I would love to have you join me in reading the bible and posting a few sentences of thoughts/reflections in the comment section at the bottom. Using this blog is a great way to provide encouragement and accountability.
I have set up the schedule as follows:
- Monday – Thursday (shorter readings from the Gospels each day)
- Friday – Saturday (longer readings from the rest of the bible)
- Sunday (a Psalm for each Sunday)
This schedule is designed to be flexible, and to allow you to focus on Jesus and His teaching. Don’t worry if you miss a day (or two or more), just step in when and how you can.
To help you I am posting my own reflections for each daily reading. Please feel free to post your comments or questions. If you ask questions, I will try to suggest some answers, but you may also answer each other’s questions. This is a conversation! Once you submit your comments, they will be public. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use a nickname when you first sign in.
I don’t recommend this, but some people like to use a checklist when it comes to measuring themselves and others. They point out how others are ‘living in sin’ because of a particular sin on God’s list. But do they really want to relate to God based on a checkist?
Below is a list someone made of 1050 commands (imperative statements) from the New Testament. Check out this list if you think you want to relate to God based on this list. Again, I don’t recommend it, because I guarantee you will fail.
“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10)
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
But maybe by looking at this list you will realize how futile it is to measure ourselves and others by a list. Much better to admit our failure, and come to God in humility and honesty, trusting Him for His mercy and grace to help us change, one step at a time.
1050 NT Commands
My initial response to this quote is positive.
I like how it acknowledges the problem of sin, that we DO have a sin problem.
But I also like how it challenges us to focus on our own sin, not on someone else’s.
Are there any concerns with what this quote says?
What do you think?
What if we adopted these words as our welcome statement for our church?
“Come as you are. . . . You don’t have to dress up. You don’t have to be any particular age. We couldn’t care less who you voted for in the last election. And please, don’t feel the need to pretend about anything. Maranatha Church is a place where God meets seeking people who are far from perfect. That means anyone is welcome, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. So learn at your own pace. Ask questions. Seek. We believe you’ll find what you’re looking for. You’ll learn how to relate to God. You’ll experience Christian community. And here’s the big thing—you will change. Join us as we seek God together. Just come as you are.”
(Adapted from “No Perfect People Allowed” by John Burke)
This is the real issue for us all. As Jesus followers, we desire change – for us and for the world. Its easier to blame and protest others, than deal with our own growth areas. But Jesus has helped us to see that change needs to start from within, with the log in our own eye (Matthew 7:1-5). There are many problems in the world, and we are one of them. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves, for how we lived and loved and served in the world.
Change begins with me!
A poem by Gerard Mandley Hopkins that speaks of the grandeur of God in and behind everything we experience in this world… and yet fail to see and appreciate… even worse we ‘smear’ all over it. But it is still there! In a few places I’ve added my own thought of what the words mean.
“The world is charged (energized) with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil (shaking tin foil in sunlight);
It gathers (spreads) to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck (recognize) his rod (sceptre, rule)?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod (walked all over);
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare (empty) now, nor can foot feel, being shod (our shoes keep us from feeling).
And for all this, nature is never spent (never loses its God worth);
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things (buried, hidden within);
And though the last lights off the black West went (sunset, everything going dark)
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward (sunrise), springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods (hovers, flutters, like a bird, Genesis 1:2) with warm breast
And with ah! bright wings.”
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
“Being someone who disciples others does not mean that you are perfect, and because of that you show them how to live. It means making yourself available to be observed at all times by your students, showing them what your relationship with Jesus looks like. It means showing them what it looks like to apologize and admit when you are wrong; it means showing them what humility looks like and being willing to become lesser in the eyes of others; it means modelling what healthy conflict and confrontation should look like; it means modelling what my dependency on Jesus looks like and how I aim to make my relationship with him a priority every day.”
(Janelle Sennema, currently serving as team leader with YWAM in the country of Georgia)
“Contemplative prayer, in its simplest form, is prayer in which you still your thoughts and emotions and focus on God Himself. This puts you in a better state to be aware of God’s presence, and it makes you better able to hear God’s voice correcting, guiding, and directing you. Instead of coming with a ‘to do’ list for God, you come with no agenda. The fundamental idea is simply to enjoy the companionship of God, stilling your own thoughts so you can listen should God choose to speak. For this reason, contemplative prayer is sometimes referred to as ‘the prayer of silence’.”
(Jan Johnson, When The Soul Listens)