It is the time of year when once again people resolve to read the Bible more consistently – often declaring they will read the Bible in one year.
Personally I think for many people reading in one year is very hard – reading in two years is far more realistic, at least the first time you do it.
With that in mind I was delighted to see this two year reading plan on the Gospel Coalition website (which includes some very useful catch up days)- it can be downloaded as a pdf or simply printed from the link above.
There are many different plans to help you get into regular Bible reading. This page on the Gospel Coalition site has many for you select from.
My personal advice is that whatever you decide in terms of Bible reading for 2014 you need to try to be consistent and disciplined in it. Be wise in what you aim for initially as after a few weeks you can assess your performance and choose to read more or less. Although I usually read the whole Bible in a year this year i have decided upon a change and in my daily devotional times will only be reading the New Testament at a slower pace than usual.
Finally, and very importantly, I would encourage you to enjoy your reading. Reading your Bible is not about the amount you read but about meeting with the Living God as you read. Think, question, meditate and take time to enjoy the scenery as you travel through the scriptures.
I suppose one of the easiest ways to take a snapshot of the world we live in is by seeing what people use the internet for, and within that what they search most for. (Please note I did say easiest not most accurate.)
It is tempting to pass comment on the lists, I shall not. However, I did wonder what my top 10 list would look like – and more importantly if I could somehow reach into my mind and heart, what would the list of what I thought of most look like.
Were I a man who compiled a list of New Years resolutions (I am not), I should find such a list helpful in helping me determine the course I need to set my heart and mind for in 2014.
This is the definitive list of the top Google searches for 2013, followed by those for events and people,
Regular readers of this blog will know I have posted monthly questions aimed at helping you to asses how you are performing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let me stress this is not legalism, it is simply a way of looking in the mirror, helping you to be honest about your walk with God and with other believers.
We are now at the end of 2013 and many people will be encouraging you to examine and give thanks for the past 12 months. Additionally they will encourage you to look ahead, to set faith goals.
In order to help you I am posting (below) some comments made by Geoff Surratt about a growing disciple. My suggestion is that guided by each statement you take time to repent for the areas of failure in 2012, give thanks for the goodness and grace of God over that time.
Very importantly, prayerfully set faith goals for the coming months. Ask the holy Spirit to illumine some area where growth is neededMake sure these are realistic. For example, it is unlikely that you can go from praying for 5 minutes a day to 30 minutes a day within the week – so set growth stages over a period of one or two months, there is then a greater chance that you will be obedient to the change God has called you to.
I think there are six vital areas that point to a growing disciple:
Serving in a local church. Church attendance without service does not grow me as a disciple. To grow I have to serve generously with my time, talent and treasure.
Praying consistently. This is so obvious that it seems to get overlooked. A growing disciple follows Jesus’ pattern of consistent, heartfelt prayer.
Reading the Bible daily. Separate studies by the Willow Creek Association and Lifeway on discipleship came to the same conclusion; the single biggest factor in growing as a disciple is reading the Bible every day. It’s the magic pill of discipleship.
Engaging in biblical community. Discipleship throughout the Bible is always in context of community. Being in a small group does not guarantee discipleship, but not being in biblical community prevents it.
Actively involved in missional outreach. Biblical disciples engage in Kingdom transformation in their home, their community and their world.
Developing other disciples. Jesus final command was very clear, Go make disciples. Every growing disciple of Christ develops other disciples.