For weeks I have been feeing the back to school vibes. It is my favourite time of the year! The birth month of our Saviour! September is probably my favourite month of the year which is odd because with November being my birthday month you would think that that was my favourite month of the year.
Over the summer I finished part one of at least a three part Bible study project I ambitiously decided to start almost a year and a half ago! I am not quite ready to talk much about it in depth yet but maybe by this time next year. Getting that first part and probably the hardest part finally done felt brilliant, a personal achievement and a thank you gift back to God. It feels as if I am incapable of following through on projects and ideas unless they are God related which is interesting to me. I know my personal record of starting things and not finishing them so seeing the growing record of God related projects that I am completing is a real morale booster and further proof of His power and presence to me in my life. His Spirit sustains me far longer than I would stick it out alone, not that we are ever alone but you know.. it is different when you do something with permission and blessing compared to just doing something by your own steam from your own interest.
I am taking a break from that project before I start part two and taking up another possibly equally ambitious project – this month’s study reading list!
I have really been enjoying the readings from The Daily Bible in Chronological Order (NIV) by F Legard Smith recommended by David Pawson in his Unlocking the Bible series so I want to continue to read that every morning. I credit finding and using a readers translation without chapter and verse (ESV) several years ago and reading in chronological order for really helping me to mature in my faith, enjoy Scripture, understand it, apply it practically and want to stay and walk in it.
September picks up from where we left off in Ezekiel and has readings from Daniel, Jeremiah, Job, Psalms, Haggai and Zechariah. I am also trying to incorporate more Puritan literature into my studying so I have The Puritan Daily Readings by Randall J Pederson who co-authored Meet the Puritans, by another Bible teacher I like, Dr Joel Beeke, I would also recommend Bible believers read. This month it is focusing on the Puritan John Owen and his theme is Communion with God.
Then feeling that I need to focus on the human story, because my empathy and compassion really needs an improvement/upgrade right now, and in particular Biblical women I will be working my way through Women of the Bible a One Year Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean E Syswerda. Focusing on Eve, Sarah, Hagar and Lot’’s wife.
For the last two years I have been going off and on to the Women’s Bible study group at church but with ill-health and life in general it has been more off than on and I still feel the need to connect with these women who can teach me so much about Godliness, holiness and femininity. I will see what I can glean with the Spirit’s help and God willing I can attend the group meetings again in the future.
What does your September study reading list look like?
Hello, it feels like a long time since I posted something from me instead of a resource I have found helpful in my Spiritual journey that I wanted to share with you so here is a check in post. Since the third week of Lent I have regularly been attending worship on Sunday’s, prayer meetings on Friday’s and helping out by washing dishes for the community lunches every week. I have received a lot of positive and encouraging words, and hugs, from the local church and community and I am really starting to feel that family vibe. Most of the people have known me since I was six years old but a few I have only met recently, which is fun and a little bit awkward but mostly just fun.
Thanks to smart people using smart technology I have been able to feel more included in Sunday worship by having the power points on my iPhone/iPad so that I can follow along with any pictures the speaker wants to share as well as the hymns. Going back to church and having a different preacher every week is taking some time to adjust too but so far I have enjoyed all the testimonies and talks, my highlight is always receiving the Lord’s Supper. When I was just listening to services and sermons at home being broadcast online it was mostly Baptist services with the same Pastor every week and they tend to have less of a musical heritage and can spend an entire 40 minute sermon on one text of a Bible book rather than a few passages between hymns and a shorter sermon. I still listen because that style really appeals to me so now I get the best of both approaches. I like consistency and routine so I am not saying that one way is better than the other. I am just slow to embrace change and adapting takes time for me. Now I have heard most of the rotating preachers/ministers I have a feel for their ministry and when I hear who it is each Sunday I am better prepared and sometimes it means that I have to spend more time in prayer asking Jesus to help me focus and retain their message, which is good training for my soul. I now realise what a blessing audio sermons are and the added ability to download them and re-listen to them at anytime. Sometimes I miss the message because I am sat in the pew worrying that because I cannot re-listen to it I will miss something important but I should not worry because A) Jesus forbids it – Matthew chapter 6 – and B) because of the way the lectionary is set up if I miss it one year I will be able to pick it up again in another 3 years.
I really enjoy the prayer meetings and I found out recently that they were originally started by a lady I knew years ago because she is the grandmother of a girl I used to play and hang out with. My mum also child-minded her younger sister who is now doing A Levels so that makes me feel really old. The prayer meetings are usually small I do not think there has been more than seven of us at any meeting so far so it is nice and is supported by several denominations not just Methodists. I have not been brave enough yet to actually pray aloud but I have mentioned a person and a situation that was on my heart recently and I could feel the power of prayer and the presence of Jesus when the group prayed over it. I also like how we start by reading the Bible passage that will be read the following Sunday. We always say the Lord’s Prayer followed by the Grace at the end, this was another adjustment for me because for years I have been saying the Lord’s Prayer with the ending ‘and deliver us from the evil one, Amen’. But the group finishes with ‘and deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen’. Which I did grow up saying so it is not as if it is new to me I just got out of the habit after reading or studying some years ago and have been saying the alternative and I worry about saying it wrong out loud and embarrassing myself, pride go away. I prefer to say deliver us from the evil one because it is more specific and I do not like adding for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory after it because, and it may sound silly but, in my head it sounds like I am attributing those to the evil one I just talked about and I do not want to do that and also I think that part is added from Isaiah because it is not in Matthew’s version.
I enjoy helping out with the lunches and using the dishwasher. It reminds me of my time running the dishwasher in a care home kitchen when I was younger and it shows me that even then God had a plan for me putting me in training and now I am seeing that fruit. We have a good chat and a good laugh in the kitchen. I know and am comfortable with my space and I have a routine. I keep things efficient for the waiting staff. My only freak out moments have been with the glasses and the cutlery but we have a system in place now to limit accidents. The glasses go on a black tray and I wait till the tray is filled up and then I put the cutlery and the glasses on the grey flat dishwashing tray, that way I do not miss them in the spiky blue trays and drop or smash them when I pick and move the blue trays around. Usually by running my gloved fingers over surfaces I can tell if it is clean or not and if it is a sweet and sour day on the menu and everything is orange I know even more that it is not clean! I am thankful for everyone’s patience and I hope to be able to serve for as long as I am able.
I come home exhausted from all the socialising and the activity and usually crash nap for several hours and need to decompress but I think it is worth it. God has given me the opportunity to serve and to keep fellowship with Him and my Spiritual family and the tiredness is a good tiredness not an annoying tiredness and because all the activity is on Friday and Sunday I get Saturday and Monday to recoup. I think I have caught you up and I am excited for some projects I have in mind for this blog over the next year so please stay tuned.