Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Plan and an Insight

Those of you who have been following my Tuesday reading journey know that ever since early fall, I have really been struggling with my daily Bible reading.  I started out in July on a schedule and at first did pretty well following it.  As I got further and further behind on that path, I began to get discouraged to the point of nearly giving up. At one point, I decided that I had to just quit trying to keep on a preset schedule and just read.  However, that hasn't been working well for me either.  I really need the discipline and accountability of a plan.

I was recently discussing language learning with a friend.  Strangely, this conversation convicted me of my need to get back on track.  She said that those who succeed at learning a language decide that they will do it, make a plan, and learn.  On the other hand, those that don't simply talk about their need to learn it and then feel guilty that they never learn.  As I listened, I actually heard echoes of James saying, "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them" (James 4:17).

While I listened to these thoughts, I realized how true this idea is in spiritual disciplines.  After talking, I sat down to evaluate just where I was in my reading.   I decided that each morning while giving my son his massage, instead of letting him spend the whole time watching videos on the computer, we would spend the time listening to the Bible on my iPad. It has been a good way to start our mornings, and doing it with a daily activity has helped me some in the discipline department.  

My new reading plan started out in the book of Joshua.  I was really struck by the story in Joshua 22. When the Eastern tribes were returning home, they built an altar on the way.  When the other Israelites heard what about it, they gathered together to go to war. They were sure that the Eastern tribes had already turned away from following the Lord (Joshua 22:16).  Before waging total war, they sent a delegation out to confront the "wayward" tribes.  After having scathing accusations hurled at them, the tribes calmly and humbly explained that they had been misunderstood.  They were not building a sacrificial altar, but rather one to serve as a witness for their descendants of their shared portion of the Lord's inheritance (Joshua 22:27).

I couldn't help but be impressed by this story.  The Eastern people were not only thinking about how to preserve the faith of those that would come after them, but they managed to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry  when faced with their brother's accusations (James 1:19).  I hope that I can follow these examples in my life.   Have you done anything to help remind the future generations of their portion of the Lord's inheritance?  What helps you to listen and not become angry in the face of accusations?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.    
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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