One of the most important things for me to figure out before a new year starts is what my plan for Bible reading and devotions will be for the coming year. I love to start a new, fresh plan or book after finishing a very meaningful Advent season. I’ve done all sorts of plans in the past including The One Year Bible and My Utmost for His Highest as well as working through various shorter projects, some of my favorites being Experiencing God, The Mind of Christ, practicing silence before the Lord, and various Lent and Advent Devotionals. But I’ve never done a very good job including my kids consistently in devotions. We do sporadic things together, but this year I want to be more intentional!
As I’ve been thinking and praying about this coming year, I’ve decided that I want to do something this year that will last the whole year rather than several shorter projects or books. I hate that lull between studies – I feel like we lose so much momentum!
So I went hunting through all my studies and devotional books (and there are MANY) and pulled out all the ones that last the whole year. I narrowed it down to a short list of ones that really interested me, and then asked my husband if he would be interested in doing one with us. He was keen on the idea, so we talked through the short list and chose one together! Here’s our short list in alphabetical order by author in case you’re interested:
- Daily Light on the Daily Path by Samuel Bagster
- Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Devotional Prayer by Kurt Bjorklund
- Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
- Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey by Jerry Bridges
- Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation by Dianne Neal Matthews
- Daily Reflections on the Names of God by Ava Pennington
I have to be honest – I really want to do all of these, and if I was a hermit, I probably would! But since I’m not, and since they aren’t all terribly kid-friendly, and since I’m really excited to do this with my husband, I gave him the deciding vote. And he chose…. drum roll, please…
Daily Light on the Daily Path
I’m so excited! (Yes, I would have said that for any of them!) 🙂 But I really am super-excited to do this one together.
Have you heard of this book? I first came across it a few years ago, I think, when reading Isobel Kuhn’s Green Leaf in Drought Time (which I love!), and then I noticed she mentioned it in passing in a few other books. It seemed to be the devotional of choice of the people she wrote about. But I really didn’t give it much thought until it came up again in Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael – again, in passing, just mentioned several times how the Lord spoke to her through something she read in it. It seemed like it kept coming up as an influential book in several of my heroes’ lives, so I went to research it and find out what it was.
I absolutely love the story behind this book! Samuel Bagster, a bookseller in London in the 19th century, would gather his twelve children every day to read the Bible and would challenge them to connect the verses they read each day to other passages. He felt it was very important to teach them to think through how passages from all over the Bible fit together to make meanings and applications clearer.
Many years later, several of his children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, who had continued the tradition he had begun, worked together to compile the daily entries in this book in order to share with others what their father/grandfather had taught them. What a legacy and such a beautiful example this story gives me for training my children in our homeschool! I’m very excited to include them this year in our journey through this book.
Daily Light on the Daily Path has become one of the most widely read collections of daily readings from the Bible ever published. It contains two readings for each day, one for morning and one for evening. Each reading begins with a verse from Scripture that sets the theme, and then other verses follow it, expounding on the same theme. I love how it is only Scripture with no commentary, and how it is put together into one cohesive paragraph with only an occasional altered pronoun or conjunction for good grammar.
I also love that it is in the public domain so you can find it in a lot of different ways! Here’s a link to an Amazon search – you can see how there are many different editions using several different translations of the Bible. I’ve also found no fewer than seven places it’s available online in different versions and formats, and I’m sure there are more. I love how this availability makes it possible for a lot of people to do this study together while using the versions and formats they like best!
Here’s an example of a daily reading. You can see how the references for all the verses used are placed at the bottom. I love thinking about the context of each and how they work together to teach me something new. I particularly enjoy it when it goes a different direction than I would have expected. I also really like how the Old and New Testaments are put together in many of the readings.
Blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. — 1 Cor 1:8 NET
And you were at one time strangers and enemies in your minds as expressed through your evil deeds, but now he has reconciled you by his physical body through death to present you holy, without blemish, and blameless before him – if indeed you remain in the faith, established and firm, without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.—That you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world.
Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish.—Be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ.
Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity.
Col 1:21-23, Phil 2:15, 2 Pet 3:14, Phil 1:10, Jude 1:24-25
Since praying about this and making this decision, I have felt prompted to issue an invitation to any of you who may want to join us in this journey. And especially to those of you who may desperately crave accountability and community as I do in daily spending time with the Lord and including my kids in that. I’ve thought a lot about how best to do this, and I really don’t know what would be best, so I thought I’d just ask you.
- I could host a link-up each Saturday here and at Mommynificent for anyone to link up their posts about what they’ve been learning through reading through this book and/or any other devotional readings and practices they are doing. I would share a few thoughts of my own from the week’s reading at the beginning of each link-up post. If I do this, I would host it on both of my blogs because I want to really encourage people to do this on their own, as a family, and/or as part of homeschooling, so I thought hosting it in both places might be a way of encouraging that. If your kids ever wanted to share their thoughts on the week’s reading, I would love that!!! The link-up would be the same on both sites, so you could come to whichever one you prefer.
- I could also start a private facebook group where anyone who wanted to could check in each day that they’ve done the reading as well as share any thoughts that jumped out at them.
If you are interested in either of these ideas or have another idea, would you please leave me your thoughts in the comments below? I really want to be available for anyone craving accountability and community, but if that’s not something anyone wants or needs right now, that’s cool too, and we’ll just do our thing here. 🙂 So please do let me know if you are interested and also please let me know if you aren’t! Either way, I love hearing from you, and I’d love to know what you are doing for your devotions this year!
Happy New Year!!!