Repeatedly in Scripture we find that spending time with God precipitates spiritual success. Here are a few verses that illustrate my point…
Joshua 1:8 – Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
Psalm 1:2,3 – But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Romans 10:17 – So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
The truth is that you cannot be victorious over temptation, you cannot be growing in your spiritual walk and you cannot effectively serve unless you spend time in God’s Word. In yesterday’s message we saw that God reveals His power and purposes to those who live in His presence. In other words, you must spend time with Him in order to know His purposes, plans and protection for your life.
With the beginning of a new year, this is a tremendous opportunity to change your Bible reading habits. The simple truth is that reading the Bible sporadically, haphazardly, and carelessly will not cut it. You must have a plan. Here are a few suggestions that will help you develop a daily devotional game plan.
1. Establish a specific time
Quite frankly, one of the reasons we do not read the Bible frequently is because we do not make the time for it. From the moment we wake up in the morning we are off to the races. Our schedules are full and frantic. Unless something is specifically planned, it often will not happen. Thus, we must plan to spend time in God’s Word.
What is the best time of day for you? Some individuals are morning people. Their brains are alive and alert from the moment their feet touch the floor. Others need several hours for their bodies to get into gear. However you are, establish a time and a place where you will meet God every morning. Put it on your calendar. Make it your most important appointment of the day.
2. Choose a specific plan
As I mentioned a moment ago, random Bible study will produce haphazard results. The Bible is a book with a central message. In order for that message to be understood correctly and contextually it must be read and studied systematically. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I believe that each verse of the Bible contains powerful truths that can and will transform your life. But, the key to understanding the treasures of the Bible is to read it and understand it in its overall context. Here are a few recommendations…
- Beginning to End: Read the Bible from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation. In order to do this in a year you will need to read about three chapters a day.
- The Old and the New – Read a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament.
- Read the words of Jesus – This is the plan that I am going to use this year. It is an online program. You can subscribe to it at http://journeyonword.com.
Whatever plan you choose, stick with it throughout the year. I promise that you will be rewarded for your diligence.
3. Pray, pray, pray
Prayer must be an integral part of your Bible reading plan. Bible study without prayer is an academic exercise. You will learn the facts of the Bible, but you will not be changed by its truth. Real transformation takes place when we allow the Holy Spirit of God to take the Word of God and mold and shape us into who He wants us to be.
Here a few specific things for which you can pray…
- Pray that God would give you spiritual understanding to comprehend the truth of Scripture.
- Pray that your mind becomes saturated by the truth of God’s Word.
- Pray that God’s Word transforms the way that you think and act.
- Pray that your faith increases.
I am committed to spend more time in God’s Word in 2014. Will you join me? I am confident that as we live in His presence, He will reveal His power and purposes to our lives and ministry.