Tuesday, March 2, 2010


For anyone who has ever read through Leviticus, I'm sure you can empathize with my enthusiastic WHEW - glad to be finished with that book! With so many details and instructions for sacrifices and cleansing given to Moses, it makes you wonder how he ever kept them straight (let along communicate them to over a million people). Do you think every Israelite knew these very specific ordinances when it came to sacrifices and cleansing? Makes you wonder with how many times they kept disobeying God...

My thought for today is this: Do you ever stop and think about who God really is? The God we worship today is the very same God who gave these instructions to Israel, that they might "be holy" as our Lord God is holy. To deter even a little bit from these instructions often meant death - or at best, being cut off from their people. And God did not withold punishment! Despite my neat-freakishness and OCDs when it comes to cleaning, chances are at some point I might not get all the mildew out of our bathroom (the ceiling is quite bad, actually). And to think that God gives such specific instructions even for the removal of mildew! CRAZY!

Fortunately for believers today we don't have to sacrifice countless animals for atonement of our sins, or adhere to very strict regulations regarding skin diseases and cleanliness (praise the Lord for Walgreens and Lysol!). But God still expects - and commands - the same holiness in our lives as He did for the Israelites. And we should be living holy lives, glorifying God and obeying Him in all that we say and do. Granted, there are a lot of differences between now and the time of the Israelites, but God is still the same - loving, patient, and above all holy. Can we say the same for our own lives?

Monday, February 22, 2010


As I read through Exodus, I had a hard time not envisioning Charlton Heston as Moses, in the classic movie “The Ten Commandments.” That embarrassingly cheesy, yet somehow engrossing movie attempted to capture the story of the Exodus narrative, but fell far short of what really happened.

What I found so intriguing about Exodus is that:

- Moses wasn't an extraordinary guy - yes, he grew up in Pharaoh's palace but he had committed murder and had a speech impairment too - but God intended to use him for a purpose far greater than Moses ever expected for himself.
- Moses led over a MILLION people out of Egypt (a rather daunting task for anyone, I’d say)
- Moses actually met with God and spoke with Him – how cool is that?
- The Israelites were God’s chosen people – but even witnessing God’s miraculous acts did not keep them from sinning against Him.

I’ve often thought that if I had been an Israelite, given very specific instructions from God as to what I can and cannot do, it would be pretty easy to obey. I mean, our government today gives us laws that we are to obey – disobedience to them has pretty profound consequences! Yet, despite all that God did for the Israelites – before their very eyes – they still disobeyed Him. And not just once, but over and over again they turned their backs to Him.

Unlike the Israelites, we as believers today don’t have a rigid list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Through the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we no longer have to offer sacrifices to God as atonement for our sin. With the new covenant established through Christ, we no longer have “rules” but rather a relationship with God. But that relationship is not easy; for many of us, we have to sacrifice our own selfish desires to truly commit to a relationship with our Father. Life is so consumed by work, family, friends, errands, hobbies, etc. that too often we forget the most important relationship we have been called to, and the sacrifices we are called to make because of it – or rather, for it.

Jesus was our sacrifice – but what am I sacrificing for Him? This is my thought and prayer this week; for I know that there are areas in my life where I haven’t really given things to God. Perhaps I’m more like the Israelites than I thought…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Bible Is MESSED UP!

So Holly took quite the lead on me in day one reading the entire book of Genesis...good show oh worthy opponent! But today has been my day off and I am taking back ground. I am currently in the first few books of Exodus, but wanted to make a few observations on here before I finish my reading for the day.

As I read through the book of Genesis I was a little shocked at how messed up the stories I was reading were! I mean, I'm talking Jerry Springer messed up! Murder, sex, betrayal...and I'm pretty sure the "mandrake plant" in chapter 30 would probably be considered a illegal substance today because this woman sold her husband like a prostitute for it! (I'm not kidding, read it...Okay, I just googled it, and yeah, it's a hallucinogen!) Did you know how racy this stuff is? I mean in chapter 19 Lot's daughters get him drunk so they can sleep with him and have his babies! Then in chapters 25-27 the tricky Jacob gets his brother's inheritance from his dad in exchange for some soup and donkey steak! (That Jacob must have really known how to cook!) I could go on and on! And these were the people that God built his nation upon! WOW! There is hope! If God could bless a people like this...if God could use people like these...God can use us. We hold up people like Abraham and Moses as if they were perfect godly figures from the Bible, but if you take the time to read about them...Abraham was a liar who slept with his wife's maidservant and Moses was a murderer! In the end it was their faith that God credited to them as righteousness, but they weren't perfect and no one tried to hide that fact! There short-comings are written in the Bible for everyone to read.

Another thing that has floored me in my more recent readings is the lack of faith these people had. God comes to Moses in a burning bush and tells him to do something and Moses has the balls to argue with God!!! WOW! I mean Abraham did the same thing, not only arguing, but trying to take matters into his own hands but let's talk about Moses...he starts making all these excuses like, I'm not a good speaker, people won't listen to me, blah, blah, blah, BLAH! If God came to me in a fiery shrub I'd like to believe I would be like..."Okay, Holy God Almighty, You got it! Whatever you say!" If God calls you to do something...he's gonna equip you to do it...I mean HELLO! But then I remembered two things. Number one, I know what I know about God because I've heard stories about people like Moses and Abraham, they didn't have the Old Testament...they were living it! And Two, God doesn't always come in a burning bush, but He calls us quietly to do things all the time...and I, I argue with Him all the time. I'm no better than these Bible crazies. Thousands of years and we haven't come that far, have we? Is God calling you to do something? Are you telling Him you aren't equipped to do it? Is He asking you to give? Are you telling God you don't have enough? Is He asking you to let go of something? Are you telling Him you can't do it?

One last observation...A little faith goes a long way...despite themselves...these people were used by God.

I hope that one day it will be able to be said of me...
...despite herself...
...Tiffani was used by God.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Yesterday was a busy day. After working all day, I came home and fixed supper, did the dishes, watched 24, and played some piano and violin. In between those things, I managed to read through the entire book of Genesis. Needless to say it was a late night, but wow - to read through all 50 chapters was incredible.

After reading Genesis 1-3, I found myself asking a question I hadn't thought much about before: Why did God create the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as well as the tree of life? I'm sure biblical scholars have debated and reasoned over this for years, but as I contemplated this I was somewhat quizzical over the purpose of these two trees. Why were they there in the first place? If God knew what would happen, why even put them in the garden?

But Genesis 1:12 tells us, "The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." All of God's creation was good, and for God to have created these two trees not only were they "good," but they had to serve a purpose. Were they purposed to tempt Adam and Eve? Had Adam and Eve not eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what other purpose might the trees have served?

What makes this question even more interesting is found in Genesis 3:22 - "And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." It was after this that God banished them from the garden, and placed cherubim on the east side of the garden with a flaming sword to "guard the way to the tree of life." (v. 24) From simple observation, God did not want them to eat of these trees, which only emphasizes the question of why they were there in the first place.

Interesting. I don't have an answer, but I find this passage fascinating.

Another observation I made was in Genesis 2. On the sixth day of creation, God made man in His own image. We know that from Adam's rib He also created Eve. But did you ever notice that this all occurred in the same day? After creating Adam, Genesis 2:19 tells us that "The Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beats of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to Adam to see what he would name them." Can you imagine - Adam was just created, and now he has to name all of earth's creatures? And after doing so, God caused Adam to fall asleep, and when he awakens there is a woman who was created just for him! Again, this all occurred on the same day (for those of you who hold that one day of creation is equivalent to a "day" as we know it - for others, we'll not divulge into that discussion right now).

I look forward to reading more...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Accepting The Challenge

I've always admitted to being a competitive person. As the perfectionist that I've grown to be, I've thrived - even prided myself - on opportunities to show my strengths and gifts. But when I received the phone call from Tiffani, and she challenged me to a "race" through the Bible, I uncharacteristically hesitated. This wouldn't be a simple challenge. Rather, it would be a tremendous commitment to myself, to Tiffani, to others, and ultimately to God to devote myself to reading my Bible - and much more of it than I normally do.

I'd be lying if I said that I'm an avid Bible-reader. Yes, I've read through the Bible twice and several parts of it more-so throughout my life. Growing up in the church and then attending a Christian University doesn't lack opportunities for scripture reading. But too often in the last couple years I've allowed the busyness of life to consume time that I could have - should have - been reading my Bible. Busyness is a choice, however, and by accepting this challenge I'm finally choosing to make time in God's Word a priority in my life. Yes, I'm always busy. There's always things I could do between home, work, marriage, and life. But above all those things is an amazing God, our loving Father who has been calling me back to Himself - into a relationship that has been quite disconnected for too long.

In the last three months, God has been revealing Himself to me, and drawing me back to a deeper communion with Him. My prayer is that this experience and challenge of reading His Word will awaken my spirit and renew my mind. Echoing Tiffani's post, this is a friendly competition. But we both hope and pray that others will join us in this journey from Genesis to Revelation. I've never kept a blog before, so this will only add to the challenge for me. But I pray that this experience will encourage others where they are at in their journey, and hold me accountable to the task that lays ahead.

I hope to read with untainted eyes, that God would speak to me and reveal things to me that perhaps I never saw before. I'm anxious for this challenge, but excited in how God will use this now and in the rest of my life. I pray that reading will be a lifelong habit as much as it will be in the next several weeks.

So please follow me - follow us - as we challenge one another through God's Word. I ask you for prayer and encouragement, and for accountability to "keep at it" even when life gets busy. Let the race begin!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

How This Started

I should start this out by confirming that, yes, this is a race, but it’s probably not the type of race you’re used to. You see, there is no tangible prize. We are not attempting to break any records, and besides a lifetime of Bible reading, we haven’t really been training…in fact, our lack of training is kind of what led to this challenge.

So being the nerd that I am, I was listening to one of my many podcasts when I came up with this idea. It was a message (New Thru 30: It is Written…) by Pastor Steve Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. He had challenged his church to read the New Testament in 30 days. His reasoning behind a quick read inspired me. He compared it to the first few days of an intense workout and diet program. You immerse yourself into it and it’s hard, but eventually, if you stick with it, you see results. After the first few weeks of hard work, you maintain your results through a lifestyle change. I like that, a lifestyle change.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time and I’ve read a lot of the Bible, but I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve read through the whole thing. I tend to stick to the parts of the Bible that I know, the parts that are easy to understand, the parts that are not…boring. I’m familiar with “read the Bible” programs. There are 90 day ones, chronological ones, ones that break down verses day by day. Really, for as organized as I am, you would think those programs would be great for me, but the truth is that I’m a lot more competitive than I am organized and to get me through the book of Numbers, I need some competitive motivation!

Holly and I both work forty plus hours a week. We both have lives. We both have reading list. We both have our “shows,” but we both want to know God better. We want to be able to distinguish the truth from the many lies in our lives. We want to become better people with greater purpose. So we’re taking the time to make it happen. We’re spurring one another on in friendly competition.

This is a race, because we need help! This is a blog, again, because we need help! I knew that if I really wanted to commit to doing this, I needed to know that I was accountable to others. It is my prayer that you, our readers, will benefit from what God teaches us. His word is alive and I’m excited to read it front to back to catch the things I never knew I was missing. I’ll probably have more questions than answers at the end of this, but as Pastor Furtick put it, this is just a jumpstart to a lifelong habit of reading and learning the word of God. My questions will serve as a guide for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Challenge Accepted!

On the night of February 4, 2010, Tiffani Binder challenged Holly Koons to a race. A race not like any other, but one through the Bible. These two 4.0 GPA women, most likely too smart for their own good, will read through the Bible as quickly as possible.

The quest begins February 15, 2010. Follow the journey, comment on the magic, and try to read along...if you dare. (Daniel Koons, Moderator)