Happy New Year! As I type these words, my son’s plane should be taking off, flying him back to college. It’s been wonderful having him home for the last three and a half weeks. This brings an end to the holidays, and I’m thankful for a quiet morning to reflect.
One of my goals this year is to read the Bible daily. I receive an email each morning with four passages listed (two in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament) and a devotional to go along with one of the passages. The reading can be done fairly quickly as three of the passages are usually short. If I can keep up, the plan will take me through the Bible in a year. That seems doable right now. But if I slow down, I can at least follow one of the four tracks, perhaps the one with the devotional.
I love reading some of the Old Testament and some of the New. It’s always amazing to see the big picture of the Bible and how the themes tie together. And it’s equally amazing how each time reading God’s Word brings different insights.
For example, on the first day of reading, I noticed in reading the creation account in Genesis 1 that each part of creation had purpose. The living things—the plants, trees, sea creatures, birds of the air, people—were to bear fruit, to bring forth, to multiply, to fill the earth and sea. This was both a blessing and a command. They were to prosper in this way.
Then in Acts 1, the apostles are with Jesus after His resurrection. They were going to receive power when the Holy Spirit came and be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. This sounded to me like purpose and growth. As followers of Jesus who had seen His life, death, and resurrection, they would now be His witnesses filled with His Spirit, multiplying in this spiritual way.
I then read Psalm 1. The blessed person is the one who delights in God’s Word and meditates on it day and night. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” We are blessed and bring forth fruit when we delight in God and His Word. Just as creation and the disciples had purpose, we too are created by God with purpose that will bring forth fruit.
Finishing that day’s reading, I sensed new purpose for the new year, grounded in our Creator God and the truth I found revealed in the Bible. And I had a way to pray for those around me, that God would fulfill all His purposes for them and through them.
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It is living and active and has the power to change us. In it, we find out who God is and who we are. Through it, we grow to know God more. It gives us a framework to interpret our world. It is worth the time and effort, even if there are some days it seems like only an exercise to complete. I don’t want to miss out on what God wants to show me and how He wants to lead me. It’s good to start each Bible reading asking Him to see wonderful things in His Word.
If you are reading through the Bible in some way this year and would like to be part of encouraging one another, let me know. I have some ideas for both a monthly local gathering and an online space.
“…encourage one another and build one another up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)