Make This the Year You Read the Bible

It's the best thing you can do to grow in your walk with God.

If you want to grow in your relationship with God, there’s one thing you can do this year that will make more difference than anything. Read the Bible. Here’s why.

Read the Bible with Me This Year

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Did you know? Research shows that someone who reads the Bible 4 or more times each week is:

  • 228% more likely to share their faith
  • 407% more likely to memorize scripture
  • 59% less likely to view pornography
  • 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness

Bottom line? A person who reads the Bible will have a life that looks different from one who doesn’t—even as a Christian. Perhaps this is why Peter wrote:

Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

I’ll be reading the Bible this next year. I urge you to join me!

Here are some easy ways you can do it.

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FREE Resources for Your Bible Reading This Year

There's one way to grow to you potential.

Let’s be honest. Bible reading can be intimidating. It’s a big book! But with only about 15 minutes a day, you can finish the whole Bible in a year. Why not make this year the year you do it?

FREE Resources for Your Bible Reading This Year

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Bible reading is essential for growth as a Christian. But it’s not as if you read it once and you’ve got it. We have an inexhaustible text. What’s more, we’re not always ready to understand it all the first time. Or the third.

That’s why both Paul and Peter write about the value of repetition in reading Scripture (Philippians 3:1; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:13; 3:1-2).

Every year, I’ve discovered it true.

Here are 7 free resources to help you with your Bible reading this year.

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7 Christian Christmas Readings for Download

Remember these essential truths in your spiritual life

It’s a good thing we have holidays. Without these forced pauses in our hurried schedules, we would plow through life with only a headstone to stop us.

7 Christian Christmas Readings for Download

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Christmas certainly offers us a time to take a break from work. It’s also a time for family to reconnect. But most importantly, the holiday reminds us of essential truths in our spiritual lives.

Here are 7 Christian Christmas readings from Scripture with suggested themes for personal reflection or group discussion.

You can also download these Christian Christmas Readings if you prefer to print them.

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How to Rely on God’s Strength in Moments of Weakness

Help from Peter’s Upper Room Boast to Gethsemane’s Failure

Peter denied he knew Christ. To some folks, that’s no big deal. Compared to murder, rape, etc., giving in to fear seems like small potatoes. But to Peter, his denial of Jesus ranked right up there with Judas’ betrayal. Personal failure always feels more poignant and painful than seeing it in someone else’s life.

How to Rely on God’s Strength in Moments of Weakness

(Photo: Upper Room. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Proverbs says no one knows the grief of the heart like one’s self (Prov. 14:10). To Peter, his denial of Jesus struck to the core of his heart, because only hours earlier Peter had promised he would never deny Him. NEVER. Peter’s words were emphatic.

The bitter pill? Peter really believed he would never deny Jesus. The emotion gushed out of his mouth in a full-on promise—a vow—that Peter would stay faithful to the Master even when all others would not. His words went beyond a promise to a boast. To bolster Peter’s position and promise, he compared himself to the other apostles, whose reactions never made it into print (probably a good thing).

I doubt the other eleven would have agreed: “Yeah, Peter, you’re right. The rest of us are nowhere near as strong as you. I have to admit, when we all have turned tail and run, you’ll still be standing there with Jesus. Way to go.”

Weakness begins, ironically, by thinking we’re strong.

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Chasing the Surprising Geography of the Presence of God

How can God be somewhere and everywhere at the same time?

It’s hard to imagine an omnipresent God dwelling in one place. And yet, every December we celebrate the fact. God dwells in the confines of a human body. And He is also everywhere.

But the incarnation isn’t the first time God has localized His presence among His people.

Presence of God

(Photo: Olive groves near Bethlehem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

God is both omnipresent and present. King Solomon summed up the seeming contradiction when he prayed:

Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. —2 Chronicles 6:18

From creation to Christmas—and from today to eternity.

Let’s take a quick geographical journey and follow movements of God’s dwelling place among us.

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What to Do When It’s Not Really the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lonely holidays are the times to draw close to God.

The songs play it. The movies portray it. Even our church services have their part to play. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Yeah, well what if it isn’t? For many people, holidays bring up painful memories.

(Photo by Photodune)

Sore spots from childhood or the loss of loved ones hit hard during this sentimental season. While many people celebrate the joys of Christmastime, others suffer lonely holidays.

During one of the most desperate times of King David’s life, the anointed future king of Israel found himself running from two separate enemies—hardly a time to celebrate. With the Philistines to the west and King Saul to the east, a distressed David sought refuge in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1–2).

David felt very alone.

His situation offers encouragement to us during lonely holidays.

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A Surprising, Essential Quality You Need for Spiritual Growth

Don't toss away that selfie stick just yet.

When you see a group of friends roar with laughter after taking a selfie, you can bet they used a “warp app” to capture the moment. Like the funhouse mirrors of yesteryear, the app stretches our bodies and squeezes our faces to hilarious extremes. We have to laugh because the reflection has nothing to do with reality.

A Surprising, Essential Quality You Need for Spiritual Growth

(Photo: a recent selfie in Jerusalem)

I’ll never forget the day a friend poked his finger in my sternum and severely criticized me. I stood speechless, not because his words were true, but because his criticism mirrored the very flaws he manifested in spades. In censuring me, he revealed his own warped selfie—but this one wasn’t so funny.

Every one of us carries a selfie stick. We must. After all, spiritual growth requires we take a good look at ourselves—not only from our own vantage point, but from those around us as well.

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Trying to Figure Out God’s Odd Leading in Your Life

Christmas shows us God’s leading proves wiser than our impatient pleas for progress.

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense. We know that almost 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. But we forget that approximately 2,040 years before they did, Jacob and Rachel, another expectant couple, traveled south along the same road.

God's Unusual Leading in Your Life

(Photo: Anton Raphael Mengs. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, but died soon after delivery, and Jacob buried her near Bethlehem (Gen. 35:19). Rachel’s death foreshadowed the devastation that the territory of Benjamin would suffer in Jeremiah’s time:

Rachel is weeping for her children . . . Because they are no more. —Jeremiah 31:15

Yet the prophecy found its final fulfillment in Jesus’ day, when Herod the Great slaughtered all baby boys in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:17-18). So, at God’s direction, Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to live until Herod’s death.

Each movement of Jesus’ family finds its cause in God’s revelation to Joseph:

  • Fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt
  • Returning from Egypt to Israel
  • Avoiding Judea to settle in Galilee

God’s purposes for these moves lay first in the protection of His Son, but Matthew notes that each directive also fulfilled Scripture. I doubt anyone but God saw beforehand the murky prophecies fulfilled by these geographic moves. But in hindsight, they become clear.

God’s leading and timing in our lives often don’t make sense either.  At least at first.

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Hanukkah—When Jesus Claimed to Be God on the Temple Mount

His hearers that day understood what many today miss.

On a wintry day in Jerusalem, Jesus walked in Solomon’s Colonnade—the long, covered, columned portico on the east side of the Temple—overlooking the Kidron Valley.

Hanukkah—When Jesus Claimed to Be God

(Photo: Solomon’s Colonnade lay along the eastern wall of the Temple. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The conversation Jesus had that day occurred at Hanukkah—a celebration the Jews referred to as “the Feast of the Dedication” (John 10:22).

The feast had historical significance, which heightened the passion of those in Jerusalem. They encircled Jesus to ask Him a simple question.

His reply gave them more than they bargained for.

Today, some say Jesus never claimed to be God. But His words during that Hanukkah left little doubt.

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