Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's in store -- Bible and Marriage

The last day of the year.

Tomorrow when the kids wake up we will say things like, "Where have you been all year?" And, "Why haven't you cleaned your room since last year?" They rub their bleary eyes and stare blankly, sometimes we might get a little smirk out of them, but it gives my husband and myself a good chuckle.

So, what do I want to accomplish in the year ahead? I wrote about some of that recently and have thought more and specified more since then.

Two significant goals you will hear more about here as the year goes on. The first is a project that a bloggy friend of mine asked me to be a part of. Reading through the Bible in a year together and posting my "journaling" from the reading once a week. How exciting!

I read George Mueller's biography recently with the kids and at the end of his life he had read through the Bible over 100 times! He had this to say about it (at age 71):
Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God's appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. . . .Consider it, and ponder over it. . . . Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter. If we do, we remain spiritual dwarfs. I tell you so affectionately. For the first four years after my conversion I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible. But when I regularly read on through the whole with reference to my own heart and soul, I directly made progress. Then my peace and joy continued more and more.

(For more on George Mueller, check out this captivating bio glimpse)

No wonder God answered his prayers in such dramatic fashion. He walked daily with his Lord and knew God's heart and mind the way few men have. When he prayed, his prayers lined up with God's desires and God moved mountains in response.

I want to know God that way. I want to soak myself in the Scriptures. I want to pray with confidence. I want to walk daily with my Lord and continue to grow in peace and joy.

This year, with the accountability of a new website, 66 books, we will blog our way through the Bible. Each day one of the contributors (from across the country and various walks of life) will share their devotional thoughts from the passage of the day. The website has a reading log to follow and I pray that you would join us and find encouragement, accountability to read God's Word cover to cover, and spiritual nourishment to fuel your walk with Christ.

John Adams said, "Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write." So, take it as a dare if need be, dare to read and think about His Word, and then solidify it by speaking and writing as well. Spread the word, we would love to have many Christians (and even genuine seekers) join us through this year as we make reading His Word a priority.

Second big goal . . . Maybe this is too much for one blog post. :-) I realized in recent weeks that my marriage has received less than stellar amounts of my time and effort. Somehow between the homeschooling and mothering and housekeeping and desk work, I didn't worry about my marriage because it was "good." It's always been good. But, that doesn't mean I should neglect it or that it doesn't deserve my attention.

A recent time away with my husband opened my eyes to this and one of my key goals for the coming year is to focus on my marriage. Since I realized this while in "paradise" and since growing, intimate marriages are "paradise" in and of themselves, I am calling this series, "Bringing Home Paradise."

Starting next week and throughout the month of January I will share my goals, self-given assignments, and practical ideas for making marriage a priority and bringing home that taste of paradise that God intended marriage to be.

Here's a little outline of what I have in store:

- Pray (a week of praying in preparation for the coming weeks and months of growth and change);
- Prioritize (if this matters it must show in our choices and management of our resources);
- Put into Practice (little behaviors and attitudes that express love)
- Practical (applying this to the nitty gritty of each day)

At the end of the month I plan to put up a Mr. Linky (my first, and hopefully not my last) for all of us to share how God has moved in our marriages in just a few weeks.

I am expecting great things from Him! Are you ready to open yourself and your marriage up to what God can do? Please join me on these journeys to greater knowledge of Him and His Word, and a sweeter marriage.

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