A New Year is Coming
It is that time of year again, when we ring out the current year (2016) and welcome the new year (2017). For most of the world, the new year is a time when life feels fresh and new. This seems to be the one time when we can put behind us our problems and get a fresh start. Curiously, I have seen a number of people ready for 2016 to end because it has been “such a horrible year.” Why? Because several famous celebrities have died. It is as if death is something unusual, and that with 2017, we can get away from death. But death is always with us. The Bible tells us that death is the inevitable result of sin (James 1:15), and sin is found in every person (Romans 3:23). There is even a common quip “two things are certain in life: death and taxes.”
We should not look to a “new year” to provide us with change. There is no magic solution – as anyone who has tried a no-exercise, no-diet weight loss product can tell you. Change comes from a commitment to honor the Lord, trusting in His Providence, and studying His Word. That brings us to the second typical subject for a “New Year post”: reading through the Bible in the new year. Most Christians instinctively realize that they should be reading their Bibles regularly, yet few do. Busy lives get in the way. We start out with great motives, but as the year goes on we get further and further from the habit of regularly studying God’s Word. I want to encourage you to use the “freshness” of the New Year to start a habit of reading the Bible. Now is always the best time to start – because if you don’t begin, you will never finish!
Make a plan for how you will work your reading time into your schedule. Simply hoping that it will work out is not a good beginning. Think about your own life and schedule and find the time that will work best for you. And perhaps most importantly, realize that life does not always go according to plan. You will miss days reading (maybe multiple days in a row!). Don’t give up! Just pick back up where you were supposed to be in your schedule and persevere on.
If you don’t already have a favorite reading plan, here are some suggestions:
- A new plan I just heard about Tim Challies is the 5 Day Bible Reading Program. This has the advantage of having two days “off” each week, allowing for catch-up, or reading of other material.
- Ligonier Ministries has several Bible Reading Plans, including a Chronological Plan, a simple Reading Chart that allows you to read at your own pace, a Discipleship Journal Plan that takes you through four daily readings beginning in Genesis, Psalms, Matthew and Acts, and the Every Word in the Bible Plan that takes three years atone chapter per day.
- There is the classic M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan, that goes through the NT and Psalms twice and OT once in a year.
- And you could also get Pastor John Carroll’s Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 Days that has a devotional to go along with each reading.
So now is the best time to start to change. May the Lord bless you in the coming year!