On December 27th, the Lord began convicting me of my lack of love for His Word, and I wrote this:
"This coming year, I will be wagging a WAR against the enemies influence in my life. If I am to put on the "Full Armor of God", that means more than just wearing the "helmet of salvation" and resting in my own redemption. That means more than having the breastplate of righteousness in place in order to protect myself--without love and care for others. If my feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel; I must know the gospel so well that it flows from my mouth with confidence, joy, love and ease. If I am going to wear the "belt of truth" buckled around my waist--I must first know the truth, intimately . If I am going to take up the shield of faith and the "Sword of the Spirit" which is the Word of God; I must be in the Word--I must know the Word!"
This morning I received this excerpt in one of my online "morning devotions":
(Note: I have to laugh, because God does not leave me alone when He is guiding me down a path. As soon as something distracts me and I start to veer of course; He pokes me in the side and gets me back on the track He wants me on.)Robert Murray M'Cheyne, who was a godly pastor in Dundee, Scotland in the early 19th Century, provided his congregation with a Bible reading calendar and some timely words for its use:
My dear flock,--The approach of another year stirs up within me new desires for your salvation, and for the growth of those of you who are saved. "God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." What the coming year is to bring forth, who can tell? There is plainly a weight lying on the spirits of all good men, and a looking for some strange work of judgment coming upon this land. There is need now to ask that solemn question: "If in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"
Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day. Then we shall be able to say, like David, "The proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from Thy law." "Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart standeth in awe of Thy word."It has long been in my mind to prepare a scheme of Scripture reading, in which as many as were made willing by God might agree, so that the whole Bible might be read once by you in the year, and all might be feeding in the same portion of the green pasture at the same time.
M'Cheyne listed some advantages to using a Bible reading plan:
"The whole Bible will be read through in an orderly manner in the course of a year. . . . If we pass over some parts of Scripture, we shall be incomplete Christians."
"Time will not be wasted in choosing what portions to read.--Often believers are at a loss to determine towards which part of the mountains of spices they should bend their steps."
"The sweet bond of Christian love and unity will be strengthened.--We shall be often led to think of those dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, here and elsewhere, who agree to join with us in reading these portions. We shall oftener be led to agree on earth, touching something we shall ask of God. We shall pray over the same promises, mourn over the same confessions, praise God in the same songs, and be nourished by the same words of eternal life."
I prayed this prayer on December 27th and repeat it now: "Lord, I plead with you. Grant me (in the coming year) by the power of your Spirit, this desire of my heart. Sweet and Mighty God, revive your people! Place in them, by the power of your Holy Spirit, I new and fresh hunger for You and for your Word. Turn their eyes from all the distractions that this world and the enemy has to offer, and all of the things that entice their flesh; turn their eyes, Oh Lord from all of those meaningless and empty things, to Christ and to His Word! Oh, Lord; hear the cry of my heart and revive your people in this coming year. It is in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that I pray. AMEN"
HAPPY NEW YEAR-2009