In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the soul of Jesus was very sorrowful, he asked three of his closest friends to watch and pray with him. As the Son of God prayed, his three disciples drifted off to sleep. When Jesus awoke them, he spoke these words,
“…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I do not know about you, but my flesh tends to be so weak that it looks for justification in other’s failures. “Well, if Peter, James, and John could not even stay awake and pray,” my flesh says, “then somehow I feel a little better about myself.” It is much too easy to go that route. When I read the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples, why are the disciples even at the forefront of my thoughts? What about me?
I know all too well that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Too often I feel no different than the disciples, in that I fall asleep on Jesus time and time again. Oh, I could tell you about the blessed times of prayer that I had in 2012, but I don’t really want to tell you how they were far outnumbered by the absent times of prayer. I could tell you about how I just finished reading through the Bible in 2012, but do I really want you to know that too many days it was more of a chore than a delight? It was more of a get this done, so I can check my box and move on with my day. You know what I’m talking about, right? The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…
This post isn’t about cheerleading you on to a vigorous prayer life and a delight in the word of God for 2013. It isn’t about convincing you to make these resolutions concerning these areas in your life, when more than likely we will just drop the ball. Remember, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. So to help with our weakness, may I offer some recommended books, plans, and tools for the upcoming new year, that may just be of some assistance? Just promise me that you will remember that the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, and you won’t beat yourself up over those days when there is no delight in prayer or Bible reading in 2013. There will be plenty of them. Instead, look to Jesus who already took the beating in your place.
This is a wonderful Bible for your children, and one that I have found great delight in using for our daily devotions at home. It was put together by a lady named Sally Lloyd-Jones, and I believe she attends Tim Keller’s church in Manhattan. This is just one of the reasons why you will find a gospel-centered message running throughout all the Bible stories that your children have grown to love over the years. This children’s Bible is priceless!
This is another priceless gem! The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. There were many times in 2012 when I used this as my model for prayer. If that doesn’t make sense to you, trust me when I say get the book, and then I think you’ll understand.
Yet another priceless gem! Each day of the year has a devotion from one of the greatest theologians to ever live, John Calvin. It is spiritual food for the soul, and if you find yourself overwhelmed by the pressures and duties of a long day, this devotion can be read in just a few minutes. Dr. Joel Beeke closes out each day with a summary of what Calvin says, and a prayer to help us throughout the day.
Finally, I would like to leave you with two links that are full of Bible reading plans for the upcoming year.
The first one is YouVersion. You can find their Bible plans here:
They also have apps that can be downloaded on your phone or tablet. I just finished reading through the Bible chronologically on YouVersion. I found the app to be perfect, as it kept up with my plan for me, and there were times I would even listen to my daily readings if I was in my car.
The second link where you can find Bible reading plans for 2013 is The Gospel Coalition found here: