Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading the Bible Chronologically Part 2

I shared about my reading of the Bible chronologically over the past year and a half in this post. This is the second half of what I learned on this go around of Bible reading. My list is in no particular order, just a random list of things that stuck out to me. I shared #1 and #2  about Kings, Chronicles, and Acts in the Part 1 post.

This is the remainder of my list.

#3 - The stories of the Bible are the most exciting and powerful stories found anywhere in literature. The characters, the plots, etc. are as fresh today as ever. One of the last stories in the chronological readings is Esther. What a story! 

The stories of courage were often part of my public school experience as a child as well as Sunday School. I find it sad that many of today's youth will never hear these stories because of course it is gone from school, but more importantly it is lost at home with the breakdown of our society. So many powerful lessons to be learned, but sadly forgotten today.

#4 - Over and over the Bible weaves the fact that God wants obedience to His ways. He makes it crystal clear. You can see it so VIVIDLY when you read the Bible chronologically. When we obey, life is manageable, when we disobey... well, the challenges are far worse. He commands our loyalty and obedience.

Over and over and over, there are verses that attest to the fact when we "hide Thy Word in our hearts," we have a powerful tool to guide us in our daily walk.

#5 - I will probably continue to read a Proverb a day. Solomon really did give some WISE and practical advice that we need to be reminded of often.

#6 - When reading the Gospels, you can't help, but love how masterful Jesus was at handling situations. I want to be more like Him. Common sense....He was. Radical at times, but always common sense and keeping it simple. I fell in love with the Gospel of John this go around. I have to say I was always a little partial to the Gospel of Matthew, but this time I was so impacted by John.

#7 - Reading the books written by Paul as they fit into the history of Acts was also such a winner for me. Paul was amazing. He lived with abandon. He was sold out to Jesus. He gives clear guidelines for our behaviors in his books.

I don't know ---, but somehow this time around reading books that I have read so...many times had deeper meaning in context of their place in history.

#8 - The final one was Daniel and Revelation. By far, Daniel was my favorite prophet reading, probably because it is peppered with the stories I already mention in #3. However, it was Daniel 12, that made me stop in my tracks and back track. Along with John, this is the book I want to reread and study more. Daniel 12 contains one of my favorite verses. I have read it, quoted it, and written it many times, and shamefully admit that I may not have realized its context.

Daniel 12:2
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

The first time I heard this verse was at an event I attended while in college at Auburn. Anita Bryant was speaking at an event in nearby Montgomery. I always thought she was so pretty, and by the time I heard her, she had been through a tremendous amount of stuff. The fallout from being the spokesman for Florida orange juice over comments about homosexuality had occurred. She had divorced. She gave a powerful message that night and used that verse. The gist was as long as she remained faithful to God and continued to speak boldly about Him, that even though the world didn't see her as a star, she would shine like one. (Now, mind you I am paraphrasing something I heard over 30 years ago.) The verse stuck with me, and anyone who knows me, knows I love space, so stars shining..oh yea:)

I took this verse to mean, as long as I shared my faith, that was a good thing and I could shine like those stars I love so much.

Now, to reading further in Daniel 12. I know Daniel is supposed to have a lot of prophecy in it that is yet to come, but I must say it was not sticking out to me until, I got to verse 9 and 10. I stopped, reread, and then had to go back to previous chapters to reread in Daniel. 

Daniel is prophesying about end times. He has been terrified by a vision, thrown down, and then picked up to have it explained to him. He is receiving instructions about what he is seeing and told that he is to conceal these words until the end time. The verse that stopped me and got my attention were verses 9 and 10.

9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.
10 Many will be purged, purified, and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.

I think Christians can clearly see that we are seeing many things happen that lead to the coming of Jesus again, but the vast majority of the world just thinks we are nuts for saying things like that. 

In Revelation, John is told he is to record these events. He is not conceal it any longer. There were many similarities in those latter chapters of Daniel to what John says in Revelation.

#9 - The one thing I do know is that anyone who says they have a date on His return....that doesn't add up to what Jesus said. So, I am "no go" on those that try to give a date to His return, but I think we are definitely seeing things take place. Now, as to how long it will be, only God knows and His time could be vastly different. It could be soon though, because I think things are definitely in place and would take place quicker than most of us could even imagine with a rapture of God's people.

#10 - My next goals are to pray for the lost, study Daniel and the Gospel of John. I signed up for a new app with Proverbs 31 Ministries today. It is called First 5. They begin a study of John on July 27th. I am excited about that. I also want to add a goal of memorizing more Scripture. I once did that well, and those verse mean a lot to me. I have many more to add to my defense against Satan.

Well, if you survived reading this... then thanks. I don't typically share my deepest feelings publicly. Those go in a handwritten journal, but I felt led to write down my journey of reading God's word, and I couldn't exactly leave off #8.
I write more for posterity's sake than for an audience, but I love to hear what others think as well.

It was a great experience,

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