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

Stop Yelling At Me!

It is said God works in mysterious way. Lately, He hasn’t been so subtle.

I’ve been groping – to myself mostly – about my work situation. It’s un-fulfilling. The corporate culture where I work is ass-backwards. I have more apathy than I know what to do with. But here we are, at the start of a new calendar year. Sixteen and a half years with the same company. About to hit three years in my current position. And every year I do the same thing. I justify a lack of change on ‘flexible schedule’ and ‘convenience’, and then I double-down on the status quo.

And every year God reminds me this is not where He wants me to be. Every year he sends me signs and suggestions. He whispers in my ears and opens my eyes to new possibilities. Yet in the end, I ignore them all.

This past weekend, however, God was being loud and clear with his message to me. It started with a tweet on my Twitter stream. I didn’t save it, but it was something to the effect of, “Only you are responsible for the changes in your life.” Then, I read my daily devotional via YouVersion. This is from the Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional:

“We are partners with God. His part is to give us ability and our part is to be responsible.

Responsibility means ‘to respond to the ability we have.’ An irresponsible person wants God to do everything while he does nothing except follow his feelings.

God cares for you, but He won’t do your part. He enables you to do it, but let me emphasize that He won’t do it for you! I dare you to stand firm, take responsibility and begin working with God to have the blessed life He’s planned for you.”

Then last night, I was channel surfing and came across the Samuel L. Jackson movie The Samaritan (you know …. ’cause God has a sense of humor and throws me a curve ball via a movie with a Biblical name). The movie ends with this quote, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you keep on being what you’ve always been. Nothing changes unless you make it change. I know what it sounds like, but every morning when I wake up, I think about what that really means. Nothing changes unless you make it change.”

I guess I need to find the strength and the courage to take my fingers out of my ears, let go of my comfort zone, and make that change.

Stop Yelling