What I Learned from Reading the Bible

what-i-learned-from-reading-the-bible

For the last several years I have really wanted to read the entire Bible. I was just never disciplined enough to actually do it. I had super great intentions in January of every year but come March I just lost interest.

I think my wanting to read the Bible can be equated to the same way the majority of the population makes New Years resolutions to go to the gym and eat healthier. We start out strong but without a realistic plan and a strong why behind the motive even our best intentions will fall short of our goal.

My reason for wanting to read the Bible before was simply to be able to say I had read the Bible. When I began to really want to know God more and his character my why changed.

This year when I started reading the Bible in January I didn’t follow any plan. I decided I would start in the New Testament before I even attempted the Old Testament. And it totally worked! The New Testament was familiar and full of rich lessons and teachings. When I made my way to Genesis I had already been reading my Bible consistently for several months and was really enjoying my daily time in the Word.

Below are just a few of the things I learned while reading the entire Bible.

Pain is often compared to childbirth. I can’t tell you how many times this is mentioned in the Bible but it is quite a few. It could also be that because I am pregnant with our third baby this comparison jumped out at me more.

The Old Testament doesn’t intimidate me anymore. When it came to reading the Old Testament I felt very overwhelmed. Which is probably one of the reasons I never made it past March in the previous Bible reading plans I started. Once I got into Leviticus and Numbers my eyes would start to gloss over and I had a very hard time concentrating. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Please someone tell me I am not alone.

I will be honest and say that Leviticus and Numbers were still hard for me to read but I pressed on and when I did I discovered that I really enjoyed the Old Testament. Like, I am sorta geeked out on it. I love the prophets and story of Samuel, Saul, and David is seriously a page turner!

Christ’s family tree has some really messed up people in it. Just look at Matthew 1:1-6. Obviously these names won’t mean anything if you don’t know the back story but I promise you these people are worth reading about! Just to pique your interest…

Jacob – He stole his brother Esau’s birthright and blessing and flees his home because he is afraid his brother will kill him. Even after this God promises to bless him (Genesis 28:10-15). He then goes to work for his Uncle under the condition that he will be able to marry his younger cousin Rachel. The morning after the wedding he wakes up to find out that he has married the wrong sister! So he works even longer for his Uncle so he can marry Rachel. The twists in this story are epic. One of Jacob’s son, Judah, would eventually become the father of many generations of great men including the greatest man of all, Jesus!

Tamar –  Jacob’s son Judah is Tamar’s father-in-law. She was married to one of his sons who was killed. In that time it was customary for another family member to marry the widow to continue the bloodline. In this case no one wanted to marry Tamar or the next in line was not yet old enough. Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and covers her face with a veil and waits for Judah on the side of the road. Not knowing who she is Judah hires her and in lieu of payment she asks for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah returns with the goat he cannot find the woman. When Tamar winds up pregnant and Judah learns that she has been accused of prostitution he orders her to be put to death. Tamar then proceeds to send the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. When he recognizes the items are his he realizes what has happened. Tamara gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Perez is later identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David.

Rahab – Joshua has taken over for Moses and is preparing to lead the Israelites into the promised land. He sends spies into the land and they come to the home of a prostitute named Rahab. She agrees to hide the spies on the roof of her house and lies for them because she knows that God has sent them. The spies promise that when they return to take the land they will let her and her family live. Rahab goes on to become the mother to Boaz who you meet in the book of Ruth. It is pretty amazing that Jesus came to this world to save us and was born into a family that had quite the past!

These names now have meaning to me.

Before I would skip over these sections because I didn’t grasp the full story these names were telling.

God can use messed up people. Which means that God can use me. I am such a mess and it is reassuring to know that I don’t have to have everything together in order for God to still use me for His purpose.

The significance of the veil being torn in the temple upon Christ’s death on the cross now brings me to tears. In the Old Testament and up until Christ death you read about the temple and how this huge veil was hung in order to divide God from the outside world. Very few people had access to God in the temple. When Christ died the need for the curtain was no longer necessary because Christ himself was the ultimate sacrifice. Sin offerings were no longer needed because Christ covered us with his blood.

In the last 9 months I have read the Bible cover to cover and I can’t get enough. I now have even more questions than I did before I started reading and crave to know more. I have started back in Genesis again and look forward to continuing reading my bible and knowing God more.

Discipline takes effort. It isn’t something we are born with, it is something that we must work at. If we don’t read our Bible it is because we don’t want to read our Bible. It is that simple.

When we read the Bible honestly and are engaged in God’s Word it can destroy our pride and leave us feeling uncomfortable. God wants to be our Savior and for us to stop believing the lie that by living under the idol of control we can happy and prosperous. Friends, take it from someone who knows, when you have a control idol the only thing it will leave you with is either anger or anxiety.

Reading the Bible requires discipline, it teaches us truth, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us. The Bible is life-giving and shows over and over that God is truly good and we are not. The gospel message is powerful.

If you are wanting to start reading the bible but aren’t sure where to start check out The Bible Project. My husband recently discovered this website and app. Each day you read several chapters and a Psalm. There are also corresponding videos on certain days that introduce the book you are reading or a topic. I am really enjoying this reading plan and think you will too!

Share

The 5 People I Know Who Have Had The Biggest Impact On My Faith

The 5 People I Know Who Have Had The Biggest Impact On My Faith

These people would all be the first to tell you they are not perfect. Everyone of them has their own habits, hurts, and hangups but what they all have in common is that they have allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to work through them.

There are so many people who have poured into me over the course of my life. If that applies to you I say thank you. To those of you mentioned below I also say thank you. You have impacted my life greatly and I am very appreciative for the time you have spent that shaped me into the person I am today.

MY MOM

I have to start with my Mom. I watched her from the time I was young have her quiet time, can remember her taking my brother and I to church Sunday mornings, and witnessed the women she surrounded herself with encourage and uplift her. When I was younger I didn’t understand her desire for bible studies, journaling, or prayer. I get it now.

I often think of the Andy Stanley quote “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” I pray that I can encourage my own children’s faith journey the way my Mom encouraged and created an environment for mine to start to grow.

MY JUNIOR HIGH DISCIPLESHIP LEADER

At the church I attended in junior high, Sun Valley Community Church (this was before they had a building and met in a movie theater), I attended a weekly discipleship group (or d-group). These groups met in the leaders home with several other students and discussed life from a biblical worldview.

My leader Melissa was a mom of 3 boys and each week she invited myself and a handful of other girls into her home. Melissa helped me memorize scripture that to this day I still have memorized, taught us girls how to make “booger” cookies (cookies made with pistachio jello), and showed a love for Jesus that I had never witnessed before.

She lived and breathed Jesus. She still does. After our d-group ended she continued to meet with me every few weeks and we tackled several Max Lucado books together.

MY PASTOR

When Josh and I started dating he hadn’t been attending church on a regular basis. He went when family was in town or for holidays. I had grown up going to several different churches for a period of a few years before my family would switch and try another church. When Josh and I started dating I was craving a church family and wanted to find a church home.

When Josh suggested we look for a church together I was excited and nervous. Excited that we were going to start going to church together and nervous that we wouldn’t be able to find a church that we both really felt at home in. For weeks we tried different churches and we were excited when we found a church that had a Saturday evening service also. We stepped into Chandler Christian Church on a Saturday night 10 years ago and have been attending services there ever since.

The senior pastor Roger Storms and the staff at Chandler Christian Church have been a huge part of our life this last decade. Roger’s faith and his love for his family and community are a beautiful thing to witness.

I have engaged with God more, developed a habit of asking the Holy Spirit to speak into my life, and have become more confident with communicating biblical truths since attending Chandler Christian Church under Roger’s leadership.

MY ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

This one. There is so much I could write. Livonia came into my life through Chandler Christian Church. Shortly after Josh and I were married we signed up to take a weekly marriage class facilitated by a pastor at our church and his wife. The class used various books (Love and Respect, Sacred Marriage, Boundaries in Marriage) for weekly reading/homework and “Papa” Joe Beam’s videos. All of the other couples in our class had been married 8+ years so we were the babies having only been married a few months.

The class was great, we learned so much, had conversations we would have NEVER had at that point in our marriage, and met some pretty awesome people. One of the things our church recommend we do after getting married was find a couple who could mentor both Josh and I over the next year. From this marriage class we found our mentor couple. Livonia met with me weekly while her husband met with Josh.

Livonia, a mom of 4 kids and a business owner, allowed me to be part of her life. I went grocery shopping with her, hung out at her house, prayed, and we would read our bibles together. I could tell her anything and everything and I did. Stuff I couldn’t talk about with anyone else and she totally got it. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to be able pour out my heart to someone and not feel judged but only understood. She taught, showed, and prayed God’s grace over me and my marriage.

MY TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY GROUP

I know this isn’t technically a person. Last year I committed myself to joining a bible study. Caden’s preschool happened to have a bible study group at the same time he was in school and they had free childcare for Maisie. I took a deep breath, was totally out of my comfort zone, and within minutes of my first time attending felt so welcomed and loved on.

This group of ladies has blown me away with their love. They support and encourage others and showed me what being the hands and feet of Jesus look like. I am looking forward to studying, learning, and being challenged more together this year.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post there are so many people who have spent time guiding me and shaping me over the course of life. My life is messy and I am still learning daily to show grace to others and most importantly myself.

I would love to hear from you! Who has influenced your faith?

Share

3 Biblical Reasons to Take Care of Your Body

What motivates you to take care of your body? Here are 3 biblical reasons to take care of your body that personally motivate me. Fitness, just like anything, can become an idol if you allow it. By shaping your worldview around what the bible says,taking care of your body can be another act of worship.

3 Biblical Reasons to Take Care of Your Body

TAKING CARE OF OUR BODIES GLORIFIES GOD.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. -1 Cor 10:31

God created your body. He wants you to take care of it. Illness, disease, and death are going to happen. No one, not even Christians are immune to it. It doesn’t matter if you tithe your 10%, give a little extra, serve in a ministry, and honor your spouse. Life happens, everyday, all the time. There is only so much we can do to take care of the bodies we have.

Self care is a discipline. It takes dedication, time, and effort to grocery shop, cook healthy meals, and workout. Just like reading the bible, praying, and tithing are considered spiritual disciplines, the process of taking care of your body to glorify God is also a spiritual act. More on this also in the next section.

JESUS DIED SO YOU COULD LIVE.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. -Romans 12:1

This reason is super important so don’t miss it. Your life has a purpose (Jer. 29:11). It is easy to go through seasons of our lives on autopilot missing all the good God has placed around us. I am totally guilty of this. Any other moms to little ones agree? I can become so consumed in my own little world that I miss opportunities that I could have been used by God to bless another person.

God is whispering to us all the time. It is a matter of deciding who we will pay attention to. God’s whispers or the enemy’s lies. I have battled with anxiety and can happily say that God has given me the power to overcome my anxious thoughts by leaning on Him and being in His word daily. Read my post 10 Bible Verses for Anxiety. Doing this wasn’t easy and it took time, prayer, and effort on my part to say NO to lies I was hearing and to start allowing God’s truths to permeate my life. By listening to the enemy’s lies I was not being able to live out my purpose for God, instead I was in a place of constant fear.

By taking care of our earthly body we have the potential to be God’s hands and feet here on earth. Our spiritual, physical, and mental health need to be aspects of self care that we evaluate on a regular basis. Exercise for the purpose of maintaining the health God has given you is not vain. It is one of the ways we can show God, and be a witness to others, that we care enough about the body we have. By keeping God at the center of everything we do, even exercising and at meal times, we are ensuring that our bodies do not become a stumbling block for us but another way to give glory back to God.

Make no mistake about this. Living an unhealthy lifestyle has the high probability of ensuring you less time with your loved ones and less time to make an impact for Christ to others.

THE BODY IS GOD’S TEMPLE.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. -1 Corinthians 19:20

The Holy Spirit lives in you. Our bodies are a gift from God and do not belong to us. As Christians we need to realize that our bodies are on loan to us until heaven. If a friend loaned me an item that they greatly valued, they would expect me to return it to them in the same condition. They would be hurt and disappointed if I returned it to them destroyed. Shouldn’t we as Christ followers view our bodies with the same care and respect we would for a friends treasured belonging?

With social media and fitness magazines constantly blasting us with before and after pictures and telling us about the latest diet craze it can be challenging at times to remember that taking care of your body needs to remain rooted in God. NOT what the media says. If we rely on the quick fixes of this world we miss out on the power that comes from asking God to give us the spirit of self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Today is the perfect day to start making healthy changes. Start small and don’t try to do everything all at once. Get out for a walk everyday, drink more water, up your veggie intake, or eat your meals at home. And just to clarify, eating meals at home means cooking the meals, not ordering in ;). Small daily changes over time can add up to huge health benefits a year from now. Most importantly remember this about your body…

God created. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. So we better take care of it. -Pastor Rick Warren

Share