90 Day Bible Challenge – Day 73

90 Days Bible As you’ve probably figured out, I’m a bit behind this week. I’ve just started Mark, which means I have some catching up to do. And just so you know, I feel guilty about it. I wanted to stay caught up. It actually felt good to stay on track. I sorta took pride in doing so, which should have been a big ole red flag. Duh? Now I take comfort in the scripture that Robin Lee Hatcher shared with those who may be struggling a bit on the 90 Day journey. It’s one many of you know very well:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

So, if you’ve had a bit of a struggle on the journey, know that you’re not alone. Just don’t give up. Keep reading and, most important, keep enjoying the time that you spend with the Lord. I’ll stop beating up on myself now (you should, too) and move on to Matthew.

During the past week and a half, I probably listened to Matthew on CD three times and started reading it two or three times, before finally reading it all the way through with the feeling that I had gotten what God wanted me to get from it. I think I’ve figured out why I had so much trouble. I think it’s because Matthew is so familiar to me. So familiar that I wasn’t allowing it to minister to me as it should.

But once I allowed the Word to do its work, things changed. You know, I laughed and I cried as I read this book. I felt the deep love, concern and compassion that Jesus had for the people. He felt deeply their need for leaders who would guide them and meet their needs. He saw a big job before Him, and very few helpers to assist Him.

I also saw the cruelty of the religious leaders and the people who followed them. As they schemed against Jesus, I thought of the way they’d schemed against Jeremiah. The religious leaders really didn’t like people who had a close relationship with God. That was true then and it’s still true today. These words of Jesus to His disciples rang fresh in my heart:

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and beaten in the synagogues. And you must stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell them about me–yes, to witness to the world. When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say in your defense, because you will be given the right words at the right time. For it won’t be you doing the talking–it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. –Matt. 10:16-20 (NLT)

Boy, did those words speak to my heart! They were true for Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, and they’re true for us today. I take comfort in the knowledge that what we go through has a purpose: it provides an opportunity to be used by God as His witness on the earth. Even though I know this is true, I have to remind myself often because sometimes I get lost in what’s happening in my life and lose sight of God’s purpose. I know I’ve missed many opportunities to witness for Him because I was so focused on what was happening to me that I wasn’t open for Him to use me like He wanted. There’s nothing I can do about the past (remember that “no condemnation” from Romans 8:1), but I can pray, and ask you to pray, that I do better in the future.

What do you you think? What are you going through this week? What opportunity to witness has God provided for you in the midst of it?

4 thoughts on “90 Day Bible Challenge – Day 73

  1. Wow! I’m so glad you shared your struggles with us as well as what you finally learned from the book of Matthew. I think it’s so typical of us to just read and *not* meditate on what we’re reading. I know that that is exactly what I’ve done many times–especially with books that we are really familiar with like Matthew and much of the rest of the New Testament.

    Thank you also for that verse from Romans 8:1. I often feel so guilt-ridden about a lot of things that I should do and don’t after all. And through what you are sharing, I see that I’m just a normal person with all the faults of humanity, and Christians who will admit to that. It’s also something that I really cherish about my pastor who has never pretended to be perfect like some have. He’s admitted to hating his father most of his life but also to reconciling with him and the peace it brought him. He railed against God when his second son became ill and especially against the doctor who didn’t find out in time what was wrong. It was his wife who was the one who spoke to him about what God might be doing through the illness that claimed their Bertie’s life.

    Years later, they were able to help friends of mine whose son developed similar symptoms and point them to the illness that their son had, to support them, talk to them and help them in so many ways. Yes, we are still imperfect followers of Christ and will be until we reach Heaven. And it is so that none of us should boast that we are better than others. We are all on the same road and we are all “unfinished”. I’m trying to think of the verse that has been a comfort to me so often about that.

    I just looked up the word “complete” in the concordance at the back of my NIV Study Bible thinking that might have been the verb used in the verse I was looking for and am amazed that out of a dozen or so references, half of them refer to making our “joy complete”.

    I’ll have to ponder what you learned some more. Mostly in witnessing I try to get the people to first see me in a light that is different from where others stand. I have a lot of trouble finding the right words unless they bring up the subject. Or *a* subject where I can explain my convictions. I guess I find it especially hard to witness when they can’t even see that I go to church. I’d certainly like to, so please pray that I will get back into the routine and that my ailments may allow me to do so. Church attendance is always a good starting point though, of course, I don’t want to be like those who think that just being there is a duty that has to be done and that it will make me “holy”.

    I have to meditate a little more. So more later.

  2. You know, Sigrun, I think we sometimes make witnessing a bigger deal than it is. We can do it simply by sharing what God is doing or has done in our lives. It doesn’t have to be a long treatise but a simple statement acknowledging that God is at work in our lives and how. I think sometimes that’s more challenging than sitting down and sharing the plan of salvation with someone.

    I’l pray with you on the church-going, but don’t “hide your light under a bushel” until you’re able to attend regularly. Maybe in your sharing you’ll find out about a church that’ll make you excited to attend.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Angela
    After reading your comment it touch my heart and made me see matthew in a differ light.

    Sigrun comment was close to home with me for feel the same about witness to other at time.

    Thank you for your love

  4. There is a need to STUDY the scripture as well as READ it. I capatilized these just for emphasis. We are commanded by the Apostle Paul in the book of 2nd Timothy verse 15 to study.

    2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself aproved unto GOD, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” KJV

    Reading is very very good, but it is the meditation upon, and the studying of, God’s Word that brings us knowledge, wisdom and a deep unerstanding so that we can correctly discern God’s love letter to mankind. I appreciate your sensitivity to God’s dealing with you about letting it minister to you. Isn’t it amazing how, when you get down to studying, the words just leap right off the page and into your life?! I would like to ask you a question that hopefully you could answer in your next post. Do you pray for clarification and understanding before you read? (I’m sure you do, please do not get offended) I have found God really blessing me when I pray before I read for God to bless me with His presence and to help me commit what I read to memory. I ask Him to bless the reading of His Word, that I might hide it in my heart that I might not sin against Him. I pray for knowledge and insight. When I pray like that from a sincere heart before I read, it has made all the difference. I am sure you do also, I just wanted to put that out for other readers and to also just share a blessing that I found.

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