"Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law "
Psalm 119:18 (NKJV)
This devotional inaugurates the fifth year of a common journey, consisting of a brief weekly meditation and a plan to read the Bible to nourish your faith. If you're not used to reading on a daily basis, it might seem a bit heavy initially, but do not give up. Coping with the Scriptures is the first sign of the fear of the Eternal, from which healthy benefits are also generated. I believe, in agreement with the psalmist, that the therapy against the malaise and the evils that affect the soul is that of keeping the word in the heart: "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11). As a treasure set aside for moments of poverty, the pantry full of famine, in the hour of trial or difficulty, your word will be able to give refreshment to the thirsty soul.
In projecting us in the coming year we always try to have expectations, at least to remove all the bad things collected in the year that is ending. Probably the first expectations will be just what you thought last year and you have not seen it happen. Perhaps those have left only good intentions, despite the enthusiasm, commitment and, for some, even the courage shown. Others who have been shelved due to the resistance encountered. Two personal activities should not end up outside our programs: reading the Bible and praying. Usually it is initially charged and determined. It takes only a few days to present the best resolutions. Yet we are aware that without the help of the Lord our projects will not have a positive outcome, or at least they will not produce anything significant. For this reason I urge you to import as a first decision to present yourself constantly in your presence. We avoid adding projects without first going through the prayer hall, because probably what can change everything is to change me first.
I am aware of having to dig more and more into His word to know God and His ways. How little I know about Him ... and the ignorance of God remains the thinnest weapon in the hands of the devil. Ignorance and presumption of knowledge can cause irreparable damage. I want to remind myself every day that I never know enough and reject every form of pride, because "Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him" (1 Corinthians 8: 1-3 NKJV). Only prayer will help me to move my gaze from my person to God. I want as a Baptist "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30 NKJV). Beyond all my efforts in carrying out various commitments and projects, it is indisputable that "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all" (John 3:31 NKJV). I remain one who comes from the earth, and on this dust I hope and pray that in the new year my Redeemer will grow.
After the reconstruction begun by Nehemiah, the priest Ezra reappears on the scene with the text of the Law (Nehemiah 8). People gather like a man in the square to listen to the reading. At the opening of the book, all the people first stand up, then kneel and bow with their faces on the ground before the Lord. The reaction of the people is marked by a strong emotion, to the point that Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites tell people not to cry and not to cry. Scripture is able to lay bare our condition, and its compact listening to the minds. Just as Nehemiah will exhort those present not to be saddened, because the joy of the Lord is their strength, so we rejoice because "his staff and his rod comfort us", as the psalmist would say. In the moments when we listen to someone, we return to laying the foundations of our conviction and we live the biblical text, because "only Scripture has the final authority to tell us what to believe and it is therefore right to devote some time to the teaching of the same Scriptures" (W. Grudem).
Weekly reading plan for the Bible
December 31 prayer
January 1 Genesis 1-3; Matthew 1
January 2 Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2
January 3 Genesis 7-9; Matthew 3
January 4 Genesis 10-12; Matthew 4
January 5 Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26
January 6 Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48