Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

I don’t particularly enjoy working out alone. My wife and I have shared the experience of going to the gym together, and although we may do different exercises or use different machines, knowing we’re both there together makes the experience more fulfilling for me.

The same goes for my spiritual workouts.

At the end of last year, our dear friend Lindsey invited Lee and me to undertake a new challenge.

“Will you join me in reading the entire Bible in one year?”

“Ummm…..what?”

“The Bible. I am going to read it all in one year, and I want you to join me.”

<uneasy silence> “Ummmmm …… yes?”

It was very much a daunting task at the time it was presented to us. Yet another thing I needed to make time for in my day to day. It’s not like I wasn’t already falling behind on everything else, so sure, why not add something else to the To Do list (which in my case usually ends up being a Good Intentions list)?

But undertake it I did, with the help of the YouVersion Bible app. Every morning in the car I would start the readings for the day of the reading plan. The great thing about YouVersion is, depending on the translation, you can have the app read it to you. This is especially helpful because I find it easier to follow along as I hear someone else read, and I don’t have to stumble over the pronunciation of names and places (especially in the Old Testament). Also, I can take advantage of my commute time to take in His word.

So here we are three months removed from that awkward conversation with my friend and I’m 25% done with reading the Bible. Think about that. I’ve read a quarter of the Good Book, and I’ve done it a few chapters at a time. Not only has this plan made it manageable by spreading out the reading between Old and New Testaments, it has also opened my eyes to the amazing stories in the Bible.

I’ve been introduced to the talking donkeys, how the sons of Jacob plotted to avenge the rape of their sister, and passages that have made me blush. More importantly, I’ve made the time in my day to nourish my spirit and grow in my relationship with God. And I am finding that as situations and challenges present themselves in my life, I am able to lean on what I’ve read and learned in order to better deal with them. I’m able to reference a particular story in the Bible that provides me with a better perspective as to how I should act or not act. Like going to the gym, I am stronger now than when I started.

And I am so blessed to be doing this with my wife and friends. We turn to each other to discuss His word and better understand what we’ve read. We push and encourage each other to stay on plan and not fall behind, which is what fellowship is all about.

So if you’re feeling you can use some new perspective, insight, and encouragement in your life, I invite you to turn to a resource that’s been there for you from the beginning. Download the YouVersion app and check out The Bible in a Year plan. Or if you’re old school, open up your Bible and read a chapter a day. As the plan overview says, “The Bible is God’s love letter to each one of us. Why should you miss out on any of the things God wants to say to you?”

Daily Bread

Friendly Friday – Courtney Perry

Serendipity. I like that word. I like what it means (an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident), and I like what it stands for. Some people claim serendipity is a function of fate. Others think it’s simply a matter of luck or coincidence. As for me, my personal philosophy is that coincidence is God showing off, and serendipity is just another way of describing God’s mysterious ways.

Lee and I volunteer as leaders of growth groups through our church. Growth groups are semester long sessions in which we meet as a small group and study either a book or a particular part of the Bible, etc. The purpose of growth groups is fellowship and to do life together with the other members of our church. It’s all about expanding the ministry from inside the walls of our church building to inside the homes of others.

Due to logistics and my general laziness to keep my house tidy, our particular group was hosted at the house of our friends Mark and Renee. Through the course of several semesters, we got to know Mark and Renee very well, and by extension – as well as through the power of the Internet and social media – we got to meet and know their four daughters as well. We’ve met two in person and connected with the other two online. And there is one daughter in particular I’d like to introduce you to.

As a blogger, I like to read other bloggers’ work. I will be the first to admit, however, that it is very hard sometimes to keep up with all my friends’ blogs. RSS readers come in handy, but sometimes I just need to stay up late and do nothing but read, read, read. And how I thoroughly enjoy reading the words of Courtney Perry.

Courtney writes in an open and unabashed fashion that makes her words ring true and connect easily with the reader. Not only is her writing transparent, a writing style which I greatly admire, but she is also clever, witty, and thought-provokingly deep. Courtney is refreshingly honest, and her work has opened my eyes to the world of food allergies, sleeping disorders, and anxiety. Not only has it opened my eyes, but it’s also caught the attention of editors at The Huffington Post. She’s had multiple pieces featured on Huff Post, her most recent this past Tuesday about conquering panic attacks

I like to think Courtney and I have established a great online camaraderie, and I look forward to each of her posts. As I think about how it came to be that that I was introduced to her brilliant writing, I truly believe it was not mere chance, but rather God putting His serendipitous plans in motion. After all, us bloggers have to stick together.

Courtney Perry

Be sure to check out and follow Courtney’s personal blog at theothercourtney.com