Ezra – Isaiah on the Bike

There is nothing quite like that embarrassment of thinking you’re going to do one thing only to find out that life doesn’t quite shake out according to the beautiful picture you’d envisioned in your head on that one weekend evening when you were feeling uncharacteristically rested and unencumbered. That has been my tension with blogging this year. It seemed like a great idea to blog my way through the Bible a little more personally, a little more, say, daily-to-weekly, but so far that hasn’t been what has happened.

I’ve been in the Word, but the keeping up with the writing has been my difficultly and I’ve been faced with the exact same question that faces people who are thinking about jumping off the Bible-reading wagon: Should I just stop?

Well, here’s the deal. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to do this keeping-up-with-blogging thing perfectly. I knew that at the start which was why I would never put out a “plan.” Still, somewhere deep in my heart I thought I’d do better than I’m doing. And deep in the hearts of people everywhere who crash off the Bible reading wagon is the belief that they should have been able to do better. 

If you’ve fallen off the wagon this year, can I invite you back on? I’m going to blog as I can and I’d invite you to read where you’re at and keep moving forward. There is nothing magic about reading through the Bible in a year; a year just provides a nice benchmark. There is certainly no honor in waiting to January to get started again if you’ve stumbled. 

All that to say, I hope you’ll let me know where you’re reading. I’ll keep telling you where I’m reading and let’s keep marching forward together!

So where I’ve been since I last checked in: I’ve listened up through Isaiah and I’ve been reading and marking the text in the Minor Prophets. I was planning to just stay in the Minor Prophets, but I’ve been on the exercise bike and couldn’t help but listen to Erza through Isaiah. In fact, I enjoyed Isaiah the other day to the point of barely being able to walk after I got off my exercise bike—but that is another story all together! 

More on the Minor Prophets later—just need to finish Zechariah and Malachi. So, where are you reading? What are you learning? What challenges are you facing?

Remember, summer is coming and summer is one of the best reading times ever!! You can do this! Don't believe me? Check out Romans 8! ;)

 

Exodus 15–2 Chronicles

At the beginning of January, my goal was to read/listen through Mark, Genesis–Deuteronomy and to read Hebrews (alongside of Leviticus) by the end of the month.

Although I have not read through Hebrews yet, I did end up on a roll with my Old Testament audio Bible and listened to Exodus 15 through 2 Chronicles throughout January and February.

If you've never used an audio Bible, I can't recommend this highly enough although I don't use it exclusively by any means. In January and February while I've been listening widely with my audio Bible, I've been studying deeply in Matthew 6 and the book of Revelation (Precept Upon Precept Revelation, Part 1).

I'd love to hear where you're reading or listening on your journey through the Bible this year. As you can see, I'm already adjusting and flexing in my "plans." 

In March, I'm going to be studying deeply—i.e. read using my colored pencils!—as I go through the minor prophets. The volume will be much less, but the intensity level much higher. 

Thanks for flexing with me . . . this is why I said the blog is a community, not a plan! Plans take a little too much perfection and quite honestly, I'm still under construction. ;)

Genesis 29–Exodus 14

I love Genesis and the beginning chapters of Exodus. This year in going through this section of Scripture I broke my reading down primarily by following the main characters. Here's how I went about it:

Genesis 29–36: This is guts of the life and times of Jacob. He lives until the end of Genesis, but most of his story is contained in these eight chapters. 

Genesis 37–50: The end of Genesis follows the story of Joseph from his dreamy teen years to his slavery and subsequent rise to power in Egypt. His family moves to Egypt during a time of famine and we find them enslaved by the Egyptians as Exodus opens. 

Exodus 1–14: The early chapters of Exodus follow the life of Moses from his birth to the Passover and Exodus of Israel out of Egypt. 

Although I had planned to read a little further in Exodus, I ended up switching to my audio Bible at this point because I had fallen off the exercise wagon so badly. More on my continuing audio journey through the Torah in the next post!

Genesis 6–28

Nope. I didn't read all of these at once, just consolidating the headline so it's easier to follow on the blog. Because it is a narrative, Genesis breaks down nicely into segments. As I mentioned last time around, I'm just reading until there is a natural break in the story. The past few days it has looked like this:

Noah:  Genesis 6–10

Abraham:  Genesis 11–23, Hebrews 11 (Yes, again! It helps in understanding the sacrifice of Isaac.)

Isaac:  Genesis 24–28

As you work your way through these foundational chapters in Genesis, enjoy your time in the Word. If you find yourself bogging down with too many questions, jot them down in a notebook for further study later. The only way to make it through for a big picture look is to keep moving. Deep is important, but so is wide. Reading through the Bible is the way to get the overall context that you can miss if you don't take a step back to look at the bigger picture once in a while. 

When you're ready for an in-depth study of Genesis, try Precept-Upon-Precept®!

What have been your biggest observations and takeaways so far from Genesis?

How is your reading going? Are you holding your pace?

 

 

Genesis 1–5

As I’ve started working my way through Genesis, I read Genesis 1–5 in my first sitting. In general, I try to read a full account and come to a natural stopping point in the text. That makes for some short days and other long days—personally, I like a little variety! Noah’s account will be another pretty short day and then Abraham will extend the field a bit. 

I’ve had a number of people ask me if I’m going to do more teaching or application from the text. As a teacher, some of that is always going to ooze out of me, but this blog is primarily me sharing with you where I’m reading personally and encouraging you to read along with me. Think of this as us being accountability partners and discussing what we’re learning as we go. 

If you are looking for more help in how to interact with the text, questions to ask, etc. you may want to look into getting Cookies on the Lower Shelf®. The 3-part Cookies® series is a study that will lead you through the text of Scripture with more teaching integrated. You can purchase the workbooks from Precept Ministries International. There are also online videos available to help you out. 

What are your takeaways this week from Genesis 1–5? How is the pace working for you so far?

JANUARY Benchmarks: Mark, Genesis–Deuteronomy, Hebrews

Over the course of the next month I’ll be posting as I’m reading so you can get an idea of my pacing, but what I’d love for you to get the hang of is pacing yourself with benchmarks so you’ll be able to take the main goal and let it flex to your schedule and life. There’s nothing wrong with a three-chapter a day plan if you can keep it. It will get you where you want to go if you work it and keep up. I’ve just never been a three-chapter-a-day girl. Some days I miss reading or I’m up to my elbows studying a few verses and other days I’ll happily read 30 chapters and want to keep going. 

That said, my benchmark goals for January this year are:

    • Hebrews 11 (done!)

    • Mark (done!)

    • Genesis (underway!)— Deuteronomy

    • Hebrews

Now I know this adds up to far more than 1/12 of the Bible—actually it’s over “2 months worth”—but I believe in starting strong and getting a little ahead of the game. The stronger you start, the easier it is to keep going. As we go along, I’m also going to suggest that you use an audio Bible for parts of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and part of Numbers which should help you move more quickly through these portions of the text. You won’t “get” everything from an audio Bible, but a read-through is not going to “get” you everything anyway. Inductive Bible study is the tool for going deep in God’s Word and we’ll talk more about that soon!

If starting this fast seems too fast, then just slow it down and make this your goal for January and February. Let it flex. 

Would love to hear how things are going for you so far! 

The Gospel of Mark

Instead of starting in Genesis, this year I’m starting further into the biblical text—the Gospel of Mark—and then will flashback to the beginning. Mark is the shortest of the Gospel accounts at only 16 chapters in length and is a relatively quick read. I actually read Mark last week, but today my daughter and I are listening through it as we’re doing some post-Christmas purging and cleaning around the house. It’s a great way to redeem the time!

Using an audio Bible can be a tough step for people who are accustomed to reading only, but it can revolutionize your time in God’s Word. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you use an audio Bible exclusively, but I highly recommend it as a tool and think it would be great for you to try out the tool sooner than later. 

Here are a couple of audio Bibles that I love that you can purchase and install on your computer or iPod:

The Bible Experience (under $50 at Amazon)

The Word of Promise (under $75 at Amazon)

The Bible Experience — Mark Only ($3.60 for Download at Zondervan)

Here are links to the Gospel of Mark at BibleGateway that you can listen to online for free:

Mark - NASB

Mark - ESV

Over the course of the next couple of days read or listen through the Gospel of Mark, then we’ll move to the book of Genesis and make our way through story by story. Trust me, though, I’m planning to make some quick time going through "How to Build a Tabernacle" (at the end of Exodus) and Leviticus so you’ll want to have a favorite audio Bible picked by then!

As you're making your way through Mark, let me know what some of your biggest takeaways are when you have a chance. Also, if you have other audio Bibles that you like, go ahead and post the links in the comments section for others to check out!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon! 

Hebrews 11

I know. It was a late night and you're tired. The kids are home. The bowl games are on. I get it. Still, if you're planning to read through the Bible with me in 2014, take a few minutes sometime today to read Hebrews 11 and think through what you remember about the storyline of the Bible. Hebrews 11 is kind of like God's Cliff Notes to the Bible, particularly to the Old Testament. It's 40 verses and even if you didn't sleep a wink last night, you can do this. 

Then . . . get some sleep tonight so you're fresh to start listening through the Gospel of Mark tomorrow!

I won't be posting a read-through schedule, just watch for the blog posts with Scripture references in the title to see where we're going and jump on in to discuss whenever you can! Love that we're reading together!

Resource: 
Sweeter than Chocolate!® Hebrews 11
Special pricing from Precept Ministries International while supplies last.
 

Accountability

There is nothing more important than the indwelling Holy Spirit and prayer in reading through the Bible. We’ll talk about those soon, but right now I want to address the “A” word: ACCOUNTABILITY. 

True accountability is perhaps the most neglected resource in successful Bible reading. After all, when we enlist accountability, potential failure no longer remains a personal matter, it becomes public. When we enter an accountable relationship, we can no longer turn away from a goal and simply wait until the memory fades, because we’ve made it a group matter. In short, goals that are verbalized have teeth.

If you’re planning on reading through the Bible this year, online accountability will help, but it will only go so far. If you’re serious, find a friend to join you. 

Would love to hear where you’ve been reading today AND if you’ve found a local accountability partner! Let me know in the comments section, okay? 

Learning to Hit Curve Balls

This afternoon I was planning to get a number of blog posts written and scheduled. Instead, I'm learning to type one-handed in the emergency room. Right now I'm taking bets on whether my wrist is broken or sprained. The longer I sit, the more I've convinced myself it's a sprain (Wrong! Broken). Regardless, today I'm hitting a curve ball. Everything is not going according to my plan. Life is like that because we live in a broken (no pun intended at time of writing) and fallen world.

This coming year, as you seek to follow God and to read His Word, you'll continue to experience this reality first hand in countless ways. Life rarely goes as expected, but we can still enjoy the journey and adapt along the way. Not every day will be easy. Some days we’ll do great in our walk with God—we’ll read the Word and apply the Word and everything will fall into place. Other days we'll progress like a one-handed woman on an iPad, but progress is progress, even if it's slower or harder than we'd hoped. The key is to keep going.

I did finish reading the Gospel of Mark this morning before taking my spill on the ice and would love to hear how you’re doing with that if you’re reading along with me. If you’re reading somewhere else, would love to hear that, too!

Hoping to get finger mobility back after I see the ortho this week, but until then, I hope you’ll understand that I won’t be able to do as much blog responding as I usually do since I’m a one-armed cowboy right now. Ten fingers may be better than five, but right now I’m exceptionally grateful for the five that are happily functioning. :) Looking forward to your comments on reading in the Word!