Happy New Decade


January 1, 2020

A new year infuses me with hope: a new beginning, a fresh start, and positive feelings of adventures and opportunities that await. A new decade, on the other hand, sobers me with a profound sense of accountability. Time is a gift with an unknown expiration date. By the time this next decade is over, I will be in my mid-seventies (Whaaaat???). No matter your age, these ten years will be consumed—never to be recovered. So how will you spend them?

Every year I write goals, print them out, and put them in my prayer book, so that I will see them on a regular basis and track my progress. More difficult and challenging is writing goals that cover ten years. I tried to do it, but it got foggy because there’s too much I don’t know yet. What I know for certain, is that when this next decade closes, I want to know God more than I know him today. I want to see him more clearly and love him more dearly (I think that’s a Beatles song).  

But I can’t get there on my own, and neither can you. If the Bible is the place where God has chosen to reveal himself, then we cannot know him apart from knowing the Bible. I’m going to assume that everyone reading this blog would have that same overarching goal for the decade—to know and love God more. How are we going to get there? 

We accomplish long-range goals with hundreds of small steps. In Eugene Peterson’s words, “A long obedience in the same direction”. If my math is correct, there will be 3653 days in the next decade. Each day will bring an opportunity to know and love God more. And the cumulative effect will be a life more centered on Christ, and less absorbed with self—how refreshing will that be!

It should not surprise you that I recommend memorizing long portions of Scripture to keep you immersed in God’s Word. My 29-year journey of memorizing Scripture, putting God’s words on my lips day-after-day, has connected me to God’s thoughts and God’s heart. It is food for a famished soul, yet seems like only an appetizer until the next meal. The cumulative effect has been a life of great privilege—to know and love my Savior. 

I don’t know what I will memorize over the next decade, but I have made my choices for 2020. I started today on Proverbs 30. It’s an intriguing oracle with observations from nature and human behavior. After that I will tackle the book of Jonah. Every time I hear a message on Jonah I learn something I’ve never considered before. I’m eager to go deep into the book and learn it for myself.

What are you memorizing for 2020? Will you please share with our community what you are memorizing for this year, and why you chose that passage? We will all be inspired and will have some new ideas. 

Happy New Year to all of you. And Happy New Decade!

11 comments to Happy New Decade

  • Beverly Schlomann

    Happy New Year!
    Currently I am working on John 1. I am reading through “One Perfect Life” by John MacArthur, which is a compilation of all the Scripture on the life of Christ, so it made sense to start at the beginning . . .
    Still working my way through the Psalms — currently psalm 4 and psalm 86, and still plugging away at psalm 119.
    I loved your reminder of a “long obedience in the same direction” because the goal is, oh, I want to know my Savior more, and love Him more!!

    • Hi Beverly, so glad you shared your plan with us. I love John 1 because of its uniqueness. He tells us things we don’t see anywhere else. And we all need a dozen or more psalms to keep our life on track. Happy new decade!

  • Diana

    Hi Janet and happy new year.
    I am so glad that you shared your age since I had used my age as an excuse for not memorizing as well as you – no longer can I do so. I do find it difficult to memorize, but keep persevering knowing that the rewards of drawing closer to the Lord and also of enriching my prayer life are well worth the work involved.
    I thought that I could memorize the book of Ephesians in a year, but not so. I continue to work on it and will be focusing on 3 and 4 this year. I always add a psalm as well, but haven’t picked the one for this year. I admire Beverly for “plugging away at Psalm 119” which I also started a few years back. I have let it rest for a year in hopes of memorizing a couple of psalms instead.
    Bless you for sticking with the plan and staying focused on the goal.

    • Hi Diana, I do like to share my age for that reason. I started at 35 which i also share frequently because some people wonder if you have to start early (like age 10) in order to memorize so much. The goal is now how much we memorize or how quickly. The goal is to know God and walk closely with him. No matter your pace, if you turn to God throughout the day and say his words back to him, this keeps you communing with God, thinking his thoughts & connecting with his heart. Ephesians was the first book I ever memorized. It is still one of my favorites. It is rich in doctrine and full of practicals for everyday life.

  • Chéríe

    I wholeheartedly agree about Ephesians. It’s soooo rich. I am finishing Luke 2.
    I memorized Luke 1 last year and started Luke 2 immediately. I wanted to be done by Christmas but I didn’t make it. We took in a teen age foster child and she is still with us. She has never had a mother so lots to teach, and that has slowed me down a bit. But by God’s amazing grace, she has come to faith and is learning about what a complete privilege it is to read and memorize Gods word. It is not a ‘RIGHT’. It is a ‘PRIVILEGE’. After Luke 2, I’m not sure which chapter or book I am going to go for. I have a very long list of scripture I hope to engraft into my brain by memorizing. Thank you Janet!

    • Hi Cherie, What an amazing story about your foster child! God was all over that decision to step out and take her. You are so right about the privilege of memorizing God’s Word. For centuries people did not have their own copy of God’s Word, and we have the words right in front of us. May we treasure them!

  • Susan Williams

    Thanks for this great exhortation…and gentle “push.” I haven’t had a chance to pray about my 2020 goal (guess I’m a little behind the 8-ball on that one!), but will make it a priority this week (have been putting together a study on Philippians my husband and I will be teaching at our church). I do know that I will be pressing on in Nehemiah, and hopefully keeping previous chapters reviewed. Also need to layout a feasible and do-able plan to review previous books and passages, following a plan you provided for me. I’ll have to consider the “decade” goal at another point….and I’m not saying how old I will be at the end of it!! Ha-Ha

    • Hi Susan, I have loved hearing you recite chapters of Nehemiah. I see new wonders in God’s Word every time I hear it from your lips. Press on dear sister.

  • Diana Binford

    Just a note to Susan. Not only did you make me laugh about the age thing, but also remember how passionate I am about the OT and some of its invaluable treasures. Keep on in Nehemiah!!

  • Penny

    A local Christian radio station that I listen to regularly has begun this New Year by encouraging Scripture memorization. Weekly a verse will be presented and announced many times each day. Currently it’s Week 2; I am keeping a notebook as I memorize and am excited about having 52 verses locked into my heart at year’s end. I’m very grateful for this radio ministry as I am to you, Janet…showing me the true and lasting value of God’s Word presses into memory.

    • Hi Penny, I’m thrilled to hear about your plan for the year. And how encouraging to have the radio promoting Scripture memory. It is such a blessing to think about God’s Word throughout the day, and keep it in your heart and mind.