Well, I did it. Finally. I also did another thing. Finally. (Feat One) I finished my She Reads Truth study on the Sermon on the Mount! (My very first She Reads Truth study, I might add.)
Annnnnnd, after what feels like forever (drum roll), (Feat Two) I've finished reading the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi (in ORDER!). My husband was not so impressed by feat number two, but I have been wanting to read the Bible from cover-to-cover for a very long time, and for what seemed like ages, I was stuck in the OT. The OT is beautiful and oh my goodness, God spoke to me through His Word very clearly -- in some books more than others -- but I must admit that occasionally I felt stuck, and would find myself at a stand-still for longer than I'd like to admit. So this is an accomplishment for me. After a well-deserved self-pat on the back, and after thanking God for being so alive through the Bible, it is now time to move on to the New Testament.
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (ESV)
My prayer is that Christ will live through me. I've been reading for weeks on what it looks like and sounds like to be a "good Christian", and while I struggle a lot with following through and living out these words, I try to be aware, and I'm striving to be better. To have read it and heard it so many times (this isn't my first Sermon on the Mount rodeo), and then to just completely brush it all aside as "impossible" would be ridiculous and ignorant. I have a sin nature and of course I'm going to struggle. No one said it would be easy. But to build my house on sand even after hearing the Word of God... I just refuse. So again, my prayer is that I'd remember daily to lay it all at the cross, and to be at peace, knowing that Christ is all around me. I want Him to live through me, so I can love others like He loves them. I want to see others the way He sees them. I want to be the salt and the light that I know I am. I want to love those who don't love me.
As I rise, strength of God Go before, lift me up As I wake, eyes of God Look upon, be my sight
As I wait, heart of God Satisfy and sustain As I hear, voice of God Lead me on, be my guide Be my guide
Above and below me Before and behind me In every eye that sees me Christ be all around me
And as I go, Hand of God My defense, by my side And as I rest, breath of God Fall upon, bring me peace Bring me peace
Your life, Your death Your blood was shed For every moment Every moment
I started in Genesis a very long time ago -- before we moved to Vienna, but how long before, I do not know. Yes, I should have written it down somewhere. Oh, well. What I did write down was the date I finished Malachi, which was August 14, 2014.
My favorite books were probably what are the usual: Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and based on my markings and highlights, Daniel and Hosea.
Here are just some of my favorite verses:
May He grant you your heart's desire
And fulfill all your counsel! (Ps 20:4 NASB)
↑ As a margin note I wrote to "pray specifically". I remember very clearly that I was in Psalms when we first heard about ICSV (the school my husband and I "work" at), and as we prayed over the next step in our lives (quitting our jobs, selling everything, and moving our little family across the globe to live on the support and donations of friends and family in Europe, all in the name of the Great Commission), God was poking at my heart and mind all throughout the Psalms. Needless to say, the book is very marked up in my Bible. I ended up writing in a few of the different translations of Psalm 20:4, because it spoke to me so clearly as I read. Read them here: KJV, NIV, CEV. Also, this new translation, The Voice, has been a recent favorite: VOICE.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4 NASB)
I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
I cling to Your testimonies;
O Lord, do not put me to shame!
I shall run the way of Your commandments.
For You will enlarge my heart. (Ps 119:30-32 NASB)
↑ As a margin note I wrote that this is a missionary's prayer.
Later, as a response to my prayers, God answered me loud and clear through Isaiah 54:4-17. There were many tears -- caused by joy and peace -- as I read:
"Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more."
"For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But my lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,"
Says the Lord who has compassion on you. (Is 54:4, 10 NASB)
I read a study Bible, and in reference to Jeremiah 1:6-10 it says:
Each time God calls a servant into action, He essentially says, "You can be strong and courageous because I am with you. Victory isn't about your abilities, your strength, your skill, your armor, your gifts, or your dedication; it has to do with My presence. You can be strong because I will be strong in you."
For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' (Jer 29:11 NASB)
Thus says the Lord,
"Restrain your voice from weeping
And your eyes from tears;
For your work will be rewarded,"
declares the Lord... (Jer 31:16 NASB)
In reference to Daniel chapter 6:
At times in your walk with God, He may require you to do something that, from a human perspective, seems unreasonable. From His viewpoint, however, it will be in perfect alignment with His Word and will turn out for your ultimate benefit.
And in reference to Hosea 3:4-5:
The One who endured the Cross lives in you, so that you are fully equipped for anything He calls you to do. If you stumble, He is there to pick you up. Just remember to always keep your eyes on Jesus. Don't quit. Persevere.
I'll stop here because I could go on for days, listing my favorite verses and quotes from my study Bible. I am really excited to get started on the New Testament, now! I have a feeling it will read much easier than the OT, especially since I've already read all of the NT (just not in order), but I want to be really intentional about taking my time, to let God speak to me through His Word.
What are your favorite books of the Bible? What are some of your favorite verses, or faith-based quotes? Please share!