Our Focus for 2024
“For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel”
One of the greatest blessings God gave us are His written words: the Bible. We come to know God through His words (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). Through His words we are given everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), we are equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is called our bread that sustains us (Matthew 4:4), and our light that leads us (Psalm 119:105), and our sword that protects and penetrates us (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). Those who keep the word of God are promised a great reward (Psalm 19:11; 2 Timothy 3:15).
While we know all of this, the problem for many of us is devoting the time to reading God’s words. There was a statistic shared by American Bible Society, in 2021, about 50 percent of Americans said they read the Bible on their own at least three or four times per year. But in 2022, it dropped 11 points. Now only 39 percent say they read the Bible multiple times per year or more. It’s the steepest, sharpest decline on record.
Our theme this year comes from the hymn, “Speak, O Lord.” It was written in 2009 by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The powerful words of this hymn help remind us of how invaluable the Word of God is in the lives of God’s people. The words call for us to have eager and open hearts to receive the truth from God’s words, allowing God to accomplish His transforming work in each of us.
The Shepherds would like to encourage each of us to make this year a year of listening to the Lord through daily time in His words. May we be inspired to regularly read, live, and share the words of life as we study and sing the message of this wonderful hymn. May our faith be strengthened, our will submitted, our lives more greatly transformed as we turn the words of God and humbly ask, “Speak, O Lord.”