On Fire for All Things Christ

Archive for September, 2011

Resurrection & Reverence: September Worship Songs

This month’s songs are about our redemption after the cross of Christ and one is about reverence to the Creator. Although some of these songs may be familiar, listen closely to the lyrics and surround yourself in the beauty of their meaning. If interested, I wrote about the two middle songs in a previous post Out of the Ashes.

My Four-year Bible Reading Plan

Someone once asked me, “What do you do on your free time?”

“I like to do is read,” I said.

“What do you read?”

“Right now, I’m reading the Bible.”

And to no surprise my questionnaire replied, “Wow, that’s a big book. Are you reading the whole thing? How long is it taking you?”

Most Christians have their own way of reading the Bible. Some like the short one-year plan. Others do a two-year plan. Then there is the five-year plan. Others read Proverbs and Psalms every month. Many have no plan at all and only read Scripture as they follow along on the screen at church. However you may choose to approach God’s Word, the Lord will bless it. A seed will always be planted.

When I initially started reading the Bible, I didn’t have a set way of how I was going to approach it. I figured I would just start and see what happens. And now, as it just so happens, I find myself in a four-year reading plan that encompasses the full Bible canon.

How I started:
Just three short years ago, with great enthusiasm, I started reading my first and very own personal Bible. I was so excited. (I had purposely decided to buy a non-fancy Bible because I wanted to carry it everywhere without worry that I would dirty it up.) Some days I sat quietly at my desk at the office in the evenings and I would read intently. I read every part — the timelines, the scriptures, the commentary, I studied the maps and the notes at the back. Any insight my Bible provided, I read and enjoyed. I even had a concordance to reference at the back. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what a concordance is. I had no idea about it until well into my second year of reading.)

The reading plan:
With that, here is the plan, that was actually no plan at all but then developed into one. (Ironic how God has a way of doing things like that – showing us the bigger picture only as we continually walk by faith day to day.) So, here is the plan if you would like to follow it for your own reading. It’s generous in time, but like I mentioned earlier, along with the scripture, I also read supporting text to help give me a broader frame of reference and understanding. As the years progress, the reading gets more intense, but if you count out the pages, it’s really just a few pages a day.

Take the approach of my witty professor… inch-by-inch, it’s a sinch; yard-by-yard, it’s going to be hard.

  • Year one: the Gospels: John, Luke, Matthew & Mark
  • Year two: the remaining New Testament Books: Acts – Revelation
  • Year three: Old Testament: Genesis – Esther
  • Year four: Old Testament: Job – Malachi

If you’d like to give me insight on the Bible reading plan you like, please leave me a comment. I would love to hear how the Lord guides others through His Word. If you are having a hard time getting into reading the Bible, pray that the Lord may birth you with the desire to read, and He will. He desires that for everyone! You can also start with an audio Bible version. Be blessed by the reading of His Word beloved!!

Just in case you are curious, this is the Bible I am using for the reading plan. It is the New Living Translation, Life Application Study Bible.

Coming Across: Matthew 16 Poster

I heard a very powerful sermon from Tony Evans last week covering Matthew 16:24-28. With that, I felt lead to creatively illustrate Jesus’ words: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

In a modern, minimalistic style, this poster illustrates the scripture above. On the left, the red “no symbol” across the female icon represents me saying deny myself, the red cross in the middle represents taking up my cross and then the bird on the right represents following Jesus. I like that the cross is in the middle because it is the connecting factor between the other two commands that we should do (deny oneself and follow Jesus). In order to follow Jesus, we must cross from one side to the other. No doubt, that’s exactly how God planned it from the beginning.

Appreciating God

In Bible study class last week, our teacher gave us an assignment. The assignment was to consider how we would show honor or appreciation to the Lord for all the things He has done. Later that day, I prayed to the Lord that He would reveal to us how we could honor Him. It seemed like a silly prayer really. I mean, should I really be asking God how I can show Him my appreciation? Am I so needy that I can’t think of my own idea?

So, throughout the week, I thought about it… what am I going to make to show God’s appreciation? Maybe a painting, maybe some writing or a cool design-y type poster? I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.

Then, late in the week, I finally got it! In trying to figure out how to show appreciation to Him, the Lord revealed to me that I had already been showing Him appreciation. This is what He revealed: through your acts of love to others is how you best show Me [God] appreciation. You appreciate Me by loving others. John 13:34-35 Wow! That was very cool to hear.

Reflecting back on just the past few days, I remembered some of the little things I had done for others that gave glimpses of His love . A journal for a new believer, a gift for my co-worker, greeting cards, encouraging a friend in Bible study, helping a lost shopper, accompanying a friend on a hospital visit. None of these were planned by me, but they were indeed divinely orchestrated by God.

Glory be to God through every small act of kindness and love we show to others. In that, His face lights up in appreciation.

I shared this story with my Bible study class this Sunday and the teacher loved my response very much and she too had received the same revelation during the week. Amen! May glory and honor always be His.

A New Name I Give Myself

Genesis 17:

…“No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham;
… Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

When God began His new covenant with man, Abraham and Sarah were given new names from God. Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. With the addition of the letter h, both names were redefined to give life to God’s greater purpose through them. The addition of the letter h came from God’s name YHWH, or with vowels, pronounced: YaWeH.

God placed part of himself in Abraham and Sarah through their names.

I know this may be silly, but I decided to do the same for my name. No longer will I be called Edmee, but I will be called Edmeh, with the addition of an h, like my Bible counterparts. With that, I decided to do some research and see if the name “Edmeh” has a meaning. To my wonderful surprise, I found something!!

eDMeH l’Elyon, (DMH) means: resembles God, image of God. (source)

Wow! My new name means resembles God, image of God! Very cool!  Of course, my given name, Edmee, also has a neat meaning: wealthy or prosperous protector.

Out of the Ashes

Image from The Church Tools

Just recently, I received life changing news. You know, the kind of news that you need to just graciously accept and move forward with despite your broken heart behind it. In the midst of coming to grips with the reality of the news, the Lord revealed a few songs to me. Ironically, one of them I had just heard for the first time only a few weeks prior.

The first song was “Aftermath” by Hillsong United’s most recent album.
I love the message of this song, and these are the verses from the lyrics that resonated deep from my Spirit early last week:

And in that moment, of glorious surrender
Lifted out of the ashes, I am found in the aftermath

In those words, the Spirit was revealing to me that even though I may fee like I am ashes (dead with my dream), the Lord finds me in the aftermath of the destruction. In my glorious surrender to my dream, in death to my desire, He finds me and lifts me up. It is quite beautiful, touching and loving when I think about it.

Later that same week, the Lord woke me in the morning to these words from a different song:

Out of the ashes, beauty will rise.

Those words from, “Beauty Will Rise,” by Steven Curtis Chapman. With this one, the Lord was reminding me that I will rise from the death, the disappointment and he will make it all new! I will rise as beauty out of the ashes!

Both songs have very different sounds and mood, but the Lord brought them both together for me to give me a message of hope beyond death. Praise God! Although tough to face and experience, I receive the hope He is bringing me.

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