ZERO (Day 365 the last day of 2014, 100% complete)

All year I have been struggling with balancing my normal routine life with my commitment to read the entire Bible for the first time in my life. It has been a difficult challenge and I wish I could say that God spoke to me with his big booming “God” voice and made me feel all warm and squidgy.

But he didn’t. I need to look elsewhere.

So what have I learnt, in brief?

The Old Testament is not a series of chronological descriptions of prophets having conversations with the Almighty. It is a series of events in more or less chronological order, but then continuing with the Lord speaking to the prophets about what Israel is doing wrong.

It is hard NOT to draw parallels with modern-day Israel and the politics of the Middle East. Some people might say that Israel is still doing wrong and will be duly punished. But there are some in Israel itself who are struggling to make their voice of compassion and equality heard. Time will tell if they manage to succeed. Peace is still a long way off, but if everyone on all sides could agree on a compromise, then life would improve for all.

The New Testament contains some challenging words from Paul and the other epistle writers. It is difficult to follow their instructions sometimes. Many of the things they wrote about are directly opposite to our modern way of thinking.

As the Church of England chose its first female Bishop, one can only imagine the horror that Paul would feel. Or would he? If he were alive today, would he think more like us? In a way it is not even a question. We cannot change what’s in the Bible just because we don’t like it. Picking specific passages to support our arguments is very thin ice, theologically.

Much safer to say what I liked most. I have enjoyed Zachariah, which I didn’t quote because I’d already decided to just concentrate on Revelation in December. There were many connections with the Easter story. Life from death. Easter: a time of re-birth and renewal. A time of starting afresh. A sort of spiritual Happy New Year. And perhaps that’s God’s message to me? A Happy New Year!

Which brings me to the final quote. Thank you for reading, I hope you found some of it interesting. God bless you.

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.” [Revelation 22:20-21 NLT]

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2 thoughts on “ZERO (Day 365 the last day of 2014, 100% complete)

  1. so impressed that you have finished on time… (Particularly as I started in January and completed about a month before getting so behind)!! Would you recommend doing the Bible in a year to people who ask? Has your faith grown from doing it? What is the challenge for 2015 for you? 🙂 Happy New Year to you and all the Hartleys!

    • Hi Joanne. Thanks for the support this year. Having people who are there to give support is definitely a big incentive. I suppose that could be said of any new year resolution.
      I struggled with this particular plan. In the early weeks I was trying to find a connection between the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs. After a while I abandoned this and just went with one or two verses which resonated. I don’t think there is a link at all. I think the plan was simply the OT and NT each divided into 365 parts. And the Psalms and Proverbs were divided into 182 parts, and were repeated after 6 months. You Version have amended this for the plan this year and all four parts are divided into 365 parts.
      But I missed any sort of commentary to pull the threads together. I followed a reading plan for Advent which had the commentary and that made a world of difference.
      In short, yes I would recommend it but the Bible In A Year plan lacks context. As a discipline to get from one cover of the Bible to the other it was fine.
      Has my faith grown? Hmmm… that’s the $64,000 question. I do feel more confident in talking about the Bible and when we read it in church I can now say to myself “Ah, that’s the bit where…” So my knowledge of the Bible has increased. But has my faith? I am questioning faith a lot more and I think I might have got a few glimpses of what the Lord wants me to do with my life. What is faith?
      Difficult questions. Isn’t that what life is all about?
      My challenge for 2015 is another blog, a history based one which I’m going to try to write monthly with a view to making sense of the Victorian mill owners and their passion for building churches. But the difficulty will be writing it without it being as interesting and relevant as a shopping list or phone book!
      Oh and completely rewriting our church’s website too!
      So lots to keep me busy.
      Once again, thank you for following me throughout 2014, it really did make a huge difference.
      Happy New Year to you and your family!

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