Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sorry Haven't Posted in a Few Days

Just been busy and my mind full of a lot of ... stuff.  That's not to insinuate, like, major decisions are filling my brain or anything.  Just busy and focused on a lot of things!  My thoughts and actions tend to resemble end-of-work-day traffic jams when I need to be cognizant of a lot of things at once, so I just haven't been able to merge this blog through the other thoughts and over onto the off-ramp.  Hopefully today may bring an opening!

And I'm well aware that any days I miss makes this whole thing last that much longer ... but why rush?  This isn't a thing but a journey.  Might as well make sure it's a good trip.

Thanks for hanging in there and still following!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Genesis 8 - Olives, Doves, and Waiting

Genesis 8

What it literally says:  God keeps Noah, his family and the wildlife aboard the ark safe during the flood (1).

When the right amount of time passes, Noah sends out two birds, a raven and a dove, at different times to see if the waters have receded enough (7-12).  Noah sends the dove on three occasions.  The second flight away and back, the dove returns with an olive leaf (11); the third flight sees the dove fly away and not return (12).

God calls all those aboard the ark to come out (15).  Noah builds an altar (20), and when God "smell[s] the pleasing aroma [He says]: 'Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.  And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done" (21).

What it says to me:  Noah did a lot of waiting.  A lot.  I don't really mention it in the "literal section" above, but take the following verses into account, if I'm reading them correctly ...
  • First, in 7:24, the flood lasted 150 days.
  • Then, in 8:6, Noah waited another 40 days until he opened a window to let the raven out.
  • Verse 8 sounds like he sent the dove immediately after the raven, but when the dove returned the first time, he waited 7 more days until he sent it out again.
  • In 12, he waited 7 more days after that to release the dove for the third time.
Then you have to factor in the 40 days of rain.  I could be wrong about that, if the 40 days of rain is included in the 150 days that the flood "flooded the earth" (7:24, 8:3).  Total that's 244 days of being in the ark.  That's about 8 months stuck in a smallish, confined wildlife reserve with your family.  Hopefully Noah liked animals and his family!

We have to wait a lot on answers from God, don't we?  At least it seems that way.  He's probably speaking to us in obvious ways for which we're not looking, hoping instead He'll speak to us in the ways in which we want Him.  Does that make sense?  We just have to trust Him when we do hear His voice, that tug in our insides, no matter how crazy He sounds.  He's not.  He has such a better perspective, being able to see throughout Time and such.  There may not be any rain in our lives, but when God tells us to build an ark, it's usually the better choice to start building away.

This section also brings to mind the scientific question, "Is the ark still around today?"  Verse 4 states that "the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat."  Ever heard of the Ararat Anomaly?  Check out these web pages, these pictures and video below if you're interested.  Could it be the actual remains of Noah's Ark?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Genesis 7 - "Rain, rain on my face. Hasn't Stopped Raining For Days."

Genesis 7

The post title is taken from one of Jars of Clay's best songs, "Flood."

Flood – Jars of Clay Music Code

What it literally says:  God tells Noah three more things:  1.) to take seven pairs of clean and unclean animals; 2.) to take seven pairs of every kind of bird; and 3.) that Noah has seven days until the rain starts (2-4).

God said the rain will continue for forty days and forty nights (4), and it did so.  Everything on the earth perished (21-23) as the waters rose and rose far above the mountains (20).  But Noah and his family were safe (13).

The flood waters stayed covering the Earth for 150 days (24).

What it says to me:  We now get to experience the flood and hear of it's devastating consequences.  Two things stood out to me:

The first is Noah's age.  We've already discussed the lengthy mortality rates of our pre-Flood ancestors, but Noah was 600 years young when the Flood happened.  This again makes me wonder about how fit or unfit we were back then at older ages; at what age were people considered "elderly?"

The second is how yesterday's scientific conclusions, to me, were proven in regards to life surviving outside of the ark (and reading the article also addresses the clean/unclean/bird numbers in verses 2 and 3).  Consider these verses:
Every living thing that moved on the earth perished--birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.  Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.  Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. 21-23 (Emphasis mine)
The Bible (at least my NIV) says pretty clearly which creatures died: those on land!  It makes sense on many, many levels!  I love the mention of "nostrils."  That clearly means air breathing animals, not oxygen separating, gilled sea creatures (plus, it's used in a sentence that begins with "Everything on dry land.").  Also, God never told Noah to make an aquarium in the ark so why would he have to worry about sea life?  The whole planet was going to be an aquarium!  Of course, I'm sure a lot of sea life still died somehow.

Further proof in my eyes that the ark is highly plausible.  And paired with the dramatic fall in average age?  It's pretty hard to deny.

Many thanks go to Arnold C. Mendez!  You rock, man!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Genesis 6 - Noah to God: "I'm Building a What Now?"

Genesis 6

What it literally says:  As mankind grew in population, so did wickedness.  God regrets creating humanity, vowing to wipe all of creation off the earth by sending a gigantic flood (7, 17).

However, Noah finds favor in God's eyes (8).  God will let Noah and his immediate family live, but he must build a giant ship, an ark, that will house his family and scores of wildlife.

And Noah did so.

What it says to me:  It's really easy to conceptualize Noah as a pure and honest man who might possibly be skeptical of what God commanded him to do, or at least he might wonder if he heard the Almighty correctly.  I usually think of Noah being in a landlocked area nowhere near water that needed the size of a ship God wanted him to build.  His neighbors wondering what in the world crazy old No-ey is up to.  But then I realize I'm just thinking of Evan Almighty, but that's probably not far from plausible.  The world was beginning to grow comfortable in it's wickedry so I can imagine Noah being made fun of plenty.

And I wonder how God sees us today, how we compare to the world back then.  Today the world feels like it's at its most evil; I'm thankful God made his promise afterward ... but I won't spoil the ending :)

But man, Noah had a task, more daunting than this blog!  Here are the rough estimates of how crazy big the LORD wanted Noah to build this sucker:

450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

That's a football field and a half long, more than seven stories wide, and more than four stories tall!

Not only is it a massive undertaking to construct this floating oddity, God also wants Noah to take two of all living creatures along with him and his family (19).  I won't make the obvious jokes about it smelling terribly.  A major controversy is this ark's ability to house two of "all living creatures."  Aren't there millions and millions and millions of animals on the Earth?  What about insects and sea creatures?  Well, Arnold C. Mendez, Sr. has another answer for you (see yesterday for his calculation of early biblical ages).  The short answer: "Only air breathing, land dwelling animals would have to be placed aboard the ark," (emphasis mine, and this is further explained in Genesis 7).

When we think about it that way, the size of the ark to house the necessary animals makes more sense!  Mendez also provides these further details about what animals would have lived not in the ark:

The following animals could have survived outside the ark (Whitcomb 1998, p.68):
  • 25,000 species of fish
  • 1,700 tunicates (mane chordates like sea squirts) found throughout the seas
  • 600 echinoderms including star fish and sea urchins
  • 107,000 mollusks such as mussels, clams and oysters
  • 10,000 coelenterates like corals and sea anemones, jelly fish and hydroids
  • 4,000 species of sponges
  • 31,000 protozoan, the microscopic single-celled creatures.
That's a concept I never thought about, surviving animals outside the ark.  This almost sounds contrary to what God says, that He will wipe out everything (13).  If you read his article he goes into more detail, again with mathematical answers that provide a compelling argument.

I wonder what "arks" God wants us to build, things He wants us to do when they either seem unnecessary to us or just outlandish on the surface.  He always has a plan that sees farther that what we can.

I just hope we can be like Noah and simply "do as God [commands]" when He wants us to do something a little on the crazy side (22).

Just how crazy was Noah's task?  Check out the finished product!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Genesis 5 - Men of a Certain Age

Genesis 5

What it literally says:  We are given the linage from Adam to Noah (or rather from God to Noah), each son's age at their first born child then at their death.

What it says to me:  At face value, chapter five is pretty straight forward:  Dudes back then were old!  Adam lived to be 930, Seth 912, Jared 962, Methuselah takes the cake at 969, etc.  Plus, these guys were having kids well past their 100s!  But if the ages are to be believed, how in the world did people live so long?  When we ask that question, things tend not to be so straight forward as we first thought.

I did a Google search for "how did people in the Bible live so long?"  With that question the flood gates open up ... literally ... the great flood and Noah's ark play a huge factor in the trend of human age.  Look below:

Age dramatically drops after Noah's ripe old age of 950 (I read ahead, it's in 9:29).  Why?  Well, going back to the search page, several answers are postulated ... nothing that can be proven, of course.  Gleaning from perusing the various web pages, here is what I think sounds the most logical.

The first humans were pretty genetically pure.  Heck, Adam had to have had the most pristine genetic code of all.  Once Adam and Eve hit the curb, well, their punishment became our normality.  Each new child began to affect our gene pool ever so slightly, but unnoticeable because people were still hitting just below 1000.  Vegetation was clean, the air was unpolluted, the earth was in its cleanest, most virginal state.

But then, like always, man is just stupid.

We make God so angry with our living that His only recourse is to flood the planet.  But lucky, holy ole Noah and his family, however are spared, giving humanity a second chance.  Once they start reforming the population again, the average age (illustrated by the individual patriarchs in the graph above; this doesn't necessarily represent the general population as far as I know) plummets over the next few names.  Why?

Life was different after the flood, to say the least.  If the waters covered the entire planet then that would certainly change the physics and chemistry of the world, that is, if God decided not to intervene in the effects.  (It seems He didn't because our old age today is only youth compared to the earliest patriarchs)  So, now we have a huge environmental, physical, chemical, traumatic change to the world that probably affects the sun, UV rays, the flora and fauna, oxygen levels, you name it!  And if Noah's family are the only one's left ... let's just say any defects were kept in the family.

Once again I take my non-scholarly stance and can't prove any of these flat-out guesses.  It sounds logical, though.

Our lives are so configured for our 70-odd years on this earth that I think I'd go nut-so if I had 900 more years to live.  It would make me regret not starting a retirement plan when I graduated from pre-school.

And in case you missed it, the patriarch Enoch (not Cain's first born, but an Enoch on Adam's side) didn't die.  "Enoch walked with God 300 years ... then he was no more, because God took him away" (22, 24).  I wonder how often God did this.  Does He do it still?  Hmm ...

Here are some sources if you're interested in some more Old-Age-Theories:

WHY did people live longer before the Flood than after it? by Arnold C. Mendez, Sr (the above graph is taken from this article.  He has some interesting mathematical reasoning; it's a short read, too)

Canopy Theory at Creationwiki

The Water Vapor Canopy Theory, Why the Bible (And Science) Says It is False, by Rich Deem

Yahoo! Answers question:  Why did people in the Bible live so long? (various answers)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Genesis 4 - Cain and Abel: A Murder Most Foul

Genesis 4

What it literally says:  Adam and Eve bear their first children, two sons who they name Cain and Abel.  Cain works "the soil," and Abel "[keeps] flocks" (2).  One day they both give an offering to the LORD and He "looked with favor on Abel ... but on Cain ... he did not look with favor" (5).  Filled with anger, Cain lures his brother out to the field and kills him.  God confronts Cain, then banishes him from the land, "marking" him so that anyone who kills him will suffer a worse curse.

Cain begins a family, the next several generations being listed.  Adam and Eve have a third son, Seth, who has a child in the future called Enosh.

And "at that time men began to call on the name of the LORD" (26).

What it says to me:  We have some pretty strong disobedient acts early on in our human history, don't we?  I guess it makes sense that as new creations newly evicted into a new world, one of the first major personal revelations would be to stop completely something we don't like.  I think of a naive child when I think of Cain, not knowing that the full breadth of the consequences of his actions can have a wider effect than just on himself.  But at the same time, I think he was well aware of what he was doing, even going so far as to disguise his intent of bringing Abel into the field.  He was jealous.  He was angry.  He felt entitled, maybe, just like his mother might have felt a little entitled when she saw that the fruit wouldn't kill her but open her eyes (albeit, she didn't realize that this was a bad thing).  Who knows ... we don't even know how old Cain and Abel are (despite the above picture's depiction); at least they're old enough to work the field and shepherd a flock.  Was this murder at the hands of an angsty teenager or a plotting young adult or older?  Doesn't really matter, I think.  The act itself is the focus.

God also asks another question as if He didn't know the answer:   

Where is your brother, Abel (9)?

Cain definitely fits the teenager theory with his classic back-talk:

I don't know.  Am I my brother's keeper (9)?

I can just imagine a Cosby response.  But of course, God's sense of humor would be gravely inappropriate in this life-and-death matter.  Not only does He exile Cain, but He basically makes him live out the rest of his life as a marked man, like an offender who everyone needs to know is in the neighborhood (and who will actually give a worse punishment to anyone who kills him, "seven times over," 15).  However, God shows His unfathomable grace then just as He does today.  Cain deserves death, but instead he's let go, not off the hook, but to be gone, scarred literally and mentally.

On a lighter note, God apparently made other human beings besides the not-so-fab four!  Cain travels to the land of Nod located east of Eden.  Out of left field comes verse 17:  "Cain lay with his wife ..."  We totally jump the whole mentioning of other people, what dates Cain and Mystery Woman might have gone on, and are told flat out that Cain got 'imself married!  She must like that whole bad boy image thing.  Or Cain's ambition; he's now building a city named after their firstborn, Enoch.

With this firstborn comes the first begat ... begat family tree portions of scripture.  And dang you don't hear names like those anymore:  Mehujael, Lamech, Zillah, Tubal-Cain, et al.  I'm sure many of us have joked around at naming our current or future kids something crazy like Irad or Methushael, but coming up with a name inspired by one of these would be pretty stinking cool and unique (but, Abby, I know we won't be doing that, I'm just making conversation).

After everything, though, occurs a very interesting coincidence.  Cain and his wife's first child is named Enoch.  Adam and Eve have another son, Seth, who has a son himself named Enosh.

Enoch ... Enosh.

Looks like the fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Finally what caught my eye this morning was the unembellished last verse that says "At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD."  Was this the beginning of "religion?"  I honestly have no idea what this means but men were beginning to call on God ... for help?  For guidance?  For provision?  To praise?  Whatever it means, that one verse rings with poignancy as the infancy of our collective need for God.

Well, only 1,185 more chapters to go!

Friday, April 16, 2010

So how long is this going to take?

I looked it up today, how many chapters are in the Bible ...


That's about 3 1/4 years, everybody, at a chapter-a-day.  Of course, that will be how many days of reading.  I know there will be days I won't and if we average about 5 days a week ... *tiny brain explosion*

I'll be over thirty by that time, hopefully my wife and I will have a house and kid(s), new job, newest next-gen video game console ... wow.  A lot is going to happen besides my spiritual growth.

But I think I'm ready for a long journey, as ready as I can be (which is to say not fully, but following the Spirit).

I just hope the internet still exists by that time :)

Genesis 3 - The Fall of Man

Genesis 3

What it literally says - The woman is tempted by a serpent (or "the" serpent) to eat from the forbidden tree.  She does and shares the fruit with the man.  They then become ashamed of their nakedness and of their disobedience so they hide themselves with fig leaves and from God, who they hear walking through the garden.

God discovers what they've done, cursing the serpent, woman and man with harsher living.  Man and woman are then banished from the garden, which is now guarded by "cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life" (24).

What it says to me - There are a few things that sunk in more deeply today!

I had forgotten how crafty the serpent is, and it's exactly how Satan still acts.  Old Deluder's strength is persuasion in the most appealing ways, to influence, to tempt but not committing actual sins himself.  Of course what he's doing is wrong, causing someone to intentionally stumble, but slyly he always takes the indirect route by strongly suggesting the option of sinning because either we deserve it, or that what God says won't actually happen, or any number of ways to twist His Word (as evidenced sickeningly in his temptation of Jesus).  Actual demon possession aside, this is most often how "the serpent" works.  The best example here is him saying in verse 4 that she won't die from eating the fruit, or at least not immediately; death does come and Man's existence becomes limited.  The devil happens not to mention a lot of things, too, like consequences for example.

(Sidenote - The above picture, by Michelangelo, is interesting because of the serpent's shape that coils up into the form of a man, maybe Lucifer?  I've seen a couple other artistic interpretations like that.)

Oh, how many times I've blamed Adam and Eve for the troubles I've encountered, rubbing my hand through my hair and screaming "Adam!" a la Marlon Brando.  It's easy to blame them, but then I think I'm just like them!

God:  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam:  Um ... *wide eyes, darting around* that woman you put here with me, um ... she, she, uh gave it to me, so ...
God:  Is this true, Eve?
Eve:  Yes, but ... I never would have thought about it if that (points finger with hand still gripping the fruit) serpent hadn't suggested it!  He lied to me!

It's so easy to pass the blame and I'm realizing how more I'm doing it as I grow older.  We're ultimately responsible for our own actions, no matter how strongly we may be influenced or "deceived."  Isn't it interesting, too, that even though God questions them He probably already knew what had happened?  Why does He still ask them?  God always allows the choice to obey or not, to confess or not; He isn't surprised by or unaware of anything.  It's our sinful and choose-able nature that bites us in the butt a lot, I think, not always "the serpent" (but I'm sure he loves it when we stumble).

We also have the earliest mention of Jesus in Scripture!  Verse15b, God to the serpent:  "he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."  I think I heard somewhere at sometime that this was a reference to Jesus, one of those double-meaning poetic writings.

Verse 21 seemed to have been written for the first time this morning because I don't remember it!  Before Adam and Eve leave the garden, God "made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."  God makes them clothes!  He's caring and just, knowing our needs in every situation, even in ones He never wanted us in.  Man had to be banished, but God didn't stay hanging out in Eden to leave him wandering alone.  He's everywhere.

I never really thought about God's love and care in these first three chapters as much as I have this week.  Usually I read them as historical or mythological stories, but you can still find God's personality amidst the dramatic shift from Man's being in paradise to struggling for it.

Also, if we want to find the Garden of Eden, all we need to look for is cherubim and a flaming sword (24) ... shouldn't be too hard to miss ...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Genesis 2 - Jurassic Park Without All the Killing ... Yet.

Genesis 2

What it literally says - After creating everything, God rests on the seventh day, making it holy.

The creation of Man is then told in a little bit more detail, how God created him from the "dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (7).  God places man in the Garden of Eden, situated in "the east" and amidst four rivers, and home to the infamous trees of "Life" and of "the Knowledge of Good and Evil," the latter of which God tells the man not to eat from or he "will surely die" (17).

Man names all the animals, then God sees that He needs to create another creature to be with the man, a helper.  God, taking and working with a rib from the man's side, creates this helper, who man names "woman."  Man and woman are to be united, and at that point in history, being naked was all right.

What is says to me - The literal translation controversy continues smoothly from chapter 1.  I believe that such a garden existed.  I mean, have you ever been in a beautifully made garden or park?  A national reserve?  Being surrounded by the giant wows of nature is one of the most satisfying, humbling and relaxing feelings the human brain can experience!  Well, I guess unless you're being chased by a swarm of bees, ants, or some bears.  But I love being surrounded by nature.  I love being in it.  The fresh oxygen, the pretty scenery, the wondrous formations, the soft rustling of flora in the wind ... not much can beat the natural world when you get the chance to be there.  It's heaven on Earth.  So, yeah, to me it makes natural sense (pun intended) that God would make His first dwelling place in the midst of nature.

If I remember correctly from college, I think this is considered the "second Creation story" or something like that because of the the discrepancy of the timing of when man was formed.  In chapter 1, God made man on day six after everything else.  But verses 4b - 7 say that man came before the vegetation.  Hmm ... I don't know what this means, really.  I also read somewhere, too, that Genesis might not have been completely written by the same author, Moses in this case.  Chapter 1 calls God "God," where as chapter 2 refers to Him as "LORD" (Yahweh).  Two different schools of thought?  Is the Bible tainted?  What do you think?  That's a whole other topic that we'll certainly arrive at when we get to the "God-breathed" verses.  Something to chew on in the mean time.

Now about how man was formed ... I go back to chapter 1.  I believe God can do anything   Is dust figurative?  Is this coming-from-the-dust idea an ancient way of mentioning our dead ancestors or "predecessors" or something?  In my opinion, no, because I don't believe in macroevolution; anyway this isn't the proper place to discuss this debate (perhaps the comment section?).  God had a hand in everything, just like in chapter 1, and His hand is big enough to touch the stars and caring enough to touch a grain of sand.  He made us with purpose and intentionality.  And further proof to me, we are given the chance to show and feel that love He made us with by the existence of the opposite sex!  We can love God and love someone else.  Spread the love!  He's creative like that.

And also note that creation ended with woman ... that's how important the "weaker" sex is; God's final jewel in the crown of creation was woman (read Captivating, everyone).  Think about it.

Like yesterday, I see God's meticulous hand in the fact of existence.  That's what I get today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Genesis 1 - In the Beginning ...

Genesis 1

I think everyone has probably read the Bible's initial chapters many times before.  The Creation is always a controversial topic both outside and inside of the church.

What it literally says - God created life.  In six days He formed everything that we know of existence with just His words.  The chapter lines out the first six days and what God did in each.

Day 1:  God created light, naming what is "day" and what is "night."
Day 2:  God created and named the "sky."
Day 3:  God created and named the "land," the "sea," and vegetation.
Day 4:  God created and placed the stars, the sun and the moon, giving them their "governing" abilities.
Day 5:  God created aquatic life and birds.
Day 6:  God created land-dwelling animals and human beings; we are made in His ("Our") image and given dominion over everything.

What it says to me - The Creation is so full of amazing and interesting things.  Did it take a literal six days, or is this simply a poetic gist?  If we believe God can do anything, he could have done all this in one day if He wanted, why six?  Does the Big Bang theory disprove this "something from nothing" concept?  And what does it mean in verses 2 and 7 that the earth was "formless and empty," but had deep waters, then God made waters above and below the sky?

I have no idea to any of these things.

There's a lot of the Bible that I think can be taken strictly by the way our translations have worded them.  "Love your neighbor as yourself," "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength ..."  Probably a lot of the Levitical laws about dealing with dead things (can't wait to get to those!).  But Genesis 1, to me, isn't dependent on the literal details.  To me, chapter 1 paints a picture of a loving, careful, caring and creative God who crafted a purpose for every single detail about existence.  I mean, why the heck do we even exist!  Evolution may try to explain how we became the way that we are and look, but what about the predecessor to our predecessor?  And the predecessor to the predecessor of our predecessor?  Eventually you have to get back "something from nothing," and the chances of nothing making something that then happens to lead up to the unprecedented human brain and my voiceless thoughts that my fingertips are transcribing into typed words ... it's too well-designed to be by chance.

So what does Genesis 1 say to me, aside from the obvious Evolution-Creationism floor of debate?  God exists and life has a purpose.  Every single one of us has a purpose.  I hope that gives someone out there some comfort.

But I would like to know what those two waters thing means.

If you have any questions about the fiery Evolution vs. Creationism debate, I highly recommend Lee Strobel's The Case for a Creator, Jonathan Wells' Icons of Evolution, and Ben Stein's documentary Expelled, which you can actually watch in it's entirety below!

"A Daunting Task"

How many of us have read the Bible?  I'm not talking about reading portions of it through a devotional or during sermons and Sunday School, but the Bible, the whole thing front-to-back, word-for-word?  

For believers, spiritually it would make sense that we probably should have read it through at least once before God tells us we're done down here and we go up and account for ourselves (anyone else dreading that?).  I don't believe that not reading the entirety of the Scriptures is a strict sin, however we're encouraged to meditate on His Word and hide it in our hearts, inferring that we should be reading it on some consistent basis.  Even then, it is very easy to read over the words and not take them in, making the act of daily reading mindless rote instead.  Add to that passages that are just plain tough to understand without a concordance or inserted sidenotes, trying to understand God's thousands of pages is a daunting task to say the least!

But you know what, God is ever so patient with us.  He's molded our minds to not understand everything in the first place, so we can't even begin to take it all in at once.  That's why Jesus spoke to his disciples in simpler ways, not in dumbing things down but in ways they could understand more easily to take it in.  I believe approaching His Word can be taken in the same way: in digestible bits to understand the bigger picture.

This morning I felt led to begin reading the whole Bible again.  Yes, I have read it completely through once, but that ended up being a thing I just wanted to do.  There were still countless times I digested a passage and prayerfully thought about what God could be speaking to me, but overall I just wanted to have every single word pass before my eyes, to claim that I had "read" the entire Bible.  It took a couple of years, reading two chapters at a time, then unfortunately not keeping to it occasionally, etc.  But this morning was different.  I want to try again with a different mentality.

I'm going to read the Bible one chapter at a time and write about what the chapter literally says and what it says to me, as well as any springboard thoughts the Spirit pops in to my brain and fingertips.

Now that I've begun this whole blogging thing (I really hate that word, "blog" though), I realize its multifaceted potential.  First and foremost, in the vein of 365-Day projects, writing after each time I read will basically make me analyze more deeply what I'm reading.  Not every chapter will unveil a universal truth or a revelation about God's plan with my life, I'm aware.  I'm pretty certain when I get to the genealogies in the Old Testament I will be the same Christian before and after.  But who knows what will happen?  I believe God speaks to us in so many different ways.  Plus, if you follow me in this adventure, any outside insights are encouragingly welcomed!  I'm no scholar and I think that a lot of my analyses in general life barely penetrate the surface, but that might be the way it's supposed to be.  I try to be an honest man and speak honestly, so if you follow then that's what you'll get.

I have no idea how long this will take (or even if anyone else has done this before to gauge the length).  If reading two chapters each time took over two years, will it take four years at a one-chapter pace?  Also, my routine (sorry to call it that) is reading around five days a week, normally on the weekdays, so it might take even longer!  But why rush?  I'm not in this for a record time; just the accountability of reading and not walking away and forgetting like His Word meant nothing to me ... even the genealogies!

You're welcome to join me!  At whatever chapter you've entered just jump on in!  We might just become closer as we grow even more so to our Father and Creator, our Vine, who hasn't left us to run around aimlessly.  He has given us a road map:  His Word.