29 December 2018

Getting ready for 2019

Tim Challies posted a great article just before Christmas - Ten Suggestions for your Personal Devotions in 2019.   It's a great post - both for the encouragement to actively plan out a Bible reading strategy for the coming year and with it, some very helpful suggestions.

Since September 2017 I have been involved in this Bible Reading Challenge.  It's a nine month challenge, covering the northern hemisphere academic year, and in God's providence I stumbled upon it at the beginning of the challenge, right at a moment when I was really floundering in my personal Bible reading.  It was the perfect kick start. 

There's lots to love about this plan.  There's a women's and men's version - same plan but different graphics.  It gets you through the whole Bible in nine months and the sympathy in the pairings of readings is truly inspiring.  You can print off a plan to tuck in your Bible or it can be read through various Apps.  There's a Facebook group that's very encouraging - as people chip in their observations and ask their questions about different texts - and you can sign up for weekly emails too.  So much to keep you encouraged and it's wonderful to read along, knowing that thousands of others worldwide are reading and praying over the same passage on the same day.  Sundays are kept free and there are catch up days - and what's not to love about a catch up day?

They backed up this plan with a three month plan over the northern hemisphere summer which went through all of the New Testament, which I found a lovely thing to do through our winter.  And then the plan started all over again, with some tweaks, this last September for another nine months. 

For reasons good and not so good I have lost my rhythm with the plan this second time around so Tim Challies' post has come at a good time for me as I prayerfully make my plans for 2019.

So 2019 is looking a bit like this...

1. I am going to use this Five Day Bible Reading Plan - through the Bible in a year, five days of readings per week, loosely chronological.  I haven't used this one before and have been keen to give it a go.  
2.  I'm also going to work through Isaiah with a commentary.  I'm going to set aside an hour a week to do this - one chapter per week during school time and two hours per week in the holidays to catch up the extra chapters.  I'm planning on using Alec Motyer's commentary in the Tyndale series, unless someone has a better suggestion.  Feel free to chip in if you have any thoughts.
3.  I have set my older Sunday School kids a daily challenge - copying out a verse a day into a blank book, covering a different theme each month. January's theme is JOY.  I purchased this program from here.  The benefits for the kids includes getting them all over the Bible and seeing God's constancy through His story.  And it's always a good thing to slow the reading pace right down to writing speed.  (Side benefit: I will have tiny, daily - or as many days as I can manage - calligraphy session.)

"The new year is coming, and I, for one, am beginning to think about how I’m going to do my daily devotions in 2019. I know that for me to be consistent, I need to put some plans in place." - Tim Challies