your own. His ways are higher. I'll back that up down the road but for now, read this story - it's a great illustration.

3 - You can't escape God's righteous judgement.

25:41-46 Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."'s coming. I can't know when, and I can't fake it. That. Is. Scary. How can I read this stuff and still face tomorrow? I might think in my head that I am good enough to stand up to judgement. Heck, I'm better than most people I know, right? (right....) I might think that in my head, and I might even beleive it in my head, but I know in my heart that I can't measure up to the holiness of God. That is why I am separated from Him in the first place. That is why I read those verses and feel fear.

This is where we come back to the whole "bought my life" part. He didn't suffer and die so that He could throw me into hell. The Bible says that he bought my life so that He could literally stand in my place in that judgement. Because He created me, because He loves me, He said in deed "Father, these people deserve to be thrown into Hell for what they have done, and there is nothing they can do to make up for it, but I can do something to pay the penalty." Now only though giving Him back the lives He gave us, we can be saved. That is why they call it The Good News and not the Book of Really Scary Stuff. That is why Jesus had to die and why I am compelled to know Him more and more each day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Matthew 19-20

Remeber when I said that the schedule was flexible? Well, this is what I meant. I meant that I will go 2 weeks without posting anything and not feel guilty about it. Or actually, I will feel crippling guilty about it to the point that my guilt about being behind will actually keep me from posting anything at all...but the IDEA is that I won't get all legalistic on myself and just do what I can here.

Matthew 19 is the big "What Jesus says about divorce" chapter. Both my parents were divorced before they married each other, and my sweet sister in law is going through a separation right now. All I really have to say about divorce is that it stinks. I know there are people out there who say their divorce was "mutual," but I've never met them. It seems to me it's always that one person is leaving the other - or one person wants to leave the other and proceeds to cause so much pain that the other has no choice but to run away for self-preservation.

Most people know that Jesus says divorce is wrong. Many know that he also says that infidelity is a legitimate cause for divorce. When I read this verse this time, I noticed something else for the first time:

10 The followers said to him, "If that is the only reason a man can divorce his wife, it is better not to marry."
11 Jesus answered, "Not everyone can accept this teaching, but God has made some able to accept it. 12 There are different reasons why some men cannot marry. Some men were born without the ability to become fathers. Others were made that way later in life by other people. And some men have given up marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. But the person who can marry should accept this teaching about marriage."

I think Jesus is implying that if you can't accept the teaching that marriage is for a lifetime, you are better off not getting married at all. Did you hear that at your pre-marital counseling session? I sure didn't. It's self-evident in the marriage vows, but most of us go into those vows knowing that the option of divorce is out there.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Matthew 16-18

This week I have been reminded that God is a loving parent (yes, again.) He provides for the big and the small. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he wants us to be “happy,” but surely he loves us and touches our lives on both the levels of salvation and sanctfication AND the levels of our physical and emotional needs. He can and He does solve our problems in ways that are unfathomable to us as we are asking Him for help. Do you suppose Peter ever dreamed that Jesus would get the tax collector off his back by telling him to go catch a fish? Maybe he thought that he could sell a fish for the money, but Jesus had other plans:

Matthew 18:27-
But we don't want to upset these tax collectors. So go to the lake and fish. After you catch the first fish, open its mouth and you will find a coin. Take that coin and give it to the tax collectors for you and me."

When my A/C broke down in the heat of a Gulf Coast summer, I prayed for help- but when the a/c man said it would be a week until the part came in, I thought God was telling me that I would have to tougj it out. Instead, it turns out that he was giving me a reason to take a break from household work (since wecouldn’t be in the house) to focus on being with the kids right when I needed it. By the time sleeping in a single guest room with a double bed and a family of four got to be too much for us, He provided a window unit that makes our bedroom a cool 70 degrees at night so that we could go home to sleep. God is good – all the time. Once again, all my worry and frustration was a waste.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Matthew 11-15

I don’t get it: Matthew 10:13
If the people there welcome you, let your peace stay there. But if they don't welcome you, take back the peace you wished for them.

It sounds like Jesus is being spiteful. It’s hard for me to accept this verse. I think though, that since God is righteous, it is right for him to spite evil. He could not be holy and also accept evil – that is the truth of our need for a savior.

I totally get it: Matthew 10:16
Listen, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Lately, my job is this verse. Every day, I feel like I am navigating my way amongst the wolves that I work with. They are out to get each other, and I’m sure at least one of them is out to get me. I’m constantly challenged to stay on top of them and protect my own interests without playing their games…and still finding time to do my job.

Isn’t that the truth: Matthew 11:18-19
John came and did not eat or drink like other people. So people say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came, eating and drinking, and people say, 'Look at him! He eats too much and drinks too much wine, and he is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is proved to be right by what she does."

You can’t make everyone happy. Even they don’t know what they want.

So wait – Jesus is the thief? Matthew 12:29
"If anyone wants to enter a strong person's house and steal his things, he must first tie up the strong person. Then he can steal the things from the house.

Something like that. I think the analogy here is that Jesus is reclaiming people who have been taken over by demons? Yes? No? I’m not sure.

Who are these “good people”? Matthew 13:43
Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let those with ears use them and listen.

This translation (NCV) seems to use the phrase “good people” in place of “the righteous,” saints, etc. I don’t like that choice of wording, but I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to the other words or because there is something wrong with it. I have a feeling this will come up again.

Haven’t you been paying attention?
Matthew 14:17-21
They said to him, "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish." …All the people ate and were satisfied. Then the followers filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of food. About five thousand men there ate, not counting women and children.
Matthew 15:32-33
Jesus called his followers to him and said, "I feel sorry for these people, because they have already been with me three days, and they have nothing to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry. They might faint while going home." His followers asked him, "How can we get enough bread to feed all these people? We are far away from any town."

I read this and think, “What was wrong with these guys?” except, I totally just did the same thing myself…

ACH! Schedule?

OK- I'm behind on my posts, but I am actually keeping up with the reading. New post coming soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Matthew 7-10


Faith is the over-riding theme of these chapters and the theme of this blog. The whole gospel message is revolves around this one mysterious thing.

In Matthew 7, Jesus says:

7 "Ask, and God will give to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will open for you. 8 Yes, everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

We need only the faith to seek God in order to find Him.

In Matthew 8, the sick are healed when they believe that Jesus has the power to set them free of their infirmities. Some are healed by their own faith, and others are healed through the faith of someone who loves them. Jesus calls his followers to leave the lives they know and follow Him by faith. Then He chastens them for their fears and lack of faith when the storms come to the lake they are crossing.

In Matthew 9 – more healings, more callings by faith. Jesus makes a significant comment that His followers do not need to fast while He is with them.

Matthew 10 – Jesus calls His followers to put the faith He has been demanding of them into practice.

'8 Heal the sick, raise the dead to life again, heal those who have skin diseases, and force demons out of people. I give you these powers freely, so help other people freely.9 Don't carry any money with you—gold or silver or copper. 10 Don't carry a bag or extra clothes or sandals or a walking stick. Workers should be given what they need.

I can imagine standing before Jesus and getting these marching orders. I remember Sunday afternoons in college, hanging out with my friends in the band’s marching field practicing flag football plays. It was fun and relaxed, and we messed up a lot but it didn’t really matter. Then one Tuesday night we found ourselves under the field lights with uniforms and referees, and another team staring us down over the football. Suddenly it was like- OK, you’ve been shown what to do, you’ve practiced, and now it’s time to put it out there and see if you’re for real. I’m sure the apostles felt like I did that night. Unprepared. Unsure. Except losing at flag football is nothing like going out with no food or clothes to work miracles by faith in a man you’ve known for a few weeks.

How did they do it? They had known their God much longer than a few weeks and they somehow knew that Jesus was a part of that same God. They couldn’t have understood it, but they must have known in their hearts. I think the faith we are called to have in God through the power of the Holy Spirit is not really all that different from the faith we can read about here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Matthew 6-7

From Matthew 6:
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don't work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.30 God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don't have so little faith!31 Don't worry and say, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?'32 The people who don't know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. 33 Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. 34 So don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I basically spent the last week doing so much worrying. In March, I retired from full-time employment, and my husband and I changed our insurance policy to one provided by his employer. This week, my husband told me that he had been trying to refill a prescription and found out that the new insurance only covered 60% of the $4000/month cost of the drug he needs. We spent quite a few days panicked, scrambling on the phone to find out what our options might be. I found myself close to despair, at times imagining that I would have to go back to work full-time so that my husband would not be crippled from not getting the medicine he needs. I prayed about it right away, but in my heart I did not expect God to solve this problem for me.

Just as we had given up hope, God stepped in and took care of us just like he promised. First, my husband’s doctor gave him a 3-month supply, free of charge. Then, we found out that the drug manufacturer has a program that will reimburse some of the co-pay. The best news came after my husband finally got to speak with someone in billing, and we found out that the cost of this drug will count toward our out-of-pocket maximum, so we only have to pay $1000 one time for the year. Even better, the drug manufacturer’s reimbursement will cover that cost 100%. God not only met our need – he met it abundantly and extravagantly.

I should have already learned this lesson. When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I started looking for my maternity clothes and could not find them. We searched every nook and cranny in our attic, garage, and closets to no avail. Eventually, I tried to think back to the time when I had packed them up, and I could barely remember a time when I had thought about getting rid of them. I had just gone back to work, and I was so miserable that I was convinced I would not have another child. That must have been what happened to them, but I was so depressed that I don’t even really remember. All of those feelings came flooding back, along with fear that I would have to go through that again and shame at having done such a foolish thing.

I sent an e-mail to my girlfriends asking if they knew of a place that had re-sale maternity clothes – I needed nice items for work and knew they could be pricey. One friend replied that she had a neighbor who was tall like me (I’m 5’11”) and a “nice dresser,” who might have some things to sell me. In the end, this person who was a complete stranger to me gave me – at no charge – 3 large plastic tubs and a garden-size trash bag stuffed with high-end designer-brand maternity clothes. These clothes were nicer than my own everyday wardrobe and more than I could have hoped for. God knew that I not only needed clothes, I needed to feel taken care of. I needed to let go of the dark times and mistakes that had left me in that position and feel like I had a fresh start. He knew my need, and he exceeded it. I have never felt so loved in my life. As I looked through the boxes of clothes, I just sat and cried for joy that God and this stranger would care enough about me to make this little unseen miracle.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Matthew 4-5

Ouch. The beatitudes are always hard to read. If I ever think I am getting it right, all I need to do is go and read Matthew 5. It’s not the description of sin that is most convicting to me. I already know that I am a sinner. It’s this line that gets me every time:

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (NIV)

Sometimes I think that I love God and not the world, or that I am done with the process of dying to myself to make room for the Holy Spirit to work in me. All it takes is those two sentences to set me straight. I know that I could not do this thing that Jesus commands, although it is for my own good. I could not cut off my hand or gouge out my eye, nor could I give up some of the comforts of my life, even knowing that I would be eternally better off without them.

Just one example- I love my house, although I know there is sin in the way I spend hours of my time and too much of my money making it clean and shiny and well-adorned – especially when company is coming, and especially if I know that the guests’ house is better looking than mine. I know all this, and yet I continue to do it. Why don’t I give it up? My life would be less busy and less stressed if I did. Do I believe that my friends’ potential judgment of me and my home-making skills is more important than God’s judgment of my stewardship? Actions speak louder than words, I suppose.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Matthew 1-3

Yesterday, I read Matthew chapters 1-3. This was the first time I had read then genealogy of David and Jesus without being a bored by it. I’ve recently read (well, book-on-CD’ed) the Chronicles, Kings, and Samuel in the Old Testament, and it was interesting to see all the characters tied together in one place.

Mostly, this section is about Jesus’ early life from the time Mary finds out he is coming until he is baptized by John the Baptist. I thought I had too much motherhood drama in my life, but reading this made me think about how much of an emotional rollercoaster it must have been to be Jesus’ mother. She had the most unplanned pregnancy in all of history (or the most planned, just not by her I guess.) She rode a donkey for days during her ninth month. She spent the day she gave birth wandering around a strange city (probably still on that donkey) with little hope of having a place to rest that night, much less a place to give birth. She had to leave her home and hide for years from a crazy king who wanted to kill her son so badly that he had every firstborn son in the country killed.

Every mother has a special bond with their firstborn, but Mary had a child who always obeyed, always did what was right, and always respected her. How prized he must have been to her! Yet she must have known that she could not hold onto him. Did she ever see herself reflected in him the way we see ourselves in our children? Or was he always “other” to her, the only one who could never doubt the miracle of who his father was and how he came to be hers?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Off in a cloud of snail sweat!

Well, here we go. The nature of this blog is this: It’s been a few years since I read through my Bible in an organized way, and this blog is my accountability tool for doing it now. I won’t be writing commentary or sermons. I have no seminary training whatsoever. I will simply be journaling my “trip” through the books of the New Testament and inviting others to join in with their own comments and thoughts. I’m excited to see what form this takes on in the coming months!

Here’s the schedule, for now. I fully reserve the right to change it as I go:

Week of:
May 6 -Matthew 1-5
May 13 -Matthew 5-10
May 20-Matthew 11-15
May 27-Matthew 16-20
June 3-Matthew 20-28
June 10-Romans 1-5
June 17-Romans 6-10
June 24-Romans 11-15
July1-Romans 16 / Romans wrap up
July 8-Mark 1-5
July15-Mark 6-10
July 27-Mark 11-16
July 29-1 Corinthians 1-5
August 5-1 Cor 6-10
August 12-1 Cor 11-16
August 19-2 Corinthians 1-6
August 26-2 Cor 7-12
September 2-2 Cor 13 / Corinthians wrap-up
September 9-Luke 1-5
September 16-Luke 6-10
September 23-Luke 11-15
September 30-Luke 16-20
October 7-Luke 20-24
October 14-Galatians
October 21-John 1-5
October 28-John 6-10
November 4-John 11-15
November 11-John 16-21
November 18-Ephesians 1-3
November 25-Ephesians 4-6
December 2-Acts 1-7
December 9-Acts 8-14
December 16-Acts 15-21
December 23-Acts 22-28
December 30-Philippians
January 6-Colossians
January 13-1 & 2 Thessalonians
January 20-1 Timothy
January 27-2 Timothy
February 3-Titus / Philemon
February 10-Hebrews 1-6
February 17-Hebrews 7-13
February 24-James
March 3-1 Peter
March 10-2 Peter
March 17-1, 2, 3 John
March 24-Jude
March 31-Revelations 1-5
April 7-Rev 6-10
April 14-Rev 11-15
April 21-Rev 16-20
April 28-Rev 20-22 & wrap up!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Coming Soon

Join me as I work through the New Testament in 1 year