Read Through the Bible – Week 30

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Welcome back to “Read Through the Bible.” We’re excited that you’re here and hope that you will jump on board and join us as we read through God’s Word.

This week, we’re going to read one of my favorite passages in the Bible!

Just imagine the prophet Ezekiel looking across a valley that’s filled with sun-bleached bones. And as he’s walking in the field and stepping over skeletons, God asks him, “Can these bones lives again?” And Ezekiel answers: “O Lord, only you know that!” And then, Ezekiel is told to prophesy. And the bones begin to rattle and come together. The sinews begin to grow, muscles begin to form, and skin covers the bodies. And then, when Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the wind (spirit), the still-dead bodies are filled with “breath” and become living beings. A field full of skeletons becomes a field that’s filled with a living, breathing and marching army of strong and determined soldiers. Wow!

Where have you discovered valleys that are filled with sun-bleached bones in your life?

Perhaps, today, you’re discouraged because you’re facing a terminal illness, or maybe you are finding that it’s quiet overwhelming to care for an aging parent? Maybe one of your kids is struggling with an addiction to opioids, or will spend today in jail? Maybe you’re struggling through a period of unemployment, or maybe your ongoing struggle with a teenager is simply wearing you out? Maybe you’re being bullied at school, or at work? Maybe you’re buried under a mountain of bills and the telephone calls from the bill collectors simply won’t stop? Maybe you’re grieving the loss of someone that you dearly loved, or perhaps you’re watching your spouse struggle with dementia? The list goes on and on….

Life is filled with valleys that are covered with dry bones. We can feel both overwhelmed and numb when life continues to give us things that are simply unfair. But, the question is: “Do I believe that God can make circumstances in my life any different?” Or, perhaps: “Do I believe that God can bring hope and peace into a nearly impossible situation?”

The Bible tells us that the God who brought sun-bleached bones together, covered them with sinews and muscles, cloaked them in skin and brought them back to life is at work in our daily lives. That’s right! God’s at work in your life right now. God’s speaking words of new life and new possibilities even in times when the situations that we face appear to be impossible. God journeys with us as we travel through life step-by-step-by-step, and He calls us to have faith, to trust in His ability to lift us up, and to know that He’s walking right beside us – opening doors and blessing us with His strengthening presence even as we walk through seemingly-impossible times!

Here are this week’s readings:

Sunday: 1 Thessalonians 1-3 – Monday: Leviticus 19-21 – Tuesday: 2 Kings 16-20 – Wednesday: Psalms 87-89 – Thursday: Proverbs 13 – Friday: Ezekiel 37-42 – Saturday: Luke 23-24

 

Read Through the Bible – Week 23

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“Read Through the Bible” has been created to help you to read the entire Bible over the course of one, short year! We hope that you’ve been traveling with us, but want you to know that you’re free to jump into God’s Word and read along with us at any time! And, if you miss a day or two (or even a week) along the way, it’s not a big deal. Don’t worry about what you’ve missed! Just jump back into the schedule – knowing that other people all around the world are reading the same passage that you are.

This week, we’re going to tackle an entire book of the Bible named Lamentations.

Lamentations is a book that was written by a person with a broken heart. The writer had most certainly witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and its aftermath. We can see the author moving back and forth between horrifying confessions of sin and appeals for the kinds of help that can only come from God.

Lamentations is written in an “acrostic” style. Chapters 1, 2, and 4 contain twenty-two verses – corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the original Hebrew text, each of these verses begin with a different Hebrew letter – and all of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are used in order. Chapter 3 is written in the same way and consists of three blocks of twenty-two verses; however, even though Chapter 5 of the book of Lamentations returns to the twenty-two verse pattern, no acrostic is present.

We don’t often experience a genuine lament in the 21st Century. However, the Jews use the book of Lamentations to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem to this very day.

Here are next week’s readings:

Sunday: Galatians 4-6 – Monday: Exodus 37-40 – Tuesday: 1 Kings 5-9 – Wednesday: Psalms 66-68 – Thursday: Proverbs 2-3 – Friday: Lamentations – Saturday: Luke 9-10

Blessings!

 

Reading Through the Bible – Week 6

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I’m hoping that you continued your journey through the Bible this week! If you have missed a few days along the way, that’s OK. We are glad you’re staying with us – and hope that you’ll feel free to simply move forward without feeling burdened by the need to return to what you have missed.

We completed our first book of the Bible this week!

The book of Joshua began with the commissioning of the son of Nun; and continued with a story of dramatic conquest. We watched Israel cross the Jordan River and celebrate the first Passover in Canaan. We read the story of the fall of Jericho, and heard about the sun miraculously stopping in the sky. And then, the land God had promised to the Hebrews was divided between the tribes of Israel and cities of refuge were established for people who had accidentally killed other people.

The book of Joshua ends with a renewal of the covenant at Shechem: “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Choose whom you will serve this day!” (Joshua 24:14-15) And Joshua adds: “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn on you and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” (Joshua 24:20)

Those are haunting words that put God on the spot. What is the nature of God? What is God’s response going to be when people fall short? How does this support or conflict with the image of God that we’ve come to know in Jesus Christ? We’ll see this image of God put to the test, again and again, as we continue to read God’s Word together.

And now, here are the readings for next week:

Week #6

Sunday: Romans 11-12 – Monday: Genesis 20-23 – Tuesday: Judges 1-6 – Wednesday: Psalm 15-17 – Thursday: Job 11-12 – Friday: Isaiah 29-33 – Saturday: Matthew 14-16

Please remember that this journey through the Bible is meant to encourage you to explore God’s Word and to help you move through the Bible. It’s not meant to place a burden upon you! I’m hoping that if you miss a reading (or a few of the readings) along the way that you’ll feel free to simply jump back into the schedule of readings that I’m providing – knowing that, when you do, you’ll be re-connecting with faithful people who are committed to traveling through God’s Word with you.

Blessings!

 

 

 

Reading Through the Bible – Week 4

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I’m hoping that you continued your journey through the Bible this week!

You’ve done it! I mentioned, last week, that studies have shown that new routines become a regular part of our lives after 21-days of consistent change. If you’ve been sticking with your daily times of reading the Bible with us, you’ve just created a life-changing spiritual practice. Congratulations! If you’ve missed a few days along the way, that’s OK too! We are glad that you’re staying with us – and hope that you’ll feel free to simply continue to move forward with us this week without feeling burdened by the need to return to what you’ve missed.

Perhaps, some of the things that you’ve read this week struck you?

Have you noticed the sharp contrast between the “peace with God” (that St. Paul describes in Romans 5:1) and the brutality that we’ve been seeing in the book of Joshua?

I was struck (on Wednesday) by the sharp distinction that I see between the words “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears” (Psalm 6:6) and the words “What is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:4).

Where do you find yourself in your journey of faith, right now? Is your walk with Christ one that’s filled with harsh realities, or peace with God? Are you traveling through a time in your life when you are flooding your bed with tears, or are you mindful of God’s gentleness and compassion? Perhaps you would describe this particular point in your spiritual journey with other words? If that’s true, what words would you use?

That’s something that I’d encourage you to think about as you move through the rest of this week’s readings.

And now, here are the readings for next week:

Week #4

Sunday: Romans 7-8 – Monday: Genesis 12-15 – Tuesday: Joshua 16-20 – Wednesday: Psalm 9-11 – Thursday: Job 7-8 – Friday: Isaiah 18-22 – Saturday: Matthew 8-10

Please remember that this journey through the Bible is meant to encourage you to explore God’s Word and to help you move through the Bible over the course of the next 52 weeks. It’s not meant to place a burden upon you! I’m hoping that if you miss a reading (or a few of the readings) along the way that you’ll feel free to simply jump back into the schedule of readings that I’m providing – knowing that, when you do, you’ll be re-connecting with faithful people who are committed to traveling through God’s Word with you.

Blessings!

 

Reading Through the Bible – Week 3

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I’m hoping that you continued your journey through the Bible this week.

Today, I have some good news for you! Studies have shown that new routines become a regular part of our lives after 21-days of consistent change. And so, if you’re sticking with your daily time of reading through the Bible with us, you’re well on your way to creating a life-changing spiritual practice. Congratulations!

We came face-to-face with the beating heart of the Christian faith this week.

On Tuesday, we encountered the words: “If you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7b) But, on Monday, we read a very different truth: “For we hold that one is justified (made right in God’s eyes) by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

How have you found peace with God?

Does your journey of faith send you out into the world knowing that you have to find ways to “rule over sin” today – or does your journey of faith send you into the world knowing that you have peace with God because of your relationship with Christ? That’s something that I’d like to encourage you to think about as you move through the rest of this week’s readings.

And now, here are the readings for next week:

Week #3

Sunday: Romans 5-6 – Monday: Genesis 8-11 – Tuesday: Joshua 11-15 – Wednesday: Psalm 6-8 – Thursday: Job 5-6 – Friday: Isaiah 12-17 – Saturday: Matthew 5-7

Please remember that this journey through the Bible is meant to encourage you to explore God’s Word and to help you move through the Bible over the course of the next 52 weeks. It’s not meant to place a burden upon you! I’m hoping that if you miss a reading (or a few of the readings) along the way that you’ll feel free to simply jump back into the schedule of readings that I’m providing – knowing that, when you do, you’ll be re-connecting with faithful people who are committed to traveling through God’s Word with you.

Blessings!