"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Most believers have heard those verses more than once. In their context the Apostle Paul is writing to his young friend, Timothy, in order to encourage him in his role as a young pastor. Having begun my service as a young pastor at the age of 27, I can testify that the task can seem overwhelming, even impossible. No human being is sufficient in themselves to carry the responsibility of "feeding" God's people on the very Word of the one true and living God! God never presents the work of preaching and teaching as easy, but He does tell those who are called to be engaged in this ministry that they must have one singular focus, and that is to "preach the Word" (II Timothy 4:4).
Paul wanted Timothy to know that it was not up to him to come up with some cleverly devised words of human wisdom. He said to Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15). He was to preach the Word that he himself had heard from the Apostles, along with the Old Testament Scriptures. It is God's Word, after all, that is the "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17). God promises that His Word will bear fruit, calling His children out of spiritual darkness into the light of life through faith in Jesus Christ, and it is the Word of God that produces the fruit of the Spirit: "… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
We are beginning a new year in two days and I have challenged everyone to begin reading the Bible every day in the new year. I have not been a big fan of Bible reading "programs" because I have witnessed people reading through the Bible just to say they have done it in one year. God's Word is much too valuable to view it as an item to check off your list. However, someone shared with me a 52-week Bible reading plan that looks appealing because it goes to a different portion of Scripture each day of the week. Sundays is the Epistles (the letters of the Apostles to the churches). Mondays is the Law (the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible). Tuesdays is History, Joshua through Esther. Wednesdays is the Psalms. Thursdays is Poetry (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Son of Solomon). Fridays is Prophecy and Saturdays is the Gospels. Each day of the week you will be reading from a different part of the Bible and in one year you will have read the entire Bible.
BUT, in order to gain the most from reading God's Word, you need to meditate on what you have read … to think about what God is saying. If you have a study Bible and have time to look at some other passages of Scripture and to study the context, God's Word will come alive and will speak to you each day and apply to your present situation in ways that will seem incredible! That's the power of God's Word. Many people may feel they need some help doing that, so I have committed to writing a daily blog post (trying to keep it brief!!), that will go along with that day's reading.
It was pointed out to me this morning that our reading plan begins on SUNDAY … and this is Monday, and New Year's Day is Wednesday, so for those of you with the reading plan, what do you do? Should you skip the first three days and start on Wednesday? NO!! Later today I will post a reading to go along with the first two days, and will do two more tomorrow (Lord willing!).
For those without the reading plan in front of you, the first reading (Sunday) is Romans 1-2. Start reading that now and I'll post a devotion to go along with it later today.
The reading for Monday (today) is Genesis 1-3. I'll try to get a devotion posted for that today, too.
Then the reading for Tuesday is Joshua 1-5. I'll post the devotion for that tomorrow.
And finally, the reading for Wednesday, January 1st, is Psalm 1-2. I will try to post that devotion tomorrow, too, and from that time on the devotion for the next day will be posted the previous day or evening, so if you are an early riser, you can use it along with the reading for that day.
Hope that makes sense! If you read Romans 1-2, Genesis 1-3 and Joshua 1-5 sometime today and tomorrow, you'll be on track to read Psalm 1-2 on Wednesday and off we go!! For those at Lighthouse, copies of the Reading Plan will be available at the "Get Connected" table. If you are following along online, just read the Scripture for each day and you will keep up with us. May God bless your commitment to "feed" on His life-giving, empowering Word!!