Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine musings of a single gal

Beautiful Bouquet
Valentine's Day is always an awkward time for us single folk.  The dating and married people around us either make too much fuss out of it or too little.  At my church they have an "Annual Date Night" to which they kindly invite us singles (and I never attend).  I think it is weird for me to pay to go out on a "date" with my single friends and be surrounded by couples.  At the library this year, I am hosting an "Un-Valentine's Day Party" for the tweens & teens since they feel the pressure of this holiday as well.  It is not that I do not like love or cards or chocolate, but it is the forced nature of this holiday that frustrates me.  Maybe couples feel this awkwardness as well ... I will have to talk to some of my friends about it.

So... what am I doing on this day to celebrate love?  I am going to focus on God's love for us and our love in return.  There is a group from my church attending a counselling conference this week, so I sent a gift for each of them to receive today.  I made a paper flower for each person and attached a heart with part of a hymn about God's love.  I am hoping this encourages them in their day and that they will be able to learn much at this conference that they can use to share God's love with others.

And when people get gushy over romantic love, I will turn to my Creator who gave His life for me.  Such love compels me!

The Love of God by Frederick M. Lehman

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.


Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bible Reading Plan for 2013

On December 31, 2012, I finished up a 1 1/2 year trek through the Bible.  As December was coming to a close, I began a search for how I would study through my Bible in 2013.  My previous trek was at my own pace, and while I enjoyed that, I found that I would get lazy in my approach to God's Word.  I wanted to study the Scripture in a more planned out way.  So, after some searching via conversations with Christian friends, some of my pastor's sermons, and Google, I decided to settle on a modified version of the John McArthur method.

There are two portions to this method.  One for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament.

McArthur recommends that you read through the OT each year so you are familiar with God's work from the beginning of time and the foundation that it lays for the church.  I could not find a chart that gave me a list of what I should read each day so I could make it through the OT in a year until I talked to my sister and she had one in the back of her Bible.  So I typed it up and printed off a copy to keep in my spot.  (If you want to use it, send me your email and I will send it to you.)

Then for the NT, you work through it passage by passage, reading the same portion each day for a month.  I started off in Titus and read the entire book each day in January.  Part of why I chose Titus is that it is a short book (with only 3 chapters) and part of the reason I choose it is because I have never studied through it before.

The first week or so I felt like I was just reading the same words over and over and not really getting anything out of it, but I decided to stick with it anyway.  By the end of the month, I was very excited about Titus and what there is to learn from this little book.  I saw that we need to be sound in doctrine, in faith, and in love.  There are qualifications for leaders in our churches and qualities each person, regardless of age or station in life, should aspire to grow in.  Finally, the gospel, the good news of salvation is clearly preached.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:4-7 NKJV
On the last Saturday in January, I had a chance to sit down and use another tool to study Titus .  (A couple years ago, one of my mature Christian friends and I went through the book of Romans chapter-by-chapter.  Let me just say that Romans is an amazing portion of Scripture!  Well, we used some questions from One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm and those questions really made me think through the passage.)  So I pulled up the list of questions for the epistles  (available for free HERE) and worked my way through Titus.  It was neat to see the various themes and concepts that I had been picking up come together in my journal as I spent some quality time in Scripture.

Now we are in February, and I am working my way through the first five chapters of the gospel of Mark.  It has a very different feel from Titus, but I am learning a lot about compassion.  I can hardly wait for the end of the month when I will be journaling all the things God is teaching me.
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