Sixty-One days have passed since I began the 2013 Bible Reading Challenge. The challenge is to read through the whole Bible in ninety days beginning on June 1st and ending on August 31st. The Bible I am using is special to me because I received it at a Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, NC, in 1996. It is called, “The Answer to Happiness, Health and Fulfillment in Life” and is written in the easy-to-read New Century Version. I’ve used it so much the cover is tattered and torn and held together with clear tape. Sections of the book have come out and are held in place now with super glue, fingernail glue and other glues I had on hand at the time of need.
I am 2/3s of the way to my goal with 405 pages left to read from Ezekiel 26 through the end of Revelation. I have to admit it hasn’t been smooth sailing this time. I have struggled to keep up and, at one point; I was eight days behind schedule. I did the challenge once before, in 2008. Since then I have retired from public work. It should be easier now than it was then, but that isn’t proving to be true. I heard a woman say, “Now that I am retired, I don’t know how I had time to work.” Maybe that is part of my dilemma. Or maybe the devil is working overtime to keep me from reading the Word. If it’s you, ole devil, you might as well give up. I am determined to finish on schedule and filled with the answers God has for me.
At the pace you have to read during the challenge, you don’t have time for in-depth study but God is still showing me valuable nuggets along the way. In 2008, I felt the Lord wanted me to concentrate on the phrase “do not be afraid” and on places. I came away with every reference to fear marked in red in my Bible and a list of Bible towns and their names today. I reference both frequently.
This time, He has me noting the use of stones as altars and places of remembrance for another project I am involved in. He has also brought to my mind memories of life situations and how those could be used as material for devotions. I have notes on five of those so far.
I am always amazed at the number of second chances God gives His people in Old Testament scripture. As I read I see it vividly, second chance upon second chance ready and available for use like a crop of berries hanging full and low, ready for the picking. Still, the people reject His gracious offer to be in covenant with Him. They continue to do what is evil in His sight and then wonder at the severity of their punishment. His greatest desire is for them, and us, to be His people so He can be our God. Now that IS “The Answer” to all the world’s questions!
Going out with joy today -Cathy