The Taste and See Challenge

December 30, 2015  - By Gretchen Saffles

January 1st can be the most intimidating day of the year. It’s the day of starting, and starting can be scary. New habits, new resolutions, and new goals both stir in us a passion for more and better and a fear that we will fail and won’t measure up. For years I’ve taken time in December to dream up my plans for the following year. What will I change? What will I do? How can the next year be different? January 1st feels like the start of a new chapter. It is a fresh canvas for God to paint His grace onto the story of our lives.

Resolutions are a beautiful thing when made for the right reasons. In looking back at resolutions I have made over the years, the common theme is a bettering of myself. Most of these resolutions aren’t kept for more than a few weeks. But the resolutions that are made for the Lord and rooted in His Word not only change my own life, but the lives of those around me. This year, instead of making a list of resolutions that revolve around myself and the temporary situations of my life, I am resolving to do the one thing that I know will change my life and the lives of others, and will also mold and shape my life to be more like Christ. 

I am resolving to be in the Word of God every single day in 2016 and to hide truth in my heart. I am resolving to daily taste and see that the Lord is good.

Pick Up Your Fork

The Word of God is unlike any other book that has ever been written. Each word is divinely inspired and breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12). It has stood against every test and its promises hold true in every storm and trial of life. The Psalmist challenges us in Psalm 34:8 to pick up our spiritual fork and knife and to eat of the Word of God. When we fill our spiritual bellies with truth, the result is that our eyes will be opened and we will see that the Lord is good, in all things and at all times. 

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” Luke 6:21

Jesus explained to the disciples in Luke 6:21 that it is good to be spiritually hungry, because spiritual hunger results in satisfaction. The meaning of the word “blessed” is happy. Happiness doesn’t come from achieving worldly success, it comes from being hungry for more of Jesus. When we daily fill up on God’s Word, bringing Him our empty cup to fill up, and eating truth with our spiritual forks and knives, Jesus promises that we will be satisfied and well-fed. The ache in your heart for more will only be satisfied by knowing Jesus through the Word. What if in 2016 we resolved to be spiritually hungry? What if we picked up our Bibles, journals, and pens, and ate the truth of the Word that never fails and answers our deepest needs? What if we taste for ourselves and open our eyes to see that God is good?

Let’s make these “what if’s” into a reality. 

“What If” To What Now?

The taste and see challenge is a call to experience God’s Word for yourself. It is a call to leave the comfort of your faith and embark on a journey with God up the hills of calvary, ascending into the valleys of daily discipleship, and walking the narrow path of a life lived for eternity to come. It is a call to be a “well-watered woman” who daily comes to the Well of God’s Word and drinks deeply of His goodness and faithfulness.

What now? How do we practically do this?

First, let’s make a plan.

Below I am going to share with you my plan for 2016. You can either join me in this plan or create your own! Either way, the challenge is simply to come hungry and come daily to God’s Word and taste and see for yourself that He is good. 

Bring Your Empty Cup

In 2013 I read through the Bible chronologically for the first time. Before embarking on this journey, I never could have expected how life-changing it would be! Reading though the entire Word of God opened my eyes to the entire story of redemption and it also made me comfortable to open books of the Bible I had never read before. This year I am going to read through the Bible chronologically again and would love for you to join me! I will be following this free reading plan that reads through the Bible chronologically. Another option is to do the F-260 plan that is chronological but shortened. You can find it for free here. There are other plans that you can read through the entire Bible in a year while daily reading in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Here is a reading plan that follows this set-up!

In this commitment to reading through the Bible, I know that as a mama and a wife there will be times I will get behind. My goal is to read the Bible in one year, BUT if I get behind I will embrace the grace of God and slow down. The aim is not check off daily reading on our to-do list, but to read to know Jesus more intimately. If it takes me more than one year to read through the Bible, I will rejoice in that! Don’t be afraid to start because you are afraid you will fail. Give the Lord your best time. Seek Him with your whole heart. Embrace His grace.

eat truth for breakfast

The next part of the “taste and see” challenge is to memorize God’s Word. Pick a chapter or book of the Bible to memorize this year. I will be memorizing the book of James and would love for you to join me! (find out more tips on memorizing the Bible here and purchase a memory journal to use as a tool here!) I will post a plan for this soon!

Second, let’s be accountable. 

I will periodically send out encouragement emails to those of you who choose to take the taste and see challenge with me! You can sign up for these emails here! This email list is separate from the weekly encouragement emails.

For everyone who is joining in the “taste and see” challenge, my encouragement to you would be to find a friend or a group to hold you accountable to getting into the Word each day. Accountability sets you up to go deeper in your walk with Jesus. 

third, let’s give our plan to Jesus. 

A note to the women who is reading through the Bible for the first time:

If this is the first time you are committing to open the Word of God each day, I want to encourage you not to be fearful or nervous. In Isaiah 55, the Lord calls us to “come, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” He calls us to come just as we are with our nothingness to receive the abundance that can only be found in Him. In very 10-13, He promises us that as we read the Word, that it will accomplish the purpose of which He sent it and that we will go forth in joy and peace. Why would we ever forfeit these incredible promises for any lesser thing? There are so many resolutions you could make in this life, but the one that will last forever is to know Christ and to make Him known. Trust the Lord to show you His incredible ways and to teach you truth in your secret heart (Psalm 51:6). 

A note to the perfectionist and to-do list lover:

This challenge is not meant to be another item to check off. It is meant to encourage us to be disciplined, to love God’s Word, and to give Him our best. If you get behind, do not give up. Set your gaze on Christ and hand Him this plan. Let’s be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus each day, listening to His teaching, learning from His ways, and loving Him with our whole hearts. 

A note to the mama and busy woman:

If you feel this year isn’t the best to read through the Bible, my challenge to you would be to commit to be in the Word every day. If this looks like meditating on one verse for a week, write it down and pray through it as you go throughout your days. Read through a book of the Bible slowly. Set aside some time each day to place your gaze on Christ. Don’t allow your busyness to take away from choosing what’s best in this life – being with your Savior.

Recommended Resources:

  • I will be using the “Give Me Jesus” journal to study as I read through the Bible chronologically. We have a 90-day option that is created for busy mamas and women who don’t write as much, and a 40-day option for more in-depth study. We also have a men’s quiet time journal for your husbands, brothers, and friends who are seeking to go deeper into the Word. 
  • If you are new to studying the Bible, there are videos and blog posts going more in-depth into studying the Bible go through the “Well-Watered Women” series
  • Iva May has a chronological Bible teaching series that is incredible. You can find this resource here!
  • Lastly, I will be coming out with some new Bible studies this year if you would like to go deeper into one book! Upcoming studies include the book of Esther, the fruits of the Spirit, a guide to memorizing Ephesians 4:17-32, and a few more! We plan on releasing the first studies in February and will have new journals in April! You can find a study on Proverbs 31, the book of Ruth, Romans 12:9-21, and the disciplines of the Christian faith in the shop!

Will you take the “taste and see” challenge with me? Let’s make a resolution that will last for all of eternity. Share your name below and what you plan on studying/memorizing! I am praying for you. January 1st is coming. Jesus, take the first, the last, and everyday in-between, and make us more like You! Amen. 

tasting and seeing with you that He is good,


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  1. says:

    I’m excited to start this year journey with you. I feel that this is something I can do and it won’t become something on my to do list. For the past 4 months I’ve read my bible every single day. I’ve filled up 2 1/2 journals and went through countless pens. 🙂 I pray I keep up and just crave his word everyday! Thank you! I will be praying for as well.

  2. says:

    I’ve been an active follower and reader of God’s Word since I was eleven, but since having my daughter five years ago, my reading has been wildly different ; ) I have longed and thirsted for Him in His Word, but have not grasped a way to not get distracted! I’m certain this will help me. I don’t know if I can get the journal yet (I’ve wanted one all year!) But my commitment is mainly to be in God’s Word EVERY DAY. That is my resolution! I’m so excited to finally do this! Thank you Gretchen for your inspiration and love for helping encourage other sisters in this!

    • says:

      Hi Kassie! I am SO excited you are joining in with me! My time is so different with my baby, too! I am learning, though, that God’s grace is so real and His Word is always fresh and near. I have even started having my Bible open when I cook if I haven’t been able to sit much! He is so faithful to meet us right where we are – even with precious littles at our feet. 🙂 Keep me updated! Thank you for your encouragement today!

  3. Miranda says:

    What drew me to this post was your Instagram picture. Just this morning I had journaled about "In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus." I have always wanted to read through the Bible chronologically, and can’t wait to dig in!

    • says:

      That is incredible, Miranda! I love how God works. So perfectly – always drawing us to Himself! I hope your reading is going well and that He is teaching you so many new things!

  4. says:

    I just finished a "read the bible in a year" devotional bible. Reading through the Bible chronologically is exactly what I was planning to do next. I just hadn’t decided whether to get a chronological Bible or find a prescribed plan. Reading with you is perfect. Your gift of encouragement is contagious and I can’t think of a better partner (well, maybe my husband :-)) right now. Thanks for this particular challenge. I don’t yet know what my memory plan will be.

    • says:

      Woohoo! That makes me so excited, Maura!! Thank you so much for your encouragement! It blesses me so much!

  5. says:

    I want to join! What is so awesome about this post is that this is EXACTLY what I was going to resolve this year. Throw out the tons of other "goals" I usually make…and just focus on being disciplined in the area of the Word and trust that all else will fall in line. So I take this as my confirmation and nod of approval that it is what God wants of me. So thank you! My word this year is: PRESENCE. Psalm 16:11 🙂
    I will be using the SheReadsTruth daily year long plan.

    • says:

      Hi Sari! I am so excited you are joining in with us to taste and see that He is good! The SRT plan is perfect to use! I love that they even show the updates of how much you’ve read. Praying you learn so much about Jesus as you open the Word!

  6. I love this! I’m still praying about and pondering what goals I will set, but I know I want to grow in being disciplined with spending time in God’s Word. It truly is a lifeline for my soul. Love the truth you share in this post and I’m excited to join in. Thanks for being a great role model of what being a new mommy looks like. I’m just a few months behind you in this journey of motherhood and it’s been great watching you go there first!
    Alesha <3

    • says:

      Alesha, thank you so much for your encouragement! You are a blessing and I know you are a wonderful mama! My mom reminded me several times during those first months of motherhood that the Lord takes what I can give and He is with me in the weariness and long nights. I wasn’t able to spend as much time reading in the Word then, but His Word was so near. I listened to it a lot when my eyes were too tired to read and constantly played worship music. Looking back it was such a sweet time!

  7. says:

    I am in! <3

  8. Charita James says:

    Hi my name is Charita and I’m in on the challenge!! I’m almost finished reading the Bible for the first time. It’s taken me two years and I’ve grown so much spiritually and intimately with Jesus. There were times when it felt like I was checking my readings off my to-do list so I really had to catch myself and pray for that hunger to come back! This was a goal for me in the new year: to read God’s word everyday and drink deep from his well. I’ve been reading the NLT study bible, so I’m excited to read from my new ESV journaling Bible I got last christmas!! I want to go in-depth and memorize the book of Colossians!! Thank you for being God’s vessel and doing his work. You have no idea how much you inspire me and motivate me!

    • says:

      That is so exciting Charita!! I am so glad you are joining in with us! I am praying the same thing – that He would light a fire in our hearts for Jesus that burns brightly. I just started the same Bible and love being able to make notes in it! Praying you are having a blessed day, sweet sister!

  9. says:

    I just started working on memorizing the book of James and my pastor is doing a blog with short devotions to go along with reading the bible in a year… Could your challenge be anymore timely? Lol. I’m in!

  10. Talia says:

    Hello friends! My name is Talia Yurko and He has pressed it on my heart to participate in this challenge. Let’s be honest, right now I have some doubts. Can I truly spend every single day of 2016 in the Word? Can I truly read the whole Bible in a year? I know the enemy will try so hard to discourage me and make me want to give up and make me feel like I have to do it all with my own might. I am clinging to and memorizing 1 Chronicles 16:11, "Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!" Sisters, let’s not rely on our own strength this year. Let’s seek the Lord with a passionate and hungry heart no matter what our circumstances look like. My plan is to completely delete Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Vine off my phone. Instead of having them on my phone to browse and waste time, I am going to completely commit all of my platforms of social media to sharing about His name. My mentor is the receptionist at my school, so I’m going to commit to give my phone to her every day I have school so I am not tempted to browse social media. I will value anytime in the Word I can get, even if it is short. I am so excited about this upcoming year and am thankful I get to walk through it with you all!!

    • says:

      I LOVE your heart, Talia! Thank you for faithfully sharing and for choosing LIFE. Jesus is going to do so much in our hearts. It’s the year of "backwards" – doing things differently than the world and following Him with ALL we have. Love you sweet girl!

  11. Daniella Joy says:

    I have just been through a very hard year, but so excited for 2016 and what God is going to do. "Taste and see" challenge is exactly what God has placed on my heart this past week to dig deeper into His word every day. One lesson that I have learned from 2015 is that when you soak in the Word of God everything changes so 2016 I am committing to making it a habit to read the Word each day no matter what my heart feels like because God is amazing and allows us to approach His word no matter our circumstances. I am going to read through the Bible chronologically, but really focus deeply on each book for what God wants to show me through each one. I will also try to memorize James. I think memorizing is the thing that I am most fearfully of, but something that my soul longs for to have God’s word hidden so deeply in my heart. To have His truth so close. Thank you, Gretchen for listening to the burning that God placed on your heart to put out this challenge. I am excited to "taste and see" the goodness of the Lord throughout this year and rejoicing with this community as we grow closer to our amazing Savior! Love, Daniella

    • says:

      Amen and amen! This is so beautiful, Daniella! I am so grateful for your heart! I just made a breakdown of the book of James that I will post and send out and realized it is only 2 verses a week. 🙂 The Lord will give the ability to hide truth in our hearts! I believe He is going to radically change us, scrub us, and refine us! My heart is so grateful for your encouragement today!

  12. Ashley H. says:

    A friend in my Bible study invited the rest of us to do this with her, and I am so excited to get started! I had already made my resolutions for 2016, and getting in the Word daily was one of them, but this gives it a much more tangible feel with built in accountability. I am going to memorize Romans 8…which I have started to memorize so many times, but always fail to finish. Can’t wait!

    • says:

      That is so amazing, Ashley!! I am so excited you are joining in with us (with your small group!:). And Romans 8 is the perfect book to memorize. I have heard John Piper say before that we should all memorize Romans 8. There is so much gospel-truth packed into that one chapter! You can do this. The Lord will give you strength and change you as you fill your mind with truth! I attended a conference a few years ago and heard David Platt recite Romans 1-8…the whole chapters! It was so powerful.

  13. Yoly says:

    Going to aim for the whole book! I’m not sure what scripture/book I’ll memorize just yet, but I’ll find something. I’ll be a new mama come February so I know it’ll be a challenge, but I’m up for it, even if it takes more than a year! Thank you for including the notes for the perfectionist and busy mamas : )

  14. Emily Ekegren says:

    I am committing to read the Bible each day. Not in any particular order, or even all the way through this year. I appreciate your encouragement! Bless you in the new year.

    • says:

      I am so excited to hear that Emily!! I can’t wait to see all the Lord does!

  15. Mylene says:

    I will be trying a whole book challenge! I am a new mama and have a thesis to complete this semester but I know that HE needs to be the forerunner to it all! I will pace myself and allow grace but desire to place Him in His proper place this year, #1!

    • says:

      Amen and amen, Mylene! I will have my baby at my feet most days as well!

  16. I an desiring to be in the word each and every day….. first and foremost before anything I do for the day. Bringing my empty cup to Christ, and asking him to fill me up and to over flowing…. that others would see Him in me, and that I would grow in wisdom of his word.

    • says:

      I am right there with you, Heather, and am so glad you are joining in with us to taste and see that He is good!

  17. says:

    I’m Henriette and I’m in! I have been thinking about aiming for the whole Bible in a year, but so far He has placed different books on my heart for different reasons, but I feel like this is exactly what He’s been setting me up for. As I write this I’m listening to the lyrics: "All Your amazing grace, I’ve seen and tasted it", from the new Passion album, and if that isn’t telling me something I don’t know. Excited for this challenge!

    • says:

      Henriette, I always get excited when I see your name come up! I am so excited you are joining in with us, sweet sister!

  18. Divine says:

    I am up for the challenge. My desire is to know Him more and what better way than through His word. I know it’s going to be a challenge but anything of true worth is hard work. And just like I make time to reconnect with my husband, I need to make even more time with my Savior.

  19. My name is Madeleine and I am taking the challenge with you! This year holds many questions, thus far unanswered. It is a year full of endings (college graduation) and beginnings of the life that follows. I know that I am entering into a year where I am going to be pushed deeper into my faith than ever before because I am going to be learning to depend on Him in a whole new way, trust in His provision, & remember always that He is a good dad who loves to give his kids good gifts! My roots need to be solely in Him.
    It is a necessity that we, daughters of the King, are constantly SOAKING in His word– unceasingly tasting & seeing that HE IS GOOD!

    • says:

      Madeleine, this year is going to be full of so many changes that will draw you into a deeper walk with Jesus. This season will be one of adventure and drawing near to Him. I am excited for you and am so glad you are joining in with us!

  20. Jessica says:

    Hi Gretchen! I am taking this challenge with you! It will be my first time reading the whole bible. I have always been one that wants to dig deeper into His Word but have had a hard time. I’m praying the Lord opens my eyes as I seek Him. I was wondering if we decide to do the challenge with you with and read the bible in a year, how do we also incorporate other studies like you were talking about without getting mixed up for taking too much on our plate. How will you do this? Do you do your challenge in the morning and also do your other studies at the same time or break them up? Thank you!

    • says:

      Very good question – I struggle with the same!

      • says:

        Hi Nadia! I just wrote Jessica back. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • says:

      Hey Jessica!
      I am SO excited you are taking the challenge and am glad you asked me this question as well! I plan on doing the daily reading each morning first thing (I transitioned to a 90-day Give Me Jesus Journal to write down main points/prayer/to study the text). After that I am doing the Planted study (sometimes I will do this later in the day). I loved this post on "fast-paced" and "slow-paced" reading and am following that sort of model. ( I usually have my time with the Lord early in the morning before my husband and baby wake up, but I know that is not always possible. I have learned that I have more time than I think I do! One thing I am doing is spending less time on my phone, which has already opened up more time to get into the Word. I am using this reading plan ( and will also listen to the Word on days I can’t sit for long! I hope this helps some. 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions! I am happy to share and I will send updates through the Taste & See email list with how my time is going and what God is teaching!

  21. Tati says:

    I’m very excited and at the same time nervous about this challenge, but ready to dig into thr Word! With college season coming around the corner, I pray that I will be able to spend as much needed time with the Lord and to not let distractions hinder me. This year is the year where I need to put my full perspective on Jesus, learn to trust Him wholeheartedly, and hunger for God’s wisdom and truth. Thanks Gretchen! I’ve been praying for a way to know and understand the Lord more, and then your post came up a few days later! God really does work in mysterious ways. 🙂

    • says:

      Tati, I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you. Time with Jesus will change your life and is the most important you need (the most important thing we ALL need! :). He will see you through every change. I am excited you are joining in with us!

  22. chelsi says:

    “Either way, the challenge is simply to come hungry and come daily to God’s Word and taste and see for yourself that He is good”- LOVE this! I’m up for the challenge! God is good, and will amaze us in the process when we seek his wisdom and guidance. He loves us so much and is waiting for us to trust Him. I stumbled a little in the past, but I’m ready for a change!

  23. In a recent sermon at our church, we read in Matthew 4:4 that Jesus tells the devil "People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." This really struck me, because people in Jesus’ time ate bread and not much else. When Jesus teaches the Apostles how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, He says "Give us this day our daily bread." Putting these 2 sentences together, made me realize that I need God’s word each day, as much as I need food. Then I saw this study series, "Taste and See", and it seemed like God was pointing me in this direction. Jesus also says "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35). And John says in the 1st verse of his book, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It really makes me want to eat some bread and savor that taste as I read the Word and savor its deeper meanings. I am probably older than most of the other ladies joining this challenge, but that way I will be able to share a different perspective. I am a grandmother of 9. My husband and I live in Florida and are active in an amazing church very involved in missions. I am also on the church’s prayer team. Thanks for doing this challenge, Gretchen.

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