¡Hola, hola! Welcome to week 31 of our Bible Reading Challenge, Friends! Thank you for following along and for all the encouraging comments we keep receiving from you. It is a wonderful thing to hear week after week how the Lord continues to bless His Word in our lives. Soli Deo Gloria!
Some of you have asked if we are planning to continue doing the challenge after this round, and the answer is a resounding “Yes!” You will be happy to hear that we are currently working on the summer reading plan and we know that you will be thrilled when we release it.
We have been reading several Proverbs and will continue to do so next week. So I want to take a minute to share with you some hints on how to read Proverbs. First keep in mind that in the introduction of the book we read that these are “riddles.” Proverbs is filled with principles, which are not promises. We know that not everything in life happens according to Proverbs (we have read enough stories in our Bibles, and lived enough in this world to know this to be true), but we want to read them in order to become wiser, to train ourselves to discern and to judge situations better. We have proverbs, for example, that tell us to give answers and others that tell us not to give answers at all. And the wise woman, the one who fears the Lord and is in the Word, will learn -through practice- to discern the different seasons and apply these two different proverbs in different situations wisely. So as I said, life doesn’t always happen according to the principles in Proverbs, but we must strive to live according to these principles ourselves.
We must also keep in mind that the only way to truly live wisely in this fallen world is fearing the Lord and depending on the Holy Spirit to make us wise. The Lord Jesus is the wisdom of God, and we know that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things (Jn 14:26). Wisdom cannot be obtained apart from God’s mercy. He is the only One who can make us wise -and that should be enough to keep us humble.
So as we open our Bibles, let’s ask God to make us wise, and as we face our daily routine, let’s be ready to apply the principles we learn in Proverbs by faith. God will have mercy on us and will indeed give us wisdom when we ask for it.
Reading Jeremiah has been great, right? It amazes me how in the middle of the book we find the hinge on which our Christian life revolves: forgiveness of sins. That is the heart of the New Covenant, and of the Gospel. If God doesn’t have mercy on us and lead us, in Hs kindness, to repentance and forgiveness, we are doomed to eternal damnation. But God’s steadfast love is higher than the heavens and His mercies endure forever, so He is always willing and ready to forgive us when we come to Him and repent of our sins. No sin can keep us away from His love but the one that we don’t confess and don’t repent of.
So the heart of the Gospel is that in Christ there is forgiveness of sins, right? Now what about forgiving each other as God in Christ forgave us? Can we forgive those who say they don’t know what they were thinking when they offended us? Can we forgive and never use the sin we forgave against that person? Do we forgive and seek restoration? Remember, the heart of the gospel is forgiveness of sins all the way through.
Sometimes we are like the false prophets in the book of Jeremiah: we proclaim to ourselves, “Peace!” when there is no peace. We try to cover our sins and excuse them when the Hoy Spirit is bringing conviction to our hearts. We despise the Word of the Lord and choose to trust in the externals -in vain. Friends, let’s trust that the Lord will bless our coming to His Word this week and that He will help us see the sins in our lives that we need to repent of. Let the Word of God pierce your heart and soul, let His Word tear down the high places in your life so that He can start rebuilding and restoring you. He is our righteousness!
Friday we have a catch-up day and my suggestion is that you read Colossians and 1 John, since both letters emphasize forgiveness of sins.
On Saturday we will read Lamentations, a collection of five poems by Jeremiah. In this book we can learn how God is holy and righteous and how He always remains true to His character. It is our aim to see Jesus on the pages of the book as we remember what Isaiah told us in chapter 53: Our Lord Jesus is the Man of sorrows.
The Psalms we will be reading are so incredibly comforting. Read them and pray them, and mediate on them. Let them become yours and give you hope.
May our prayer this week be, “Help me remember your Word, your deeds, your mercy, Oh Lord, and bring them to mind so that I may have hope.” (Lam.3:21)
Under His sun and by His grace,
Becky Pliego and the team of Christ Church Ladies Fellowship