Chronological reading has made it more real

Starting the daily bible readings 2 weeks late back in January was a little hectic to get caught up but I made it.  To be totally honest since then I may have had a day or 2 go by without reading and then the conviction of my commitment made to God and other CSP members to take this on this year has allowed me to press on. 

Missing a day rarely happens but if and when it does I am pretty sure God understands where I am at in life and forgives.  This is my first time reading the bible from GEN to REV in one consistent timeframe and the chronological progression has made it more real for me than just name lists and rules and laws.  These things had such an impact on the people of the times, life and death impacts.  I have especially felt more connected with these early patriarchs like Moses and really felt their strife and frustrations and their blessings more deeply than ever before.  The detailed synopsis at the beginning of each section has pointed things out that I have not noticed before.

Overall thank you for sharing this opportunity with me and I do hope others are plugging away as I am and hope to see their experiences on your blog to encourage me along.  Kristine Sires

 

What reading plan are you following?

         As we begin week 7 of this year how is your daily Bible reading going? Several people have shared with me their plan for reading the Bible this year. Having a plan is very helpful. In the following thoughts from 3 more parishioners, each of them is following a different plan. Still the Lord has been speaking to them. As you read their thoughts and reflections, please join in the conversation with them and share your comments on what the Lord has been saying to them. Thank you to Steve, Philip and Michelle for sharing these thoughts. If you'd be willing to share yours, please do so by sending me an email. I look forward to hearing what the Lord has been saying to you.  Fr Craige

   Bible in One Year with NIki Gumbel    

     So many things have jumped off the pages as I do my daily readings this year. Just a couple I want to mention , I find Niki Gumbel's devotions  concerning the daily readings to be a great help. Two  words that touched my heart were bound and worship. Jesus was bound up in chains and that was the beginning of my chains of bondage being released. He was bound that I would be set free. As far as worship ,in Exodus  Moses is told to tell Pharaoh that God says let my people go so that they may worship me. (NIV)Two words so easily read over but mean so much,  don't  know if I would have really appreciated their meaning if it had not been for Nicky's insight. My plan started on 12/31 and I have not missed a day. My daily reading has been a great joy to me. I urge all to just do it   Steve Coffin

The Whole Counsel of God

          I am writing to share my experience with reading the “whole counsel of God”.  I started last January and I am nearly half way through the entire Bible.  I have tried not to get discouraged when I got behind as I want to be sure that it is not just something I check off the list, but that I am truly changed by what I read.  I have also tried not to be discouraged through the books of the law and all of the killing in the old testament.  Although I am not on track to read it all in one year, I am still reading consistently and it is SUCH a blessing!  
Right now I am reading in 2 Samuel about all of David’s trails.  We all know about how he killed Goliath and how he was a ‘man after God’s own heart’, but it is eye opening to read about all of his triumphs AND struggles and challenges and the sin in his life and how God loved him through all of it!  Each day in my daily Bible there is a devotional reading and this was the one I read on Monday.
THE CURE FOR DISCOURAGEMENT by Max Lucado
“We need to hear that God is still in control.  We need to hear that it’s not over until He says so.  We need to hear that life’s mishaps and tragedies are not a reason to bail out.  They are simply a reason to sit tight.  The way to deal with discouragement?  The cure for  disappointment?  Go back and read the story of God.  Read it again and again.  Be reminded that you aren’t the first person to weep.  And you aren’t the first person to be helped.  Read the story and remember, the story is yours!”       Michelle Bowman

The Book of Revelation

          I recently worked through the Book of Revelation.  It was eye opening to say the least.  This is not the cute and cuddly God people love to think of... your buddy .. your pal .. your co-pilot. In any case, I was struck by the fact that even in the midst of the wholesale destruction of the earth, its inhabitants were still given multiple chances to repent; at least that is what is implied.

   For example, in the ninth chapter verse 20 it is written "The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood - idols that cannot see or hear or walk.  Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality, or their thefts."  It’s mentioned again in chapter 16 verse 9 "They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him" and verse 11. " and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done." 


I'm not sure if this interpretation is correct or not.  However, it made me think of the depth of God's mercy and grace.  If a loose definition of grace is "receiving something you do not deserve", then I cannot think of a less deserving people.  However, the offer was still made.  Praise God.  - Philip Hartlieb 

 

 

 

 

I know that my redeemer lives.

After a short time with the ancients, my Crossway Chronological Plan sent me to the Book of Job.  Early into Job, I received  news that my father was admitted to the hospital.  He had forgotten some of his meds, but still a man certain to live his life as he saw rightful in his home. Our conversations of the ups and downs of his recovery to return home followed the back and forth of Job’s self-defense and challenges from his friends. Then, Job saw that his Redeemer lives. The day after my father was discharged his health declined, I left Charleston a day ahead of schedule and he passed on my way. I read ahead to finish Job as I traveled to Pennington, a small borough next to Princeton, NJ.  Job’s, relinquishing his impeccable defense and giving himself silently to the Lord, brought a ray of light of what that moment must be like. I left the reading plan and turned to Revelation to revisit John’s vision of the Throne in Heaven. A few days later asked my son Austin to read Job’s “My Redeemer Lives” and my niece Amanda to read Rev. 7’s “Great Multitude” at my father’s service. I spent precious time with my father’s minister in prayer and sharing of faith and hope found in these books. Turning to my father’s former pastor, who he and I both knew well and now a rector in Connecticut, I asked her to perform the burial service at our family cemetery in Massachusetts. She asked for a final scripture reading, no uncertainties...Rev. 21 called out. Job and Revelation; they fit so well when there is a need to let go.  
John Ramsdell

Thanks John for sharing this very special time in your life. How wonderful to read of the comfort given to you and your family at this time from the pages of Scripture. May your father rest in peace and rise in Glory! Fr. Craige

 

Thoughts from Parishioners

Our Bible Journey 2016 has gotten off to a great start. I’ve just learned how to post on to the blog, so here are some thoughts some Parishioners have shared with me already. It is so very encouraging to hear from so many of you about your journey. Just this morning I received a text from a couple saying, “I hope that others are enjoying this as much as we are”. 

I love hearing the insights and new learnings we are discovering as we read the Bible every day.  We are discovering the joy and blessing of a growing daily walk with God as we learn the benefits of daily Bible reading and prayer.

Join the journey today, and please share with me your own discoveries from God’s Word.  

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From Stacy: "As I have started my journey I am learning a lot about the Old Testament some of which either I learned and forgot or never remember hearing before. Just how angry God was with humans & how corrupt he thought the world was. So God said he was going to put an end to all the people on earth & instructed Noah to build an ark Genesis 6: 11-22. Then after the flood God made a covenant with Noah and all the generations to come that he would never again cause such a a flood and his sign to us is a rainbow in the clouds Genesis 9: 9-16 Every rainbow I see now has a new meaning; I look forward to seeing what other signs God wants to show me this year. "

From Maurice: "Reading the Bible-the greatest book ever written-has been a life long dream of mine to accomplish, as well as I'm sure possibly a goal for many others. When Father Craige suggested how we as a Parish could accomplish this, I jumped at the chance to do it. Not only will I be able to enrich my life by reading what has been created to be my guide for life, but I would be able to do it along side my wife Stacy, fellow parishioners, and with Father Craige-what a blessing! If that's not win-win there is no such thing.
I look forward to this journey and will be blogging about the experience. I simply can't wait to read the Bible!"

From Lori: "I have been reading the Bible for 20 years now. I sometimes don't always know what God is saying, but when I read it again the next year or a few years later then it will come to me. One of the things I have learned is when I'm reading the Bible, if some passage catches my eye I write it down and study it later on in the day. This year I'm reading the yearly Message Bible, each day it gives you a 2 chapters and a Psalm, then it has questions to reflect on. It helps me to really think about what I have and how it can be used in my live. Remember this is God's love story to us and we should learned to love it every day.


From Lisa: "In my study today of Genesis, I see how Jacob continually grasped for his blessing. I often looked at the time he wrestled and said that he would not let go until he was blessed as one who had such a desire to be in relationship with the Lord and blessed by Him. Upon a closer look I see how a like I am to Jacob, wanting to grasp the blessing. Don't I know, aren't I sure of His providence and blessings? The great things my Lord has in store for me? Why do I wrestle to attain them? "My security doesn't hang on my frail attempts to control the world. In God's good providence, He blesses and redeems us."    

"My journey has begun."

So my journey has begun, thanks to a Christmas gift of "The Daily Bible - in Chronological Order, 365 Daily Readings." I thought that since this narrative follows the events as they occurred, it would be insightful for me to try to read it as if I didn't know what was coming next. What if this were the very first time I had read these stories? I know them in general but have forgotten or never knew some of the particulars. And I have found after 11 days of reading that as a woman in present day culture, I am easily distracted by some of those particulars: slaves; concubines; hand maidens who do the bidding of their master (or their master's wife) only to be cast out into the desert with no means of support; marrying your sister; pretending your wife is your sister; getting your father drunk in order to have sex with him; nose rings. Yes, nose rings. Why did that small detail cause me to pause, especially since that is a fashion trait that has transferred to my culture? After taking mental detours such as these, I began to think that maybe I am focusing the lens of my camera way too tightly. When I "zoom out" and view the picture as a whole, the path forward from creation to salvation begins to appear. But, alas, I am again reading with the end of the story in mind - focusing on the destination instead of the journey.

So, I will read again tomorrow with new eyes, trusting God to give me a new way of understanding these events and to guide me along the way. (But I'm really looking forward to The Psalms!)

Bonnie Rackley
Children's Ministry Coordinator
 

Truth from the Ages

What Should Be New in the New Year?

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. …Unless a man is born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

These words from G.K. Chesterton, an English writer, lay theologian and Christian apologist, really capture my thoughts for our Bible Journey 2016. This year we are each committing to set aside time every day to read our Bibles. This may be a new discipline for you, or perhaps it’s been part of your daily ritual for years, still together in 2016 we want to make it something we do together as a parish family.

So what will our journey together look like?

To be sure, it would be simplistic to conceive of every person’s time in Scripture as looking the same. Just as there are different but equally valid ways to exercise, so too there are different but equally valid ways to read the Bible. Some might like to read the Bible in a year, or follow a plan on your phone, tablet or other device. Perhaps you’d like to spend more time in one or more books of the Bible, taking a slower, unhurried time for more reflection and meditation on very small portions of Scripture. Whatever part, and however you’d like to read it, the goal is to read your Bible every day.

Then I invite you to join with me on this journey and share with me and others the new learnings you are discovering and the ways in which the Lord is speaking to you through His word. This is what this blog is all about. I will regularly post some of my own thoughts, insights and discoveries as well as many of yours.

I hope you will join with me and that together we will see the Lord moving in powerful ways throughout 2016. I know this is a commitment of your time, but you will not regret one minute of time spent in the Bible. Make it your lifelong friend. Invest. Build it into your life. Let the journey begin!