Same Page Summer part 3

Remember our challenge this summer is to LOOK TO CHRIST, our goal is the JOY SET BEFORE US, and now we’re going to talk about HINDRANCES that keep us away from our Bibles. 

1)  I don’t have TIME:  reading 4 chapters takes about 15 minutes a day

2)  I don’t have a BIBLE: Amazon to the rescue! Click here for a cheap paperback. Here for an easy to read 

     single column giant print version. Here for a great note-taking edition. Here and here for these handy grab-

     what-ever-book-you’re-on-and-go journaling Bibles.

3)  I have DIFFICULTY reading: the Same Page Summer reading plan will be available on the free

     YouVersion Bible App which has an audio feature that will read for you while you drive, walk, or work around

     the house. You can even play it aloud for the whole family to hear!

4)  I can’t CONCENTRATE on long readings:  To help keep our focus on Christ I’m going to give you a theme or

     idea to highlight or listen for in each book.

5)  I don’t UNDERSTAND the Bible: Psalm 19:7 says that God’s Word makes even the simple, wise. When God

     gives you a new heart, He also gives you a new mind. 1 Cor. 2:16 says that if the Holy Spirit is in you, then

     you have the mind of Christ with which you can discern spiritual truths! This doesn’t happen instantly. It 

     happens over a life time of spending time in His Word and with His people. God put other believers into your 

     life to sharpen you! So ask questions when you read something you don’t understand! If your husband is a 

     believer, ask him first (1 Cor. 14:35). We’ll also have a discussion forum where you can ask questions.

6)  I always fall BEHIND: If you miss breakfast do you ever give up on lunch and dinner because you’re behind

     on your meal plan? Why do we do that with our spiritual food? The point of the Bible Reading Challenge isn’t 

     to check off all the boxes, it’s to set your eyes on Christ and be fed by every word that proceeds from His 

     mouth. This isn’t a diet, it’s a feast. So there’s no messing up! If you miss any readings just jump in on the  

     next day.

7)  I’m a MOM:  Moms with littles in the house rarely experience the luxury of what is known as the “Daily

     Personal Quiet Time.” The Bible Reading Challenge is designed to help you throw off idolatrous visions of  

     coffee shop tables strewn with journals and gel pens. We all know that’s not going to happen on a daily

     basis. This is a moving feast. It goes where you go. It feeds you where you are. Click here to read a blog post

     I wrote to encourage you moms.

8)  I feel GUILTY when I read the Bible:  This last one keeps us out of the Word more than we’d care to admit.  

     The law acts as a mirror, exposing us to our sin. This is and should be very uncomfortable. But it shouldn’t 

     keep us from reading our Bibles. Remember, we’re looking to Christ. And because He is the perfect 

     fulfillment of the law, yes, we will by all means see clearly where we have failed. But we will also see how 

     freely He forgives, how fully He restores, and how faithfully He works in us for HIs glory and our good.

I’m sure there are more hindrances you could add to this list, but this summer we’re throwing all those aside and together, “looking Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

To the Word, ladies! We start in 2 weeks.

Looking to Christ –together, 

Julie McEntee

Same Page Summer part 2

Now let’s talk about goals.

The same Hebrews 12 passage we started with yesterday says that it was “for the JOY set before Him” that Christ “endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Now I don’t in any way want to compare Bible reading to the suffering of Christ but I do want to give you just a little taste as to the same JOY that’s set before all of us as we come to His Word. 

If you’ve been to any Hartland Ladies Retreats the past couple years you’ll notice I keep returning to Revelation 19:6-8 and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The previous 18 chapters give us glimpses of this crescendoing worship starting with the four living creatures in chapter 4. Next the 24 elders join in the worship, and then myriads and myriads of angels join in, and then every creature in heaven and earth and under the earth and in the sea, and then those who conquered the beast, and then this great multitude, and the worship is just building and building until all of a sudden there’s this outburst that John describes as being “like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 

‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

This is the JOY Christ is looking ahead to and we need to set it before our eyes as well, because it literally is the reason for everything we read about from Genesis on namely, God’s glory. Notice in Revelation 19 when the Bride of Christ makes her grand entrance the thunderous eruption of worship is directed toward God not the Bride. Yes, she has made herself ready and her garments are fine and bright and pure, but it was granted her to do so. Her garments, which are her righteous deeds, are themselves a gift, bought by the blood of the Groom, enabled by the work of the Holy Spirit, and according to Ephesians 2:10 chosen by the Father for her to walk in before the ages began. Ephesians 5:25-27 uses the same imagery in describing how earthly marriage is to be a reflection of Christ and His church. 

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Why did Christ have to die? In order to present a sanctified, holy bride to Himself. How does Christ sanctify His bride? Through the washing of the Word. Did you catch that? The righteous deeds we will be clothed with on that glorious day are granted to us through the living, active soul penetrating Word of God. As we look to Christ in the pages of Scripture, He in turn works in us both to will and to do (Phil.2:13).

Our challenge this summer is to LOOK TO CHRIST on every page. Our goal is the JOY SET BEFORE US. Tomorrow we’re going to get really practical and talk about things that might hinder us in our reading and how the Bible Reading Challenge is designed to help us lay those aside.  Let us spur one another on to that end!

Same Page Summer part 1

I am so excited to share that a growing number of ladies are taking the challenge to read through the New Testament this summer!  We will be using the Same Page Summer plan put out by Bible Reading Challenge. That means our little group will be joining tens of thousands of other women around the world reading scripture each day in 15 different languages and we’ll all be on the same page. Yep. Even if you miss a day. Or 2. Or 10. You’re still on the same page because you’re going to jump right back in with everyone else as soon as you’re able.

Today, I just want to share a little bit about the challenge itself. Then in the week to come we’ll talk more details about goals and tools to help you succeed.  

Hebrews 11 gives the account of generations of faithful men and women who faced some of the most extreme challenges imaginable and they did so by the faith granted them by God. The very next chapter encourages a new generation of believers to place themselves among that same “cloud of witnesses” and run the race in the same way they did: by looking to Christ. Some ran looking ahead to what was promised. Some run looking back on what He has done. Together we are all witnesses to His glory. That’s our challenge this summer: to look to Christ.

The letter to the Hebrews begins with these words. 

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

The Bible isn’t just a collection of stories or a manual for how to live. It is the means God has chosen to reveal Himself to us through the glory of His Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ has spoken. The New Testament gives us the words that He spoke while He walked this earth and the teachings He commanded His disciples and then the apostles to spread to the ends of the earth.  

We are the recipients of that message concerning Himself. We hold it in our hands. We download it on our phones. We let it gather dust on our shelves. Far too often we neglect God’s Word and at the same time wonder why we can’t see Him in our situations.  We don’t see Him because we’re looking for Him everywhere but in the very place He has chosen to reveal Himself clearly to us — the Bible. 

This summer, your challenge is not to check off all days on your reading plan or have all your questions answered about current issues (although those things might happen). Your challenge is to take the first steps into a life-long habit of opening the pages of Scripture and seeing Jesus. 

It is to that end that for the next few months we will spur one another on. I can’t wait to be on the same page with all of you! 

Looking to Christ — together, 

Julie McEntee

PS. If you have not already done so please let me know by next week if you or someone you know are interested in joining the challenge. After next week email updates will only be sent out to those who have responded.