His Word in the New Year

Well, I think I am not alone in feeling like that was a long year. And then in some ways, such a short year. And, let’s face it, probably for most of us a pretty bizarre year. But there is no question that it was also not without good. In the midst of chaos and division and even global pandemic, we serve a good God who is always giving good, if we can chose to see it.

Now it is a new year and I want to do something new, with you.

During our first lockdown in Uganda (in March), I was feeling unusually spiritually dry. I restlessly flipped through my Bible, hoping it might just fall open to something that jumped off the page at me. I picked multiple devotionals up off our bookshelves, only to tire of them after a few short days. I need you to speak to me I would whisper to God.

At my husband’s encouragement, our family started a new Bible reading plan. No commentaires, no bells and whistles, just the Word. We started with Genesis, Matthew, Ezra and Acts, reading a chapter of each every day. Some of the reading we did together around the table and some we did in our own quiet time. It only took me about a week to realize that this was what my heart had been craving. It didn’t come with extra commentaries, opinions or explanations. What my heart and been longing for was God’s Word, in much larger pieces than I had read in a long time. And, while I know it might sound cliché, the more I read, the more I wanted. At the end of what had felt like a particularly dry season, thumbing through a Bible I felt I had read a hundred times, asking God to please make it new and exciting to me again, I was suddenly hungry for these large chunks of time in His Word like I hadn’t been in a very long time. Because He hears the prayers of our weary hearts. Because He longs to be near His people, to remind us of His love for us.

As I read, I couldn’t get over the very obvious truth that the character and magnificence and love of God remained the same through Genesis, Ezra, Matthew and Acts. And then later through Exodus, Nehemiah, Mark and Romans, and so on. While these passages weren’t intentionally selected to “go together,” so often a theme or aspect of God’s character jumped out of each passage as if they had been hand-picked in some kind of topical index. There it was, the Word of God, and my loving Father the same, yesterday, today, and forever. God’s character seemed to jump off the page at me as if to say, “See! He loves you! He has always loved you! He will always love you!” or “Look! He is merciful, He has always been merciful, He will always be merciful.”

In the midst of a long and weary year, while I was looking for spiritual encouragement from reading about other people’s encounters with God and other people’s opinions or interpretations of His Word, my old, worn, falling apart Bible that I “already knew all the stories in” was waiting for me to come back to the basics, waiting to reveal new facets of God’s character to me. Morning  after morning I poured over the Word, filling pages of my garage sale College Ruled spiral notebook with all the evidences of God’s mercy and grace and gentleness and love that were the same to Abraham and to the Isrealites rebuilding the wall and to the Samaritan woman at the well and to Saul the Pharisee who became an apostle. And as if it was all new to me, I stood in awe.

And friends, He is just too good not to share.

So I am going to start over again, back at Genesis, and I would love you to join me.

I wish I could send you all a beautiful journal, but my encouragement would be to get one to keep next to you as your read, and jot down things that stand out to you.

Each Monday, I will post what we are reading for the week with a few encouragements that jump out to me and sometimes a few questions to challenge us. My prayer is that you would be filled with joy in His Word like never before, and stand with me in awe of His unchanging, unending love.

Katie

9 thoughts on “His Word in the New Year

  1. Getting my notebook now! I am very happy to be sharing this plan with you and I pray that God will thoroughly bless you for how you have inspired the world with your writings and experiences. Happy new year!

  2. Thank you Katie. I too decided during lockdown to read scripture out loud and it seemed to stick with me more… a psalm every day along with a chapter from Isaiah and Acts and Ephesians. Out loud! In the yard, in my reading room, while walking the dogs (listening to Shereads.com)

    I wrote two Bible studies during lockdown and published them on Amazon… I think the book of Ephesians will be next to write about.

    Keep on being strong … God has not changed. He is still in control.

    Love, Reno http://www.thefew.world Reno.Anderson@gmail.com

  3. Thank you for your willingness to offer this Katie! We lost my Daddy in July, after a long illness. Then, my brother to suicide in October.
    I have felt so empty and just sad. I have done the same-picked up devotionals only to tire of them after a few days. I need God and His word to revive my soul.

  4. I’m so excited about this! Katie, I’ve followed your blog since like 2007 when you told the stories about not knowing how long it takes for beans to cook in a pot over the fire and about welcoming people with scabbies into your home. Your blogs about what God was teaching you spoke to my heart as well. I always had to remember that I didn’t actually know you in person because your blogs made you feel like a friend catching up, telling me about your life and about what Jesus was doing in your heart over a cup of coffee. I am so excited to get to read through the word with you this year. Bring on 2021!

  5. How wonderful! Daily Scripture has long been a happy habit of min, both silently on my own, and shared aloud with my family. Now it is just my 18yo and myself, continuing to shelter safely at home, and we continue this holy habit. Looking forward to reading along as you share … thank you Katie 🙂

  6. I’m late to the game, but I was so excited to find this reading plan. I’ve been wanting to dig into God’s Word without commentary or influence – for a couple of years at least. I just had no idea where to start – information overload on the World Wide Web. I just started a group study with friends, but was having a blockage because I felt like it was not what I was supposed to be doing. All of a sudden, you “mysteriously” appeared on my FB after not seeing any of your posts for several years. And then this morning, this week’s reading plan popped up. I may be 5 weeks behind, but I know exactly what I need to do! Thank you!!!

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