Week 1 – Mark

Well, are you ready to begin this journey with me?  By the end of this calendar year, we will have gone through the entire New Testament.  Doesn’t that sound awesome!

We begin our journey in The Book of Mark.  Do you know anything about Mark?  Yes, he wrote one of the gospels, but what else do we know about him.  I have a bible that introduces each book and also shares short stories of today that can relate a bit to the bible stories/chapters.  I love it!  It helps make sense of what I am reading.  I have learned from the introduction on The Book of Mark that Mark was in on the action from the beginning.  He was very close friends with people who were instrumental in the very early days of the Christian Church.  He hung around Peter, Paul and Barnabas.  He accompanied them on journeys, listened to their stories and accounts of situations, and he recorded it all for us!  He was an assistant of sorts in the beginning, but moved into missionary work as he learned from his friends and was called to do so.

He was anxious to share Jesus’ story.  He has organized his book not necessarily chronologically, but by grouping similar events together to help us gain a clearer picture.  Mark’s gospel was the first written and it was perhaps written as a teaching tool for people who wanted to learn more about Jesus.

Mark’s gospel is broken up into three sections.

  • Jesus’ Ministry Begins (1-6)
  • Jesus’ Teachings (7-10)
  • The Last Week (11-16)

This first week of our study/readings, we will read chapters 1-5.  Here is the schedule for you to follow, which you can also find in the link for The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading.

January 1 – Chapter 1
January 2 – Chapter 2
January 3 – Chapter 3
January 4 – Chapter 4
January 5 – Chapter 5
January 6 – Reflection
January 7 – Praises & Petitions

I would love for you to share your thoughts, questions, ideas, etc in the comments section of this blog after you read each day.  Occasionally, I will pose some questions as well.  Feel free to answer each other’s questions too.  I’d love for this to be interactive!

As we close up 2013, I pray for all of you to have positive spiritual growth as we journey together.  Thank you for embarking on this journey with me.

Erin

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Happy New Year

As the new year approaches and the old winds down, we are all making resolutions.  Resolutions to change, to be better, to look better, to do better.  How many of these resolutions will last past the end of January?  I have given up making New Year’s Resolutions in the list form.  My resolutions include 2 things only and they are the same two things every year.

One is a word I will live by.  I will choose a word that will make me a better person in everything that I do.  I will apply this word to every situation and this will be my word for 2014.

My word this year is UNDERSTANDING.  I will strive to understand others and not judge in any situation that I find myself facing.  When I fall short, I will try again.  I will try to use my new understanding to  be more accepting of others.  I will apply this word in all areas of my life for the entire year.

Secondly I will commit to reading the bible and studying God’s Word.  This year, I have chosen The Discipleship Journal 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan.  This plan is 5 minutes a day of bible reading, 5 days a week and 5 ways to dig deeper.  I will be using this blog to share my thoughts and reflections on this bible reading plan.  I encourage you to join me and we can help keep each other accountable in staying in God’s Word daily.

If you would like to be a part of the Daily Bible Plan, please download the schedule by clicking the link below and also click on the Follow link to follow this blog. Each time I post a new blog, you will get an email.  Use this blog as a guide, a place to share in the comments section and a place to connect to others who are looking to dig a little deeper.

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan 5x5x5

The plan will officially begin on January 1, which you will see on the schedule.  I will post questions to ponder and thoughts to share each week.  Between now and January 1, feel free to use the comments section of this blog to introduce yourself, commit to being a part of being in God’s Word together and to also meet some others who would like to join us as well.

I’m excited to begin this journey with you as we start a new chapter together!

Blessings to you and your family,

Erin

Merry Christmas….Don’t Call Me Until January!

December is a magical time of the year.  Excitement grows in the young and the old.  Houses sparkle with lights inside and out.  Stockings are hung, trees are trimmed, cookies are baked, knick-knacks are packed away and replaced with small nativity sets, Santa statues, bells and snow globes.  Calendars fill up quickly with activities, events and parties.  All of these preparations are completed to celebrate the coming birth of Jesus Christ.  What a glorious and majestic Advent Season, and such a time to be thankful, joyful and celebratory!

December is a grief stricken month for many.  It is a reminder that someone we love will not put the Angel on the Christmas Tree this year.  A painful sight of a stocking hung that will not be filled or opened on Christmas morning.  A place setting at the table that no one will fill for Christmas dinner.  Those same decorations and ornaments that bring us joy and expectation also bring memories of past Christmases and sorrow.

Being on this grief train is not a choice I had to make.  No one chooses this, but so many live it each day.  We mask it well, most of the time.  Every so often, you may see a glimpse of the roller coaster speeding downhill a little faster than we were prepared for.  We never quite know when it will occur.

So, how does one like myself, (a mom of two girls living and a wonderful and loving husband), share the excitement and expectation of Christmas while feeling the stark pain through my heart as I hang my late son’s stocking?  The little voice of my 5 year old sings behind me and tells me how much she loves that her brother’s stocking is in the middle this year.  I smile to her and blink away the tear in my eye.

My husband is out with my daughters right now choosing a Christmas Tree.  We always put up our tree and decorate it the second weekend in December because it also happens to be my son’s birthday.  (This doesn’t make the season any easier for us.)  However, it is a nice way to celebrate our son and Jesus together and it gives us something productive to do as a family.  I didn’t want to go with them.  This morning, I was so happy and very “Merry Christmas Everyone!”  This afternoon, I am more like, “Call me in January and not before!”  It’s  a quick ride this roller coaster.

So how do you cope?  One day at a time?  Sometimes that is even too much.  I am 7 1/2 years into this grief journey and yes, sometimes one day at a time is still too much for me, especially in December.  So, maybe one hour at a time?  That seems to work most days.  If I feel down, I take an hour “off”.  Maybe read, pray, just take a short nap or rest somewhere.  The ride is so quick, within an hour, I may be ready for baking or tree trimming.

You see, inside my heart is a constant battle.  One part of my heart is joyful and excited for Christmas, just the way you would imagine a small child at this time of the year.  I get excited when the Christmas specials are on TV and I want to watch them live with the commercials because it reminds me of when I was a child and my parents would let me stay up late to see them!  We couldn’t DVR or buy the video and watch it 1000 times a season.  You would watch it when it was on or you had to wait a year!  The other part of my heart feels heavy, so heavy I can’t move.  My chest aches like there are bricks lying on it.  Having these two conflicting feelings occurring simultaneously is confusing, difficult and makes you feel just plain crazy!

I don’t have the answers.  I just know that I might tell you Merry Christmas or I might tell you to call me in January.  Either way, I know I will find my steps through this glorious, grief-stricken, magical and dark season of Christmas.

God Bless you all and please be sensitive to those who who are celebrating this season without a loved one.  It doesn’t matter when that person died, this year or 50 years ago.  The loss is still evident everyday.

Merry Christmas to you all!  Call me in January!