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Posts Tagged ‘Bible Reading Daily’

Best “Hack” Ever!

July 16, 2016 2 comments

open book on a cloudIf you’ve spent any time at all on any of the social media sites, you’ve come across something called “best hacks” or “unbelievable hacks.” These are usually discoveries people have made to make life easier. Whether it’s simply a description or a full-fledged video, each discovery uses a tagline to get your attention. My favorite is “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Here’s my own “best hack” for having a meaningful, God-glorifying, devotional moment. And yes, “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Take almost any Scripture, short or long, random or favorite, and read it through once. Then, go back and emphasize each word, using that word’s meaning to draw your attention to the Lord.

Here’s an example from Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

God–Of course, this is an easy one. Focus on your Creator, the maker of all things.

Is–Focus on God’s state of being; the essence of being the “I Am.”

Our–Focus on belonging to Him

Refuge–Focus on God as a shelter

And–Focus on God being more than

Strength–Focus on the availability of His strength for you

By the time you’ve completed this simple exercise, you will have glorified God and, most assuredly, you will have been blessed yourself.

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Lost Your Way?

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Finding Your WayIt’s easy to lose your way in the world. Our modern world has a myriad of paths from which to choose, and we can explore them all, saturating ourselves with facts and philosophies and desires and practices and beliefs.

However, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a career choice, a new set of friends or anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and  in return, you can catch a glimpse of His Glory.

Second, FIND a way to meet with others to worship God
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance an individual’s faith. However, being with others in a faith-based group isn’t always about the individual’s needs. It’s about a people who together desire to give glory, honor and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make such a relationship possible.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Here’s A Little Secret For You!

April 9, 2016 Leave a comment

secretEveryone loves secrets. Whisper a secret to a child, and immediately his eyes light up. However, children don’t have a corner on the secrets market. Adults love to hear secrets almost as much as children love to tell them.

God has secrets—boy, does He have secrets! As if we didn’t know this already, the Bible tells us so.“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

When God came in the flesh in the person of Jesus, He revealed His secrets in a form mankind had never seen before. John 1:18, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

Jesus revealed many secrets to his disciples.  He even revealed explicit details about his upcoming death. Matthew 20:18-19, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

God even gave us a promise about His secrets: “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

Every secret God wants us to know, He’s already revealed through his prophets. Just to make sure those of us living in this century would have access to those secrets, He had His prophets write them down.

So, you wanna know a secret? Just read His Word. There you’ll find the best-kept secrets!

{A longer version of this post was published in 2015. You can find it in the archives in April 2015}

Come And Dine!

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving table decorationI’ve discovered having a successful Quiet Time is a lot like having a dinner party.  To have a successful dinner party, you’ve got to plan well. I do that by asking myself several questions.  Who will I invite to the party?  What will be the main course?  What will I use for a table decoration? Will I use the good china or my everyday dishes?

It’s the same with having a daily devotional time. I have to plan for a successful outcome by asking some pertinent questions. What version of the Bible will I use?  Will I read the Bible through this year or study one book at a time?  Will I record my thoughts in a journal? What’s the best time for me to be alone with God?

I seldom have a party without something unexpected happening. There might be a quick solution to the problem, like making a fast trip to the grocery store when the ice maker stops working.  Sometimes, however, there is no easy solution, and things just don’t turn out the way you’d hoped, although your guests will probably not notice when things go wrong.

You need to expect the unexpected during your Quiet Time too. There will be days when the telephone rings, the dog needs to go out, or the kids wake up early. At those times, you might be able to resume your appointment with the Lord.  On the other hand, some interruptions don’t have quick solutions, and your daily devotional time may seem like a failure, although I doubt the Lord will ever feel your time with Him is ever a failure.

My most enjoyable dinner parties aren’t necessarily those rare ones where everything turns out beautifully. Instead, it’s the one where I forgot to make the gravy because I was hearing about my friend’s hurt feelings or the one where I decided to stop looking for the wooden salad bowl so I could hear a funny story from someone who never tells funny stories.

Having an enjoyable daily Quiet Time may not always involve high moments of ecstatic wonder or theological insight. A pleasing time with the Lord may be consumed with painful confessions or heartbreaking requests. Yet, in the end, the real reason for having a Quiet Time, like the real reason for the dinner party, is to set aside time in your day for sharing yourself with a friend.

Complimentary words from guests as they leave your home when the party’s over are always nice to hear. But, listen to these complimentary words from the writer of Psalm 119 after spending time with the Lord, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Psalm 119:103)

What You Are NOT

January 8, 2016 2 comments

 During a recent interview about Titus Ray, the main character in my Christian fiction series, I was asked to describe some of his personality traits. By doing so, I came up with some attributes, which point out what Titus is not: He is not an extrovert. He is not a scholar. He is not a family man.

By pinpointing what a person is NOT, a picture emerges about what a person is. The apostle John does this in the Gospel of John. He says, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.” John 1:6-8.

Perhaps the most important attribute about John the Baptist was what he was NOT. He wasn’t the Messiah; He wasn’t the Light; He wasn’t our Savior. He had to reiterate this several times during his ministry. Every time he did so, he was able to tell people who he really was. He was a witness sent to point people to the real Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are other examples in Scripture of what people were NOT: Joseph was not an adulterous slave boy. David was not an intimidated shepherd. Daniel was not a cowered exile. Paul was not a timid follower of Christ.

How would you answer this question, “What are you NOT?”

How you answer that question will enable you to see what you are. The NOT realization of what he was helped John to know his role. He wasn’t the Light, but he was to tell about the Light. Perhaps you’re NOT a Sunday School teacher, but you can be a Sunday School member. Perhaps you’re NOT a teacher of the Bible, but you can read the Bible. Perhaps you’re NOT a prayer warrior, but you can pray.

John was sent by God. “There was a man sent from God.” John 1:6.

John was sent by God to be who he was;  not someone he was NOT. Discover who you are NOT, and you’ll discover who you are.

 

 

I’m Doing Something Different This Year

January 8, 2015 2 comments

do-something-differentI never make New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I think there’s something wrong with doing so. I’ve just developed an aversion to the concept, probably because New Year’s resolutions get a lot of bad press.

From comedians to newspaper articles, everywhere you turn, people make fun of New Year’s resolutions. The jokes usually refer to breaking them within a day or even an hour and often involve some form of deprecating humor.

However–and you knew there was going to be a “however” in this piece–I do like the idea of trying something different because a new year has begun.

Here’s what I’m going to be doing differently this year:

Change the way I do my morning Quiet Time: I’ve had a Bible study, prayer and meditation time every morning for the past forty years. I embraced this practice after reading a little booklet entitled Your Time Alone With God. At the end of the book, there was a signature line asking for a commitment to start a morning devotional time. I put my name on that line. Then, underneath my signature, I saw these words, “You’ve now made a commitment to meet the Lord every morning. He’s going to be there. Don’t stand him up.”

I didn’t.

Through these many years, I’ve often followed daily Bible reading plans–reading through the Bible in a year–but, at other times, I’ve concentrated on one book of the Bible for a whole year. Although I’ve often used devotional books, these books have always included daily passages of Scripture. Reading His Word every morning has transformed my life, and I’ve never regretted signing my name on the bottom line.

This year, I’m changing things up a bit because I received a brand new Bible. My old Bible was falling apart, and, for too many years, I put off getting a new one because I’d filled up the margins of the old one with sermon outlines, notes, and tears. I didn’t want to let that go. Now, it’s time to start over.

This year, I’m reading through my new Bible without being able to read my old notes in the margins. I’m writing down new thoughts, shedding new tears, and meditating on newly discovered glories.

As I finished reading through my old Bible last year, knowing I was going to be “breaking in” a new Bible this year, these words from Revelation 21:5 spoke to me: “And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Even if you have to make a New Year’s resolution to accomplish it, make it a daily practice to read His Word in 2015. You’re sure to find His Words are “faithful and true.”

Why Not Start January 1st?

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

dribb-1A New Year. A New You. That phrase, or some variation of it, often appears in commercials and print advertisements around this time of year. It’s used to motivate a consumer to purchase a product which will make a difference in a person’s  health, appearance, or career choice in the new year. At least that’s what’s promised.

While such products may indeed change a person’s health, appearance, or career choice, a true version of the “New You” only comes through the One who created it all, the Creator God. Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

This same promise is repeated in the New Testament. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

How does God work to bring about the “new heart” or the “new creature” described in these verses? He’s sent His Word down to earth, to His Creation, to do just that. “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:14.

By putting faith in His Word,  that is, in His communication with man in the form of His son, Jesus Christ, a person can become a new creature.

Faith in Christ is what makes you a New You.

However, the New You must be renewed daily. Renewal in Christ comes through reading His Word. ” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.

Why not start your daily renewal of the New You on January 1st? Explore all your options for daily spending time in His Word on these websites.

Bible Reading Plans for 2015

Resources for Reading The Bible in 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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