I hope you've enjoying a wonderful holiday season. Here's a reflection and some links as you ponder the year past and the one ahead.
Grace & Peace,
Content: This Week....
Five Things: On Committing to Read Our Bible This Year
1 Read your Bible, pray everyday and you'll grow, grow, grow.
We've recognized the value of Scripture, whether through songs, preaching or mentors, and plug away at patterning this routine for ourselves. As with any habit or discipline, the mere expression of what we "should" do isn't without effort in execution—it also isn't without the blessing of of spiritual growth.
Greg Guthrie notes, "the number one predictor of spiritual maturity among those who regularly attend church was reading the Bible daily."
This truth isn't meant to heap a pile of shame on your shoulders. It's just the flourishing result of time devoted to cultivation. A hockey players don't become great if they never pick up a stick outside of practice, neither does a basketball player sink shots unless they've pick up a ball and practiced shots on their driveway.
Every moment we open the Bible we're choosing to draw near to the Lord, to know, enjoy, and worship him.
2 Pick a plan.
There are a lot of plans and options available for us. It's no wonder that with all this technology we have greater access to amazing resources.
The last number of years, I've gone with an adapted 5 day plan. This year I'm going with a chronological reading schedule.
You can find a list of reading plans where you can choose one that best suits you, Phylicia Masonheimer offers a Bible in a Year Club Membership, and The Bible Recap is a podcast to pair with your reading to help you understand the context of what you're reading is a short lesson.
I started reading through the Bible as a kid because I loved checking off the boxes in my Bible's reading plan. Give yourself gold stars on a chart to mark your progress. Yes we need to remember it's not all about us, but marking progress is a good way to keep the momentum going.
(And if we become proud in it, the Lord knows).
Friend, we've gotta have grace for ourselves. We know the grace of God doesn't run short on us.
Sickness, littles, and travels all create havoc on our routines. If you've gone through a time like that, you remember how easily those times derail you. You may feel frustrated, discouraged when you've put in so much effort and discipline for it all to go by the wayside.
"But he gives more grace" (Jam 3:6).
In these moments, humble yourself before the Lord. The transformation he's stirring in you is the shaping of his gentle hand, we need only to return.
4 Remember why.
Clarity of our expectations is also important. When we read the Bible we need to be aware of what we want when we open it up. Often our first question is: How does this passage speak to me?
Applying biblical truths is totally relevant to our lives and our circumstances. But Scripture is not a story about us, it's the story of God revealing his character to us, so we can worship him.
John Piper reminds us, "the Bible itself shows that our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God's infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought bride of Christ from every people, language, tribe, and nation." 
We worship him in spirit and in truth.
5 Persevere through emotional drought
Perhaps you remember the seasons when every time you opened the Bible, your heart leapt and you felt alive; when the Spirit felt so intimately close. But, you also recall how your feelings slid over time. It's the natural cycle of our emotions, just as the tide comes in and goes out.
Our emotions don't always tell the truth.
When we don't feel that same fire, we interpret it to mean that the Lord isn't near. But here's where we persevere in truth, knowing that his presence goes with us because we are adopted as his children, sealed with the Spirit. He promises he will not leave or forsake us. Our act of clinging to these truths like a lifeline (because they are) is also a tool for our spiritual growth.
How are you planning to read the Bible in 2024?
On the Blog
Pressed But Not Crushed: A Guide to Faithful Giving. Wondering how to sort through the financial pressures of your day-to-day and the call of scripture to give generously? Use this guide to help!
Faithfully Present | Book Review. Reflecting on our human limits and how to live faithfully in them.
On My Shelf
I've been considering reading goals for the next year and I'm really looking forward to the accountability of a book club in our writing community! If you want to expand your reading horizons, consider participating in the VT Reading Challenge 2024.
I started A Christmas Carol; confession though, I've never read this, but I'm glad to have finally picked it up.
I finished An Inconvenient Letter, a regency fiction where a letter that shouldn't have been written, should never have been sent, and most definitely shouldn't have been intercepted...does.
I'm continuing with the biography of Everett Swanson who started Compassion International and am keenly aware of God's work expanding this ministry, so exciting.
Plan to Grow | Jacob Crouch
"I need to grow. In no area of my life have I “arrived”. I am being sanctified more and more, but there is a long way to Christlikeness...I’ve learned that if I don’t plan to grow, I’ll be less like Jesus than I could be." This resonates as I pray and reflect on goals for growth in the coming year.
Mom and Dad, Thanks for Letting Us Go Without Letting Go of Us | Craig Thompson (A Life Overseas)
A thoughtful letter to his parents as they serve as missionaries. I wish I'd have written one, but this captures it.
The Audacity of Christmas | Daniel Darling
If you wrestled with celebrating Christmas while the world is in turmoil, here's an encouragement to discover joy even in tumultuous times.
Finding Romance In Your Marriage | Erika Chase (Beautiful Christian Life)
This article shares good reflections on marriage and romance. One of her points really got me, that looking back on our years together, the most meaningful moments were far from romantic; I'd never thought about it that way before.
How to Conclude Well | Mariel Davenport
Indeed, "earthly Life is a glorious cocktail of pain intermingled with beauty. There is no other way in this fallen, beautiful, and broken world." She shares lessons we can learn in finishing well from Paul's words to Timothy.
My family takes gift wrapping to another level...
(the golf balls are hot glued together with a new pack—the actual gift—inside)
(my nephew built this and put the gift inside...a screwdriver was permitted for opening)
(the table before the chaos)
(time for a few days at the lake!)
Previously on My Mosaic
4 years ago
3 years ago
2 years ago
1 year ago
 Greg Guthrie, Read the Bible for Life
 John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally