2018.....wow, that's crazy! It seemed like yesterday we were counting down 3...2..1.. as we entered the 2000's.
Many of you had a very difficult 2017. Many dealt with a loss of a family member, loss of a job, divorce, health problems, among other things. You're so glad it's over.
As we start the new year, many of us will start some resolutions in hopes of bettering ourselves. Losing weight, getting fit, dieting, exercising, and eating better are the more popular but I want to challenge all of you with something better, something that will help in every resolution and every decision you make in 2018. Last year I challenged our church to read through the Bible in a Year. 37 people took on the challenge. It was difficult at times, easy to fall behind but so beneficial. We are in a time where there is such an easy access to reading God's Word. We used the YouVersion app this year and did the Bible in One Year. My challenge this year is the 2018 rendition of it found here. Here is some of these responses I received from those who took on this challenge:
- Janet Gentle: "From someone who has never read their Bible cover to cover this has been a great accomplishment and challenge for me! I have gotten so much closer to God because I have really come to know him on a much more personal level. Reading about all He has done for his people, how He loves us and is always with us. I heard the words before but thought maybe it was just something people said. Reading God's words in black and white have changed everything!!! It was like receiving a letter from a father I have never known and realizing that he has been there and loved me all along!! The peace that it has brought to my life is the best gift I have ever received! I don’t worry about things like I used to. I pray about everything, and trust God. Have I got it all figured out?? No, but I am forever a work in progress trying to keep in the front of my mind that I am His masterpiece and that He loves me so much that He gave His only Son so He could have a relationship with me. It puts me in awe every day!!!! I can’t wait to do it again!
- Richard Nason: "I make it a point to start my day with the Bible reading because my Lord sets the tone for the whole day. We become so busy yet if we can't afford even a few minutes for the Lord what does that really say about our priorities. Even if it only takes 15 minutes and that is all we gave Him during our busy day, at the very least it is something. We acknowledge His prescense in our life and that is tge most important thing. I owe the Lord at least this and so much more. The Bible reading helps me to focus on the fact that He is ever present and that He is there throughout my day. So many times I call on Him and I feel confident because I started my day reading His word and He will be with me because He knows I am trying to be with Him. The biggest take I get from all of this is what kind of Christian are we truly if we cannot even give God a few minutes from our day. We owe Him ever so much more but if we can't even find a little time to spend with Him, how can we expect Him to help us? A real Christian does not profess to being a foxhole soldier.
- Katie Jacobs: Despite the fact that I've fallen behind in the past month or so, I absolutely loved this Bible in One Year reading plan. It has made my faith so much stronger. I read parts of the Bible that I had never studied before and it increased my knowledge and understanding so much. For example, I am so thankful for the fact that we have direct access to God through prayer after reading the Old testament and learning about all the sacrifices that were required. I also feel like my trust in God has grown so much through reading this plan. I've gone through a couple of tense and stressful situations this year and had such peace throughout. I know that came from growing in my relationship with Christ. I was able to bring some Bible passages to mind at these moments.Finally, I loved the motivation. It was great having a little devotional and set readings planned out for me everyday. It took the guess work out of my Bible time and made it easier to spend time with Christ. Doing this plan was a great experience and I look forward to doing something similar in 2018.
Here's what this will look like: If you decide to take on this challenge click here. Starting Monday January 1st, I will send a daily email with my thoughts on that day's reading. You do not need to reply. I will check in to see how you are all doing sporadically.
Advice: Schedule this time, don't try to find the time. (We schedule what's important) This plan has audio so you can listen on the way to work as well! Lastly, if you fall behind, don't give up! I guarantee you will be different at the end of the year!