Reading through the Bible in a Year

I’m using the YouVersion Bible app to read through the Bible. I really like the audio of the ESV Bible in YouVersion because the reader is so good. (And, by the way, it’s free!)

I usually listen to the Bible read aloud at night when I’m getting ready for bed and then listen to the same passages in the morning as I’m getting ready. Then I sit down to focus more on what I’ve read and reflect on it.

Today I started a reading plan called, “Solid Life Whole Bible.” You are welcome to join me. You can get an account on YouVersion and send me a friend request. My name is easy to search for.

The first day’s reading was Genesis 1, Luke 1 and Jude. I like reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament each day. I like to see the whole story of God laid out together. I love to see how God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

God has always been the great Creator. He created the universe and everything in it in six days. He created Adam and Eve in His image. He created John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb even though she was a barren old woman.

God has always been the God of the impossible. Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Today I’m reminding myself of this, as I’m praying for people I love to know Jesus and praying for strained relationships that seem like they will never get better. I’m reminding myself that if God can change my life, surely He can change others, too. As long as there is breath, there is the possibility for a new beginning. Never give up hope.

God has always been the God of purpose. He had purpose for the sun and moon and stars. He had purpose for light and land and plants and animals. He had purpose for man — the first man and the first woman and the millionth man and the millionth women. He has purpose for me and each of my children.

I especially think of this today as Daniel celebrates his 12th birthday. He is a precious, undeserved gift from the hand of a good Creator-God, the God of the impossible, and the God of purpose. Happy birthday, buddy!

Who am I? – Of Relationship and Responsibility

Image result for overcomer movie who am i

Sunday morning, my pastor preached a fantastic sermon titled, “Relationship Comes with Responsibility.” You can listen to it online here:

Then, Tuesday night, I saw the new movie, “Overcomer.” The main character in the movie is a basketball coach and history teacher at his local Christian high school. Without giving too much away, he realizes that he is finding his identity in his job, rather than in his relationship with Christ.  The other main character, a teenage girl named Hannah, is amazed when she learns who she is in Christ while reading Ephesians 1-2 in the Bible. Hannah realizes that as a child of God, she is loved, redeemed and forgiven.

So … What about ME? Who am I … and how, then, should I live?

  • I am a created being, created in the image of God, on purpose, for a purpose … so I should live daily with purpose and hope.
  • I am a disciple of Jesus, called to make more disciples of Jesus … so I should intentionally study God’s Word and share the gospel with others.
  • I am a forgiven and redeemed child of God … so I should forgive others and help them to be reconciled with God, too.

But, my relationship with God is not my only role in life. God has given other relationships, roles and responsibilities as well.

  • I am a wife … so my husband should be a priority in my life.
  • I am a homemaker … so I should clean my house and cook dinner for my family.
  • I am a mother … so I should love and disciple my children with diligence.
  • I am a homeschooler … so I should faithfully teach and train my children in the way they should go.

Like many Christians, I can tend to overemphasize one area of my life and overlook another one.

Yes, indeed, my identity is found in Christ.

  • Who am I? I am a forgiven child of God.
  • Who am I? I am His workmanship, created on purpose for a purpose.
  • Who am I? I am a disciple of Jesus, called to make more disciples.

But, I am also a wife, homemaker, mother and homeschooler to the glory of God. These titles, too, have value and worth.

May everything I do be done to the praise of God who created me, saved me, and redeemed me … and gave me a home and a husband and children.

Exegesis or Eisegesis – in relationships???

Image result for exegesis or eisegesis

I hope y’all will bear with me for a minute while I think through something in writing. Do any of you think better in writing, too?

My pastor has tried several times to explain the difference between the biblical interpretation terms, “exegesis” and “eisegesis.” (Maybe these words are new to you — they were to me!) Exegesis involves looking deeply into the text to discover what God is communicating to us, while eisegesis involves bringing our own ideas to the Bible and then looking for evidence to support it. My pastor has often warned us not to have an idea that “seems right” to us and then dig a verse out of context to “prove it.” For example, using “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” to justify a whole laundry list of activities might be an example of “eisegesis.”

Last week, I started thinking about how I can be guilty of “eisegesis” in my relationships. I can let my own ideas and biases color how I interpret my loved one’s actions.

Let’s say, I’m feeling neglected and unloved by my husband, and he fails to let me know that he’s going to be late getting home from work. The thoughts in my head go something like this: “He’s so thoughtless. He doesn’t care about my feelings one bit. He always acts like this.”

But, if my love-cup is full and I’m feeling like my husband adores me, then when he fails to let me know that he’s going to be late getting home from work, I think, “Poor guy. He must be caught in the middle of a long phone call at work. I should shoot him a quick text to see how he’s doing.”

How about if I’m feeling like my daughter doesn’t like me. Envy quickly rears its ugly head and I start blaming my ugly feelings on her. When she tells me about a long conversation she had with a friend of hers, my mind starts whirling. “She always makes time for other people in her life, but never seems to have time for me. She is so inconsiderate … and after all I’ve done for her.”

But, if we’ve been spending regular sweet time together, then my thoughts take a totally different spin. Instead I think, “Thank you, Father, for giving Emily such a good friend that she can do life with. Thank you for answering my prayers. I am so blessed!”

Here’s the thing: truth is truth, and feelings are feelings. But feelings should never be the basis for truth. We have to carefully test our feelings in light of the truth. Our feelings change moment by moment, but truth remains the same.

We should approach both the scriptures, and our relationships, with what is true. The truth is that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. The truth is that we should carefully renew our minds in light of the truth.

The truth is that God loves me and has good plans for me.

The truth is that God is sovereign and at work even in hard situations.

The truth is that my husband loves me, my children love me and I love my husband and my children.

The truth is that I am a sinner saved by God’s grace and I am prone to think selfish thoughts.

The truth is that love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud or rude. And God wants me to pour out His love on others.

The truth is that God loved me while I was still a sinner, so as the chief of sinners, I can love others with the love God has lavished on me.

How do you need to remind yourself of what is true and discern rightly the relationships you’re in? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Is your Life Self-centered, Child-centered, Husband-centered, or God-centered???

This past week, I have been studying Matthew 23 along with the other ladies in my Community Bible Study group. In this passage, Jesus pronounces upon the religious leaders of His day (the scribes and Pharisees) a series of seven woes. Six times Jesus calls these self-righteous men, “hypocrites.” Rather than leading the Israelites to pursue God with pure hearts, these religious leaders had hearts full of greed and self-indulgence, performing law-keeping deeds in order to be seen by others. Ultimately, their lives were SELF-centered, despite any external appearance of GOD-centeredness.

This Tuesday, I was listening to my favorite podcast, “Family Life Today.” In this episode, Dennis Rainey was sharing some words of wisdom with the new “Family Life Today” hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson. Mr. Rainey was explaining how easily most moms can be drawn into a CHILD-centered life, where their “family solar system revolve[s] around the kids.” Such truth in just 7 words.

My mind immediately began drawing a picture of a solar system with my children taking the place of the sun, and my husband and me revolving around them like Earth and Mars.

Mr. Rainey and his wife, Barbara, then shared about the importance of keeping the marriage relationship strong, so that the marriage is prepared to outlast the children. If our world is revolving around our kids, what’s going to happen when they grow up and move out?!

I’m afraid that in an effort to not be child-centered, some marriages, then become husband-centered, where the whole family revolves around making dad happy. Rather than the wife pleasing her husband as an outflow of her allegiance to God, pleasing her husband becomes the very center and focus of her life. This, too, is a messed-up solar system.

In my mind I had a new vision of a solar system. This solar system had my husband and I spinning together, arm-in-arm, while God remained the ever-present enormous shining sun whose gravity held us both. In this solar system, both of our lives revolved around Him, not our kids, and not each other.

Like the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” I began asking myself, “Kim, what is the chief end of your life? What does your life revolve around? What is that gravitational force that holds your life in order? Who is in the center of your life’s solar system?”

Is my primary goal to “glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”?

Yes. Yes, it is.

TWIG