Join me on a 7-day Bible reading plan

I’m going to be reading John Piper’s “Toward a Fearless New Year” plan on Want to join me? Leave a comment here about thoughts you have after reading each day’s verses and devotional.

Also, I’ve started Matt Chandler’s Explicit Gospel today. If you want to read it with me, let me know in the comments as well, and maybe we can start a Google group or such for discussion.

On this day...


  1. Jeff says:
    Day 2:

    ” Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
    I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

    I initially picked this reading plan simply because it caught my eye and because it was authored by John Piper, one of my favorites. However, two days in, and it seems I didn’t pick it for me. God picked it for me.

    In meditating on the verses the last two days, it’s sobering to realize how much of my decision-making process (and lack of decision-making) is motivated by fear. Plain, old, simple fear. It’s downright embarrassing, both as a man and especially as a follower of the God who has promised to be with me.

    That’s the nature of all biblical commands. They come with divine support.

    It’s encouraging to see what God bases His command in Isaiah 41.10 on. Piper identifies “five pillars.” I’m chewing on today why God’s “with-ness” is not enough for my courage.

  2. Sarah Ohar says:
    I also really enjoy John Piper.
    And I struggle with fear/anxiety. Sometimes over specific issues. Sometimes it is just generalized. I really enjoyed the part about being commanded to not fear, but that God didn’t just issue these commands and that was it, but provided pillars of promise and reassurance to stand on. We are needy as people and often we don’t like to do things alone; it helps me when I start to become fearful to know that my God is with me.

    I also like what Piper said about not defining our future by our past; to me I applied this more of I shouldn’t define my future based on anything and it encouraged me to set my expectations for the future solely in God.

  3. Jill says:
    I started this plan on January 2nd, so my second day is today (the 3rd). This plan also was picked “for” me. I battle fear all the time. And for some reason, as I was looking at a new year, it was less relief and more fear….for no known reason. So today, I journaled those 5 pillars he wrote about, so that I can reference back to them when i recognize fear cropping up over any specific thing.
  4. Jeff says:
    Sarah & Jill, thanks for sharing your thoughts so far. These few, short verses have been provocative for me. As I’ve meditated on them the past couple of days, I think the word that keeps coming back to me is “embarrassed.” I really think I struggle with fear on a number of levels as a leader, and I’m embarrassed.

    It’s the whole “you should know better” lie that whispers to me and tries to change my embarrassment to shame. Instead of clinging to God’s truth, then it’s tempting to live under this umbrella of mental negativity.

    On to Day 3:

    If you are running from God because you are afraid of him, then you are not yet as afraid as you ought to be… The fear of the Lord is fear of fleeing out of his fellowship into the way of sin.

    Loved this. The Christian mental landslide of our culture would seek to convince us that fearand God belong in the same sentence because He is waiting to “get us” when we screw up. Piper rightly points out that they belong in the same sentence because fear of God puts us in proper, humble relationship to Him and His hatred of sin. He is for us, and righteous fear keeps us in His favor.

  5. Sarah Ohar says:
    I had trouble applying this and thought about for the day. I think what I took from this was more of a “running from God” in that I frequently go it alone. When I need God so much. Maybe I am afraid of giving up my selfish nature, or being disappointed. Still contemplating this one, but I like the part about clinging to God’s neck. I don’t do that enough. Even when I know better. Hmmm…
  6. Jeff says:
    Day 6:
    Love the nine promises that Piper shared in the devotional that were scriptural ways to address very real points of anxiety in our lives.

    When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty..

    That has to be a fear of every minister, small group leader and Sunday School teacher. So thankful that our “success” is not in making a name for ourselves, but it’s based on the very passion and determination of God to make Himself known and allow Himself to be enjoyed by anyone who calls upon Him.

  7. Jeff says:

    God values the exercise of our faith more than he values birds.

    Day 7: Daily reminder: just trust.

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