Today is New Year’s Day! The old year has passed into history – what was. As much as we might like to slow things down, and savor some of our yesterdays, we are also reminded that God continues to give us opportunities for a fresh start. The old year, with its mistakes, its failures, the things we wish we had not said or done, all of those situations where we came up a bit short of His expectations – that is all past.
The promise of a new year is before us, with all of its freshness, purity and hope. We start with a clean slate, which begs the question: How will we handle such a precious gift laid in our hands by God? May I offer a few biblical suggestions, which should guide our thinking as we look forward to the next 365 days – Lord willing:
This is the year of Bible study. It’s important that we make 2023 the year we read the Bible through completely. The year we spend some devotional time daily, out of deep respect to God’s word. Maybe it’s how you start your day in the early mornings; maybe it’s how you end it in the evening. Maybe it’s the few moments during your lunch break when you thoughtfully read a passage from your Bible. It may be while you’re driving to work, or coming home. Whatever works for you, let’s commit to reading our Bible daily this year.
On page 4 of this bulletin, you will find each week a daily Bible reading schedule. If we follow this schedule, we will read the Bible through this year. This year it has been requested that we utilize a chronological approach, and so the schedule is a bit different than ones we have seen before. The passages are listed in a chronological fashion, in the order the events occurred. This should enhance our appreciation and understanding of the text. Each reading is preceded by a check box and a date, which should help us keep track of where we have been, and if we have to miss any readings, it will be easier to catch up promptly. The trick is not to get behind. Find a daily time which works for you! “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Along with our personal Bible reading, we need to be sure we are taking full advantage of the Bible classes offered here at Central. The children’s classes are provided for all ages. The adult classes move on a planned curriculum and offer choices between textual and Bible topics. Arrive a bit early and come prepared! Let’s make this the year we delve deeply into God’s word – and see what a difference it makes in our lives!
This is the year of prayer. We need to be praying before every meal. We need to remember to pray before closing arise to sleep. Additionally, throughout the day we need to maintain a running conversation with God. Speak to him as you would speak to a wise counselor, a loving parent, a trusted confidant and friend.
Inserted in this bulletin is a lengthy Prayer List. You can carry this with you throughout the week if you like. The Prayer List is updated daily in the church app. All of these daily updates are pulled together weekly for the next issue of the Bulletin. There is a place on that prayer list to insert reminders for your own personal needs or requests. Use this tool to focus your prayers, to make them complete and comprehensive, and to “make your requests known unto God,” (Phil. 4:6). As you pray regularly, you will find the prayer changes things. Don’t forget, we are praying through Jesus Christ our mediator, we are not approaching God on our own strength or merits. He is operating on his timetable, not necessarily ours, so “Pray without ceasing,” (1 Thess. 5:17).
This is the year of faithful worship. Our elders have designated three worship assemblies each week. These are carefully planned and executed for our benefit, and we need to be faithfully participating in each of them. Each is different, and has its unique advantages, but each one is an opportunity to offer our acts of reverence to God in the manner he has specified. If you have been
what is known as a “Sunday-morning-only-Christian,” it’s time to change that. Get plugged in and connected to worship! (Heb. 10:25).
Let’s all claim the promise of the new year — a time of true dedication to our God!
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.