I find myself thinking and saying it every January. “It’s hard to believe that it is a new year.” As usual, the holidays came and went at hyperspeed. For some, today is a new beginning with new year’s resolutions and plans to be more productive, more healthy, more disciplined, more… Fill in your blank. Probably, for most, it is just another day. But it is a new year.
This year has some built-in challenges. One major one. 2024 is a presidential election year in the US, and it is likely to be a doozy. A doozy because America feels divided. Perhaps the feeling is just that: a feeling. But it seems like it is more than just a feeling. In many ways, we are divided, especially as it relates to politics. Today, the politics of division is the primary political gameplan for both of the major political parties in the US. You can bet that both parties will invest heavily in amplifying the divide by playing to their base because it is in their political interest to do so. The corporate and social media platforms will further amplify the divide because it is in their financial interest to do so.
The Politic Olympics comes around every four years in the US, and the temptation will be to jump in and pull for your team. I feel the pull, and it is difficult not to succumb. But this is pastormiles.com, so I want to give you some pastoral counsel at the beginning of what might be a year that brings some increased tensions within your families, among your friends, and in your workplace. The advice is simple. But it is sound!
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Simple, sound advice. But what is simple is not always easy. In fact, when so much around us is on fire, it is profoundly difficult to fix our focus elsewhere. Thus, the obvious question is, “How?”
I’ll return to another favorite from Pastor Paul to answer that important question.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
As I have done for nearly a decade, I want to encourage you to consider something almost incredibly simple to help you refocus your heart and mind in this new year. Consider making The Listening Plan a part of your daily routine. At least every weekday.
What is The Listening Plan? It is a tool I created in 2015 to help you abide in God’s Word and have His Word abide in you. It just so happens that there are as many chapters in the New Testament (260) as there are weekdays in a typical year. This means you can read the whole of the New Testament this year simply by reading a chapter a day, Monday through Friday.
I know someone will object, “Well, that’s neglecting the Old Testament.” Or, “You need to read more than one chapter a day!” And “What about the weekends?” I’ll grant you all of those objections are probably valid. But many Christians spend too little time in the Bible anyway, so a chapter each weekday is a good place to start. And, like it or not, reading is not the strong suit for most, so this is The Listening Plan and not the reading plan.
With The Listening Plan, you can listen to a chapter of the New Testament each weekday in 2024. On average, it will take you less than 5 minutes. My hope is that you’ll commit to doing so each morning. Make it a habit. This small keystone habit might be just what you need to refocus your mind and heart. You might be surprised what begins to change in your life as a result. Whatever you do, I hope that you’ll make time spent with God, in prayer and in His word, a part of your life this year. I can guarantee you you’ll be happy you did.