I'm on a journey to read through the Bible in chronological order. Taking it one day at a time, I will read based on a list I found on the internet and blog about what happened, thoughts provoked, emotions conjured, etc. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 163: Proverbs 25-26

The main thing I've taken away from the beginning of this reading is that we are to be wise about what matters we pursue and bring before higher authorities. Don't hasten to raise yourself up in higher courts, but wait for someone in power to exalt you. Be careful about how you speak about your neighbor. Don't dig too deep into their business and don't overstay your welcome.

The bottom line is: humble yourself, think before charging ahead and always exalt your neighbor--not yourself!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 162: 1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8

After the Temple and palace are built, Solomon gets to work restoring broken lands. He gives a good portion to Hiram for offering his amazing services to help build the Temple. He also restores places that were destroyed by Pharaoh and lets the Israelites set up shop.

He offered sacrifices as he was supposed to and kept all of the holy festivals.

All in all, Solomon is doing a stand-up job as king :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 161: Psalms 134, 146-150

I like to think that this grouping of Psalms is a pouring out from the people to God after the Temple is complete. Google tells me that these were written after the Exile and are called the "Hallelujah Psalms"... quite fitting I think :)

God's power is outlined and then all of creation is incited to rise up and praise. How can we not praise as a simple response to all that He has done for us? So many Psalms talk about inanimate objects praising and worshiping--rocks, trees, mountains. Obviously they are not literally shouting out loud, but just the simple sway of tree branches, the soft sound of a creek flowing over the rocks below, the snowfall on top of a mountain... they are all working the way God created them to. Can you imagine what a world this would be if WE worked the way we were created to?

As a kid, I learned my "purpose" in life from the Catechisms... my job is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is what I was created to do. I definitely don't do it perfectly, or even well on most days,. But am freed by the simple fact that I don't have to do it perfectly, God doesn't expect that of me and loves me for who I am. This is not something that is attained, but should be a daily struggle...in the meantime, I will focus on not letting a rock outdo me :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 160: 2 Chronicles 6-7; Psalm 136

Solomon's requests are heard and answered. God's presence fills the Temple and He consumes the offering that was made (over 100,000 sheep and cattle!!!). God also tells them that He is pleased with the Temple and that he will answer the prayers of His people when they pray and offer sacrifices there.

7:15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

The Psalm closes with a hymn of praise as God's many accolades are laid out, with each sentence ending with "His love endures forever...".

23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.

24 and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.

25 and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Amen :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 159: 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5

Solomon brings the Ark into the finished temple and finally places it in its resting place. His decisions are affirmed when the presence of the Lord fills the Holy Place in the form of a cloud. What an amazing feeling... to do all of this work and then have the Lord just come and settle all around you!

Solomon then blesses the Temple with a prayer and asks God to help those who seek refuge there, whether they are aliens, being oppressed, experiencing a drought, etc. His prayer is actually pretty amazing... you can tell that he truly loves and cares for the people he has been appointed to lead.

An offering was made and then they partied for 14 days... what I wouldn't give to be a part of the celebration! All of the hard work and labor has finally come to fruition, God has put His blessing on it and they can finally rest and rejoice in the fruits of their labor...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 158: 1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4

This is kind of a downer, but today's reading was just more details about what went into the Temple. Most of the items can be seen from the picture I posted yesterday...its very obvious that Solomon spared no expense at getting this structure absolutely perfect.

He also built himself a palace and made sure his wife had her own little portion :)

I wish there was more to report today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 157: 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3

I know I've been such a slacker... Haven't read/blogged in several days!!!

Solomon joins up with another king named Hiram to build the Temple of his father's dreams. Hiram's men are better at felling timber and have skilled men that are just what Solomon needs. God promises that if Solomon builds the Temple to spec, He will fulfill all of the promises He made to David. He builds everything exactly how it was supposed to be built--all in all it takes 7 years to complete. Think about how fast that could have been done with modern construction equipment and techniques....

It must have been so exciting to actually see this come to fruition. The Temple had been talked about and planned for years and now it is finally a reality!

Just listening to the description of this place is breathtaking... it was all stone, cedar and gold with cherubim everywhere. Since I don't know what a cubit (or any other ancient measurement) is, here is a picture to give you an idea of what it looked like.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 156: Proverbs 22-24

22:2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The LORD is the Maker of them all.

What an amazing verse to start my morning out with! Such a simple, yet poignant reminder that we really are brought into this world the same. While circumstances and choices lead us in all different directions, at the end of the day we belong to Him and are part of His wonderful creation.

Keeping this in mind helps to keep me in check. It also puts a few of the other Proverbs into perspective. If we view the world in this way, then how can we not show compassion to the needy, give what we have to others that are struggling, forgive without abandon, etc. In the same light, we shouldn't kill ourselves to increase our wealth. If we are given blessings, then awesome! We should use them for God's glory and be good stewards, but we should never seek to amass wealth. This mentality can be a slippery slope. Not saying that everyone who has money is a bad person, just saying that spending all of your energies to simply gain wealth/fame/etc. is a lost cause.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 155: Proverbs 19-21

The whole book really is just choc-full of little one-liners to live your life by. It's so hard to summarize an entire reading, but I am enjoying what God is having stand out to me...

A verse that immediately stuck out to me was that we should not be zealous without knowledge. I cannot count how many times I have seen someone (myself included) get excited about something they really don't know anything about. It's easy to get caught up in "mob rule" or take someone else's opinion as fact, but how can we really get pumped about something that we don't know much about??

It also talks about how so often the rich and powerful are inundated with people trying to be their "friends" and the poor and powerless are left alone. But we are charged to love everyone, befriend the homeless and the rulers. You never know what life you could touch or what seed you could plant. This is always easier said than done, but definitely a goal to reach for!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 154: Proverbs 16-18

Lately, I have constantly been reminded of what I read today. We can plan out whatever we want, but ultimately God is the one who makes it happen. I have spent so much time being stressed about the future and decisions before me. At the end of it all, everything has worked out perfectly and there was no need to stress in the first place. We should be humble and open to God's plan and stop trusting in ourselves. There will always be others put before us meant to make us question our faith, cause us to stumble and forget our mission for a while. But God is so faithful and longs to see us succeed--this is why He never gives up on us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 153: Proverbs 13-15

Proverbs is so packed with little nuggets of wisdom that its so hard to summarize everything. What I mainly took away today, was that we are to be wise with our money...leaving an inheritance for our relatives, not taking dishonest money, etc. We should also learn to speak wisely and not open our mouths without thinking. This can bring calamity upon ourselves if we aren't careful. We should seek counsel that is wiser than we are. Whether it be parents or elders, or just someone who has been around the block a couple times, it always helps to look to others that have a different perspective.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 152: Proverbs 4-12

I missed my reading over the weekend so I am going to combine a few days into one...

We are taught to hold wisdom in the highest esteem. To value it and seek it at all time. This means keeping your eyes on the prize and not stepping to the left or right. We should love wisdom over earthly treasures; chances are we will be rewarded much greater, whether in this life for in Heaven.

We are to rejoice in our husbands and wives and not give into adultery. It goes into great detail about the treacherous and destructive nature of affairs...scary stuff. How can you play with fire and not get burned?? "9:27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death." I know I am young, but I have seen friends and family members fall into this snare and it is a tough pit to dig out of... I pray that Travis and I never experience it.

Laziness is also warned against. We are told to watch how the ants work--they have no leader, but stay busy and work feverishly all the time. I have witnessed this personally as my office has an intense ant problem that I seem to be constantly battling. Trust me, those little buggers don't give up!

Ultimately, wisdom is the key to better understanding God and to keeping our lives in perspective.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 151: Proverbs 1-3

Since Solomon was so wise, he wrote a little book called Proverbs... For Solomon, wisdom was everything. It led to a deeper understanding of who God is, how we should behave, think and view the world. He wants to remind us to keep ourselves in check. We do not know everything and we are not God! We should be looking outside of ourselves and upward, accepting discipline with humility and understanding. Earthly pleasures and temptations may be great, but they are only a temporary fix. We should guard ourselves with wisdom to know when we are being tempted, and when to say no. Wisdom gives us roots; makes it so that we are not easily swayed when something new and enticing comes along.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 150: Song of Solomon

I would like to preface today's reading with an embarrassing story from my past. When I was about 11 or 12, I got my friends together to form a club. Formerly called the Georgia Peach Club, the Tie-Dye Club (the name changed after we dyed shirts at our first meeting) met a few times a month and had a slumber party. The evening was always filled with Disney movies, truth or dare, and lots of giggles. After my parents went to bed, however, we would pull of Song of Solomon and laugh hysterically at it... nothing short of awkward, but made for a great story at my wedding (thanks to one of my lovely bridesmaids, a former member of the TDC).

I never really took the time to see this book for what it is. Basically, a woman is coming to Solomon and trying to entice him to think about taking her as a lover. She is not dirty or slutty about it, she is reverent and honors the king and wants him to see her as more than just a field hand. The book goes back and forth from the woman and Solomon in a sort of dialogue. They are obviously love sick and completely infatuated. It shows movement from initial interest and courtship to marriage (later talks about wedding day and bride).

As weird and awkward as some of the language may be, it really is a beautiful book. Men, there are some seriously awesome verses in here to woo your lady!!! Take note :)

8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.

The last thing that really caught my eye was a verse about keeping foxes out of the vineyard in chapter 2: "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." If you think of your marriage like a vineyard that must constantly be tended and kept safe from attack, it really makes sense! Foxes are sly creatures that sneak into vineyards and pillage and plunder it to ruins. Things like this are always assailing marriages--idolatry, pornography, lust, boredom, resentment, etc....these are the "foxes" we must keep watch for. I've only been married 6 months, so we are still in the throes of marital bliss, but I know the days of hardship will come. Its important that we help each other stay focused on God and each other and keep our lines of communication completely open. There is never a surefire way to "foxproof" your relationship, but with God's help, you can sure try!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 149: Psalms 119:89-176

With a human brain, it's quite easy to think of God as we think of ourselves-finite and fallible. What's so great about God is that he is infinite, everlasting, and "practically perfect in every way". Sorry, I've been thinking about musicals a lot and Mary Poppins "popped" into my head :) If we view God in this light, how can we not turn right around and give him the honor and praise he deserves? He does not want us to give to him out of obligation or guilt, but out of joy and desire.

108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth...

Keyword here: willing. This entire Psalm screams of his willingness and desire to follow and praise God. There is no feeling of forced wills or hesitation. The author is excited and eager to follow what God has laid before him. If only I was that eager...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 148: 1 Kings 3-4; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 72

I'm back after a couple days hiatus. Life is a little crazy right now--waiting on job offers, moving, etc.

Solomon takes a wife. God really likes him and tells him to ask for whatever he wants and it will be granted--Solomon, in all humbleness, knows that he is young and naive and asks for wisdom and discernment. Because he did not ask for riches or victory over his enemies, God not only gives him wisdom, but the riches and fame as well-what a great deal!

Solomon gets his first chance to awe the land with his wisdom when approached by two prostitutes. Both women had sons--one woman rolled over on hers in the middle of the night and killed hers so she swapped babies to make the other woman think she killed her son. The two bring their case to Solomon and his solution is simple--cut the baby in two and give each woman half. One woman cried for mercy and that the live baby be given to the other woman--she was granted the baby because only the mother would react this way.

We end with a final Psalm from David asking mercy and justice to be bestowed upon his son and new king. What a great final blessing and way to close out his life--asking God that Solomon receive nothing but goodness from life and that he rule with wisdom and fairness.

Solomon's wisdom is described as unmatched throughout history. There was never a man as wise as him to that day, and no man will ever be as wise as him. People came from all over just to hear him speak...what an amazing blessing! I thought David was my favorite, but Solomon just might take his place :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 147: Psalms 119:1-88

The author of this Psalm longs to have a deeper, fuller relationship and understanding of God and everything that He is. Something that really convicted me is the following verses:

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

Lately I have found myself being consumed with myself and my issues. Every now and then I will be made aware of this and be consumed with guilt and shame. I've even done this to my own husband! On the day he was finished with 2 of the last finals he ever took in his college career, I was completely wrapped up in my own stresses and problems and completely forgot what a big deal that day was for him.

Another was:

59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.

60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.

I may eventually make the move towards obeying what God has laid before me, but I don't always "hasten" to obey. Obedience is not something that comes easy for me and definitely something I could work on! I know that even now God is testing my patience and obedience towards Him and I struggle everyday with this. Sometimes I am stubborn and restless, but He always gets me one way or the other ;)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 146: 1 Kings 1-2; Psalms 37, 71, 94

A different side of Solomon becoming king is brought to light. When David was very old, and near death, a man decided that he would become king and established himself as such. Bathsheba tells David about this and makes sure that he knows that once he is dead, she and Solomon will be treated like criminals if Solomon is not made king. David formally has him anointed and paraded around. Once the "king" hears about this, he realizes that kingship is not something that can just be claimed and begs for his life. Solomon agrees as long as he promises to be a good boy.

David gives Solomon a few last words of wisdom before he dies and Solomon takes his place as king. Solomon cleans house and kills all of the men who brought guilt and shame on David's household. He appoints a new head priest and army leader.

We end with a Psalm from David that almost seems like a closing statement for his life. He reiterates his beliefs that God will always uphold the righteous and that the wicked will eventually get theirs. I like to imagine that this is geared towards Solomon as a "pep talk" before his reign begins...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 145: Psalms 111-118

If you just read the Psalms, it would be easy to conclude that if you love and follow the Lord, good things will always happen to you. From reading the rest of the Bible, and examining your own life, you've probably figured out that this isn't the case at all. Good things don't always happen... the bad always comes in with the good. What gives us hope is from the other passages in the Bible that explain that bad things happen in order to test and refine us in our faith. If we always had good things, I seriously doubt that many of us would actually take a moment to examine our lives and our trust in God. It's easy to trust when things are good...but God wants us all the time, through the good and bad.

For me, the Psalms gives hope of a new future. While on earth we endure trials and hardships, there is a promise for the saints who persevere. That is what keeps me going--the promise of things to come. I think to put the Psalms into full context, you must think beyond the here and now and focus on what is to come--God will not let the righteous fall on the day of judgment.

116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 144: 1 Chronicles 26-29; Psalms 127

Further jobs in the Temple are outlined: gatekeepers and treasurers and other officials; armies are laid out and are to be on rotating duty each month; tribal heads are established; the king's overseers are appointed (those over the fields, storehouses, herds, counseling, etc.).

David then gives a moving speech to his son Solomon about the work at hand and gives him all of the plans for the Temple so that he may move forward with implementing them. "1 Chron. 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished." People came forward and freely gave of their materials for the building to be complete. It says that the willingness of the people to give was overwhelming. I can't remember the last time I went to a church whose members giving was "overwhelming"...something to think about.

Samuel is formally anointed as king and succeeds David after his death... well done David, well done :)

It's a fun and exciting time for the people. There is a time of rest and everyone is coming together to make this Temple possible. A new, young king is put into place and it seems that the land is getting a fresh, new start!

The reading ends with a Psalm from Solomon...he basically says that if the labor they do is not got God, then it is all done in vain.. the boy may be young, but he's on the right track!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 143: Psalms 131, 138, 139, 143-145

David shouts praises after the temple is built. I think he hopes that others will see the value of the temple and want to worship as much as he feels led to. I love this part of chapter 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 139 is a pretty famous Psalm...talks about how God formed us from the inside out and knows every little detail about us. We cannot escape Him because He knows everything about us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

In response to this, David also says in chapter 145:

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.

David loves God... truly and deeply. He longs to deepen his relationship with Him and longs for other to feel the same need for God. Being a leader is never an easy thing, but David seems to constantly be examining his own heart in order to stay faithful and lead with justice and mercy...hands down my favorite king so far. Yes, better than Moses, better than Noah... Something about David speaks to my human heart and helps me realize that even strong men fall and stumble, but David's heart was in the right place and he never lost sight for too long. Something just about anyone can relate to!