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.
“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