by Linda Veath

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Psalm 33:1

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; …. Praise the Lord …. Sing to Him a new song; …. For the word of the Lord is right and true… ~ Psalm 33:1-4 NIV

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. Psalm 19:8 NIV

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to believe that it’s a new year. 2017 no less. A blank calendar lies open before us as we wonder what the 365 days ahead might hold for us.

As I started a new prayer list for 2017, I was reminded that a friend is now facing colon cancer and surgery. Another friend is undergoing lung surgery. Another is dealing with caring for elderly, home-bound parents while she herself continues to work full time. Others are moving. Some are retiring. Most watch the evening news, wondering how it is going to affect them.

All the uncertainties of life are upon us … yet we are told in the Psalms to sing a new song JOY-fully. To praise the Lord. Seems rather difficult, doesn’t it? Thankfully we have a Lord who will help us do just that. And it starts (and ends) in His holy Word.

The precepts (laws, commandments, words) of the Lord are right—pure, true, perfect, unchanging. They are the words of a holy, trustworthy, and unchangeable God. His laws are guidelines, lights on our paths rather than chains on our hands and feet. When written on our hearts, God’s Word lays a foundation for lasting joy.

In a world of uncertainty, His Word can be trusted. As we read it, study it, and live it, we find that we can sing with joy no matter our circumstances.

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Now, a question. 

Anybody interested in making 2017 a “year of reading God’s Word”?  If you are, read on …….

My spiritual mentor challenged me early on to read the Bible all the way through every year, using a different version or study Bible each year. I know that’s quite a challenge. But in case you are interested in accepting that challenge, I’d like to share with you the Bible reading guide I enjoy using. It’s from The Navigators.

There are readings every day from the Old Testament, the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, the Gospels, and the remaining New Testament. This helps get us through some of the more difficult readings, such as Leviticus, by having other parts of the Bible to read on the same day.

Also, readings are listed for only 25 days each month, leaving 3 to 6 days monthly to “miss” reading and not fall behind—one of the main “killers” of attempts to read through the Bible.

But whatever the reading guide you choose, I pray the Lord opens your mind, your heart, and your life to the joy of studying His Word. May it bring you peace and strength in the new year.

~ Linda Veath