You’re invited to join me on a Lenten journey of reading or listening to (about 45 min a day) the whole Bible during the next 40-plus days in preparation for Easter [Tweet this] and the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.
We never expected thousands of people would download the FREE 40-Day Bible Reading Guide we provided in the first 72 hours. Download your copy here. And to learn how to download a free audiobible, click here.
We did receive some pushback. One person wrote to suggest that such a reading plan wasn’t reasonable. He said you’d miss out on the intricacies and details of the Bible reading that much, that fast, and suggested even a 90-day reading plan seemed too much.
But I think of reading or listening to the Bible in 40-days is like flying at 40,000 feet. You can’t see the individual trees or streams below, but when you’re at that altitude you get to see things you can’t see any other way: cloud formations and lightening storms from above, shifts in the earth’s texture, colors above and below, and much more.
Today the journey begins.
It’s Ash Wednesday. The kick off of Lent. And I opened my Message Bible to read the first 27 chapters of Genesis.
A few observations:
- I found reading The Message Bible refreshing and easy to read. Verbs. Adjectives. One word-sentences popped off the page. I love the way Eugene Peterson captures God speaking creation into existence in Genesis saying God spoke, “Light!” “Sky!” “Separate” “Green up!” “Swarm, Ocean!” as a master artist and craftsman.
- I find comfort in knowing that when I fall behind on reading, I have the one day a week to catch up and I can also turn to an audiobible [Tweet this] and listen to God’s work while running errands, cleaning around the house, or taking a long walk.
- What are standing out to me are particular words, phrases, ideas, and patterns that I’ve missed reading at a slower pace. I’m reading with a pen in hand. Underlying words. Making notes in the margins. And placing little question marks about things I want to go back and look up after Lent.
- One thing I’ve never considered before is the order in which the names of God are revealed. I’ve thought about God’s names, but never the order they come in Scripture. But for whatever reason, when I read “God Yireh” or “God-Sees-to-It” as the place Abraham named the mountain where he was willing to offer Isaac (Genesis 22) the idea of examining the order of God’s names came to mind. I quickly jotted a question mark and will come back to it later.
The biggest thing that came out of today’s initial reading was the wonder of LIFE.
I’ve always seen the story of creation as the story of our origins, our beginning. I write about this extensively in the 6-week DVD Bible study Pursuing God’s Love: Stories from the Book of Genesis.
“The opening chapters of Genesis are chock-full of stories that showcase the attributes of God. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, abounding in imagination, creativity, mystery, and wisdom. God is the source of life, strength, and goodness. The first stories in Genesis remind us that even when we question, disobey, or doubt divine love, God continues pursuing us.”
But as I read today I was taken back with the life bubbling up in the book of Genesis. This life begins with God. Life bubbles up during creation. But even after the fall, Eve produces life declaring, “I’ve gotten a man, with God’s help!” with the birth of Cain (Genesis 4). Abel is another gift of life. Together they take care of life—animals and plants.
Even when people mark the earth with “evil, evil, evil” (Genesis 6), God once again rescues life with in a wooden frame and righteous, though imperfect man, named Noah.
When Sarai finds herself barren, God again reveals Himself as the source of life (Genesis 11). And when Lot finds himself living in a wicked city, God sends messengers to save his life (Genesis 19). Atop a mountain, God preserves Isaac’s life in the last moments with the provision of a ram (Genesis 22).
Something about today’s reading reignited the truth that God is the source of life.
No wonder Jesus says that He’s come to give us life and give it abundantly.
I finished today’s reading with a prayer asking God to unleash the fullness of His wondrous life in me and in you.
God, You alone are the source of life. Rich. Abundant. Textured. Holy. Beautiful. Life. Forgive us for settling for less than the life you designed for us. Stir our desire to lay hold of the fullness of life you have for us. Give us strength, courage, and grace to lay hold of all you have for us. Infuse us with You. May we learn to live wonderstruck. Amen.
What are you learning as you dive into the Scripture this Lent?
**Original photo found here.