GOALS FOR 2020
(Scripture references as noted)
Another new year is almost here – in just a few short days we have the opportunity to look at our lives and think about what we can do to make the upcoming year a great one. It is so easy to get bogged down in life with all the negativity around us; but, we would do well to focus on our lives and see what we can do to make our little corner of the world a better place, in order to hopefully make the world-at-large a better place. We all have a role to play but we have to get our own lives in order to be of any use to others. So, do you have any specific goals in mind yet? If not, maybe I can help you with that. We need to observe, plan and go into action. “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.” Proverbs 29:18 (The Message)
And, it never hurts to seek advice – from other people and from God’s Word. “People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.” Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)
The Bible is the most read book ever published, cherished by millions of people all over the world. Why is that? One reason is that it is one of the best history books ever written. But more importantly, it is the perfect blueprint for our lives, even today. “Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” Psalm 119:133 (NLT)
The Bible is filled with example after example of all the dos and don’ts you could ever need to help make good decisions for your life and how to live it. If you have questions, it has answers. You may need a good concordance to guide you, but the help is there for those that seek it.
What good, quality builder would ever dare to construct a large building without a proper blueprint to guide them every step of the way? There are so many minute details that must be considered for inclusion in order to have a fully, properly functioning structure. Without that detailed guide, you can count on errors that could compromise the integrity of the completed building.
What traveler with a certain allotted time to go from point A to point B, to see and do specific things, would ever strike out on that journey without consulting a map or using a reliable GPS? With a complex road system such as we have in this country, it would be easy to get off track and possibly miss the important things you needed to see and do. Without that map, the possibility of getting totally off-track and lost is there.
We as humans are no less detailed than those buildings, nor are we less complex than those road systems. We are put here on this earth with important functions to accomplish. It can be so easy to get lost if we do not stay focused on the details. Why then do we allow ourselves to put our blueprint, our map for life on a shelf or a table, unopened and collecting dust? Why do we fail to take just a few minutes each day to study the best guide available for living our lives to the fullest?
For this New Year that is almost upon us, I would challenge you to do this – First, find a Bible translation that is easy for you to read and understand, for example New Living Translation or New International Version or The Message. I personally have a Parallel Bible that has four translations side-by-side – this specific one has the three translations mentioned plus New King James Version. If I do not grasp the meaning of a verse in one translation I can read it in the others and most times will find the clarity I need. You can find Parallel Bibles with different translation combinations to fit your preferences. I bought mine online. But, if you have a good used book store near you, check there to save some money. I looked in Half Price Books and saw some with great prices, but they just did not have the specific translations that I preferred.
Second, if you do not have a good concordance, invest in one of those also. It will help you search for scriptures dealing with specific topics that you want to know more about. (Again, I would look at a used book store for this. They have them available to match the different Bible translations too, which helps.)
Third, go online and find a guide of how to read through the Bible in a year. This will break down the reading in bite sized pieces that will help you accomplish a wonderful goal easily. This has helped me achieve the goal of reading entirely through the Bible multiple times over the years. Another option, which I have also used several times, is to use a Bible that is written in chronological order. The specific one I have is “The Narrated Bible – In Chronological Order – New International Version.” The narration is by F. LaGard Smith and is published by Harvest House. In the back, it has a daily reading schedule that guides you to read through it in a year – this has been my favorite way to read the Bible.
If you are new to regular Bible study, be prepared that especially in the Old Testament, some of it can be difficult – especially with long lists of hard to pronounce names and what can seem like endless genealogies. But do not let that discourage you, because the good stuff is there and makes it so worth it.
Remember to always pray before you start reading, asking God to open your mind and heart for understanding and meaning. There will be days that you will not glean so much from it, but there will be days that you learn something new that will bless you so much. I have found that there are certain scriptures that when I read them speak something special to me – addressing something going on in my life at that moment; but, I may read that same scripture at a later date and find it speaks to something completely different. The Word of God has a wonderful way of ministering to our specific needs as needed.
If the Old Testament is just too much for you to start with, then start reading Matthew in the New Testament first.
I promise you will never regret this small investment of money and time in order to get your blueprint and map before you – the guides that you need to live a happier, more fulfilling and blessed life.
May 2020 be a happy, blessed year for you!
Written by Karran Martin – April 14, 2019