Only three days remain in the year 2010. It’s time to make plans and dream dreams for 2011. My list includes health items, writing projects, and family time. What about your list? Does it include goals for your spiritual growth?

Only the Holy Spirit can change our character and conform us to the image of Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 3:18; Col 1:29; Romans 12:2.) But, God works through our obedient and active cooperation as we train ourselves to be godly. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Tim 4:7; Phil 3:12-14.)

Reading the Bible is the most basic way to “train” ourselves for godliness. First, God reveals Himself and His ways in His Word. Second, the Bible shapes our character and equips us to fulfill God’s purposes for our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12). Third, the Bible teaches us to recognize good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

We will explore a few other spiritual disciplines in a future post, but today let’s concentrate on reading the Bible. How did you do in 2010? Did you spend regular time taking in God’s inspired Word? If not, why not?

If you struggled this year to read God’s Word or you would just like to read more in 2011, here are a few tips to consider:

1.      Make a commitment – Commit to yourself and to God.

2.      Choose a plan – Without a plan to read, most people will fail to read. You can work your way through one Bible book at a time or use a Bible Reading Plan.

3.      Be realistic – Set reading goals that are attainable for you. Don’t commit to read seven days a week if you have not read regularly before now. Commit to one level above where you are now.

Here are some plans to choose from. Pick one that meets your current needs and then commit to follow it. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or a week. Just skip those days and begin again.

  • Christian Doctrine Plan: Learn more about the foundational doctrines (beliefs) of the Christian faith. The first quarter of the year highlights different attributes of God. By April you will know more about who God is! Download the first quarter now. (PDF, Word Doc)
  • 31 Days With Jesus: This Bible reading plan focuses on Jesus. Spend thirty-one days reading passages from the life of Christ. In one month you’ll know Jesus even more. (PDF, DOC)
  • Key Bible Characters: Spend 5 days a week discovering how God wove individual lives into His overall plan! From Abraham, Moses, and David to Peter, John, and Paul, God still uses His people in the Scriptures to impact His people today. With the life and work of Jesus Christ central to this Bible reading plan, it’s a daily experience you won’t want to miss.  (PDF, DOC)
  • Chronological Reading Plan: Spend a year getting familiar with the big picture of the Bible. Read through all the major stories and key passages in five days a week. (DOC)
  • New Testament in One Year: This handy daily Bible reading guide will take you through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in one year. (DOC)
  • Lamb’s Quiet Time Guide: My pastor, Dr. Doug Lamb, developed this plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. He is glad to share it with you. (PDF, DOC)

I’d love to know your plans for reading God’s Word in 2011 and if you’ve chosen one of the plans above. Happy reading!

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