CategoryProverbs 31

Through the Bible in 90 Days

Back in August, I posted about the Read the Bible in 90 Days challenge I was about to begin.

Wow. It was hard. It was so worth it, but it was HARD.

I am usually a pretty fast reader, but found that most days the reading took me an hour or more. That’s not a problem, but when I would get up at 6 to read and my kids would wake up at 6:15. . .it became a huge struggle to get all the reading in.

One thing I did to help me keep up was to listen to the Bible on mp3. It was nice to be able to sit down with my Bible and hear it be read at the same time. That really helped me to concentrate, especially on mornings when I was really drowsy. It was nice also to be able to listen while driving or washing dishes.

I finally finished a couple days before Christmas. If I counted right that’s 126 days; about two weeks longer than the goal. I thought it was closer to 90 than that but apparently not.

While I made it through the Bible faster than I ever have before, I didn’t make it in 90 days. I also used the mp3’s instead of reading at times.

My new goal is to try again. I would like to be able to do it in 90 days. I’d also like to be able to do it without listening to mp3 unless I’m reading at the same time.

It’s disappointing to admit I didn’t meet the 90 days. On the other hand, it was amazing to be so completely surrounded by the Bible during that time. It was so neat to see just how everything tied together so much. I’ve noticed references to the Old Testament in the New and vice versa, but going through the Bible in this amount of time seemed to make them more obvious.

One thing that was really neat was I finished up the week of Christmas. That last week I was reading in both Zechariah and Revelation. I never realized just how many references there were to the Messiah and His birth in the book of Zechariah alone. It was so amazing to read through it during the week we traditionally celebrate Jesus’ birth. And then to be reading about Heaven and the return of Christ at the same time. . . absolutely amazing.

So. I didn’t meet my goal. But I’m going to try again. Not sure exactly when, but I want to try again.

Choosing to rejoice

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Rejoicing is a choice. It’s easy enough to be joyful when things are going well. But what about when things are tough? We can choose to be joyful then too.

I can praise the Lord despite my circumstances or I can wallow in self-pity and sit here whining. Today I choose to rejoice.

Instead of complaining about my budget, I can choose to rejoice that bills are paid and that I have money for groceries. Instead of whining because my kids make huge messes, I can rejoice that I have those precious children. Instead of complaining that my husband has to leave for work earlier than I’d like, I can rejoice that he has a good job. Instead of whining about a lack of free time, I can rejoice that I have the freedom to homeschool my children.

God made today, and I will be glad! I will rejoice.

90 Day Bible Reading Challenge

My good friend Karen over at Adorning Grace has posted a 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge on her blog. She’s asked others to join her and to link up at her site.

I’ll be doing the challenge. I gave it a half-hearted try about a year ago, and didn’t finish. This time I’m hoping to make it all the way through. I usually read through my Bible once a year (or close to a year), but haven’t tried to do it in less than that.

Won’t you join us? Head over to Adorning Grace to read more.

Follow On

As a church pianist, I have learned there is a tendency to not really read or hear the words to a song during church services. It is so easy to get caught up in making sure the music sounds okay that the words are completely forgotten. Lately I’ve been trying to read the words as the congregation sings instead of just concentrating on music – it’s nice to be able to worship along with the rest of the congregation more.

This morning the words to Follow On have been in my mind. It is so true – we can follow Jesus regardless of where we are.

Follow On

Words: Will­iam O. Cush­ing
Music: Ro­bert Low­ry

Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere He leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in His footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Down in the valley with my Savior I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With His hand to lead me I will never, never fear,
Danger cannot fright me if my Lord is near.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Savior would my soul ever keep;
He will lead me safely in the path that He has trod,
Up to where they gather on the hills of God.

Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Anywhere, everywhere, I would follow on!
Follow! follow! I would follow Jesus!
Everywhere He leads me I would follow on!

The devil will oppose you

Have you ever stopped to think that when you try to do God’s will, the devil will oppose you? He will. The devil does not want us to live for Christ – in fact, he will oppose us whenever we try.

A couple weeks ago when we went to Indiana for the weekend, we knew that that is what God wanted us to do. It was a wonderful weekend. Stephen had so much liberty to preach while we were there. It was an amazing blessing to me, and it was evident in many other ways that God wanted us there. I told Stephen on the way home, “Just watch, now the devil will attack us for having gone up there.”

Sure enough, he did. He waited just long enough for me to forget about it, and then snuck in to attack. The only problem was that even though I anticipated it, I failed to recognize his attack for what it was when it did come.

Earlier this week almost like a comedy of errors. Anna got sick and only wanted to be held. Our air conditioner decided to get tired in the middle of a 95+ degree day and quit. Caleb stopped sleeping at night and started screaming relentlessly whenever we’d put him down to sleep. Samuel’s behavior even changed. I got discouraged, tired, and just plain irritable.

It is so easy to wallow in self-pity, and I seem to be so good at it. I got frustrated and overly sensitive. . . .which ended up causing disagreements between my husband and I. Disagreements between us are usually pretty rare.

Thursday morning, I sent the kids outside to play and tried to read my Bible. Yet my attitude was still not where it needed to be. Stephen came home to restart the fan on our air conditioner (which stopped again that morning), and I snapped at him. Oh yes, what a wonderful, Godly response that was!

Later, Samuel and I were talking about how we can choose to react to things. I was explaining to him how we can choose to be calm when we get upset or we can react out of anger.

At that point I realized how I’d been acting myself. . .modeling the very behavior I was warning him against. Here I was explaining to him about how the devil tries to get us to sin, when I had failed to see his attempts to get me to do the same thing. It was a humbling moment.

1 Peter tells us that the devil is like a roaring lion.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

It amazes me sometimes how sneaky he can be. We know his tactics, and yet we still fall for them. I don’t know about you, but it’s easier for me to try to resist him when I realize what he’s doing. Like I told Samuel – the devil loves to try to get us to sin, but it’s our choice whether or not we do.

Making a new schedule

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I’m working on making some schedule changes. Anna quit sleeping through the night for a while (we’re guessing it was teething-related – she got her first two teeth about two weeks ago) so I’d pretty much abandoned efforts to stick to any type of a routine. Now I’m thinking that wasn’t the best idea. Hopefully she’ll start sleeping all night again though – that would be a HUGE help!

Before, I tried to put one generic schedule on a page, even though some days of our week vary quite a bit. This time I’m thinking of making different pages for different days – so I’m not trying to follow a routine that doesn’t fit the events of that day.

I never thought I was much of a person to stick to a set schedule, but it seems like I was wrong. They help more than I thought. Hopefully this will help make things go more smoothly around here. It’s not awful but improvement sure wouldn’t hurt either.

How to be a blessing to a mom of young children

The best ways I can think of to be a blessing to a mom of young children are:

1. Be a listening ear.
2. Be an extra pair of hands.
3. Offer her encouragement.

Tonight two different ladies at church were an immense blessing to me.

Our pastor’s wife is one of them. Caleb was overly tired, so I took him out so he wouldn’t disrupt the service. We went back into the sanctuary, he was quiet. . .and Anna started fussing. I got up and took them both to the nursery. I was wondering how to juggle the kids since both of them were just tired, and this mama’s lap is only so big. I was going to hold them both, but our pastor’s wife followed me in there and held Caleb for me. He was asleep in minutes.

It was so nice to be able to talk to her. Her children are just a bit older than mine, so it was nice to be able to share some of my parenting struggles with her and listen to her solutions. She was a huge encouragement to me. God knew I really needed it tonight.

Then, after church, I was able to talk with another one of the ladies. Since I’m usually at the piano before and after services, there’s not much opportunity to talk to many of the ladies before they leave.

We got to talking about serving in church. . .and I mentioned how being a mommy and serving (in my case) are sometimes two separate roles. Stephen and I are both involved in the service (he’s the music director and I’m the pianist), so our kids usually sit with someone else. It’s hard sometimes for me to be up front and watch my kids sit elsewhere, when all I want is my children around me. It’s just not possible all the time. It’s a struggle for me to switch between the role of Mommy to that of church pianist. What was a blessing to me was that she gets it.

I’m so thankful for these two women who were a blessing to me tonight!

From my quiet time

This morning was so lovely. I was able to be up early and had my quiet time in a completely silent house. That doesn’t happen much around here any more, and it was beautiful.

I was reading in Psalm 145. These verses just stood out to me (emphasis mine):

3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

It really struck me this morning how important it is for us as parents to teach our children about God and what He has done. I’m not talking about the day-to-day training or telling the kids Bible stories – but telling them all about the wonderful and mighty things that God has done in our lives. How He saved me. How He provided the money we needed for bills right exactly when we needed it. How He gave us a new crib for the baby, before we even asked for it. Things in our lives.

What struck me so much is how it’s so important to teach my children about how God is working in my own life. Not just what He did that is recorded in the Bible. The things He does daily that prove He is not a dead God but One Who is still living and working in lives today.

I hope that when my children are grown, they can say that my generation praised God’s works to them – that they saw how God has worked in my life.

From my quiet time

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 22:30-31

If the Lord were to search for someone to stand in the gap now, would I be counted worthy?

Convicting

Susan has this quote on her blog today. It is too true.

No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.

Leonard Ravenhill