My memory verse this week:
"You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' (Acts 2:28 NIV)
I took a week's vacation from my blog. To tell you the truth, I have missed it greatly. Writing each morning, studying God's word and learning what it is leading me to do...that seemed to ground me. This past week, I haven't had that grounding, and I have felt a bit lost and lonely. That sounds a bit silly to some, I suppose, but it is how I have felt. This morning, I have read, and now am ready to write about what I read, and as the memory verse above states...I am filled with joy!
My whole church began a challenge today...the New Testament Challenge. We are all reading the whole New Testament in 63 days. That's a lot of reading, right? But, it's more than that. We are also studying what we read and meeting in small groups during that time to discuss what we read and learn.
Our pastors yesterday described the challenge and just WHY we would want to do this. There are many reasons, but to me, the best reason is to hear from God. God has never SPOKEN to me in words, but I have experienced God's message to me before....but this only happens when I have been reading and studying the Bible. I don't think I am special or a prophet or anything like that...but I believe that the bible is God's way of communicating with us, and when we open ourselves up to that line of communication, we clear a pipeline between us and God and we are more able to "hear" his guidance and messages to us.
Today's New Testament readings are Matthew 1-2 and Acts 1-3.
I have skimmed over the first book of Matthew many times. The genealogy of Jesus didn't seem that important to me, and I couldn't pronounce many of the names anyway! But, in order to help tie up all the Old Testament prophecies...the first two books of Matthew are very important. To understand WHO Jesus is, where he came from, and how his coming was foretold HUNDREDS of years before is VERY important to us...we are not following blindly...we want to know WHERE our faith came from, and WHY it is relevant, reliable and has survived thousands of years!
Acts 1-3 are more exciting! Reading about how the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in tongues of fire always seemed a little far-fetched to me, but exciting all the same! Why wind and fire? God wanted people to be amazed and take notice! And they did! This was the beginning of Christianity...the numbers grew from just over 100 to thousands in a short period of time!
I am excited about this Challenge too! God wants us to be amazed and take notice today too! Read the New Testament along with us and you might discover that God's word is living and active today...it is not just a book to collect dust on your shelf or a strange App hiding in the corner of your IPhone! When you read it...you open up a whole new world for yourself!