Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #365 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading reading Revelation 21 today and our focus is on the impact of  Years of Daily Bible reading. We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in .  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\ 

In December of 2019 – maybe November – my wife Janet proposed that our church go through a daily Bible reading plan in 2020. Little did we know at that time, how impacting of a decision that would be – I am not sure how many of our church members followed through with the daily Bible reading, but I know that many did, and that reading through the Word daily was a huge benefit for those who did – especially as the whole world went through a pandemic.  Somehow, in the midst of working on that daily Bible reading plan for 2020, it struck me to start a podcast, as an encouragement for our church people who were doing the daily Bible plan, and the 2020 Bible Reading Podcast was born, which led to the Bible 2021 podcast you are listening to right now. I’ve literally been podcasting off and on since 2005, and I think highly of the medium of podcasting as a way of reaching people, so it was kind of a natural fit. Soon, the number of people subscribing to the podcast went well beyond the borders of our church in Salinas, California, and eventually beyond the borders of our nation. I don’t really want to talk about the impact of the podcast, however, but the impact on me personally from intentionally reading God’s Word every day – thinking about it, and teaching on at least one chapter a day.

So, here’s my confession: Last year was the first year of my life when I systematically read through the Bible with a reading plan in a year. This year was the second year to do the same. I had tried a few times before, but failed each time for a variety of reasons. Having the podcast was extremely helpful in follow through last year, because it added a layer of accountablity. I doubt people were waiting on the edge of their seats for each episode to drop, but I knew that many people were counting on it, so missing a day was never an option. And, I can tell you, that this worked out as great as it possibly could have, because I don’t think I can think of anything that I would recommend more to somebody going through a terrible pandemic than daily intentional Bible reading.

Covid hit me hard – not because we got Covid, so far, in God’s grace, we’ve managed to avoid it – but the threat of Covid hit me hard. I’ve had an interest in infectious diseases for a very long time – a hobby level interest, not a professional interest, and thus I read more about Covid in the early months than any sane person should, and even predicted it would be a very big deal in January of 2020. But I let it get to me – we have five kids, and at least four of them have asthma, so I took it upon myself to protect them and the church I pastor, and I might have taken on that burden too strongly. I am not the great defender of the flock – God is. And it got in my head a bit, and stirred anxiety and all of that bad kind of stuff. It was a rough year, and 2021 wasn’t really any better, but through it all – the daily discipline of reading God’s Word and thinking about it and trying to think through each chapter in each day in order to write about it, podcast about it, and talk to my family about it – that was a tremendous boon and benefit to my soul. A great light in a dark time, a tremendous and living encouragement, a sustainer, a rebuker when necessary, and a pointer to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and our Father God. God provided His great grace over and over again to me as I read His Word in 2020 and 2021. I cannot highly recommend the practice of daily Bible reading to you enough, dear friends. There is life in the Word, because Jesus is the Word and He is in the Word (see John 1)

That said, unless the Lord brings a change over the next 48 hours, this podcast will likely change quite a bit in 2022, but it is NOT GOING AWAY!

I received an email yesterday from listener Amy, in Alabama:

I am a loyal listener from Birmingham,AL and would love to know where I will be able to find your daily podcast in the new year? I have so enjoyed listening this year and your podcast is my favorite part of my morning routine. I love beginning the day with the word of God.
Thank you, Amy

What an encouraging letter, Amy!  Here’s the good news: the podcast is continuing in 2022, but in a different form. Probably not daily, but more than weekly. We are still working on that, but you can look forward to an announcement in the next day or two in your current podcast client. You don’t need to do anything –  you can stay subscribed to this feed and you will get the 2022 version of this podcast. Look for more information in the coming days to be released in this very same podcast feed, and I will also update Bible2021.c0m – stay tuned, and thank you all for being with us over the weeks and months and years.

I want to close this episode with a word from Scottish Pastor Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who authered the first Bible reading plan we used last year. He was a mighty young man of God who had a tremendous influence on the world, even though he died at only 29. Allow me – and him – to commend to you the practice of daily time in God’s Word. Let nothing substitute for that! M’Cheyne wrote this as a letter to his congregation as they began a new Bible reading plan over the next year:

What the coming year is to bring forth, who can tell? There is plainly a weight lying on the spirits of all good men, and a looking for some strange work of judgment coming upon this land. There is need now to ask that solemn question—“If in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day. Then we shall be able to say like David—“The proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from thy law.” “Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart standeth in awe of thy Word.”

Robert Murray McCheyne, The Works of the Late Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, vol. 1 (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), 345.

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Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Church in North Salinas, California.

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