Summer Challenge

Summer Challenge: The End

Sieze the SummerSo, summer is coming to an end – though not quite quickly enough where the weather is concerned!  But, cooler temperatures and falling leaves may still be months away, so this is probably as good a time as any to give some final thoughts on my Summer Challenge.

On June 8th, I began reading in Genesis 1, with the goal of reading through the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, in 90 days.  On September 4th, I completed Revelation 22:21.  (I followed this schedule by Zondervan and Haven Ministries.)  There are pros and cons to every reading plan out there.  They are, after all, just tools.  But, I liked this plan for several reasons, and will probably use it again in the future. 

The main reason being that I liked this particular plan is because it encouraged (required?) time in the Word each day.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV-emphasis added)

But, what exactly is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy?  How do we think about those things on a daily basis?   The answer in Psalm 19:7-11:    

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

As I read through the Bible, systematically, in such a short period of time, I found that it consumed my thinking throughout the day.  Because I read through each book in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months, I gained a better understanding of each individual book.  But, because, Old Testament passages were still fresh in my mind as I moved on to the New Testament, I was also able to see how each part worked together in light of the whole of Scripture.

Too often, I get caught up in the parts, not the whole.  What is that old saying?  Something about missing the forest for the trees…  I forget that, though written over hundreds of years, by different authors, the Bible is one book.  It was written as a whole, and intended to be read, and understood, as such.  It was nice to take a few months to step back and remember that.  It contains all we need for life and godliness.  It is all profitable.

By far, the greatest benefit of this summer challenge, was the blessing of being in the perfect, enduring, pure, true Word of God everyday. 

“Oh how I love your law!  It is my meditation all the day.” 
~Psalm 119:97 (ESV)