I haven't even really set goals in past years. I just think it's too typical.
I don't really think there's much special about a new year. I would rather decide to make a change the moment I see the need rather than wait for a special date. In my life, if I wait, those dates come and go and the change never gets made.
So, when I saw the need to change things back in the fall, I set about to do it.
One thing I've always struggled with was my quiet time with the Lord. Specifically, I have always had a hard time reading my Bible consistently. I pray every day, throughout the day--sometimes it seems like I've not stopped all day! I could give you a pretty decent list of reasons I think I've always struggled with Bible reading, but they are all excuses.
Since I became a believer in 1993, I've known it's important, critical really, to have a daily time with God. How can you grow without a consistent diet of hearing God speak? And, let's be honest, while hearing Him in prayer is great, His Word must be the plumb-line.
I have gone in spurts, tried reading plans, tried Bibles specially organized for reading in a year, felt guilty, read books about the importance of reading daily, etc. But, it wasn't until this last fall that I really dug in. Something changed.
I was set to speak for a women's retreat and began really digging in the Word to prepare my lessons. The more I dug, the more I wanted to dig. During the retreat, I received a simple journal (a composition book covered with cute paper) and began writing down my notes from studying. Then, I just kept going.
Actually, now that I think about it, the reading part goes back much further than that. But, that's when the daily part took root. I've been much more consistent than ever before and it's been great. I miss the days when I haven't read and written.
So, what do I read? Glad you asked. I guess it was more like springtime when I started just going all the way through a book. Oh, yes, it was when our pastor was going through one on Sundays. I came home and started reading the same book verse by verse. I found it took me a long time to be ready to move on past some passages, but I was okay with the lingering. I was getting good stuff!
So, I read through Romans, then 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians. I have just begun Galatians. At this rate, I will take years upon years to read the whole Bible. But, I'm getting good meat. And, I love it. I can't tell you how many times in the last several months I would journal about something or start by praying about an issue, then open my Bible and find that the passage addressed exactly what I was dealing with!
Life still happens. I'm still not perfect. I miss days here and there. But, I don't beat myself up about it. I just pick back up. But, that's happening less often.
With the new year rolling around, several bloggers have addressed the topic of Bible reading. Today I read what Molly Piper wrote as a guest writer on (in)courage. Good words. Then, I headed over to check out the links she included and read Margie Haack's thoughts. Both were encouraging.
My favorite quote was this:
Christians who neglect the Bible simply do not mature. When Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy to the effect that human beings do not live by bread only but by God’s Word, he was asserting that the Word of God is just as necessary for spiritual health as food is for bodily health. I am not now thinking of remote Christian tribes people into whose language the Bible has not yet been translated, nor of illiterate people... I am thinking rather about ourselves. Our problem is not that the Bible is unavailable to us, but that we do not take advantage of its availability. We need to read and meditate on it daily, to study it in a fellowship group and to hear it expounded during Sunday Worship. Otherwise we shall not grow. Growth into maturity in Christ depends upon a close acquaintance with, and a believing response to, the Bible.I want to be mature, not lacking anything. I want to worship the Lord with my life. I want to live for Him who died for me. I want to spend time in the Word, not because I should or have to, but because I love Him and want to be in a relationship with Jesus, every day.
[Source: God’s Book For God’s People, John Stott, IVP p. 76]