I want to give all praise to God from Whom all blessings flow for granting me the privilege and blessing of sharing “This is Life Eternal,“ a Bible reading plan with 52 weekly assignments with all who are willing to be drawn into a true worship experience with the great Creator. Because scripture encourages us to give a clear witness for Jesus (Rev. 19:10, and Luke 19:39,40), and because my experience might resonate with many, encouraging them to become immersed in the Holy Word of God, I want to tell how God has directed my life right up to eight decades to accomplish this work of love for Him.
My father, Roy Edward Griffin, was a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist. We moved all our earthly possessions at six- month intervals. There would be a six-week series of meetings, along with radio programs on the local stations, and a lot of newspaper advertising. Following the meetings would be a time devoted to comfortable assimilation of the new members and our family worked together to make that happen before we moved to another venue.
When I joined the family, it was 1936 and the depression was still in full swing. People seemed eager to hear Bible prophecy - was Hitler going to rule the world? My parents met the challenges of packing, moving, getting acquainted with new towns and people with gusto for they shared a love of the truth and a sense of commitment to building the Kingdom of God.
My mother, Trevie, sewed most of the clothes for me and my two older sisters, and she looked for suitable dresses in the church’s “Dorcas Society” (known as Community Services today). When it was possible she went with Daddy to give Bible studies. She played and sang for the meetings and we girls sat on the front row every night so that we could go onstage to sing in the family quintet. I was added to the group when I was 2 years of age.
Both of my parents read Scripture with lots of expression. When Daddy “read” texts during his sermons, he would open the big white Bible in his hand and then fully extend his arm above his head with the open Bible toward the audience. He could quote large portions of Scripture by memory and that open Bible was a non-verbal invitation to enter its sacred pages. The enthusiasm for the Word that he generated in his littlest daughter’s soul still reverberates today! Praise God for a father who was in love with the Holy Scriptures.
Sabbaths were wonderful occasions. Usually we had company. New believers, or soldiers when there were army bases near by. I loved listening to stories of how God led people to come to the meetings, or how the soldiers went through trials getting off on Sabbaths. My early teen sisters were sometimes more enamored with the young men than with the stories! But for me there were no distractions. When sunset neared, enough Bibles were produced for all to be able to participate in sundown worship. Although we sang many songs, we almost always ended by singing “Day is Dying in the West.” And we would lustily sing our praises up to Heaven as the Sabbath ended.
There were hard times when Daddy got very ill, had three stomach surgeries and finally died when I was twelve. Our lives changed drastically. But through the next ten years music continued to keep me very involved with my church family, whether it was in Texas, Nebraska or California!
Loma Linda CA is where I spent 18 years of my life, finished college and married Bob Lang, a physical therapist. But he really wanted to be a physician and so when we had two children he returned to college to take his pre-requisites. A month after he entered medical school, we had our fourth child. Since I taught voice and piano lessons in our home, I, gratefully, did not have to leave the children in order to earn a living. On weekends I directed Adventist choirs on Sabbaths and on Sundays I had a job with a Presbyterian church in San Bernardino. Until his senior year, Bob was able to be with the children on the weekends. If God gives us work to do, he will enable us! I look back at that period of our lives now and wonder how in the world we held it all together. But I believe God worked miracles that I can’t even remember - and when there was a critical need, it was supplied. Praise God!
We moved to Punta Gorda, FL in 1970. Our SDA church is about 15 miles away and at that time we had around 35 attending members. (Today the membership stands at 800!) Since I was no longer in the bosom of an Adventist institution community, many of my friends were from various Christian faiths. When spiritual discussions arose, they were interested in what I believed, but stated that they were New Testament Christians since the Old Testament was just written for the Jews.
This was a valuable period for me spiritually for it put a new focus on my Bible study. I observed the frequency of times that New Testament writers quoted from the Old Testament writers and also how often Jesus quoted from OT books. How COULD my Christian friends say the OT is not relevant today!
So I decided that I would like to read the Bible cover to cover - many times between 1970 and 1998. But I failed every time, getting bogged down in Chronicles or Isaiah. But in the process I became aware of some subject matter that was repetitive in scripture and mentally made note of some of these areas. I made the comment to Bob occasionally that some day I would like to design a Bible reading plan.
In August of 1998, Bob, who was leading out in a small group at the time, asked if I would put together a month’s worth of Bible reading assignments for his group to evaluate and decide if they would like to delve into Scripture for their next inspirational reading. So I sat down at my electric typewriter with just my King James “Open” Bible published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I resolved to use no other reference than my Bible and with a fervent prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the first 4 weeks were done.
My appetite was whetted!! I could not stop!! For three days I hardly slept or ate. As I worked, John 17:3 was my guiding Star. Jesus gave us a winning formula: knowing Jesus = Eternal Life! I wanted this plan to channel minds toward knowing Jesus. And when 52 weeks were completed, I sat down in my living room and started reading. I finished the Bible in three months and told a friend of mine about it - because I was excited. The Holy Spirit had blessed me with a plan that worked for ME! She asked me if I would start a small group. Each week the question was asked: “What did you learn about God this week that helps you to know Him better?” Everyone in the group successfully completed the Bible in a year.
Since then other small groups have used the plan successfully within my own church and there are individuals also using it. A conference president within the North American Division distributed it to all his pastors and church elders and challenged them to read the Bible through in 2004. In 2005 I learned that there have been record numbers of baptisms and an increase in tithing in that conference! Praise God for the power of His Word! Also, the Adventist Review published this plan on their website. As of this writing, it is still available at their website here. I pray that many will find it and be blessed. However, it is not the “new and improved” version which is available here on this website.
I have designed a journaling page so that I could have an organized way to jot down texts related to specific topics that I would like to study in depth when God impresses me to do so. It has become a valuable tool. We have included a sample page on this website so that you can see how it might be effectively used. It can even serve as a diary.
Prayer is an essential element in This is Life Eternal (TILE) small groups. There is a new downloadable prayer journal page (title page plus a succeeding page) available here.
I have quit counting the number of times I have read through the Bible. I think it’s well over twenty times. You might ask what I have learned about God that helps me to know Him better. Well, God laughs (Ps.2:4 and 37:13). He sings (Matt. 26:30; Zech. 3:17). He composes songs (Deut. 31:19, 21, 22). Listening from heaven, He loves to hear us speak of our love for Him (Mal. 3:16-18). He is a consummate record keeper (Mal.3:16; Numbers; all the begats). He answers prayers (Dan.. 9:21; John 14:13). He actually negotiated with men (Abraham, Moses…). He got down in the dust to create Adam, and then He came down to this dirty, sinful world to save Adam and all of the faithful (Gen.2:7; Rom. 5:19). He grieves over our sin to the point of heartbreak (Gen. 6:6). When we work for God, He works with us! (Mark 16:20) Thank You, God! And there’s so, so much more!
The side bar buttons on the Home page of this website include “Journal (Blog)”. Click there and then scroll through the 25 topics by clicking on “Select Month.” Perhaps you may find answers to some of your Bible questions, or just get excited with me on my journey of seeking to know God better. The blog that has drawn the highest number of readers for four years straight is “Baby Jesus’ Inheritance” written in September, 2006. Check it Out.
Making this reading plan available to the whole world has been made possible by the help of some talented Christian friends and I thank them from the bottom of my heart: Mark Bond, art director of Bond Design, Inc.; Chris Lang, Producer/Director of Lifestreams Media, Inc., a non-profit TV/Film production company; and Paul W. Pelley, CFP, and author of the book: Common Sense Retirement: How to Get More from Your Retirement Plan.
Jesus is coming soon - He wants us to KNOW Him! John 17:3 and Hosea 6:3, 6
—Wretha Lang, writing from the state of Tennessee, USA