I didn’t know at the time that those three things would be my salvation.
On January 1, 2013, the first commitment I made was to read my Bible through in a year. At this point, most of you will probably yawn and click over to something more exciting, but if you stay with me, I promise to share something that will change your life forever.
When I committed to read through the Bible in 2013, it wasn’t the first time I’d attempted it. I’ve read through the Bible in a year five times. I’ve also attempted to read through it in a year at least five times and failed.
I waffled about making the commitment again on January 1, because, honestly, it takes discipline. Reading through the Bible in a year takes approximately 15 minutes a day. Every day. 365 days a year. And part of me is lazy. I want to read what I want, when I want to. And sometimes I don't want to read the Bible at all (sad, really, since reading God’s Word always makes my day better).
I’ve found, though, that motivational speaker Zig Zeigler was right. When you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.
When I have no plan for reading the Bible, I have no consistent source from which to gain wisdom, peace, hope, faith, perspective, and self-discipline.
But what if I commit to reading the Bible through and don’t make it? Someone asked me as we discussed new year goals.
“Let’s suppose,” I responded, “you only read through half of the Bible this year. Or two-thirds. Will you have failed? Instead of saying, ‘I only read through half the Old Testament,’ you can say, ‘I read through HALF the Old Testament.’ I bet most people on the planet have never done this. And who’s to say that reading through the Bible in a year can’t take two? When you say, 'I read through the entire Bible in 15 months, or 18 months, or 24,' is that a bad thing? You will have read through the entire Bible. The ENTIRE Bible. Again, most people on the planet haven’t done this."
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we hit it," said Michelangelo. I wonder if he set goals when he painted the Sistine Chapel?
It took him four years, by the way.
When I committed, on January 1, to read through the Bible in a year, I had no idea 2013 would be one of the most challenging years of my life. I experienced heartbreak, grief, loss, betrayal, and the aftermath of a significant injury that left my husband out of work for 7 months.
On January 1, I knew none of this was on the horizon.
But God did.
And he led me to a Bible reading commitment because he knew I would need a daily source of truth when the circumstances of my life and the enemy of my soul tried to drown out his voice.
On January 24, when the enemy shouted, I win!, the Word of God said, “So it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Gen. 45:8).
On January 28, when I questioned the future of my ministry, the Word of God said, “Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to him in doing good” (1 Peter 4:19).
On February 21, when the enemy’s condemning voice was loud, the Word of God said, “Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me. For I wait for you” (Ps. 25:20).
On March 2, when I wondered if I’d wasted 20 years of my life, the Word of God said, “They that sow in tears will reap in joy. He who goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, will doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).
On July 1, when I questioned if my second devotional book would ever be published, the Word of God said, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him” (Ps. 37:5).
On September 21, when we welcomed our precious granddaughter into the world and whispered our first prayer for her salvation, the Word of God said, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace. . .” (Gal. 1:15).
And on November 28, when I received an acceptance letter from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, the Word of God said, “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
If I hadn’t committed to read through the Bible in 2013, I'd have missed a daily source of hope, comfort, perspective, truth, power, and wisdom. I would have wallowed in despair, trembled in fear, drowned in disappointment, and stumbled in service.
The year 2013 might have derailed my faith instead of galvanizing it.
On December 30, I read the final chapters in Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, and Revelation. And on January 1, I began to read God’s Word again. Lord willing, I’ll read from Genesis to Revelation in 2014, but even if I don’t read the final verses on December 31, I will be better for spending a small part of every day in the Word of God.
Will you join me? I promise. It will change your life.
In my next post, I’ll share the second best thing I did in 2013. If you haven’t yet subscribed to Hungry for God, why not do it today, so you won’t miss a single post in the new year? Enter your email address below, and don’t forget to validate your subscription by clicking on the link in the email that arrives.
Note: While there are many different Bible reading schedules and plans, I’ve been most successful in reading the One Year Bible. It contains a daily selection from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, and Proverbs, and takes about 15 minutes to read. All I do is open the Bible to that day’s date and begin reading.
What helps you consistently spend time in God's Word? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
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