By Elizabeth Prata
We’re a week into the new year. How long do you say “Happy New Year?” LOL, I say it only on the day or a day or so after. Are you still keeping up with your New Year’s Resolutions, if you made any? I don’t make resolutions but I did make some changes. Tweaks in my routine.
First, I decided to do the G3 Reading Challenge instead of Challies’ challenge this year. G3 offers twelve categories for books to read and suggestions under each category if you’re stuck. I chose Stephen J. Nichols’ book for the category “A Book About Culture”. The title is A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society. I have 63 pages left. It’s good.
I decided to do the John MacArthur’s Bible Reading Plan. It includes a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Proverb, and a Psalm. The Grace To You ministry sent me unprompted, a surprise Reading Plan Bible with goatskin cover. It’s so nice! It’s pleasant to look at on my desk, it is easy to handle, not being too big. I love it. Last year I was reading through the Bible chronologically. Not in time, but chronological according to when the book was written. So, Job was the first book to read since that was written first, theologians say. It was a good plan, too!
I switched my Bible reading time to 4:30 AM from 4:30 PM. I used to come home from school, have a cup of tea and relax for about an hour, then read the Bible. It worked fine. I liked that if I got entranced by something I’d read I could go on and follow it up with no time limits. In the morning if I get down a rabbit trail I have to stop so I can get ready for work.
I like the 4:30 am time better though because of the freshness of the day with fewer things on my mind. My focus is better, if not my lengthy research. It’s all a balance, isn’t it. Only so many hours in the day. When summer comes and I’m off school I’ll have time to read AND research for a long time.
I went back to reading a novel, too. I missed it. I like Will Thomas’ detective series, “Barker and Llewellyn.” It’s set in Victorian times and is very atmospheric without the gore and focus on violence so many modern crime novels have. My next novel will be by Charles Martin, known for his excellent book When Crickets Cry (which I have read).
My schedule at school was tweaked too. I now do more reading interventions with students than before. Over the Christmas Break I went through my bin of photographs and ephemera. I looked at my elementary school report cards (“Beth could try harder in math.”) [No, no I couldn’t]. Or the old ticket stubs from things I went to in Italy. Subway map of the London ‘tube’. I found a newspaper clipping sent to me when I was a sophomore in college. It was one of those notes telling a student made the Dean’s List. The clipping ended with, if I remember, something like ‘Miss Prata will be staying in Orono this summer to help students become better readers in the UMO Literacy Program.’
That was 42 y ears ago. I had forgotten I’d done that. I’ve always been committed to helping kids read better but I was more pleased with remembering the longevity in my life of that commitment.
Anyway, it was providential I’d swapped my Bible reading time. The day at work is fulfilling and joyful, but I do come home mentally tired now. So the change in time from afternoon after work to the morning to read the Word will be good.
I changed my devotional this year. I’ve been publishing Spurgeon’s devotionals for three years. First year the Morning, then the Evening then the Faith’s Check-book, and rotating around to Morning again. This y ear I’ll re-publish John MacArthur’s daily devotionals. Just for a change. I love Spurgeon but in some of the devotionals the language is getting a bit antiquated. After all, it was originally published in 1866. I don’t want anything to come between a reader and the biblical material I present so…JMac it is.
I also decided to spend less time online. If I am to read more, then something’s gotta go. I can’t ditch work, lol, not yet anyway. I can’t lessen the time fellowshipping with my church saints, or or doing chores, as much as I’d like to ditch that one. So the online stuff will be lessened.
I wondered about writing here at The End Time. I take stock each year and I wonder, does the Spirit still want me to keep up this ministry? Is it still viable? I received many encouragements over the Christmas Break confirming that indeed, I should keep going. Ladies were saying they have been blessed and/or encouraged etc. So I still plan to write every day, Lord willing!
Tomorrow marks the entry into the 14th year I’ve been writing at The End Time. I started on Blogger. I wrote 5,422 essays there. I overlapped WordPress in 2016 and posted the same essays at both. Then in July 2020 I ceased posting at the Blogspot and focused on just WordPress. There are 5,630 essays here. (Not all the earliest essays from Blogger transferred to WordPress, there was a byte limit. About a year’s worth of essays are ‘left behind’ lol). There are some but not many repeats, either.
I thank the Holy Spirit for the focus, energy, and intellect to write about the Triune God, His wonderful works, and His word. The word of God is endlessly fascinating. It really IS eternal.
Let me leave you with some verses on eternal life.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3).
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life. (John 4:14).
Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)