Bible Study, Resolutions, Spiritual Disciplines

Bible Study and Reading plan

cup of coffee alonside open book, notebook, and pen

Just finished a 25 Day plan of reading through the entire Bible! It was a great experience to get an overview of the Word of God and to see the powerful hand of God at work in His creation and to see the MANY examples of His mercy and patience with fallen man. The 25 day reading plan is found here: 25 Day Plan  This was made with college students in mind, to be completed over their Christmas holiday break. My Sunday school teacher has asked me to bring in a copy, so I’m working on updating it with current dates. I’ll post it here if I remember. [Update: I made a 35 Day Bible Reading Plan. You can find a link to it on the Resources page.]

Neither the plan creator nor I would advocate only completing a quick read through of the Bible, but it was beneficial as part of a larger reading plan.

For the rest of 2020, I am planning to follow a chronological reading plan (One plan is linked here: Chronological Bible Reading Plan ).  As I go through the Bible, I plan to record insights on this blog but I wanted to use this separate post to explain my goals and process.

  • Each book and chapter will be both tagged and have separate categories made.
  • As I learn more about a passage, I may go back and edit the original post, so that I may keep the insights of a particular passage together. I’m going to make new posts as I go and use categories and tags to group similar subjects instead of adding on to the original posts.
  • I’m studying the Bible with a chronological plan, so my posts may not follow the canonical order of books.
  • I’m a participant in other Bible studies, outside of my personal study, that are currently studying New Testament epistles. So, some posts may jump ahead to the New Testament if choose to record what I’m learning in those other study groups. That’s why I’ll make sure to use Categories and Tags for each book to make searching easier later.
  • The insights will be primarily from my personal study of the Word of God. I like using commentaries, but my goal is to gather insights from reading and asking God for knowledge and wisdom first, before I read the commentaries. I am thankful to God for faithful, knowledgeable Bible teachers. He has given the spiritual gift of teaching to some for the building up of the body of Christ, so we are wise to pay attention to good teachers. However, as with the Bereans, see Acts 17:11 , we must know the Scriptures ourselves in order to be armed against error and to build up our powers of discernment, by the grace of God.
  • As I record the insights of others, I will properly credit other sources used in my study.
  • I do all this writing, reading, and studying prayerfully, remembering that we make plans but it is God Who establishes all things. Prov 16:9
  • I am doing this as part of an overall goal to be more disciplined. I was delighted to finish the 25 day reading plan; I even finished a day early! I don’t often follow through with my plans, however, and that’s something I would like to change. I want to be more disciplined in posting and studying to the glory of God.

What are your goals for reading and studying the Word of God this year? May God bless you in all your efforts!

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. – Prov 16:3 ESV

May God bless you in all you do for His glory. Happy New Year!

books on a table

Images by Jaclyn Clark on isorepublic.com

Resolutions

What I *Won’t* Do in the New Year

2019 and Happy New Year displayed in glitter with a sparkly white background
From Covi on Pixabay https://pixabay.com/photo-3848864/

It’s the time for New Year’s Resolutions, which usually includes something you want to DO in the New Year. For now, I’ve formulated a list of actions that I want to keep from doing instead.


Chasing Sleep

Although sleeping too much is definitely something that I want to avoid, that’s not exactly what I mean here. Whenever I can’t sleep (a situation that occurs more often lately), I tend to just lie in bed for hours praying for sleep.

This habit isn’t helping me to rest and I’ve decided to just get out of bed when it happens. I keep fearing that if I get up and do something else then I won’t feel rested; however, lying in bed for hours mentally chasing sleep hasn’t helped me a bit!

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I’ve read that evangelist Ray Comfort has spent hours in prayer when he can’t sleep. And one of my favorite Bible teachers Paul Washer has reminded us that while Jesus was God in the flesh, He still sacrificed sleep and relied on His Father in prayer. (Luke 5:16, 6:12) We are made to need sleep, but we can sacrifice some bodily rest to receive spiritual rest and refreshing.

(If insomnia is a problem for you, you may want to read Ray’s book Overcoming Insomnia*. And for more on Paul Washer and prayer, check out his sermon on the I’ll Be Honest YouTube channel).

Failing to Submit

This resolution is not simply a good idea, a goal, or part of a life enhancement plan. Being submissive is a command of the Lord to all of His children, and I’m referring particularly to the command to wives to submit to their husbands.

 

…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21 ESV

 

Immediately after writing the heading for this section, my resolve was tested. I enjoy my solitude, especially when writing, and my husband frequently interrupts with questions. Obeying the Lord’s command to serve my husband trumps my desire for quiet work, however, and this resolution is going to be the most difficult to fulfill. The Lord is worthy of my obedience and my husband, as a brother in Christ and fellow image bearer is worthy of my respect.

 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22 ESV

 

We’re enjoying some new devices we received for Christmas, and he often has a million questions for me since I’m much further along in technology knowledge than he is. Instead of being grateful for these wonderful inventions, I am tempted to succumb to aggravation and an ungenerous spirit. Failing to submit is definitely something that needs to go.

Lack of discipline

My life is blessedly full. I have several self-paced online computer courses which I’ve undertaken, an active church membership, family obligations and events, along with a love of Bible study. The problem is that I float along from one task to another, often leaving projects unfinished. It’s well past time to do something about the lack of disciplined time management in my life.

With all the aforementioned technology tools, I have zero excuse. There are apps for time management, reminders, and event scheduling. And, whether or not I make use of technology to help, I have the gift of the Holy Spirit Who is a promised counselor and guide.


My first step after closing this article will be to take some time to actually schedule my day tomorrow, instead of lazily drifting into the stream of obligations with no plan or goal. With God’s help, I’ll be leaving a few sinful, bad habits in the past and greeting the New Year rested, submissive, and fruitful!

*Links to Amazon are affiliate links – I earn credits when folks purchase products using these links 🙂

Resolutions

Stumbling and Crying

Well, barely five days into the New Year and I blew a resolution. Not surprising, I suppose, for me or anyone else on the planet. Still feels awful.

It began when I had to get gas on Sunday. I needed to go inside to use the ATM to get cash for my tithe, instead of just paying at the pump as I normally do, and while I was inside I bought a drink and some donuts. I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I was ravenous by then. I was telling myself “this isn’t exactly fast food; I mean this isn’t a restaurant–more like a wee grocery store” and on and on, basically trying to find a loophole in the resolution I had made.

The next day, Monday, I had a doughnut for breakfast. Bad choice. After visiting with a friend in the morning, I was shaking from hunger. I had a cleaning job do after that visit and on my way I chided myself for not eating a proper breakfast. I started looking for somewhere to eat. I was getting shaky and nauseous and abandoned any thought of trying to make it through work without eating.

On a brighter note, instead of my usual gargantuan meal, I made a more sensible choice this time (both in terms of finance and caloric intake) by ordering a small sandwich and small fry off the discount “dollar menu”.

I can see that one bad choice led to another; first, the doughnuts purchase; then, eating a doughnut for breakfast the next day; then, not bothering to pack a healthy snack to ward off temptation; and, finally, ordering fast food. *Sigh*

I’m happy to report that after work Monday I finally did some grocery shopping that I’d been putting off, so I have some fresh food again.

Now that I think about it, the problem really began by putting off buying groceries for so long. If I’d had bread, milk, fruit, cereal, etc., I could have easily had a decent breakfast on Monday morning and probably wouldn’t have been so tempted to buy the doughnuts! I also could have gotten my tithe money sorted out ahead of time,  by getting cash back at POS in the grocery store so that when gas was needed I could pay at the pump and not have to go inside and battle the temptation that comes from seeing all the junk food available.

The past couple days haven’t been good emotionally. I have wet my pillow with tears, crying out to the Lord for help with my present situation. I am in need of extra work to pay bills. I am thankful that the Lord has provided for me in the last few months that I’ve been alone, either through gifts or through selling things. However, I don’t want to rely on handouts. I’m growing very weary and trying to be patient. I know I should be grateful and keep trusting, remembering that the Lord was patient with me and that I don’t deserve anything good. But, sometimes, the full weight of my situation just comes tumbling down upon me and I can barely breathe. I am battling against despair. If anyone reads this, please say a prayer for me.

Casting my burdens at bedtime,

patricia