January 1, 2018. It happens to just be the next day after December 31 and right before January 2, but you’d think this day was the opportunity to get a new life… a new beginning… a fresh start, like we never had before. We use January 1 as a launchpad to jettison us into losing weight… setting new goals… making our move.
Well, in a sense, I’m no different. I don’t make resolutions, but on this day I do have the opportunity to start a brand new Bible reading plan that will assist me in reading the entire Bible once again in 2018. I’m pretty sure this is the thirtieth time. If you want to join me, I’m using The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan put out by the Navigators (www.navpress.com).
But not only am I starting the process of reading my entire Bible once again this year, but also putting a new title on top of the page – something I’ve done the last four years as I wrote these words of encouragement. Four years ago I titled them, “Declare.” Then we had “Proclaim.” Two years ago we called them “Affirm.” And of course last year they were entitled, “Devote.” Each was inspired probably more so for me in re-establishing why I was writing these devotionals and to whom. Remember, I first write them for myself and then pray they might be an encouragement to someone else. I pray that if they encourage you, you will be so kind as to pass them on to your family and friends.
This year our devotionals will come under the heading of “Ignite.” So you know, “Ignite” is a Latin word which means “to set on fire,” “to burn,” “to kindle.” I like the concept. As we spend time in the Word and listen for the voice of God, the Holy Spirit has an opportunity to explain, reveal, clarify and magnify, and expound on things we didn’t know, understand, or trust before. When we open ourselves up to His teaching, He has ample opportunity to shape us and mold us in what He desires us to be. So let’s pray He starts a fire each and every opportunity we spend a moment of time with Him.
Here’s what I find so utterly cool about starting a new Bible reading schedule on the first day of the New Year – I read a portion of the first Gospel (Matthew)… the beginning of the New Testament Church (Acts)… the first Psalm… and the beginning of creation (Genesis). Everything is new. We’re kicking off this beginning for Him to start a fire within us; a greater love for His Word; and a stronger desire for Holy Spirit’s presence every moment of every day.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: This is a new day. Why not take advantage of it. Set a new course. Take a new adventure with God. Let Him ignite you with His love, His joy, His peace, His presence!
Set me on Holy Spirit fire this year. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen