Beginning our reading through the Bible has begun. I printed out my .pdf schedule; I even subscribed on the Blue Letter Bible site; I am looking forward to our first sharing time!
I did want to share how God has been teaching me already (and it is only day 2) . . .
Psalm 119:66-68 CSB – 66 Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 68 You are good, and you do what is good; teach me your statutes.
I must confess; the season between Thanksgiving and the end of January has been an extremely challenging one, for at least the last 15 years or more. When I say “challenging” I am talking significant illness; cancer; death; suicide; job loss, to name just a few.
Psalm 119:92-93 CSB – 92 If your instruction had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for you have given me life through them.
But even with believing these declarations from the psalmist, I still have to “tell myself the truth” in order to not be a major Scroogette during the holiday season. And, as my health continues to deteriorate, the extra exertion that comes from unexpected experiences takes a toll on my emotions as well as on my physical body.
But God knows all that, and I cling to this promise as well:
1 Corinthians 10:11-13 CSB – 11 These things [basically all the happenings to Israel recorded in the OT]happened to them as examples, and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.
I was tired. The weekend was hard. Expectations were crushed. I could just feel my attitude getting darker by the minute. Anger, resentment, envy, self-righteousness — all those ugly emotions not just knocking, but coming at the door of my mind with a battering ram.
And then I read Genesis 4. It’s familiar, but God came in to me with a way of escape, just like he did to Cain.
Genesis 4:3-7 CSB – 3 In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also presented an offering – some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent. 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? 7 “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
God spoke to Cain, telling him that his attitude was going to get him into real trouble. I read those words, and knew in an instant that my attitude had to change. Not to get God to like me — oh no! Sin was crouching at my door. What was welling up in my heart was certain to fly out through my mouth or my fingers on a keyboard if I did not do something about this. God was speaking through his Word, giving me a way of escape, reminding me that his mercies are truly new every morning, and I can trust him.
God is so personal! Noticing how personally God relates to us is one of my purposes in reading this year.
I am sharing because I want you to see that observation is not the only goal of reading God’s Word continually. I want God to teach me, and for that I need to be willing to learn. I want discernment and wisdom, but I must humbly accept this implanted Word . . .
Until next time, keep reading His Word!