One Wednesday night at prayer meeting a couple of weeks ago, our pastor mentioned the coming new year, and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. New Year!?! Oh no! Which Bible will I read in 2011? What devotions will I study each morning? What will be my new word of the year? I felt so unsettled. This year, I’ve been reading a very special Bible and writing notes in it to give to Sarah for Christmas. She was very pleased and surprised when she unwrapped this gift. She had seen me reading it throughout the year, not knowing it would be hers.
I told her not to worry about missing a day every once in a while, but to just keep reading the daily sections, even if it takes 2-3 years instead of one. A person should never feel “guilty” for missing a Bible reading — just keep going another day; never quit, because God has so much to say to you.
For a devotional, I went to the Bible book store and ordered a book I knew I wanted to read — Beth Moore’s book, Voices of the Faithful. It’s wonderful! The writings are from various missionaries around the world and are very thought-provoking. Thirdly, on my cellphone, I have a devotional reading program and will be reading The One Year Book of Christian History, by Michael and Sharon Rusten. I’ve read this before, in the regular format, and I know I will enjoy it again.
I wanted to start reading through a Bible to give to Chris next Christmas, but we are waiting to get the one he wants me to read. I had purchased The Mosaic Bible for him with this in mind, but he had just finished reading the NLT and would like a different translation. So I’m still going to read the Mosaic Bible this year, one day per week, on Sundays (it’s arranged in the liturgical year so has readings for each week rather than each day). I’m loving it! The writings come from all continents, all the Christian centuries, and all races. I am really enjoying it so far. He will receive this Bible back when I’m finished with it, but we have ordered an ESV Study Bible for him that I hope to http://www.amazon.com/Study-Larger-TruTone-Walnut-Design/dp/1433523930 soon. For that reading, I will follow either a chronological daily reading plan or one from the American Bible Society that skips around through the scriptures.
Finally, I needed a new word for the year. On that Wednesday night several days ago, I began praying for God to give me a new word and the one that came so strongly to me was “Trust.” I purchased a new blank notebook and began writing down scriptures and quotes that use this word (even before the new year, while keeping up the 2010 notebook on the word “ways.” I know, it’s sort of like cheating, but the verses were coming at me quickly!). These “words of the year” have been so meaningful to me that they are with me every day. I am constantly aware of the ways God is using them to teach me more about Himself. I almost choke up when I hear one of my words; they have been so vital to my growth in Christ.
After God gave me my word for 2011, I went to church to play the piano for the service and there on the piano was this reminder of my word. I have no idea who placed it there (I hadn’t shared my word with a soul yet), but you can be sure I will be keeping it close in my sight while I worship in music this year at the keyboard. God is so good!
I can’t begin to tell you how much all these devotions mean to me. No matter where I’m reading, it will always be exactly what I need that day. Topics agree in the various books I’m reading. God speaks clearly. For instance, on days that I’ve been particularly discouraged or concerned for our kids, He will give me the same scripture over and over — year after year — no matter what day or book or translation I’m in at the time. He always comes back to me with that same scripture that He has encouraged me with for 24 years now (sorry, but I hold this verse too close to my heart so share it with you). But He’s real. He’s close. I can’t live without Him. He’s my life and breath. I wouldn’t miss my mornings with the Lord for anything.
This is life for me, and I love it.