The Pinterest Project Day 23: Bible Reading App

On day one of The Pinterest Project, I mentioned that I began reading through the Bible this year. This time, I have decided to do it digitally for the first time. I’m using an app that’s been pinned all over Pinterest called YouVersion. It’s free, and contains many translations of the Bible.

Most versions are available when you have wifi. However, several can also be downloaded to your tablet so you can access it when you are away from internet access. I love the program because I can highlight and take notes. I can also see notes from other people who have made their comments public. I have chosen to keep mine private. I’m still exploring the options, but I highly recommend the app!

I have it set up to send me a daily reminder when I log onto my tablet. On the reading plan I chose, I check off the box next to passage I’ve finished reading. There are plans that are in chronological order, ones that include an Old Testament and New Testament reading each day, and many others. I choose to go through the OT first and not combine with NT readings.

[Posting this from my tablet and realizing how limited I am in creating posts. Sorry if it doesn’t look right on your computer today. I can only paste photos below the text. And I can’t make pretty colored text. 🙁 ]

The Pinterest Project Day 20: Sabbath Rest

Today, a short Pinterest project post. I was inspired by a pin from a blog called Upside Down Home Schooling on observing the sabbath. Heather mentioned her conviction to observe a day of true rest. 

http://pamelaaugust.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/rest.jpg


Heather included resting from the Internet. That’s something I need to consider. In the meantime, I did have a nice day of rest today. Spent the morning at church, the afternoon relaxing with my parents, and the evening relaxing at home. 

Do you have a designated day of rest and worship? Some people observe Saturday as the sabbath and others Sunday. Perhaps yours is different. Do you have particular guidelines you have set for your own sabbath?  See Heather’s full post for the guidelines she has set for her day of rest.

Now, back to resting…

The Pinterest Project: Day 1

For the first day of my Pinterest Project, I chose an easy assignment. I had a hard time coming up in a pin on Pinterest related to faith, so I’ll evaluate something I see others pin. I have decided I want to read through the Bible in a year. It’s the first of the year, so the perfect day to begin, and many others will do the same. It’s been a couple of years since I last read it through in a year. On Pinterest, I saw several posts for One-Year Bibles. I happened to see one for the NIV Daily Bible.

I can testify that this is a great Bible and I highly recommend it! 

Several years ago, I decided to read through the Bible in a year and chose The Daily Bible, which is a chronological Bible. Reading through the Bible in the order (to the best of experts’ knowledge) in which events occurred really gave me a new perspective on events. For example, it was great to read through some of David’s story in Kings and Chronicles while also reading the Psalms he wrote during that era at the same time.  

In the New Testament, you’ll read the events of the gospels all merged together in order. 

This version had commentary and historical information added throughout, and had readings all divided for the year. 

Although I didn’t try it out today [in other words, I sort of cheated because I tried this out before], I still declare this “pin” a success and highly recommend the resource of you’re considering reading through the Bible this year. It isn’t too late to start. You’ll have a few days of catching up to do if you order it now, but it’s a great project for 2013! For under $20 for a hardcover Bible, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Could You Pack Up and Move to Africa? For Coffee?

When you sip your morning java, do  you ever wonder where the beans for that coffee came from? Do you ever wonder about the farmer? I didn’t think much about it when I’d make my espresso and blend it up with some milk and ice…that is I didn’t until I met someone who does care about the farmer. And he made me think differently about it.

Ben Carlson, a native of my little Wisconsin neighborhood has a passion for helping those farmers get paid what they deserve for their coffee beans. And he’s in Africa helping those farmers. But such a passion comes with a price.

As a wife, I cannot imagine what it might be like if my husband’s passion took us to the heart of Africa. To a place where the people don’t speak my language, and where I’d fall asleep and wake up to gunfire, not peepers and crickets. I cannot fathom raising small children away from grandparents, cousins and friends. But this family is doing it.

I want you to see this stirring (pun not intended) video of Ben and his family. It moved me.


After watching that, I’m ashamed of my petty complaints about my minor discomforts and woes. I’m grateful for the safety of my rural neighborhood and the availability of doctors and clinics. And I’m saddened by the way farmers have been underpaid in Africa for a product that supplies our luxury in lattes and fancy brews.

Kristy and Ben blog about their life in Africa at Long Miles Coffee Project. I encourage you to check out their blog and Kristy’s amazing photos and heartwarming posts. And remember, when you sip your next cup of coffee, to pray for Ben and Kristy and others who have given up their own comfort to help oppressed people in places like Burundi. Pray that their faith will remain strong and their hearts will be full of hope as they cope with the daily stresses of such a life.

Lightning, God’s Fireworks Display

The other night, we had quite the lightning show in the sky. As the storm rolled in, my son and I stood on the porch watching the flashes and streaks in the sky. It was amazing! I got out my camera and shot over 50 pictures, but the flashes were so fast that I was able to capture only three streaks of lightning. 

It was like watching the fireworks on the 4th of July, but these weren’t set off with a torch on a heap of gunpowder. These were natural. Unpredictable, Powerful. It reminded me that God’s power isn’t defined the way we define power. It reminded me of how awesome he is.

As I looked through the pictures, I thought of two of my favorite worship songs. Chris Tomlin sings in “How Great is Our God”: 

The splendor of a King,
clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
all the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
and darkness tries to hide
it trembles at his voice
 

And in another song titled “Indescribable”, he sings:

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
 

It’s storm season, so next time it storms, watch that display of power in the heavens and remember how great our God is! Yes, he is amazing. He is indescribable.

Faux Finished Faith?

This past week, I tackled a big project on my to-do list and refinished several pieces of furniture with a faux finish. Using paints and glaze, I turned dated pine cabinets into something that looks, well, older. Sounds weird, huh? My “update” was rather ironic, but I love furniture that looks weathered and aged. See the makeover project here.

My cabinets had a dramatic change. I hope it looks like vintage furniture aged to perfection. But I know you aren’t fooled. Underneath, it is still cheap pine furniture. It’s a fake (faux) version of the real thing. And guess what? It might look great now, but if I rough it up with use, it’s likely to chip or peel to reveal what’s really under the faux finish.

Sometimes, we have faux finished faith. On the outside, we look like followers of Jesus, but on the inside, nothing is changed. We’re still the same as we always were. But when life scuffs us up and things get rough, we’re sure to see what’s really underneath. I realize that sometimes I go through the motions without letting God make permanent changes in my heart and attitudes. When I’m under stress, my family sees the real me, the part that flips out when the house is a mess or someone makes a mistake. I’m a work in progress as God continues to work on my “makeover”.

How is your faith? Has Jesus changed you from within the deep layers, or do you go through the motions? We’re all a work in progress, so don’t be discouraged if God still has work to do. He’s working on me too. Real faith isn’t just painted on. It’s a process that takes time as God renews us from the inside out.

A SWEET AROMA

Yesterday, the farmer who owns the field across from my house mowed his hay. As I sat at my desk, the smell of fresh mowed hay wafted into my office from the open window, and immediately childhood memories flashed into my mind. Growing up on a farm, I recall many summers of making hay and drifting off to sleep in crisp line-dried sheets with the smell of fresh hay carried on the damp nighttime breeze. I opened the window wide last night so I could fall asleep reliving memories from more than two decades ago. Drinking in deep gulps of the sweet air, my unfinished to-do list banished from my mind, I relived the carefree innocence of my youth and the delightful comfort of crisp sheets and a soft quilt.

Isn’t it amazing how a smell can stick with us and bring back memories long filed away in some corner of our minds? That’s why it’s so important for us to remember that we are the aroma of Christ to other people (from 2 Cor. 2:15). Others remember how we treat them and if we claim to love Jesus at the same time we cut others down with our words, they’ll remember that stench for a long time. As we go to work, interact with grocery store clerks, and sit next to friends at the ball game, we need to keep in mind that our behavior can affect how some people think about Jesus. We can be a sweet fragrance that draws people towards a desire for God, or we can stink up their perception. I’d rather be perfume, wouldn’t you?

Michelle