Tag Archives: self-control

Proverbs 24-25; Psalm 41; 1 Thessalonians 2

3It takes wisdom to have a good family.

It takes understanding to make it strong.

4It takes knowledge to fill a home

with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4 (ICB)

As a mother my desire is to have a great relationship with my kids. I want my home to be a place of safety, full of wonderful things and even better memories. I want my kids to be connected at the heart with me, their Daddo, each other. And, most importantly I want them to love Jesus with all their being.

There are many days I feel like a failure in all this; days when my bad mommy moments vastly outweigh the good ones. I am probably my own worst critic. It’s probably better than I sometimes think it is. I choose to hold on to the hope that my kids remember more of the positive moments, the fun times, and forget the times I’ve lost my patience and my self-control went the way of the dodo.

28A person who does not control himself

is like a city whose walls have been broken down. Proverbs 25:28 (ICB)

When I lose self-control, yell, scream, lecture, spank…I immediately witness the tiniest thread of connection my daughters and I have in that moment disintegrate like a hiker walking through a spider web stretched across the trail. Even if my calm, steady voice paired with “the look” isn’t working to get their attention, the tension-filled, impatient, MOM voice and ugly face, turns them away from me even faster.

7But we were very gentle with you. We were like a mother caring for her little children. 8Because we loved you, we were happy to share God’s Good News with you. But not only that, we were also happy to share even our own lives with you. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ICB)

I don’t want to go through life feeling like I had a good day simply because I didn’t make front page news. I want to know that my family had a good day because I was gentle, caring, I was patient and full of self-control, even if my kids weren’t. I want them to experience my love first hand, not just hear the words come from my mouth. I want to show them who Christ is through my example. I want my family to be happy that we share our lives together. I want my house to be filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

On Sunday, I actually had it together. I had some alone time, with God (an important key), and then miraculously got everyone dressed, fed and out the door on the way to church 10 minutes early. Once I got us all belted in and we were on the road, I looked in the rear view mirror at my oldest and asked her how the morning was. She thought for a moment and told me it was a good morning. I asked her why. She said, “Because, we didn’t fight.”

The treasure chest filled up a little bit more…

Yesappa, Thank You for showing me how it can be when I rely on Your wisdom and understanding to build my family up and fill my home. Help me in those moments that I struggle to see what You see. Help me love my kids more like You love them. Help me discipline like You discipline Your children. Give me strength to choose self-control and patience, and make me into a gentle mother. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie

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Filed under 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs, Psalms

2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 20; Psalms 51, 32; Acts 27

 The lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

I will advise you and watch over you.

Do not be like a senseless horse or mule

that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Psalm 32:8-9

Parenting is NOT for the faint of heart!

Yesterday was one of the scariest days of my life. I could not find my 4 year old daughter anywhere. She disappeared while she was playing outside in the few minutes that I went inside to take care of my dog poop/mud-covered 2 ½ year old. For more than an hour, I (along with other friends, family, and even people I didn’t know) searched around 6+ acres of property, inside houses and out, for more than an hour before she was found.

The police finally found her in our upstairs neighbor’s apartment hiding in her friend’s room, playing with toys; they were gone for the day, but the door had been left unlocked and she went right in not caring if anyone was home or not. I noticed the door open and had searched the apartment 3 times and my mom searched once, each of us calling for her to say ‘I’m here’, telling her that we weren’t playing a game of hide and seek and we just wanted to see her face, but we never saw her. My daughter told me later that she didn’t respond because she didn’t want to stop playing.

I think I felt every imaginable emotion and thought of every possible (horrible) scenario, and as much as I felt like yelling and screaming at her, once she was found, I also just wanted to hold her for as long as possible because she was safe!

I ended up waiting to talk to her about what had happened until I knew I had better control over myself. I felt like if I lost self-control, I would also lose a teachable moment.

As I began processing how I would talk with her about it, I thought about how in my own life there have been so many moments like this – times when I’ve ignored what I knew was ‘right’ to get my own way.

And yet, God has never ‘lost it’ with me, He lovingly guides me to better understanding. He gives me counsel and watches over me until I am able to make good choices. He gives me freedom to learn how to manage myself.

As I strive to parent as effectively as possible, I need to continue to imitate my Heavenly Father as He parents me, allowing me to make bad choices, and trusting in His goodness and love to lead me with His eye.

Yesappa, Help me have Your guiding eyes that offer true freedom! In Jesus’ name.Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Ezekiel 41-42; 2 Peter 1

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

Since becoming a follower of Christ, I have often thought about what that means, what it ‘should’ look like. Christianity began with me completely believing in and putting my confidence in God my Father, in His Son who came to earth as a man, laid His life down to restore my relationship with Him, and rose again to life on the third day, and in Holy Spirit my helper. It began with faith; faith to trust even though I don’t always have tangible evidence, faith to step out and take a leap into the unknown.

Peter shares that while the foundation of the Christian walk is simple faith, it isn’t the only facet. He shares that, because I partake of the divine nature of God, I am able to develop my simple faith with additional character qualities that will keep me from being unfruitful in my life and help to prevent me from falling:

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 2 Peter 1:5-7 MSG

Virtue – as I practice moral excellence, as I make good choices in the day-to-day of life, my life begins to better reflect Christ in me. Determination, integrity, and discretion help me walk a straight path; and even when I stumble, I have a plum line to help me get up and walk again.

Knowledge – as I continue to delve deeper in my relationship with God, His divine nature is reveled to me in greater and greater ways. Each day, as I spend more time with Him, my understanding of Him, my intimacy with Him is increased. Though I will ever be in awe of His goodness, my experiences of who God is gives me a new sense of familiarity. He is my Daddy and no longer a formidable, unapproachable being.

Self-Control – as I train myself in restraint, I become more level-headed and my willpower for self-discipline becomes stronger. I am better able to regulate my actions, my emotions, my fleshly desires and appetites. When I have control over myself, the truth about who I really am in Christ is able to shine above my weaknesses as a human being.

Steadfastness – as I exercise patience, my ability to continue fruitfully throughout my journey, through the ups and downs, despite the fatigue and stress, without complaint or loss of temper, increases. I am better able to bear the trials of life without being derailed from my purposes and goals. I am able to stay hopeful in the waiting.

Godliness – as I endeavor to be more like Jesus, I naturally begin to submit to His will, obeying the wishes of God as I understand them. As I hold tightly to God, as I become more reliant on Him, He enhances my wisdom, my gratitude, and teaches me how to be honoring to Him and to others.

Brotherly Affection – as I get into the habit of being kind to the people around me, I put into practice God’s call for me to love my enemies and to love my neighbors as myself. My compassion and generosity grow, and I am better able to empathize with others in the midst of their personal trials.

Love – as brotherly affection becomes more and more routine, my love increases. Agape love is enkindled by Holy Spirit; it is a love which embraces the truth and demonstrated the nature of God through me. It is a pure, unconditional love that flows with His grace and mercy.

Each one of these qualities adds to my faith, makes it well-rounded, and strengthens me as a believer. As I practice and build on each element, my character continues to grow as I rely on Christ within me.

Yesappa, Thank You for being my Daddy whom I can put my full confidence in. I know that you will never leave me nor forsake me, and that you are the source for all of the growth in my life. Help me always look to You as I walk my path; help me continue to fortify the qualities that demonstrate Your work in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Kings 10, 11; 2 Timothy 1; Hosea 2; Psalms 119:97-120

For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (ASV)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (AMP)

For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of temperance. (JUB)

God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (MSG)

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. (NCV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (NIV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (NLT)

For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind. (NLV)

God didn’t give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment. (NOG)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. (TLB)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. (VOICE)

2 Timothy 1:7

Since I have been walking with the Lord, this is one of my go-to verses. When I am struggling in the battlefield of my mind – when I am full of anxiety and fear, filled with bitterness and resentment, feeling insignificant, overwhelmed, and out of control – it helps me remember that I have not been abandoned to my own devices. It reminds me that I am not alone, even when it sometimes feels like it, because He is in me and I am in Him (John 15:5). It reminds me that God has equipped me with the tools that I need to overcome every struggle. And, it prompts me to look to the Lord for the strength I need to triumph over the tactics of the enemy to control and manipulate my thinking and disrupt my journey.

God has given me so many gifts, not because I did anything in my life to deserve them, but because He is my Father and He loves me. The most important gift He gave me was grace given through the sacrificial payment for my sins by Jesus on the cross. At the moment I believed, in Christ’s death and resurrection, I was made new and filled by God’s Spirit. His Spirit became alive in me, and transformed my essence from one of fear and desperation to one of strength.

The original Greek1 offers deeper insight into this spiritual transformation. God gives me the inner quality and character of ability (dunameos), of love (agapes) and of sanity (sophronismou).

God is capable. He is effective, productive, powerful and mighty. Because He has empowered me and given me boldness; even in my weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

God is love (1 John 4:7-9). His love enables me to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and makes it possible for me to love others generously (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

God is the epitome of self-control, discipline and balance. He gives me the ability to exercise good judgment, to govern myself, to manage my emotions and not allow them to enslave me. He gives me awareness in times of danger, wisdom, forethought, and common sense. He helps me use my resources well and helps me keep my priorities in godly order.

John MacArthur says:

…all believers possess these marvelous, God-given endowments: power, to be effective in His service; love, to have the right attitude toward Him and others; and discipline, to focus and apply every part of our lives according to His will. When those endowments are all present, marvelous results occur.”2

Just as I am assured that these good gifts come from the Lord, I am certain that when I experience a spirit of dread (deilias), it is an offering from my enemy designed to trick me into taking my focus off of God. At times, because I am human, I will still experience fear and anxiety; a lack of courage will creep into my psyche or my self-confidence will wane. But, putting my focus back on God, on His goodness and grace, will help me to quickly move from a self-destructive state to a position of strength and poise. His love removes the fear, injects peace, and quiets my heart (1 John 4:18-19).

Yesappa, Thank You for Your life-giving Spirit. Thank You for being with me always. Thank You for giving me wisdom, understanding, and direction. Thank You for building strength and instilling in me the knowledge and reverence of God. Thank You for casting away my fear and replacing it with power, love, and discipline. You are my hiding place and my shield. I love Your teachings, Your Word. Help me to meditate on them throughout each day, allowing them to become a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Through You, and by You I live; only because of You, I am saved. In Jesus’ name. Amen.3

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

1Greek Word Study and Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7

2MacArthur, J. 2 Timothy. Chicago: Moody Press.

3Isaiah 2:11; Psalm 119:97-120

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Numbers 15; Psalms 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

Discipline can occur in many ways. It can be simple teaching, a means to inform and instruct. It can be a verbal correction or a physical punishment. It can be carried out in a loving way that fosters peace and nurtures self-control or it can be accomplished in a way that creates fear and encourages disconnect.

How terrible it will be for those people! They pull their guilt and sins behind them as people pull wagons with ropes. Isaiah 5:18 (NCV)

In India, I have seen men bear the brunt of their punishment for wrong living with hooks perforating the skin on their backs, attached ropes pulled taut, dragging behind them a cart housing an idol they believe is an all-powerful god. They hope against hope that this act of sacrifice will make them worthy of being forgiven for their sin; they wish that this self-imposed discipline will help them be delivered and redeemed.

These men haven’t yet understood that Christ was punished, beaten and pierced, for them. Hands and feet nailed to a cross, thorns gouged His head, and a sword speared into His side, so that they would not only be accepted, but loved with an everlasting love, invited to be His children.

The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as his child. Hebrews 12:6 (NCV)

I think about the times I recognize His discipline in my own life, my walk with Him. Though I make mistakes, I sometimes sin, He offers freedom, teaching from the look in His eye, guiding me in lessons of self-control. He corrects in unconditional love and never-ending mercy. He instructs with firmness, equips me with tools to be triumphant, and prepares me for the future. He does not raise His voice, loose His patience or physically harm me. He does not leave me nor forsake me.

The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit.

God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin. Psalm 51:17 (NCV)

We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful at the time, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way. Hebrews 12:11 (NCV)

As I experience His discipline, my heart is altered, my attitude adjusted. I am altered forever, not because I am frightened into obedience, but because my spirit is instilled with His truth and relationship is restored. I am blessed by His goodness and my nature is made holy in Him.

Create in me a pure heart, God,

and make my spirit right again.

Do not send me away from you

or take your Holy Spirit away from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation.

Keep me strong by giving me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12 (NCV)

Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms

Leviticus 27; Psalms 34; Ecclesiastes 10; Titus 2

The words of the wise bring them praise, but the words of a fool will destroy them…A fool talks too much. Ecclesiastes 10:12; 14a (NCV)

Every now and then, especially in the midst of an argument, I have these moments where I realize that sometimes I talk too much. My husband says I should have been a lawyer instead of a missionary, because I always know how to argue my point like I am aiming to win in court.

The fact is I don’t always use my words in a life-giving way. I complain. I whine and moan. I vent my frustrations with the double edged sword of my tongue. I admit I even raise my voice from time to time, hoping that an increase in volume will increase my ability to be understood or at least heard.

After it is all said and done, I often regret the verbal vomit I spewed. I know I have made myself look the fool at times, before friends, family, and even complete strangers. And I wish I had just kept my big mouth shut.

It is an area of myself I am continually taking before God, a request for self-control and restraint. Over the past few years, as I have been getting more and more accustomed to being a new creation, I have realized that there are a few choices that I have to make each day that are vital in order for me to adopt a mouth of the wise:

1) I have to actively choose to think about how what I allow to come out of my mouth might affect myself and the people around me. Are the words bouncing around, yearning to escape encouraging, something that will build-up rather than tear-down? Do they offer life or usher in death?

Speak the truth so that you cannot be criticized. Then those who are against you will be ashamed because there is nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:8 (NCV)

2) I have to actively choose to always speak the truth, in love. Things that need to be said can always be shared in more than one way. If I am honest, but offer those truths in a hard, unloving way, it opens the door for strife. But, if I am truthful in an authentic, loving way, it removes the enemy’s ability to cause discord with my words.

I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise is always on my lips. My whole being praises the Lord. Psalm 34:1-2a

3)      And most importantly, I have to actively choose to put my attention on God. When I focus on Him, my mind is renewed and my thoughts are bathed in His wisdom. And when my thoughts are aligned with Heaven, my words follow suit and I am able to interact from a place of love, grace, and mercy.

It is a journey, and I pray that one day I will notice I am much better at censoring my words, considering before I speak, and speaking through a lens of love, to myself and to others.

Help me Holy Ghost!

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, Leviticus, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Titus, Uncategorized

Joshua 11, Psalm 144, Jeremiah 5, Matthew 19

 “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts… that He might utterly destroy them, … Joshua did to them as the LORD had told him … Thus Joshua took all this land” Joshua 11:20,9,16

 Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle—  Psalm 144:1

 “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Josh.%2011;%20Ps.144;%20Jer.%205;%20Matt.%2019&version=NKJV

  Joshua 11                          Where is Your territory in me Lord? Where is my heart hardened against You? Break it now. May my fullness of sin be now (Genesis 15:16) so I am repentant and You have Your Way with me!

Open my eyes to the pain of the casualties of this Spiritual War around me. In my family, neighbors, places I frequent and world. Move me by Your compassion, wisdom and Holy Spirit to be effective in me as You were with Joshua. I shall not fear, for You, my Commander, go before me, and I am to follow You closely!!

Psalm 144                          Lord God Almighty, the Spiritual War is Great. You are “my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle”! Reveal Your enemies to me that I will pray fervently, and act obediently in word, attitude, spirit, and action for Your Good purpose in setting captives free for Your Glory alone! (Romans 12:1-2)

“Stretch out Your hand … Rescue me and deliver me” v. 7   By Your Word and Spirit reveal to me all deception, falsehood and hidden sin so that I will not be held captive by it, but will be alert and self-controlled. 1 Peter 5:8 , 2 Corinthians 10:5

I am humbled and gratefully rejoice that “You take knowledge of” me, my God and Lord!! v. 3-4,15

Jeremiah 5                       Spiritual War within God’s people! – God is the Commander-in-Chief of Spiritual War! Beware- no one is immuned to His righteous judgements!

God’s people do not seek, speak, live nor love Truth. “they swear falsely… refused to receive correction… made their faces harder than rock; … refused to return. … For they are not the LORD’s. …They have lied about the LORD,… they committed adultery… their transgressions are many; Their backslidings have increased….  this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed… their houses are full of deceit.”  v. 2-3, 10,12,6, 23, 27

How clearly I see this in my country!

Small Snapshot: Yesterday I read in an elderly magazine that people over age 50 are contracting AIDS in great numbers because of fornication. v. 8, Hebrews 13:4 – Lord reveal Your Word to them and soften their hearts to You!! Save them!

God wars against those who do not obey, worship and fear Him. “Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” v.29, 4-6

God’s Rod of Correction“Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar,” says the LORD.  “It is a mighty nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Their quiver is like an open tomb; They are all mighty men. And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, Which your sons and daughters should eat. … shall destroy your fortified cities” v. 15-17   Will this happen to my country!?

God asks “Will you not tremble at My presence”?   

Seeming terribly prophetic in my view, the only repercussion I want for my country is repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14

 Spiritual War!

 Spiritual War is concrete, real and tangible: The Clash between spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers of this world and in the heavenly realms, of evil against Godly. Ephesians 6:12

Spiritual War is won by being on the Victor’s side: the Lord Jesus Christ. It is won by obedience to God’s Word by God’s Holy Spirit and through prayer. James 5:16, Revelation 12:11, 1 John 5:3, John 14:15,23 

To be on God’s side we must be adopted by the Lord God Almighty, being His child. John 1:12-14, John 3:5-6, 1 Peter 1:23, 2 Cor 5:17. To be God’s child we must surrender our sins and totality to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 13:20 , 1 John 5:6, 1 Timothy 2:5

 Matthew 19                       Spiritual War notes from Jesus:

Spiritual War causes pain to everyone who departs from God and His Word, which is people’s antagonism of God’s Love. James 4:4, Romans 1:18-32, Romans 5:8,10, Colossians 1:21-22

When people do not obey God with His right motives and intent, they are engaging in war against God and His people. When people live for God with His motives and intent, they are on the victory side, whether they see it immediately or not.

Spiritual War points:

Jesus says that marriage God’s Way is Right. Divorce is clothing oneself with violence. God hates it. Malachi 2:16

Children are the causalities in the war of divorce. Jesus wants all children and adults to come to Him. Each person must come as a child, trusting Jesus Christ, in order to enter the Kingdom of God. John 14:6  

Jesus is clear: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  God says to have no idols before Him (Exodus 20:1-11) and learn from and live with Jesus Christ. (Matthew 11:28-30) 1 John 2:5

The only way this is possible is to by the Lord God Almighty (v. 25-29) – being born again. “He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born… of God.” John 1:12-13

“Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” “And everyone who has left … for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” v. 25-29

 Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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