Let me make a plea from my heart: "Read the Bible every day!"
I am amazed at Christians who do not read the Bible, or they substitute other things for the Bible. Instead of reading the Bible they read "Open Windows" or "Daily Bread" ...or this here blog. But just like watching a cooking show cannot substitute for eating a healthy meal, just so reading what someone else gleans from Scripture must never take the place of reading the Bible for yourself. Christians who do not read the Bible suffer from spiritual anemia. They have a malnourished faith.
"Bro. George, you write a devotion!" Obviously. But my intention is to support your personal Bible reading plan, not replace it. Think of this blog as a supplement--a protein drink. As a Christian pastor one of the most important things I can ever do is encourage people to read the Bible.
Listen: nothing you do will ever replace reading the Bible every day yourself!
Let me make a some suggestions that will help you get started... or get restarted:
- Make the decision to do it. Get started now.
- Have a plan and follow it. There are many good daily Bible reading plans available at the bookstore or online. The best plan is to simply pick up your Bible and read it. Start with a book of the Bible--the Gospel of John, or Proverbs, or Psalms, or Romans. Read a chapter a day, or a paragraph a day, or five verses a day. If you are just starting out I suggest you don't over extend yourself. Start basic and build up from there.
- Have a place and time that works for you... a place and time where you can be alone... free from distractions or interruptions. You might say, "You don't know my situation; there is no such place!" Sometimes a quiet space is not a matter of where but when. Rising early or staying up later can put you in a quiet place. Remember: this is a matter of discipline--and discipline is what a disciple does!
- Pray before you start: "Lord, open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your Law" (Psalm 119:18 NASB).
- Use a Bible version that is easy to read.
- Mark in your Bible. Highlight. Underline. Make notes in the margin. It's okay... believe me, it's okay.
- Have an accountability partner. This is not a necessity, but if you have someone you trust that you can report to--at least until you establish the habit--this will help.
- Keep a journal. I'm admittedly not great at this, but at least keep track of what you read and when you read it. When God does show you something from His Word, write it down. The old saying goes: "The dullest pencil is better then the sharpest memory."
- Stick with it! Even if you miss a day or two, come back to it. Don't let the devil beat you up when you miss. Open your Bible and pick up where you left off. Consistency in your devotions, like consistency with anything else, pays off!
Grab your Bible and get started. Let me know how it goes.