I am taking a break from my reading through the book of Matthew in order to follow along with my church's journey using the Community Bible Experience. You can click on its link in order to learn more about it. The Community Bible Experience will take me through the New Testament in eight weeks, and they have ordered the books of the Bible in a way that makes it flow both chronologically and as a story. With that said, I am very excited to start with the first day of the reading which is pages 1-11 in the Books of the Bible New Testament. If you wanted to follow along with the reading plan, you can find it at YouVersion as well. The idea is so that we can get a different view of the New Testament - a big picture view. Instead of looking at small portions of scripture, this helps us to look at the New Testament in a broader context. Since I've been spending so many weeks on one book of the New Testament (Matthew), it will be good to take a break and look at the New Testament as a whole. With that said, it will also be harder to write out my thoughts; however, what I plan to do is just write out one of the thoughts that stuck out to me.
Today's reading is found in the first few chapters of Luke. This weekend, my pastor pointed out that when the book of Luke starts out, it is important to remember that Israel had gone 400 years without hearing God. I love that he gave us the perspective that would be the equivalent of us going until the year 2413 without ever hearing from God. But even though the Israelites never received any prophecy or visions or any type of word from God, there were still those who remained strong in their faith. We are told that Elizabeth and Zechariah were both righteous in God's sight and God chose them to raise the first prophet to come to Israel in 400 years. Suddenly, God's silence was broken and in a period of a few months Israel had two angelic visits! In today's reading, I was struck by the fact that John (Zechariah and Elizabeth's son) was filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born. Then we see that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, then Zechariah, then Mary, and Simeon.
400 years without a word and suddenly people are being filled with the Holy Spirit. God was up to something big! Angels sang of Jesus's birth to shepherds. The introduction of our Savior to this world did not come as quietly as we like to think. Even though there were amazing things happening, most people didn't see them. Simeon and Anna saw the signs, but most people missed these events. It makes me wonder, how many amazing things of God do I miss because I am not looking for them? For example, I love finding rainbows. When I see that conditions seem just right for a rainbow, I will go outside in the rain and try to find the rainbow. I purposely find where the sunlight is shining so I can look in the direction where the rainbow is most likely to be. I am often rewarded by my search, but they are often at an angle that if I didn't go outside I would have never seen the rainbow from inside my house.
I think our spiritual awareness can be similar. We can never notice the things God is doing because we are not really thinking about seeing what God is doing. Today's reading is reminding me how I need to pray that God keeps my eyes open and on Him so I can rejoice in the wonderful work He does each and every day. Just like finding the right angle for the rainbow, I need to keep my eyes on God's angle. I need to step outside of my little world and interact with God's bigger picture!
Are you looking for God's work every day?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.