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New Year’s Resolutions: Reading the Bible

I know it’s a little late to be jumping on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon…. Seeing as we’re already 20 days into the new year, I am aware the resolution ship has already sailed. But I had a thought this morning as I was reading.

It started with my morning computer activity. I got on the computer this morning (after laying around in bed much too long) and did my usual things. I checked Facebook, I looked at my emails, and I read some blogs. One of the last blogs I checked was one that is fairly new to me, but is quickly becoming a favorite: Chatting At The Sky.

In this morning’s post, the author talked about getting up early (something I struggle with on the weekends) and mentioned reading her Bible. All it took was that one sentence for me to feel convicted. During the regular workweek (Sunday to Thursday for us), I have a pretty regular routine. I try to get up before everyone else, and in those quiet moments before our household begins to stir, I spend time reading my Bible, among other things. However, on a weekend day, when I have a tendency to oversleep, I miss out on that hour or hour and half of time to myself.

Once I’ve missed that window, it seems like I never manage to make time to read my Bible at any other point in the day. When everyone else is up, the little distractions like breakfast, diapers, laundry, and showering all start pulling at my attention and I give in to them.

But this morning, when I read Emily’s post, I realized I was procrastinating for nothing. So I opened to Ezekiel and picked up where I had left off, in chapter 13. So now, what this has to do with New Year’s resolutions…. Many people in my circle of church friends make it their goal to read through the Bible in a year. That was not one of my resolutions. Not because it isn’t a worthy goal. In fact, I am already striving to read through the Bible in a year, I just chose not to begin on January 1. If I had, I’m pretty sure I would not have made it past February. Instead, I began reading through the Bible on July 18. There wasn’t much significant about that particular date. I just decided it was something I wanted to do, and once I made up my mind, I didn’t want to wait.

I decided to follow this plan that Jason has made available for the kids in our youth group, and it’s been a good fit for me. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read my Bible every day since starting this plan. Sometimes I’ve only managed to read it one or two days a week. This very week, in fact, I forgot to read on Tuesday and again on Thursday. But I’ve stayed on track nonetheless. One of the things I love about this reading plan is that if I forget one day, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have to read twice as much the next day. In fact, since I’m reading out of a different portion of Scripture each day of the week, I have an entire week to make up a section I’ve missed. And that works well for me.

I think we all have parts of the Bible that we struggle to get through; that is why reading the entire Bible is such a challenge for most people, no matter how long you give yourself to do it. Some people find no joy in reading Leviticus; some struggle through 1 and 2 Chronicles. I personally find the the major prophets to be my biggest obstacle in reading through the Bible. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are three of five longest books in the Bible, and though there are many interesting passages in each book, I find them difficult to get through.

But this morning, as I look at the beat up piece of paper with my daily assignments on it, and see that the first 26 weeks of reading are all marked off, and that those first 26 weeks include all of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and nearly half of Ezekiel, I feel encouraged. At times during the past half of a year, finishing the entire Bible in 52 weeks seemed daunting. But now that I’ve made it halfway, I feel like I have the momentum to continue.

Maybe you’re better at keeping New Year’s resolutions than I am. Maybe starting the Bible in January and reading through December works for you. But if it doesn’t, don’t be discouraged. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to start again. Start in July. Start tomorrow. Or better yet, start today.

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