29 July 2010

He Does It Again

A while back I started reading the New Testament. I have never read the whole bible, and I admit that the thought of reading the bible has not always thrilled me. I get so lost in the words I can't pronounce and names I can't remember that too often I find myself just putting it down altogether. But alas, here I am, plugging away.

The gospels were great. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...piece of cake. Then I got to Acts. Oh boy was I confused. I would read the same paragraph over and over and not realize that I had already read it. I wouldn't remember what I read the night before. I found it downright boring and I struggled to get through. And once I did get through it I realized I took very little from it. But oh well, I thought, I'll just move on to Romans.


At the beginning of July our pastor introduced our church's newest challenge, 40 days of prayer.  We would spend time praying separately and corporately, reflecting on the role prayer plays in our lives, and as Christians, try to understand what kind of prayer life God wants us to have. This all sounds great. I am totally in.

Then our pastor told us that we would be reading through a book of the bible, an essential book that discusses prayer deeply. "We will spend the next 40 days reading through the book of Acts," he said with a smile, as to ask "isn't that great everyone?" I on the other hand was not amused.

There have been so many times in my life where God is tricky. Really tricky. He sneaks things into your life when you least expect it but when you most need it. Maybe it's that song that comes on the radio, or the e-mail that pops up, or the person who calls at just the right time. Or maybe it's the pastor who gets you all excited to read a book of the bible, just to tell you it's the exact same book that you read last week and thought was boring.

So now I'm reading Acts again, and taking it slower. I'm journaling after each chapter and making sure I understand what the author is trying to teach me. I'm reflecting on it's meaning a bit more, and trying to let it sink in. And the re-reading over and over again of paragraphs has decreased significantly.


Here's a tidbit that I've taken away from Acts "take 2" that I thought I would share, but to set the stage, a little about me...I am an introvert and consider myself a relatively quiet person. I am usually the one that sticks to the back of the room and tends to listen rather than talk. Some call me reserved...I call myself reticent.

But you know what I think? I think God wants us to be extroverts when it comes to sharing His message. He wants us to sit in the front of the room, use our outside voices, and be the ones with our hands in the air wanting to talk.

There are so many examples in Acts where individuals were not just sitting quietly, being shy, and hoping to spread the word of God through osmosis. Instead they were raising their voices and addressing large crowds (2: 14), praying until the earth shook (4:31), teaching and proclaiming the good news (5:42), and "speaking boldly in the name of the Lord" (9:28).

When the apostles were jailed in chapter 5, an angel opened the door for them and instructed them to "tell the people the full message of this new life."

I am thankful that God opened my eyes to His word and led me back to Acts chapter 1 again. I'm excited to see what else He will reveal and to discover ways I can stand up and speak boldly in His name.



  1. God definitely has a sense of humor, doesn't it. Good for you and doesn't it feel great to get more out of it.

    I've been fortunate in my life to be involved in a lot of Bible studies that focus on Bible history and so I understand the stories behind the stuff which make a lot of it easier to understand.

    Still, I have yet to make it all the way straight through the Bible. So now I am reading a kids version of the NIV (it is a full Bible - not a story Bible so it has all the verses and names and places - just in words that are aimed for kids) to my girls every night. Sooner or later, it will happen!!

  2. I just wanted to say that I too have never read the Bible cover to cover and have wanted to. What I found and is working for me is to listen to The Daily Audio Bible. It's a podcast I listen to on my iPod and I download it in iTunes. The reader is perhaps in his 30's and he has a plesant voice, not dull. Every day of the year he reads a passage from the Old testament, New testament, Psalms and Proverbs. Then he discusses what he read and finally a prayer. Sometimes people have called in with prayer requests as well. At the beginning of each chapter he explains about the chapter. This has made the Bible more understandable and meaningful to me. It's only 30 minutes a day as well and I can listen to it in the car or while folding clothing.
    I just wanted to say this has been working very well for me.

  3. I love when He does things like that! ;) This is awesome! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  4. What great observations. thanks so much for sharing this experiance.

  5. The Word is God inspired and it is one of His primary ways of communicating with us. I have found that if I pray and ask God to open my heart and mind to his Word and what He would have me to learn from it...it makes it alot easier. Good Luck!

    Your Sister in Christ, Diane

  6. I've been reading through the New Testament this summer as well :) Acts was kind of dense, but I got a lot of the same things from it as you did! It was really encouraging to read while we were learning about sharing the gospel out here at LT.

    I've always loved 2:42-47 for the beautiful picture of community in the church, but 4:12, 4:20, 10:34-35, 15:11, 17:24-28, and 20:24 all struck me this summer! I'm pretty sure it was the first time I read the whole book all the way through.

  7. The irony of your situation! Lol! I wish I had the patience to understand the Bible and let certain messages sink in. Sometimes my eyes just scroll over the words and I'm really not absorbing anything. I have a Bible app on my iphone and it gives me 4 plans a day to read through, and sometimes, I don't understand a word of what I'm reading. But, I try. Like you.

    Anywho, stopping by from New Friend Friday. And BTW, I love Jupiter! I have a black cat myself, and I have a secret crush on him. ;p I've always had a thing for black cats, ever since I was little. Can't explain it. *shrug*

  8. I myself have never spent much time with reading Acts,alot of jumbo on How the church should be but my preacher did weeks of studies on Acts and it then hit me...We should not rely on the church to spread the Gospel,it should be each individual.It is not a church that does it,it is the people in the church...Love it...

  9. so awesome! it's like hey, I know you just read this and were frustrated, but let's try again! I'm that introvert as well, but I know that when it comes to the Gospel there's no better news and I need to shout it from the mountain tops! (just have to pray for courage before hand)


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