‘The Blood Soaked Garden’

The Son of Man and God and Davis spent His last evening in a garden shaking with dread, knowing what would meet Him on Moriah in the morning. We must be clear: no one took His life. He laid it down. And, like any reasonable mind, He wasn’t seeking martyrdom. He didn’t delight in suffering. He wanted the joy set before Him on the other side of pain, trial, and testing. He didn’t want the cross. He wanted what He’d gain afterwards. Ultimately, He wanted to glorify the name of His Father. ( Stephanie Quick, To Trace A Rising Sun, p 87)

A Bad Flu Year?

A note to those who want to downplay the Covid-19 situation as being just a ‘bad flu year’.

As of today the US death toll passed 400,000 in less than a full 12 months.

Compare to total US flu deaths in the decade between 2010-19: a little over 337,000

It should NOT be something followers of Jesus should fear. But we SHOULD love our non-believing neighbours by ensuring our choices and behaviours do not put them at increased risk.

And we should NOT join in the spreading of conspiratorial lies denying the disease’s reality or seriousness.

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Him, and He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
  and bore our diseases”.

Books Read 2021: Holy Bible.

I have a ‘Books Read’ page accessible via a tab above. It currently records all of the books I read last year not including my Bible reading.

I start this year’s list with the Bible, because for the first time I read it as a book and not as THE HOLY BIBLE (imagine that being said in a resounding, booming voice, enhanced with a touch of reverb).

It’s NOT the first time I’ve read it1 – but I don’t normally start from Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. My usual practice is to read the books in related sections. For example, I start the NT with Luke (not Matthew) and then Acts followed by Paul’s letters, in the order they were written and not according to the traditional published order.

I also read the OT in a more chronological order instead of reading from Genesis and through to Malachi. It helps me to make better sense of the context of what I’m reading.

I started the year reading (mostly2) only the Bible taking up the #BibleBulldoze challenge issued by Stephanie Quick from FAI. The challenge was set to start on January 1st and run for 28 days, thereby reading the whole Bible in a month.

I did my reading with a CSB Reader’s Bible, printed more like a novel, with a single column of text, and chapter3 and verse numbers removed. It also doesn’t have the usual topic headings that are scattered throughout most Bibles.

That challenge is now completed! I read the last word of Revelation this afternoon: “Amen”.

I started on 30th December instead of waiting until 1 January, and it took 16 days, so I beat the scheduled 28 days by 12 days. I think I averaged a little under 4 hours of reading per day. Gloria finished yesterday, but she started a day before me.

I look forward to starting again tomorrow but this time at a much saner pace. And I’m pleased to be able resume my usual note taking as I read.

One thing that surprised me when I told people about what I was doing – is how many Christians confessed they had never really read the bible consistently, all of it; just bits of it here and there in a piecemeal fashion. So it’s not surprising that so many believers seem to have little idea of God’s overall agenda and how our individual salvation fits into His much larger, and glorious, eternal plan.

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Footnotes:

1 Last year I read the OT twice and the NT ten times.

2 I did read an occasional chapter of another book, which will probably end up listed as my second book of the year on my Books Read list. Ironically it was a book by Stephanie Quick that I’d started the day before she issued the #BibleBulldoze challenge

3 Chapter verses are given unobtrusively at the bottom of each page instead of interrupting the text itself

Fifth Seal

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Revelation 6:9-11

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
    the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
    and have begun to reign.
1The nations were angry,
    and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
    and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
    both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” Revelation 11: 17-18

Evangelicals face a reckoning… (recommended article)

We reap what Trump has sown

He’s burned down the Republican party, emboldened white supremacists, mainstreamed conspiracy theorists, and more.

Yet of greater concern for me is the trail of destruction he has left within the evangelical movement. Tempted by power and trapped within a culture war theology, too many evangelicals tied their fate to a man who embodied neither their faith nor their vision of political character.  

Read complete article here:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/01/10/after-donald-trump-evangelical-christians-face-reckoning-column/6601393002/?fbclid=IwAR19M47p-KzIEhuS7OxZZuakGsCKSeddb0r9aq9C1Yo4fsJ7XwFXfC6jDlg

#BibleBulldoze Progress

So far this year I’ve done no journaling, and have not made any notes in my journaling bible. It’s all been about reading.

I’ve been using the CSB Reader’s Bible I received for Christmas as I take on the #BibleBulldoze challenge to read the whole Bible in 28 days.

We were supposed to start on 1 January, but I started two days early at the end of December. Gloria started a day earlier on 29th December. She is a little ahead of me, and as I type this she is reading Lamentations after just finishing Jeremiah.

About half an hour ago I finished Isaiah. Both of us are a few days ahead of the reading schedule which should be somewhere around 1 or 2 Chronicles.

Below is a chart of my progress so far, listing book title, number of chapters in the book, the date completed, and the total time taken to read the book.

Psalms is still a work in progress, taking 3 hours 40 minutes to read the first 102 Psalms.

Head Start on Reading Challenge

Why wait until the new year to start the #BibleBulldoze Bible reading challenge?

Gloria started yesterday and has completed both Genesis and Exodus. She is listening to a recording, and reading along in her Bible.

I started it today and read Genesis ( two and a half hours) and Exodus (two hours). I also added Psalms 1-20 (35 minutes). I prefer to read the Psalms in sections rather than the whole book at one time, so will read several Psalms per day to spread the reading of them across the month.

Before I get too far into this project I’ll be changing the order of some of the books in the timetable to match my usual Bible reading order. For example, I’ll be moving 1 & 2 Chronicles to the end of the OT readings to match the Jewish order of books rather than the traditional Bible order.

Also I won’t be reading the gospels one after the other, but will follow my usual reading plan, starting with Luke-Acts, then Paul’s letters in the order they were written, then Matthew will be grouped with James and Hebrews, Mark with Peter’s letters and Jude, and finally John’s gospel followed by his letters and Revelation.

As daunting as it seems at first, I’m finding its not so hard to read so much when you get into the flow of a book. What is also helping is using a “reader’s bible” – one printed more like a normal book: single column, no paragraph headings, and not divided into chapters and verses. There are fewer distractions and less temptation to take breaks after a few chapters.