For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
Dear Members of the Bible Challenge:
I came upon these verses recently in my daily reading of the Bible. It summarizes what The Bible Challenge is all about. Our time spent reading the Bible is never wasted. God’s Word always bears fruit in our lives. Sometimes it brings life into sharper focus, allowing us to make a decision more easily and to trust that we are doing God’s will. At other times God’s Word bears fruit by granting us more patience or an ability to be kind and gentle in a challenging situation. Sometimes God’s Word allows us to be courageous and prophetic or to take a firm stand when it is needed. At other times God’s Word allows us to be more generous, to exercise self-control in the face of temptation or to be loving even when others are less than loving.
KEEP THE PACE – At the beginning of the summer, I set a goal to swim two miles for every year of my life. Each day I swim a mile or more. Sometimes it has been a great joy. Sometimes it is fatiguing or boring, but still I push on. One morning I arose early to swim while the air was crisp and the pool was cool. A man swam in the lane beside me glided through the water like a human torpedo. Two lanes over a lady shark swam several laps of butterfly. Both were stronger, better swimmers than me, but I continued at my own pace and completed a mile. I continue each day, keeping pace to reach my goal.
I hope that you are continuing to press on to reach your goal of reading the entire Bible this year or to take longer if you need more time. The ultimate goal is to discover the joy and the value of reading God’s Word each day and developing a lifelong spiritual practice of daily Bible reading. I am now moving through Jeremiah, rereading the Psalter and enjoying the Book of Acts. It is greatly rewarding and is making a positive spiritual difference in my life. I hope that it is doing the same for you.
KEEP IN TOUCH – Let me know how The Bible Challenge is going for you. I would love to hear from you. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 215-233-3970 ext. 120 or write to me at St. Thomas Church.
IF YOU ARE FLOUNDERING – If you are bogged down or have stopped reading the Bible, I offer you a “Spiritual Mulligan” like the gift golfers may give themselves. Skip forward to the next book of the Bible and recommence your reading. If you are moving slowly, pick up the pace. Give some real discipline to your Bible reading. Read at least one chapter of the Bible each day. If reading the Old Testament has become too tedious, mark your place and begin anew with the goal of reading the entire New Testament. Afterwards you can return and recommence reading the Old Testament.
Remember, not a Word of scripture that you read prayerfully goes to waste. God honors what we are doing when you read Holy Scripture, and it shall bear much fruit in your life.