I wrote a really long post a week ago about the importance of reading God’s Word. Until today when Elisabeth asked me if I meant to send out a blank blog entry, I assumed that everyone was able to read it. I cannot find the words from that post anywhere. If it wasn’t for the fact that my post was all about the power of God’s Word, I would just assume that there was a computer error. While I never want to overspritualize anything or start looking for things from the dark side underneath trash can lids, as we have renewed our commitment to reading God’s Word this past week, I have felt that our family has been under attack. While some of the behaviors could maybe be attributed to the remodeling that has been going on around here, I also feel that some of what I have seen lately in my children cannot be. I am more convinced than ever of this: Satan does NOT want us to be reading God’s Word or connecting with God. Satan will do anything to distract us or trouble us or to keep us away from God and the Bible. Why? Because God’s Word WILL change your life!
I had decided that I did not want to save this topic until the newsletter which is why I tried to send it to you on the 2nd. Even though it is now a week later, I still feel that it is not too late. 3 years ago I revitalized a college habit that I now feel like I will continue to do every year: reading through the Bible. I cannot say enough about how this practice has changed my life. The commitment can seem large, but the result is SO worth the effort! To be honest, since I am a quick reader who happens to comprehend well, I spend about 10 minutes a day to read the selected passage. Hardly any time at all to reap such a benefit. Even as busy moms of preschoolers, we usually can manage to hold on to 10 minutes of time alone. Since this can seem like a daunting task, I wanted to share a couple of methods that may make reading through the Bible in a year easier.
When I was in college, I subscribe to the Navigator’s Discipleship Journal. This is an outstanding magazine that I am not currently getting due to time constraints, but their Bible reading program was what I followed initially. Their plan is unique in that it assigns passages for 25 days in the month – giving you a bit of wiggle room if you are unable to get to your Bible reading a day or two. This program has you ” read four places in God’s Word every day to better grasp the unity of the Scriptures.” They have another plan that I have not personally done that is their “book-at-a-time” reading plan which “intersperses Old and New Testament books in each month’s readings, with the four gospels spread throughout the year.”
Not up for the challenge of the whole Bible? They also have a program for reading through the New Testament. This is what it says on their website about their 5x5x5 program: “5 minutes per day, 5 days per week, 5 ways to dig deeper. Takes you through one chapter each day. Read the New Testament in one year.” My nine year old is following this program – I am so excited about that. Reading the whole Bible would be a bit daunting for him (plus there are too many adult situations in the Old Testament I do NOT want to explain to him yet :-). So far, he has read the first five chapters in Mark – would be easy to catch up even though we are nine days into the new year.
To download any of these plans, please visit: http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138
Since I do my reading while I walk on the treadmill, flipping through the Bible would be a bit challenging (and maybe dangerous). So I now use Bibles that are dated, so that I can just read my section for the day and be done.
I have gone through this Bible now four different times. Amazing! The Bible is actually compiled in chronological order (as best as they can date the events), so this Bible definitely helps in understanding what happened when. So you read the psalm that David wrote about God’s protection right after the section that you read about David fleeing from Absalom his son. Definitely helps to understand the order of the Bible.
This year I felt like that God was asking me to switch up a bit. So armed with a $5 gift card and granted a 30% off coupon, I spent just under $10 to get this Bible.
This Bible goes in traditional book order, but you read a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm (or part of one) and part of a Proverb. So far I am enjoying the new perspective – sometimes the stories end at a different place than I would expect, forcing me to ponder a bit more. I also felt like God was challenging me to go a step further, so I am reading this book again.
The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller.
She picks one of the four passages from the daily Bible reading and writes a devotional on the importance of prayer. For instance, today’s devotional focused on the psalm from today – Psalm 9. So, this also causes me to stop and ponder the Scripture that I have just read even more.
I thought that this was all that I was going to do this year, but my Mom gave me another book of daily readings. (Since my mom is also one of the godliest women that I know, I decided that I should listen and not just because she is is my mom :-)) Anyway to be honest, I have done a lousy job of keeping up – I was distracted too often this week and never knew for sure where my Bible was when I had time to read it. Due to this fact (and the fact that my original blog entry on the importance of God’s Word was” magically” deleted), I am more sure than ever that I am supposed to be doing this every day!
I plan on trying to spend a few minutes each day after I put my youngest two down for naps reading through this book. The devotionals are only a few paragraphs and then she includes a few Scriptures. In fact short enough that you can read them out loud (which is what I did this morning as I read a few to try to catch up).
Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution this year (maybe you already broke it 🙂 Well, reading through the Bible annually is the New Year’s resolution that I made several years ago that I am SO glad (that by God’s grace) that I have been able to keep. I cannot imagine my year without it. The resolution that will revolutionize your life!
P.S. I am not the only spiritual authority by any means – I know that MANY of you are using some other great reading plans or devotionals that help you to progress spiritually. Please share them by commenting below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org I will be glad to pass on your suggestions in another blog entry or put a blurb in the newsletter. We need each other so that we can continue to grow closer to God!