Welcome to the second edition of "Question of the Week"...please answer in the comments OR write a blog post of your own and leave me a link to your answers! Feel free to borrow the graphic as well.
I want to thank those that participated last week! I appreciate each and every one of you!
Last week it was all about goals. This week is slightly related to that. It's about plans--Bible reading plans to be exact. Do you need a plan to stay on track? Do you find reading plans helpful? Or are they more of a hindrance to you? Do you have a plan B? In other words, do you have it worked out what you're going to do when you fall behind, forget, get frustrated, get bored, etc.? (There are a dozen excuses why it might happen.) Do you see this as an all or nothing proposition?There are a good variety of reading plans out there. I think it used to be a one-size-fits-all kind of world. I'm thinking of the traditional one-year-reading-plan with a dose of Old Testament, New Testament, and a bit of Psalms or Proverbs as dessert. There is more variety now. And there are even a few design-your-own plans out there where you can fill in your time frame, your focus (whole bible, new testament, old testament, whatever books you want), etc. And poof, a plan would appear that would divide it into even portions for you.
I personally don't follow a plan. Why? I'm not good with them. It may be one-size-fits-most plan, but it's not a size-that-fits-me. I've never met a plan that I could stick with. Either I would get behind...starting with just one or two days...then plummeting until being two or three or four weeks behind. And it's hard to pick yourself up from that. To try to catch up to where you're "supposed" to be. Or if by some chance I didn't fall behind, I would get bogged down in one book or another.
I guess I've always equated Bible plans with diets. With following certain plans and sticking to it like counting calories and such. (Read this: no more, no less.) If you get caught up in that mindset--not everyone does I know--it's hard to adjust for mistakes--stumbles, frustrations, backsliding, or just general busyness.
I am more of a free spirit. I want to read the Bible daily, yes, but I want the freedom--need the freedom--to go where I will. I believe that all of Scripture is God-breathed. I believe that all of it is important. So I do try to read it all, get to it all. But I don't want to feel bound to read it from cover-to-cover (in that order from Genesis to Revelation). I don't want to feel restricted in what to read and when to read it.
Granted, zig-zagging it may not work for some readers. The thought of reading the books out of order from jumping from John to Ruth to Ezekiel to Genesis to Ephesians to Jonah (all just an example) might seem too messy for some folks, too confusing for others. But I like going with the flow, doing things my way.
I don't want to sound like I'm judgmental of plans. I'm not. If it works for you, then I think it's great. I'm happy that you've got something that works for you. I wouldn't want to un-plan anyone. To discourage you from doing what works for you. But just in case, you're trying to force yourself to stick to a plan that isn't working-all-that-great for you. Know that you don't have to follow a regimented plan to get into the discipline of reading the Bible. It's not what you read so much as the fact that you're reading something.
As for plan B...this is a tricky one for me. When I was following plans--either daily Bible reading plans or daily devotional plans, it was a field of discouragement for me. I was always always getting behind. Of forgetting to do it. Then letting one or two days of forgetfulness turn into a week. Then having the philosophy, well, getting behind just one more day won't hurt. If I'm already that far behind, what's one more day? I'll catch up on the weekend. Or I'll catch up on Monday. Tomorrow, tomorrow, always tomorrow.
I think realizing that each day stands on its own; that it is a choice you make each and every day; that you can't just 'rollover' your time with the Lord is something to consider. If you miss a day, it's not the end of the world. It's not. It's nothing to beat yourself up about. It just means that you need to live in the moment. To realize that today is what matters--yesterday, last week, last month, last year--it's all over and gone with. Today is the day that you need to focus on. That you need to spend with the Lord. How will you choose to spend today?
That's not to say that I have this all down. I don't. I haven't been living life in the moment. But I've been trying to do so for the last few weeks. I'm trying to get in the habit of living life aware of each choice and staying focused on the now instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future.
I want to leave you with a thought--I was reading this in Morning and Evening. (Yes, free spirit I may be, but I love Charles Spurgeon!) January 8th, morning.
WHAT a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that, when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things, He wore upon His brow the words, “Holiness to the Lord;” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, He presents before His Father’s face not our unholiness, but His own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!