Happy New Year!

Baltimore Bible ChurchPastoral EncouragementLeave a Comment

Happy New Year to all of you!  As children of God (1 John 3:1-2), we above all people ought to be confident and hopeful as we enter into a new year and a new decade.  Jesus taught us that our heavenly Father knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matt. 6:25-34). And we have no reason to fear what might come our way in the days ahead because, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1, NASB).  And we can cast all of our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). These are precious promises for us to cling to and rejoice in as we look ahead to the future.

But even as we rest and rejoice in these comforting truths, we also should take advantage of the unique opportunity that the start of a new year provides for us to soberly evaluate our life before the Lord.  In Ephesians 5, Paul exhorts us in this way:

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,  making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Ephesians 5:15–21 (NASB)

We are exhorted here by the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul to live wisely and to make good and careful use of our time (literally, redeeming the time).  This exhortation has implications for every part of our lives. But I would like to take this opportunity for us to consider what kind of time are we personally dedicating to our reading of Scripture?  If we are to obey the command to “understand what the will of the Lord is,” that implies that we need to know what His will is. And Paul goes on to instruct us in the following verses concerning what God’s will is for us (e.g. not getting drunk with wine but being filled with the Spirit).

God wants us to obey His will.  And therefore He wants us to know His will.  And He has revealed His will to us in His Word.  So I would like to encourage you to make a commitment to making it a priority to daily spend time in His Word.  And again, the beginning of the year is a great time to start a new healthy habit of daily spending time reading the Word of God.  There are a variety of ways that you accomplish this. But one way that many have found to be helpful and fruitful is to follow a Bible reading plan.  There are many good Bible reading plans available. We would encourage you to consider choosing one of these and commit to using it each day throughout the coming year.  Please see the list of plans that we have provided for you below.

And please don’t get discouraged if you miss some days along the way or get off track, just keep persevering and make sure that your aim and goal is that through these readings, and in dependence on the Holy Spirit, you will continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18, NASB)
 

Bible Reading Plans

Bible reading plans are certainly not commanded in Scripture.  But they can be a helpful tool as you seek to become more disciplined in your regular intake of God’s Word.

As a helpful resource to your Bible reading for 2020, we would like to recommend the following articles:

  • From Ligonier ministry: Bible Reading Plans for 2020
    • This article lists out 17 different Bible reading plans (!!) that you can access for FREE.  Most of them are available as a PDF download that you can save to your computer or print out.  The article gives a brief description of each of these plans.  This gives you PLENTY of options!
  • From Desiring God ministry: A New Year, A New Bible Reading Plan (you can listen to this as an audio recording or read the transcript)
    • In this article (which was originally a podcast broadcasted on 01/01/18), John Piper tells us which of the Bible Reading plans he uses (it’s called The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan) and explains why this is his preferred reading plan.  He also goes on to challenge us to consider the critical question of WHY do we (or should we) read the Bible regularly?

For any of you that like to read your Bible on your mobile device (tablet, phone, laptop, etc.) you can find a number of Bible reading plans built into this FREE app:

May 2020 be a year of growing together in our knowledge of and love for our Savior, as we spend time each day hearing from Him through His Word!

In Christ alone,

Pastor Matt
Pastor George

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