OYB December 31

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today´s reading:
OT: Malachai 3-4
NT: Revelation 22
Ps: Psalm 150
Pr: Proverbs 31:25-31

Today´s notable verse:

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.

Revelation 22:21 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today, which ask:

Are you someone who makes New Year's resolutions? Do you have any resolutions for 2007 that you would be willing to share in the Comments section below?

Honestly, I've never really been one for making New Year's resolutions. While the turning of one year into the next represents renewal, as Christians we have the source of Ultimate Renewal living within us every day. If I know that I need to resolve to do something new or differently (or to cease doing something), why wait until the rather arbitrary New Year's Day to make the change? Why not take advantage of that most blessed day that God has given each of us: Today.

Having said that, I can also recognize that the New Year offers a great opportunity for reflection and introspection - and it is those efforts that lead to a realization and resolve to change more so than the opportunity itself - that is, New Year's - that leads to change. So perhaps I can take this opportunity to realize that reflection and introspection are not limited to the changing of the calendar, but rather are available every day. And as I reflect back on the past year, I recognize that this daily participation in the One Year Bible study has led to much more daily reflection and introspection, which ties back into yesterday's question:

For those of you wrapping up the One Year Bible here in 2006, I'd like to ask you to post up your reflections on this experience in the Comments section below. The reason for this request is because we have hundreds of new folks signing up to take the One Year Bible journey in 2007. What advice would you give them? Any encouragement? What has reading the Bible on a daily basis meant to you over the past year? Has this experience changed you in any way?

I have studied the Bible my whole life, in various forms; but until 2006 I had never read through the entire Bible in a year - in fact, I'm not sure I had read through the entire Bible at all.

My advice and encouragement would be similar to what I told my sister-in-law, who is also going to be reading the One Year Bible in 2007:

Really, it takes only about 15 minutes a day. If you get in the habit of doing it first thing, it becomes really easy as a daily ritual - and, it has really been a blessing each day to begin with the Word.

If you want to be successful with the One Year Bible:

  1. Make it a Habit. Whether you choose first thing in the morning, right before bed, on your lunch break, after work, or whenever, be consistent. Block out 15 minutes in your day, and set this time aside no matter what. Give it at least three weeks straight, and you will have begun a habit of Bible study.
  2. Don't Get Overwhelmed. Do your best to stay up with the readings every day, but don't get discouraged if life sometimes gets in the way, and you get behind. Pick up on the current day's reading, and catch up on the ones you missed as you are able. Don't try to catch up before moving ahead, or you will only find yourself falling further behind.
  3. Journey With Others. Don't go it alone. Write about the daily readings on your blog. Start a blog. Comment or trackback to the One Year Bible Blog. The participation and interaction will help keep you encouraged, motivated, and accountable to continue throughout the year.

As for encouragement, I can personally testify to the blessing that comes from daily study of God's word - and especially from reading His entire Word in a year. After reading the Old Testament, you will never read the New Testament the same way again. You will begin to recognize references to Old Testament Law, prophecy, customs, and wisdom that you never before recognized, and suddenly you will find that you are gaining new insight that you would not have been able to understand previously. Likewise, every sermon, devotion, or message will come with greater light. You will begin to see beautiful, intricate, and wonderful thread of consistency throughout the Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. You will listen to worship and other Christian music with a greater appreciation for previously unrecognized allusion to Scripture. You will find new focus and direction in your prayers. You will find renewed encouragement and promise as you walk out your faith and live your life each day. You will read Psalm 119 and see it not merely as the longest chapter in the Bible, but rather as a deeply passionate plea and desire for the Word of God.

I can say each of these things to you because they are what this experience has meant to me over the past year; I have seen many of these changes in my own life. I hope and pray that you would join us in 2007!