As 2011 quickly comes to a close, you might feel a need for a restart! Maybe this time last year you had resolutions, only to see them fade away. Perhaps you made choices that you now regret. Isn’t it great that the Lord gives us the promise of new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)? Isn’t it great that even when we are faithless, God is faithful?

How will 2012 be different? Will you serve the Lord more faithfully? Will you love him more? Will you serve others lovingly, like our Lord Jesus? Perhaps the better question is, How can 2012 be different, better than 2011?

One terrible way to approach the new year is with sheer determination. No one has ever lived a life pleasing to the Lord this way. The only way to please the Lord is with a continuous life of faith (Hebrews 11:6). But what fuels our faith so that we don’t fizzle out in mid-winter?

The only way our faith can continue to grow, and we can bear fruit consistently, is by cultivating minds full of God. And a mind full of God is a mind full of Scripture. Consider these verses:

  • How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word (Psalm 119:9)
  • I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11)
  • So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17)
  • So that we could encourage one another as one big church family, I suggest that we resolve (by faith!) to read the Bible regularly this new year. My favorite Bible reading plan is the Discipleship Journal “Book-at-a-Time” Plan. This gives us the opportunity to read the entire Bible together through the year, and it even has room for “catch-up days”, just in case we fall behind. You can find the plan here.

    Since God not only requires that we hear from him, but that we also think deeply about all that he has said, I also suggest that we memorize Scripture together. My favorite Bible memorization plan is “Fighter Verses”, from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. For encouragement on memorizing large portions of Scripture, I recommend this article from Andrew Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church of Durham, NC.