Someone who had tried in the past, but had easily gotten bored, discouraged or too busy. Someone who didn’t consider herself a Bible scholar. Someone who wondered how anyone could possibly read that huge intimating book, including all the chapters about genealogy, lineage, temple building and sacrifices. Someone who could hardly make it halfway through the first few chapters of the Bible, much less 66 books.
But the time came when I was fed up with my own excuses, frustrated at my lack of overall knowledge of God’s truths, and sometimes embarrassed when someone asked me the answer to a spiritual question that I felt I should know. So I began to pray for God to help me get to know Him in a new and deeper way, and learn how to apply His promises and instruction to my every day life.
Then my church began a new small group class whose purpose was to read the Bible in one year, by using the NLT Chronological Bible. With hesitation and anticipation, I jumped right in. Then I prayed again – for the willingness to persevere, the ability to understand and for a passionate desire to dig into God’s Word every day.
365 days later, I had completed my goal – and I was ready to do it all over again. You see, for the first time, I had a glimpse of the bigger picture of God’s story. Not just popular bible verses, childhood stories, or important biblical characters – but the story of God. I now want to open God’s Word each day with excitement, instead of obligation because I have realized the importance of getting a daily portion of God, just as I talked about in today’s Proverbs 31 devotion.
I am the first to admit that reading the Bible daily readings as they are arranged in the Chronological Bible, or in any yearly Bible reading schedule, can easily become a job instead of a joy – or a chore instead of a spiritual challenge – even with the best of intentions. But when we truly embrace the fact that reading the Bible is a face to face encounter with our heavenly Father, that is something to get excited about!
My pastor once stated from the pulpit, that when we go to open God’s Word, we should say “OH MY! I AM ABOUT TO MEET WITH GOD!” I loved that! 🙂
He also gave the example that if we saw an email in our inbox that was delivered from God, we would eagerly open it with great excitement. We would not wait, put it on the back burner, allow it to sit there idly, or procrastinate about it. We would open it immediately!
In essence, the Bible is really an email from God, quietly sitting there, waiting for us to open it every day. An email chocked full of vital, life giving information that we desperately need.
The key to getting a daily portion of God, resulting in spiritual growth and deeper Bible study, is choosing to open up that ’email’ – and discover the truths and promises within.
My sweet friend Wendy Pope is who inspired me a few years ago to read the entire Bible, and she was the leader of the year long bible study that I participated in. She encouraged our class to keep a daily journal and pull out something old and something new from each passage that we read, along with jotting down all of our notes, thoughts and prayers. She also challenged us to always find one nugget of truth that we could apply to our lives from each day’s readings.
The journal that I kept during those 365 days is now a priceless treasure to me. It not only holds deep truths of God that I would have never known, but also precious memories of my daily encounters with God, and each whisper that He spoke to my spirit.
Another great idea for reading the Bible which my pastor offered, helped me dig even deeper into God’s Word the following year. He suggested we ask ourselves these five questions each day as we went through the daily chronological readings:
1. Is there a promise to believe in the passage you are reading?
2. Is there a sin to avoid?
3. Is there something about God to learn?
4. Is there a timeless principle to apply?
5. How should I pray in regards to this scripture?
Don’t you just love those questions?! They really make you think!
It is so easy to read a passage of scripture, or a daily reading in our bible schedule, and check it off our to-do list without really trying to apply it to our lives or asking God to make the Words come alive. Yet, when we delve into the meaning of the readings by answering these thought provoking questions, the windows of our heart are opened so that God’s voice can be heard loud and clear.
Psalm 119:97-104 says:
Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments. I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well. How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life.
We are to treasure God’s Word, and deem it sweeter than honey to our lip, and through a daily portion, He will use His Words to shape our faith, heart, mind and life. Only then can we truly experience the reality of God in our life, and maybe for the very first time.
— Click here for information about how to order your copy of the NLT Chronological Bible–
Think it will be too hard to remember these 5 questions each day? Make your own Bible reading journal!
*Choose landscape format in a Word document.
*Create two large text boxes on the left and right hand side of the document
*At the top of each textbox, insert a line for the date, and a line to record the main scripture or chapters for the day.
*Type up these five questions above in a textbox, evenly spaced out, on the left side of the paper, then copy and paste them into the right side text box.
*Print off 183 copies, cut them in half, and bind them together in a binder or spiral bound notebook.
*Now you have your own personalized journal, ready to go!
(Or search ‘bible reading journal’ online for a variety of websites which offer free schedules)