You – yes you – can help financially support our camp simply by changing your internet search habits. Goodsearch.com makes it so easy: just set up a user account with them and add Iowa Regular Baptist Camp as your chosen recipient. Any time you use Goodsearch for your internet search needs, they will donate a penny to IRBC. In fact, you can earn even more for camp by searching the “Goodshop” section of the site to find online retailers who will donate a percentage of your purchase as well. So by doing the searching and shopping you would normally do online, you can support camp at the same time!
It’s that time of year when masses of people come up with great ideas to make next year better than this year. Some will resolve to lose weight only to gain. Others will resolve to reign in their spending habits and finally make some financial headway. Whether you are one who generally succeeds in your New Year’s resolutions, or if you are one who tends to only make it a few weeks, it NEVER hurts to try!
January 1 is a great day to start reading through the Bible once more! Looking at all 66 books at once will seem daunting. But when you realize that you can make it through the entire book in one year by simply reading 4 or 5 chapters each day, all-of-the-sudden it seems a little more attainable.
There are plenty of different ways to read through the Bible in a year. Denny Burk has come up with a simple 4-5 chapter per day plan that takes you from Genesis through Revelation. (Links to both Word and PDF versions are about halfway down in his post.)
You can listen while you read using a daily Bible reading podcast. Here is one that goes through various parts of the Bible each day. Here is another one that is in chronological order. The previous two links are iTunes specific, but you can find other podcasts that do not require iTunes or an Apple device at all. Just search Google for “Daily Audio Bible Podcast.”
The plans I have mentioned so far are all “slow and steady” methods. Peter Krol makes the case for “sprinting to the end” – starting January 1 and finishing the entire Bible as fast as you can.
What ever way you start reading, I can guarantee one thing: Any distance you make through the Bible will be MORE than what you would have read had you not started! So resolve now to make 2014 your Bible-reading year!
You probably don’t know this about me, but I can recite the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Well, almost. I never sat down to try and memorize it, but one of the books I had growing up had this poem in it, and who knows how many times I read it! So even now, if for some reason part of that poem pops into my head, I can without effort go through the whole thing – almost. The place I get stuck is probably different each time, but no bother – it’s just a fun, imaginative poem. Not knowing it is not consequential.
I can also recite the Christmas story found in Luke chapter two. Just the other day my children were watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” when all of the sudden, my ears perked up. One of the characters was reciting the Christmas story! “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord…” you can finish it in your head at this point. Or at least almost.
It is said that “familiarity breeds contempt,” referring to relationships that are allowed to grow stale. When it comes to those of us who have grown up hearing the Christmas story each and every year, perhaps we could say that “familiarity breeds indifference.” Indifference is the almost that gets us to miss out on the fullest joy of Christmas.
Oh we know that Christmas isn’t about presents & pageants, or eggnog & cookies. We know it’s about God the Father sending the Son to earth. We even know the reason Jesus came was so that He could die. But if these dry facts constituted all Christmas were about, then our atheist detractors would be right in saying that God is a dastardly cosmic child-abuser. Familiarity with indifference does not mean that we “forget” the truth of Christmas, but maybe that we “fail to actively remember.”
Perhaps our almost dilutes our Christmas joy because we look for joy in family and festivities rather than in the Father. Maybe our almost robs us of our Christmas peace because we have allowed situations and circumstances to cloud our view of the Savior. Whatever your almost is, find it, fix it, and revel once again in the greatest gift ever given: a gift not wrapped in paper, but in flesh; not shining reflections from a bow, but radiating the eternal glory of God. And remember, that gift is for you!
John 1:14, 16 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”