Monday, January 7, 2013

Drawing Aside the Curtain of a New Year

Forgetting the past ... I press onward. — Phil. 3:13,14
One of God's glorious gifts to mankind is to bestow upon him the dawn of a new year. New opportunities and challenges are before him. A chance to try again to make another endeavor to successfully accomplish the ambitions which were perhaps cast aside with discouragement in the year past. Life is full of beginnings. As one stands a the gate and with doubtful hand draws aside the curtain and peers into the unknown, he begins today by making his first step across the threshold of the new year. It is already a beautiful  year because it another year of Our Lord. 
Gazing at the far horizons and half wondering what the coming months will bring, pause but a moment to reflect over the old volume of three hundred and sixty five days just ended. The pages may have been marred by mistakes and torn by intentions, but a few more miles have been covered on the upward climb, pressing toward the mark. 
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come,
'Twas grace that brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us Home. 
It has not been our own achievement. Great has been our Father's faithfulness; new every morning have been  His mercies. He faileth never! 
Excerpt from Streams in the Desert, Vol. 2, Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

To help you grow in grace this year, we offer these recommendations from Dr. Benjamin Shaw, academic dean and professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at GPTS:

“I recommend ... a regular program of reading through the Bible (I especially recommend Grant Horner's system, found online here. ... I also recommend ... a program of reading regularly through the Westminster Standards. As a suggestion here, I recommend one chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith per day, and four questions in each of the Larger and Shorter Catechisms per day. When you get to the end of each, simply start over again. The WCF takes 33 days. The LC takes 49 days, and the SC takes 27 days. Thus, in a year, one would read through the WCF 11+ times, the LC 7+ times, and the SC 14+ times. I also suggest ... memorizing the Shorter Catechism. The repeated reading through the Bible acquaints one with the Bible, while the repeated reading through the Standards acquaints one with Reformed theology.”

Here are some additional resources to help you read through the Bible and/or the Westminster Standards this year:

Calendar Readings in the Westminster Standards
Bible Reading Schedule
M'Cheyne's Bible Reading Calendar

iPhone users: Here's a free app to help you set and track your goals for the new year.