Thursday, July 14, 2011

Times of refreshing

Windows all open,
listening to that peaceful rain.

That smell, that sound, that cool breeze... 

These times of refreshing,
a gift in July.

I started a new and interesting Bible-Reading System (Professor Grant Horner's) which has me reading ten chapters a day, from ten different places in the Bible which sounds confusing (and a bit crazy) at first, but I have found it to be very interesting and attention holding. The thing that attracted me to the plan was that the emphasis is just on reading, reading, reading and only reading . . . not contemplation, study, cross referencing, etc. This was attractive as my mental concentration powers are truly at a low point, and as I'd been going about trying to read the Bible in my normal "small amounts and really pay attention" manner–my mind was wandering, my head was often nodding, and mostly I was losing the fight to just turn off the light, snuggle up with the baby, and go to sleep. When trying to shift my reading times to less sleepy times of the day, I'd find myself re-reading over and over to try to make sure I'd gotten it, and to be honest, I'd largely given up and had been very much out of the Bible reading habit for the past month or two (or more). By last week, I was feeling very distant from the Lord, as happens when starving from the Word, when I read about this system via a friend's timely suggestion.  So this read, read, read and fill up on the Word was attractive–like a huge glass of water when you are SO thirsty on a hot day–though I was still skeptical about "just" reading (and the good professor even encourages reading quickly... and no dawdling or back reading or looking up cross-references!) OK, then.

My thought after day one was... wow, you can't read ten chapters from ten books of the Bible and not see that every author is really telling the same story ~ how could these ten very different readings have such similar themes? I was reminded of connections I'd known but forgotten, and parts of my brain were startled awake. Like a sleepy enchantment finally being broken, I hear an urgent "Awake O sleeper! Rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light!"(Ephesians 5:14). Yes! I want to be awake!

Well, I haven't yet gotten through 30 days (which the designer of this plan recommends for trying it out) but I have already benefited from being back in the Word, even just dipping my toes in–ten toes in ten places. One thing is that throughout the day, the Lord is using His Word to speak truth to me, reminding me of Him in many things throughout the day. Though my impression had been that my comprehension was terrible, in fact, His words are coming to mind as normal everyday things remind me of spiritual things.

Today it was the rain.  Cool rain in in the midst of hot summer. So refreshing in a way that causes me to breathe deeply, relax my shoulders, set down my laundry basket, and just sit down and listen to the sound of the rain outside the window.  It seemed like a picture to me of the type of refreshing we should have in the Lord. I thought about my friend and her family in a relentlessly hot place on this planet, no air conditioning in sight (95 degrees inside her house), obeying a call to share the good news with a people living in darkness. I longed to send some of this rain to her dry and weary land, this cool breeze, some measure of refreshment . . . and also refreshing in the Lord.  And I realized that phrase "that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" was whispering to me from the reading a few days ago. 

May we all have refreshing this week, and most of all ~ times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.


Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. ~Acts 3:19-21

Note/Update: Added 9-9-2011 - I do really like this reading plan, but I haven't been able to keep up with the amount of reading during the school year (or even every day in the Summer!).  I'm still doing it very slowly, rotating with the bookmarks but only a few chapters a day and skipping some days. I still like this as a goal...maybe someday. In the meantime, getting all over the Bible has been good for me, even at a very slow pace.

To see how I have adapted this plan with five bookmarks and a "no-dates, you're-never-behind, no-guilt!" approach.  Please visit The Bookmarks Bible Reading Plan.  Blessings! (January 2012)


Jenny said...

Thank you for taking the time to write down your beautiful thoughts. I am in that same state of foggy mind, missing those times of refreshing with the Lord, and I am encouraged just reading your stories. It seems that the hardest thing to do lately is have an entire thought, and the way you write helps me to slow down and breathe a little. It is seasons like this when I am SO grateful for the Lord's gentle leading. His tender care is something that I cannot help but feel loved by.
Bless you!

Lacinda said...

I've been trying out this plan the past three days, and I'm really liking it too. I'm so glad to find out about it!

Treasure from the Junk Drawer
copyright © Sara Shull
•All text and poetry by Sara
•Art illustrations by Sara
•Photos by Sara or the Shull kids
~~~~All rights reserved~~~~

Bible verses:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV)