Have you ever had the insatiable need to hear from God? I had this need earlier in the week to abandon all distractions and get alone with God and my Bible. It seemed like I lived this week at a constant race pace and I was beginning to stress myself out to the maximum. The end of the year can be rough and even rougher are the unknowns about planning for a new school year (especially when a wrench has been thrown into your supposed plan.)
For me the urge to get alone with God can sometimes go unfulfilled due to a busy schedule and constantly having a toddler in tow, but I’ve had enough! No more putting off the time I need for myself to grow closer to God for some planned activity or event. I focused on what really mattered and got myself secluded and alone with God.
On my way home from work I organized my essentials. I had my Bible, journal, pens, and stopped at my favorite drive thru for the essential coffee 🙂 I drove to a serene and quiet location, rolled down the windows, and turned off the radio. I had aimed at creating the best atmosphere for myself to really listen to God without the worry of being distracted. With a few moments to spare before needing to relieve the baby sitter I sat in the presence of God.
At first I was quiet. I waited for God to prompt my heart with a thought and direction. Once I felt like God had given me a clear purpose for this encounter I began a journey through the scriptures. Some were scriptures I felt him calling me to and others came from using the tools in my Bible and Bible app (She Reads Truth) to guide me. After I read through God’s Word and how it aligned with my current circumstance and subject I talked to God about my life.
I guess I should just come right out and say that God was calling me to re-examine the Gospel. For too long I’ve been living as if the Gospel is not the GOOD NEWS that its name refers to. I’ve been burdening myself which keeps me from experiencing the freedom of grace. I’ve allowed myself to view the Gospel as something that I don’t need a daily reminder of when in actuality the only healthy way to see the Gospel is to remember its purpose and impact DAILY.
What is the Gospel? The Gospel loosely means, The GOOD NEWS. This news is that while we are still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Our sinfulness had separated us from God, but God sent His Son who was blameless to receive our guilt so that we could have a relationship with God and the opportunity to enter into eternity with our Father in Heaven (John 3:16)
Why did God do this? God did not choose to save me or anyone else because of anything we had done. Just like everyone else I am a screw up. I’ve never done anything to earn my welcome into God’s family except accepting that gift. Jesus never said that He came for those who had their life together, read their Bibles, went to church every Sunday, had only Christian friends, and never used curse words…luckily for me! On the contrary in Matthew 9:12-13 Jesus says that he came for the sick and the sinners. Amen, because that’s me!
God sent His Son to give us an example of true love and to give us hope in a broken and lost world. Lately, I’ve done a terrible job remembering the Gospel. It is so fundamental to the life of every Christian, but it is all too often overlooked. We zero-in on our current circumstances or get stressed out about things of no consequence and neglect the joy that should be present at all times in our lives. Instead of claiming Christ and His victory in my life I’ve been claiming defeat and accepting failure.
During this encounter God really dealt with my heart and showed me ways that I am allowing my own anxiety to steal my joy and rob me of the peace that accepting the Gospel is all about. The beauty of the Gospel is that once you’ve repented and been forgiven the sin is done. You don’t have to continue on sinning or fear that you’ve fallen so far that God can’t help you. I no longer need to live defeated or battle with the anxiety that weighs me down. Because I have accepted Christ the Spirit lives within me and I need only to allow Him to work in my life. I need to surrender control of my life and trust God and His ways for me.
One way I have resolved to encounter God more in ways like I did this week is by committing to a Bible reading plan. After quite some time sifting through reading plans on the internet I found one that seemed appealing. I won’t lie, I’ve been down this road before. God has convicted me that I haven’t been making the Bible a huge priority so I set out to fulfill some version of “The Bible in a Year” plan. With good intentions I begin the plan, but after an illness, trip, or busy day I fall behind and accept defeat. This time around I’m going a different route. Being an avid reader, English teacher, and one with a minor in Bible I decided to try an genre based reading plan. If I can maintain the pace I should be able to read through the entire Bible in one year, but if it takes me longer it won’t kill me. The difference about this plan is that each day you are reading something different than the day before. The daily plans are based on different genres so one day you may read a Psalm excerpt, while the next the focus may be on prophetic literature. I find this appealing because it first of all keeps my attention and second of all exposes me to various types of writings in one week.
With this being the beginning of my summer vacation I think that there is no better time to try out some sort of reading plan. I found this reading plan on a blog by a man named Alex Tran. I am nearly a week in and I love it! God is already teaching me so much and my life is beginning to resemble joy and peace once more. If you are convicted or in the market for a Bible plan please check out some of the Bible plans and options listed on Alex’s site. Here is a look at the plan I am doing, but he has an article titled, 23 Reading Plans to Satisfy Anyone.
Please share how the Gospel has affected your perspective and any Bible Reading plans that have worked for you!