It’s that time again! One year is coming to a close and a new one is beginning and, while it’s important to make changes in our eating and exercise routines or our work and family routines, it’s also important to evaluate how we are doing at connecting with God through prayer and Bible reading.
Do you have a plan to read God’s Word in 2016?
Reading, studying, meditating on and obeying God’s Word should be our lifelong adventure. ADVENTURE … not a duty or worse, a drudgery, it should be exciting!
Every year I read things and wonder … was this in here last year? Because, even though I fall dreadfully short when it comes to reading and really meditating on God’s Word, He is faithful and always showing me new things about Himself no matter how feeble my attempts!
Perhaps you have gotten a great deal out of your Bible reading this year, but every year you commit to reading the Scriptures, you will get abundantly more!
Perhaps you’ve tried to read through the Bible before, but fell short of your goal. I tried numerous times before I finally completed that goal. But it took a plan. The first year I read through the Bible, it was with the same reading plan we’ll go through here again this year. But as long as you say “maybe next year,” it just doesn’t happen, not until you say “no, this is the year I’m doing it!”
What about reading through the Bible with a friend or a co-worker? The world around us is literally perishing—our society has lost its moral foundation, individuals are dying and going into an eternity where they will be separated from God forever, marriages are falling apart, children are suffering, and so much more … and we have the answers … but we must do the work of growing and learning and sharing them with others!
Even people who don’t go to church will often respond positively to the question, “Would you like to learn more about the Bible with me?”
Prayerfully consider signing up for the “Bible in a Year” devotionals. They will pop up in your inbox daily as a gentle reminder to stay in His Word. And call or text a friend and challenge him or her to sign up with you!
So … why should we read through the Bible?
You don’t have to be a believer for long to realize that God’s truth often clashes with the world’s interpretation of truth, whether it’s theology and science, the source of true wisdom, how we view God, or how to face the increasingly dangerous world we live in. But each of us has to decide, “What will be our source of truth?” Jesus said, the “Word is truth” (Jn. 17.17).
And let me share with you some thoughts from Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.”
In the opening chapter Whitney outlines three ways that God grows us spiritually. The first is through people. God uses our friends and family, our co-workers, our pastors and teachers, parents and children, and even our enemies to grow us.
“As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Prov. 27.17).
The second is through circumstances: financial problems, relational problems, world events, natural phenomenon like the weather, sickness, and all kinds of tests and trials.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to beconformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8.28-29).
The third is through the spiritual disciplines like Bible intake, prayer, fasting, service, worship, journaling and others. Whitney uses the stories of the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Lk. 18.35-42) and the tax collector Zacchaeus (Lk. 19.1-10) to explain the importance of the spiritual disciplines.
When he heard that Jesus was approaching, Bartimaeus, over the objections of others in the crowd, cried out repeatedly for Jesus to have mercy on him. And Zacchaeus, a wealthy but short tax collector, climbed up into a sycamore tree just to get a glimpse of Him. Both of them, unashamedly, placed themselves in the His path. And in both cases Jesus stopped and responded to their desire for an encounter with Him.
When we practice the spiritual disciplines we do much the same thing. We place ourselves in Jesus’ path and, just as He did with Bartimaeus and Zachaeus, He responds to us and communes with us.
Once Zachaeus encountered Christ, he was a changed man. He promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and to repay with interest all the taxes he had wrongfully collected. Just like Zachaeus when we spend time with Jesus, He changes us from the inside out and we grow in Christlikeness. One primary way we can do that is through the spiritual disciplines.
“… discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for thelife to come” (1 Tim. 4.7b-8).
If you follow along with me here at Soul Survival, I’ll add some practical commentary to help you get more out of your reading. Simply sign up with the “Bible in a Year” join now button or click here.
And for those of you who have been reading along with me for a while …
Even if it gets done with some fits and starts, even if you miss a few days, I encourage you to stick with it. The reward is a deeper relationship with Jesus and it’s sweeter than you can imagine!
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Mondays Making Your Home Sing Darling Downs Diaries The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Reflect His Love & Glory Musing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine Me, Coffee & Jesus
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Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Coffee for Your Heart Messy Marriage A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home Women with Intention While I’m Waiting Woman to Woman Seeking God in All I Do
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Fridays Christian Mommy Blogger Missional Women Grace & Truth Simple Moments Stick Create with Joy A Spirit Kissed Soul Essential Fridays
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Sundays Spiritual Sundays Raising Samuels Artful Homemaking
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