Brina Harwood


People often discuss individual methods for creativity whether it be music, art, or writing.  As a writer, I know I have my own method for creating new blog posts, which I don’t mind sharing with you:

My Struggle/Mess + God’s Correction/Insight = Blog Inspiration (ta-da!)

It’s so simple, and yet, as with much of life, so difficult.

That said, let’s dive right into one of my recent moments of inspiration.

As all of you should know by now, ACC offers lots of classes to help us in our Christian faith, of which I’ve taken nearly all of them.  One group of classes is OSL (Operation Solid Lives), which I highly recommend, and, when you take Level 1, you can opt to buy a handy-dandy booklet with a Bible reading plan at the back.  Now, after using various other methods of choosing which scripture to read (including, randomly opening my bible, transforming the date into a page number, transforming the time into a Psalm, and other such unsustainable methods), I have found that it truly is much easier to stick to a predetermined, daily reading plan (I know, so basic).  On an irrelevant side, I have also found that I must often (too often) forgive myself when I miss and definitely not try to play catch-up.  Having already missed two out of the four readings this year, I’m off to a rough start, but God has proven He can work with that.

The readings for January 3rd were Luke 3, Genesis 4-5, and Revelation 2 (don’t freak out, I picked the “level: hard” reading plan, there is a 1 or 2 chapter plan too!).  Initially, when I saw these three readings grouped together, I thought, “This is gonna be crazy! I’ll be lucky to get anything!”—keep in mind that my brain feels useless unless it uncovers patterns and connections.  I’m not sure why I ever questioned whether God could connect any section of His Word with any other section of His Word that He wanted to, given that it is His Word – key words being, His Word – but I did.

In what shouldn’t have been a shocking turn-of-events, my take-away was illustrated to me in all three books.  In Luke 3, John the Baptist is boldly declaring that people need to straighten up and get right with God (my summary).  In response to that, we see the average people in the crowd, the tax collectors, and the soldiers separately ask him what they can actually do.  Interestingly, John doesn’t give them a canned answer like, “Stop sinning!” or “Try harder!”, but instead gives each of them, separately, specific and relevant instruction that they could immediately take action on.  In Genesis 4, we see Cain (of the brothers Cain [and] Abel) about to make the single biggest mistake of his life (you know, the one he’s famous for), but we see God try to intervene by giving him specific and relevant instruction, “You don’t have to feel angry and dejected!  Just do the right thing, because if you don’t, sin is just waiting to take over your life!” (my summary).  As the reader, we know that Cain doesn’t listen to God, but are able to guess Cain knew exactly what God was talking about.  Finally, in Revelation 2, we see Jesus giving encouragement and correction to four different churches.  In each instance, Jesus doesn’t give them canned encouragement or generic correction, but rather His words are specific and relevant to each church and can be acted upon.

You may have made it this far and are beginning to wonder where I’m going with this, which I totally understand.  But here it is, God has a word for you, whether it be a word of warning, encouragement, correction, direction, instruction, wisdom, or maybe a sprinkling of all of the above, and it is specific and relevant to you and requires action by you.  I know, from personal experience, that it is easy to slip into a Christianity that doesn’t feel personal and all of the things we hear and read seem generic and great for everyone else, but that isn’t how God works.   Just as He was eager to show me something specific and relevant that I, not only needed to hear, but needed to act on as well; He is equally eager to show you something specific and relevant that you desperately need—whether or not you realize that you desperately need it.

So, as we kick off 2017 with our renewed desire to read the Bible and pray every day, may we keep in mind that God has every intention of meeting us each and every time, with something personal, specific and relevant for our individual lives because He knows exactly what we each need to hear and/or know each and every day.  For all of time, literally from Genesis to Revelation, His desire for a personal relationship with us has never faltered and He has something specific and relevant for you.