Posted by: pastortomvabeach | December 27, 2017

Thought for the Week December 31, 2017

On Monday, you will awaken to a brand new year, 2018. Have you made any plans for this opportunity before you? Many approach a new year as a time to set career goals, education goals, fitness goals (well, some do), even relational goals (visit more family, start a family, etc.).

Could I jump out and drop a thought in your heart for a spiritual growth goal for 2018? A Lifeway study indicated that over half of Americans (53 percent) have read relatively little of the Bible. One in 10 has read none of it, while 13 percent have read a few sentences. Thirty percent say they have read several passages or stories. One in five Americans say they have read all of the Bible at least once but only nine percent have read it all more than once.

In another part of the study they found that 35 percent of those surveyed never read the Bible at all, while 30 percent only read it when they need its help and 17 percent flip open the Bible and read passages at random. Only twenty-two percent say they read a little of the Word each day, in some systematic way.

Where would you fall in these categories if you were asked? Are you on the end of the spectrum that doesn’t have some plan for reading the Word and turns to the Bible when there may be a serious need but rarely otherwise? Have you ever purposely set out to read the Bible through?

The Lord tells us there is tremendous value in reading His Word in a way that gets it into our hearts and minds. Peter says, Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment. (I Peter 2:2 New Living Translation). This tells us that our spiritual food comes from the Word. What if we only opened the refrigerator when we reached a critical stage of hunger instead of having a regular system of taking meals?

The Psalmist also says, I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you, and, Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path (119:11, 105) which tells us that God’s Word not only keeps us from doing wrong but also guides us in what is right. Why would we neglect this valuable resource in our relationship with God?

So I want to challenge everyone who reads this brief message. It’s a brand new year. Set yourself a goal to read the Bible in some regular and systematic fashion. If reading the whole Bible in a year seems to daunting, why not read through the New Testament this year and then maybe you can tackle the whole Bible next year?

Whatever you do, make it something that is planned and consistent. Set aside a time every day to be God’s time. For me, it’s first thing in the morning. I have a routine. I get up, shave, brush my teeth, and read the Bible. Today I read day 361 in the plan I’ve been following to read the Bible in one year.

I have been using a plan from the YouVersion Bible which includes a daily devotional about what I’ve read by Nicky Gumble. YouVersion is a great web-based resource that has literally hundreds of reading plans. They range from as little as 5 day devotionals to many tracks for reading the Bible in a year. I try to read a different translation each year which helps to open the Word up. This year I will be reading the New American Standard Bible.

What will you do? I urge you to do something. Don’t let another year go by without crying out for the nourishment of the Word like Peter says. If you like, I’ll be your accountability partner. Just let me know what you goal is, and I will check with you every so often to see how you are doing. That will give you some incentive to keep at it. Let’s make this a year of the Bible. Just a thought.

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