Finished

I read the first chapter of the Bible on January 1st of this year, and finished the last one this morning.  Ninety days.  All the way through the Bible in 90 days. Amazing.

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This is the fourth time I’ve followed this particular reading plan.  Each time God has used those 90 days to teach me something new.

The first time I attempted it was in 2012.  My Dad died on Day 23.  I didn’t really want to keep going, but God showed me that it was times like that when I needed His Word more than ever.  During the time of my second 90 day challenge a few years later, some Christian circles were trying to make a scriptural case for life choices that I had always believed were not in God’s plan.  After my journey through every single chapter in the Bible, seeing the story of that plan from the first page of Genesis through the final page of Revelation, I knew that the justifications they used were not compatible with the whole of scripture.  You just can’t read all the way through the Bible and come to any other conclusion.  It didn’t make me smug.  It made me want to be a better friend.

And the third time, Day 90 fell on Easter morning.  I read, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” from Revelation 22 as the first rays of sun were coming up over the Atlantic ocean.  I couldn’t have planned a more glorious ending to the challenge of three months in the Word.

So what was the lesson this time?

The lesson for me over the past three months seemed to be all about God’s story.  The story of His love for His people.  Sometimes reading through the Old Testament is a challenge.  It starts with the beauty and perfection of Eden, but quickly unfolds into sin and violence and disobedience and people running from God.  God keeps pursuing them and they keep rejecting Him.  The tension builds and builds and by the end of that first part of the Bible, the prophets are warning about death and destruction and calling for repentance. It’s pretty dark.

And then, God sends His Son to rescue us.

By the time I got to the New Testament, I could feel the relief.  I wanted to shout, “He’s here!  The One you’ve been waiting for all these years is finally here!”.  I thought about how all those prophecies I’d read were being fulfilled. Everything in those older books pointed to Christ. The Promised One had come.  And life would never be the same.

This year, the message of the cross and the meaning of the blood of Christ is particularly clear and sweet. I saw how the story began and I know how it ends.  The Lamb is alive and on the throne. And those of us who have trusted Him will someday live in a perfect world again, forever in His presence.  It’s an amazing and awesome thought!   To finish the story of God’s love and mercy right before Easter weekend is such a blessing! This year, it feels a little more personal.

I can’t recommend reading all the way through the Bible enough. There are many different plans to choose from.  This particular 90 Day Reading Plan seems to work the best for me.  It has helped me see the Bible as the unfolding story that it is.  It’s helped me see the bigger picture of God’s work in the world, but more importantly, His work in my life.

I read the ending this morning.  But I feel like it’s just the beginning.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.  Joshua 1:8 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 

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