I read through the bible this year. No small task. The Old Testament was TOUGH. All the sacrifice, the killing, the sin. How relieved I am we don't have to kill animals to get ok with God anymore. I would be toast.
There were good moments in the Old Testament, but I can see why people give up and stop reading. It's tough to understand (in parts), and it feels like it doesn't pertain to what is happening today. That was always my excuse through the years...."It doesn't pertain to anything I need." BOY Was I a MORON.
Even during all the time with Laynie, I would seek out certain passages and verses, but never take the whole bible into consideration. It's been a revelation, and a life-changing practice for me. Now that I have read the entire book, my life and world are different.
Hallie laments to me that she can't play basketball. She has all the talent, the skill set, the ability, but when she gets on the court, she just kind of runs around with her hands in the air, trying her best to do what she is supposed to do. She gets so frustrated. I tried to explain to her that she needs extra practice. She needs to go to a goal and shoot and shoot and shoot. She needs to run up and down the street dribbling the ball and running to sharpen her skills. She needs to play with the other people on her team to build her (and their) confidence in each other. She has to PRACTICE faithfully, daily. I use the example of her guitar. She just didn't pick up the guitar one day and say, "Oooh, this looks fun, I'm just going to play a song". No, she worked calluses on her fingertips finding her sound. She plays for hours in a day, perfecting her skills. She's quite impressive.
I hear so many Christians say "I just don't FEEL God. How do I know he even exists?" I have read blog after blog of the World Racers in Mozambique this month, so desperate this month in their search for God... "I can't HEAR him, I don't FEEL him, here." Here's what I have learned over this past year of seeking Him, and only Him, and longing for a relationship with Him.... He Is There. Always. Never Leaves, Never takes a break, Never naps, Never shops, Never turns His back...He Is There.
And it seems the more I learn and grow in the Word, the easier He is to find. Dusty, one of the world racers, wrote a magnificent blog about how as a kid (even though I still consider him a kid, he's like 24-25ish) he would go to camp (or a program through the church), and walk down that aisle to be saved. EVERY year. Once a year, he felt that passion, that drive, that need to be MORE. Then , he said, he'd go home, and still do the church thing, but never feel that closeness, that rock solid commitment, that he felt when he was there. I think of Falls Creek, and the hundreds of kids that come home from that place, on fire, and within weeks, are back to the old ways. The enemy fights hard to keep us distracted, to keep us from God. HE does EVERYTHING he can to make us lose our way. Dusty said that all He wants is to spread God's love, and is so frustrated at how he feels he doesn't "Get" it... doesn't "Feel" him....and all I can say is, "He is there."
That it why it is imperative to have time to fall into, and , to soak in the goodness of God's word. Every single day. I don't know how to explain to you how much it has done for me this year. It's been a life saving, life giving, rewarding walk. And it can be yours. Just pick up a bible. (preferably a New Living Translation, if you don't want to get hung up in the Thee's and THou's of the King James Version) I only listen to KLOVE in my car, and it plays all day long at my desk. It's a continual worship for me, all through the day, and it keeps me centered and focused on God. Just like I tell Hallie, to get better at her basketball, she must practice. To be a better Christian, you must practice. You have to BE a full time, hard core, bible reading, prayer warrior, church going, Christian. You have to. If you don't Feel God, then He's probably not feeling you, either. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.
I'm not saying it's easy. Cause it is so easy to get distracted and don't think for a minute I don't (Criminal Minds binger comes to mind), but, I feel nothing but Peace and calm, most of the time, because of the constant contact with someone that HAS FAR more of a handle on my life than I do....
For this new year, I wish you nothing but peace and surrender.... It's just right there......just reach out and get it.
And I thought the bible didn't pertain....here's about 100 reasons how I was wrong.