101 days ago I returned from our annual visit to the New Wine summer conference in Somerset. Full of enthusiasm and feeling filled afresh with the Spirit, the next day I felt inspired to start a new reading plan. And so I embarked upon Bible in One Year.
Today I completed Day 100. I must admit, I wasn’t sure if I’d stick it out, as I’ve tried reading plans before and drifted off. But this time felt different. And it really has made a difference to my relationship with God. Every day he speaks to me through his Word in fresh, exciting and relevant ways. Verses leap out at me that seem hand picked for my circumstance.
If you’re not currently reading the bible daily, here’s a few tips get the ball rolling and keeping on track:
- Pick a reading plan. There are lots of plans available (check out You Version Bible app), and each reading comes with a devotional or commentary to help you delve deeper beyond the words on the page.
- Make yourself accountable. Why not get a friend to follow the same plan at the same time so you can discuss what you’ve read.
- Find a quiet place to read, without distractions.
- Make time every morning for your reading. It should be your first priority. It’s the best way to start the day. How can you put Gods word into practice if you’re about to go to bed?
- Pray before you read. Ask God to speak to you in new ways through his Word.
- Pray after you read. Ask God to help you put his Word into practice in the day ahead.
I found within a few weeks that my daily bible readings have become embedded in my routine. The Old Testament has been put into context in a way that I didn’t understand before. Psalms and Proverbs are offering daily encouragement and praise. Familiar New Testament parables and details of Jesus life, death and resurrection have new meaning and connection.
I’m already wondering what I’ll do once I reach Day 366…
One of the things I have taken away from New Wine United this year is that I’m coming up very short when it comes to reading the bible. Although I’ve done many short bible study plans, I’ve never managed to read it all the way through. I’ve had a couple of attempts, but the busyness of life seems to get in the way. My initial enthusiasm wanes, I lose momentum, fall behind and ultimately give up.
But this time feels different.
Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 (NLT)
Listening to RT Kendall speak this morning on the subject of forgiveness has given me a lot of food for thought. I realise that my perception of what it means to truly forgive is considerably short of Gods expectation of us. I have some work to do, but today I stood up and made the commitment to forgive in a way that I haven’t in the past.
Joseph (Genesis 45) has shown us what it means to forgive, by graciously forgiving his brothers. There are many lessons to be learned on how he dealt with his brothers after the ordeal that they put him through several years earlier.
Sunday is a day of rest and reflection, so now that we are a few days into Lent, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experiences from the 40acts challenges.
“Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10: 8
I’ve been thinking about Lent for the past few weeks, and what I should abstain from this year. In the past I’ve given up alcohol, chocolate, sweets and social media. I have a sense that God want’s me to do something a bit different this year, so I’ve signed up to 40acts. If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s a little taster of what it’s all about:
I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on here, and so much has happened in the past few months! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, so a lot of catching up to do. I’ll try and keep my posts short and sweet!
During our annual trip to the New Wine United summer conference with my church, I really felt God urging me to learn the guitar. I have never even picked one up before, let alone play! I can’t read music and don’t know about the theory. But I am part of our Worship Group at church and sing regularly. I mentioned quietly to James how I felt God was challenging me with this, so he very kindly made His suggestion into a reality by giving me a guitar for Christmas.
I always find myself with mixed feelings at this time of year. With Father’s Day fast approaching, it’s a bitter sweet reminder of how blessed I am to have had you as my Dad, and how sad I am that you were only around for 24 years of my life.
It’s been 12 years since I last held your hand on that humid, stormy summers night. The lightening illuminated the sky and the thunder boomed and cracked, as the heavens were preparing to open for you.
I became a Christian in 2009 after doing the Alpha Course with my husband at our local church. There were a whole series of events which lead us to that church and consequently doing the course, which I’ll write about later. But as I’ve been reflecting on my journey of faith over the past 10 years, it occurs to me that what I know now is vastly different to what I knew then. There were a lot of assumptions and misconceptions that I had. I occurs to me it might be helpful to my friends both in and outside of the church to share my observations. So grab yourself a cuppa, this post is a bit longer than usual.
They are completely my own views, and I’m sure some with have had similar experiences, and others not.
Before becoming a Christian I didn’t know that:
1. I wasn’t a Christian.
I can’t really remember what the catalyst was, but I had an underlying sense that I wasn’t getting any younger, and my fitness would only get worse if I didn’t actively do something about it. So in October I started running. I downloaded Runkeeper app on my phone to get me started and dug out my trainers (which hadn’t really seen the light of day since I had a gym membership in the run up to my wedding).
The app is very helpful. It gives you a summary of your run, where you’ve been, how fast you were, the distance you covered and even your elevation and heart rate. Over time I could see how my speed and stamina was improving. It gives you a little nudge when you haven’t been out for a while, and words of encouragement when you do.
But there was something thing that I hadn’t expected from my new found exercise routine. Faith and freedom. My life is full of routine; each week roughly the same with the daily commute, kids activities, church. But when I run I can go anywhere, wherever my feet take me. The options are endless and no two runs were the same. I love the spontaneity.