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Posts Tagged ‘Bible reading’

This is going to be a great summer! I’ve set some lofty goals, anticipating some pretty awesome results and all while enjoying my husband, my family and my friends. But it won’t be easy…because what’s the fun in that?

First, I’m joining with a long time girlfriend as we, once again, take control of ourselves and lose some extra poundage. We’ll be each other’s best cheerleader, motivator, inspiration and coach – all rolled into one dynamic package…actually two dynamic packages, I guess.It’s so easy to get off the path of healthy choices and slip down the slope into JunkFood Jungle. “But it tastes so good!” Yes, it does, but that momentary pleasure usually gives way a short time later to guilt, shame and condemnation – the Three Ugly Stepsisters. No thank you!

Bible_blogpostWe’re going to go through Donna Partow‘s “Becoming the Woman I Want to Be,” the book I used three years ago to get started on my 30-pound weight loss. Great time to crack it open again and get back on track… This isn’t solely about physical changes, but discovering a plan to renew myself spiritually and emotionally as well. Of course, today was the day my office served Panera for lunch and dropped a 25-box of chocolate cookies in the lunchroom. Great way to get started – No! No! No! I’m so weak – but so far, so good.

Another goal is getting back into the Word, regularly. I don’t know why this is a struggle for me, but I’m being vulnerable here…I love God’s Word but I can be easily distracted by louder, yet less important, things. So this summer – the Bible is the first thing I’ll read – even if it’s not until my lunch break.

I’m scheduled to backpack the Sierras with my older brother in early September so another goal is to get in hiking shape…which, I suspicion, is quite different from sidewalks-through-downtown-Cedar-Rapids walking. I’ve borrowed a couple of library books, researched hiking boots and proper backpacks, priced flights to Sacramento and prayed for wisdom on how to record this whole amazing journey without electronic gadgets.

Lastly, I’m going to attempt to blog throughout the summer – at least on Mondays and maybe more. You’ve been warned. You may want to set your own goal of getting off social media for a short time, or cutting back on unhealthy food choices, or spending more time playing (as opposed to working), or doing something you’ve put off because you never found the time to “git-r done.” Now’s the time – time to kickstart your summer.

This is going to be fun!

P.S. The following is one of many verses I meditate on as I train my spirit, soul and body to say “no” to temptation:

“Let your eyes look straight ahead,
Fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
And take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
Keep your foot from evil.”
Proverbs 4:25-27

 

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It’s July 2nd…a good day to look back on the first 6 months of the year. Or maybe not. Should have done it yesterday…July 1st. Better for my latent OCD. I mean really, who logically starts something on the 2nd of anything? So my “new thing” is doing something illogically and out of the norm for me. Convoluted arguments with myself. That’s actually pretty normal for me.

Back to the purpose of this – a self-evaluation of my 2015, part 1. I don’t really have year-long goals. Too easy to cop out and forget about them. I try for month-long goals…better for my short-term memory. Was going to make May my “watch movies I wish I’d already seen” month – didn’t happen. Something always comes up that seems more fun than sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours. I still have the stack of DVDs in the living room (I’m sure they’ll remain there until Christmas) but summer is no time to hunker down in the house when the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. And by 9:01 I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

I am doing well on my 90-days-through-the-Bible challenge. One-third of the way and still on track. I tell myself that I can’t read anything else until I’ve read my Bible. It’s working so far.

I’m also still running…well, running, then walking, then running, then walking, and finishing with running. Still not very fast. But I do somewhat enjoy the discipline and feel so much better after getting in a 2-mile run. And I try to participate in 5K races periodically to keep myself out there. I won’t win anything except the finisher’s medal but that works for me.

Some of the “new things” I’ve tried have been successes – meaning I’ve made them part of my lifestyle now. Like edamame…delicious. Giving blood – do it every 8 weeks now (first time was last November after years – literally years – of being afraid. Silly me). Fitbit – addict. Found out I’m more competitive than I thought. New restaurants – I’m committed to trying new places because I’m tired of seeing the same menus at every place I eat. This is not a hardship, by the way. Downtown Cedar Rapids has a plethora (new word – try that every day too) of eating establishments and I’m not opposed to giving each of them a try at least once. Support local eateries people! The McDonalds, Olive Gardens, Red Robins, and Chilis will survive without your support – but there is so much more to experience.

I’m reading a new blog every day. It’s called Leadership Freak. Exceptional. Give it a try – even if you are the only person you’re leading.

By the way, a new friend recently shared a document on her Facebook page that I thought was awesome. So I’m sharing it here. It’s called “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up.”

Second half goals: volunteer more, complain less. Stay out of arguments that won’t matter the next day. Build people, not walls. Love more, fear less. Keep trying new things to stretch my comfort zone into the 3XL range. I may even pick up my guitar again.

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I started another challenge at the beginning of June. Reading through the whole Bible in 90 days. It’s hard. It probably takes me between 30-45 minutes a day to get through each large section of Scripture. So far I’ve galloped through Genesis, escaped with the Jews in Exodus, learned the Law in Leviticus, counted and re-counted in Numbers, dashed through Deuteronomy, defeated the enemies in Joshua and Judges, and lived the romance of Ruth. All in 19 days.

I hope you read the Word each day. You don’t have to take on this kind of challenge but I hope you take the time to listen to what God is saying from Genesis to Revelation. Oh – I can hear you now…all kinds of excuses. I know this because I’ve used them too…

I just don’t have time.

Yes you do. We all make time for what we value. It isn’t unspiritual to actually make an appointment with God. Makes perfect sense to me. We all keep appointments with doctors, teachers, accountants, friends, church activities…why can’t you schedule a time to read God’s story every day? I know many of you have young kids who take up boatloads of your time. Get them involved in your Bible reading. There is no better lesson they can see than Mom and Dad reading Scripture every day. They will understand the importance of Bible reading when YOU place it as a priority. Read with them – read it out loud to them (as always, use wisdom when reading certain portions to young children. “But Mom, God said to wipe them off the face of the earth,” says Billy as he straddles Susie in the backyard).

Yes – you may need to skip your daily dose of Facebook (at least 30 minutes of it), or pass on Dr. Phil or Judge Judy. Take a Bible audio app with you on a long walk. Multi-task with steps and Scripture. Now that’s how to get fit!

I just don’t understand it.

Then find a way. Use a different version. There are literally hundreds of versions to choose from. Go to a Bible website and browse. Try a new one every day, just as a test run. Maybe you learn better through the spoken word. Try an audio version. Maybe you like to see the Word come to life. There are DVDs which use the New International Version to “act out” Scripture – word for word. Don’t believe the lie that says “I’m just too dumb” to understand this stuff. There are all kinds of study helps available online. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of each book and He can give you understanding too. Ask for it. He wants to speak to you. He wants you to know Him and the only way you can is if you read what He’s written.

I’ve already read it once.

My husband is a really smart man. He knows the Word of God better than anyone else I know. He teaches it, lives it and breathes it. I don’t know how many times he’s read through the Bible but probably more than you have. Yet – he still does it. He still reads it every. single. day. You know why? Because he knows God still has a lot to say to him and he always finds out new things about God every time he reads it. Once is not enough. Twice is not enough. Keep at it. Don’t stop. Change it up if you want. Read a different version. The Message is kind of fun for a change of pace. Listen to it instead of read it. Watch it on video.

It’s boring.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the excuses are just that. Excuses. Once again – what you value you will pursue. If you find God’s Word boring (another word for “I just don’t get it”), then find a way to make it exciting. Read it with a friend. Challenge each other with a reading plan or a memorization plan. Read up on the backgrounds of the various authors. Determine to find something you can take away from each day’s reading. Recently I read through Leviticus. Before I started I determined I would find some practical lesson I could use. Quite a few people skip Leviticus. It’s a hard book to wade through. Lots of details. And I mean lots. But God was faithful. I found lessons on salt, blood, value, atonement, festivals & celebrations, grace, consuming fire, unauthorized fire, the holiness of God and how to approach & who can approach God. And finally, I learned God is in the details. He cares about everything. If He cares about skins sores and moldy houses, I’m pretty sure He cares about the details of my life too. See – Leviticus speaks to us today. Don’t skip it!

Find an accountability partner. Print off a paper Bible reading guide. Pray for the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit who will teach you the deep things of God as you read His Word. I promise you – you will not be disappointed. The value of Scripture – the richness of His Word will saturate your Spirit and refresh your soul. A little side benefit – when you’re tired and worn down, only the Word that you’ve placed into your heart will revive and restore. When the battles rage around you, only His voice, speaking His Word, will keep you fighting. It isn’t called the Sword of the Spirit for nothing.

 

Dust it off and get started. No excuses. No regrets.

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Staying healthy and fit is a lot easier than it used to be. When I was younger the options for where to run for exercise were running on the road and…ok, that was it…running on the road. Nowadays there are all types of trails – paved, crushed rock, wood chips – in varying widths and lengths – plus treadmills with all sorts of bells and whistles. You can basically hook yourself up and get a full medical breakdown while you listen to tunes or watch an episode of Dr. Phil. They even have treadmills at our local public library so I can read and walk without getting hit by a car or tripping off the curb. Yes – I’ve done that. No – not read and walk…just trip off the curb.

But now I’m the clueless owner of a smartphone and I have the power of genius literally at my fingertips. Want to train for a 5K? There’s an app for that! Want to find out how many steps you’ve taken in a day or get a reminder to drink more water? There’s an app for that too!  I even have an app for daily workout routines with videos and countdowns so I can follow along. I love this techie stuff!

There are few great apps for getting spiritually fit too. I just downloaded a prayer app to help me remember to pray for specific requests or post my own request for others to pray.  I know my busy life needs reminders now and again.

Now I can watch church services on my phone, Kindle or computer any time, day or night. There’s an app for that! It’s called Sermon.net and it allows a listener, free of charge, to access an archive of sermons, teachings and live broadcasts.

There are even apps for motivation and encouragement.

But, my very favorite app allows me to read the Word, in just about any version, right from my phone. YouVersion is a free Bible app that I have downloaded to my phone and my Kindle. There are no ads (which is unusual for free apps) and has tons of features like Bible reading plans, devotionals, and even suggestions for sermon topics. You can highlight verses and then virtually share with your friends, via Twitter, Facebook or email. You can create notes or bookmark a passage for later study. You can read it or have it read to you. KJV, NIV, NASB plus hundreds of other versions…in English, French, Spanish or Abau, Batak Karo, Chorti, or Gofa. (In case you’re wondering, those are 4 of the hundreds of languages available).

Commercial over. BTW – all the apps I’ve mentioned are free and available through the iTunes app store. Okay – commercial is really over now.

Closing thought: we have no more excuses. No more reasons to say we can’t pray, can’t read the Bible, can’t get healthy. The tools are available – we just have to pick one up and use it.

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