Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rise to the Challenge of Daily Bible Reading

Trying to make reading the Bible a daily discipline can be quite a challenge. It's easy to miss a day or two--or three and just give up. It's easy to think, "I'm behind and don't have time to get caught up. I'll try to start again next year." I've had this struggle. But I have to admit, it's well worth doing whatever it takes to make this part of your day. The Bible is our daily bread. Without it, we can become spiritually malnourished and weak. If you can develop a steady diet, you'll soon discover that you "get hungry" when you miss your regular time in the word. So, feed yourself, feed your spirit! 

Here are some tips that may help with your daily reading:

  • Start out with something easy to incorporate into your day. It's OK to begin with the New Testament, or anywhere you like, for that matter, and read a chapter a day or even just a few verses. The main idea is to start a daily habit. This is not a test of endurance. It's a new way of living!
  • Pray before you start. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your reading, to bless and redeem your time and to show you the truth in the passage you are  about to read. Then ask Him to help you retain and apply what you've read. 
  • Don't feel that your goal is to finish according to the calendar! Your goal is to start a new pattern for your day. Nothing will kill a reading plan quicker than getting behind a few days. If you miss a day or two (it happens to all of us) and you feel like there are too many readings to get caught up, just pick up where you left off. Or, you can pick up wherever your reading plan is for that day. The goal is to develop a daily discipline that will bless you for the rest of your life. You can go over the missed chapters next year 😇.
  • Develop a routine. Try to get your reading done before you start your day. It really is worth it to get up 15 minutes earlier and begin your day with your Father, in His word. While the compulsion to check your email and messages can be great, fight it. Just pick up your Bible in the quiet moments of the morning and start reading. If you can adopt this approach and maintain it for a few weeks, you'll never miss a day. 
  • Resist the urge to stop and study. One of the great benefits of a daily reading program can be found in
    familiarizing yourself with the Bible and its story arcs. An in-depth study certainly has its place and can be a rich experience. But, if you allow your daily reading time to stretch into hours, it becomes too easy to get bogged down. Highlight, underline, make a memo then go back after you've finished the daily passages.
  • Don't chain yourself to your favorite physical Bible! If you forget it or wait until you have time to pick it up, find
    your place and begin reading, it will become easy to slip. With all the advancements we have in technology, there are multiple ways to access your plan. I'll list some of them below. 
  • Avoid the temptation to "give it a try." If you can stick with this for a month, it will become an integral part of your day. Once that happens, Bible reading becomes an integral part of your life. It is the living Word of God. We will always learn from it, always be challenged by it, always grow by it, always be comforted by it...but only if we are always reading it. 

Here are some tools that can make it exceptionally easy to do your reading. I've found that I do best when I have multiple ways to access my plan. I use my smart phone, iPad, computer and sometimes even my Bible!

Some of the methods listed can be set up to send you reminders on a daily basis. Another excellent online, multi-platform tool is You Version. Going digital will expand your opportunities and minimize the instances of, "Oh! I left my Bible back in my car!" Once I got over the need to "feel the pages" (our aim is to absorb the Word, not experience a book), I found it was much easier to finish my daily reading. There's absolutely nothing wrong with  picking up a book and relishing the feel of the pages. But let's not turn a leather cover and some paper into an idol thinking,  "This is how Jesus read the bible so I have to do it the same way!" If we really wanted to experience the Bible "the way it was written", we would all be using scrolls and papyrus! Use the technology available to us, Guttenberg did! God is just as sovereign over pixels as He is over paper!

A great way to get your daily reading in is to listen to
your Bible. Most apps will audibly read the passage from your phone. You can link it to your car speakers and listen on your commute or while you're running errands. You Version has a great audio feature that can help with this. Some folks use a Bible on CD to listen. Hearing Scripture while you're in your car beats talk radio, even Christian talk radio!

This is a discipline that can be easy to adopt. It can change your life. Once you experience a steady diet of the word of God, you'll want more. Your reading will become just like eating, you'll get full one morning--but want more the next.  

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