Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
I recently blogged about how the New Year provides us with a fresh start when it comes to our spiritual disciplines in our walk with Christ. I am still considering which disciplines I will seek to focus upon in 2017 but I believe I have, at the very least, narrowed down my focus as it relates to Disciplines of Personal Devotion. To refresh your memory, they are:
1. Read the Scriptures. (See my post on Regular Bible Reading)
2. Meditate on the Bible.
3. Pray and work.
4. Keep a journal.
I keep a journal once in a great while so that will not be my focus. I have always felt like I fall short when it comes to daily Bible reading. I plan, therefore, to focus on reading and meditating on the Scriptures in 2017. This does not mean I will neglect other disciplines. I also plan to give special attention to Family Disciplines (Regular family worship and catechizing), Corporate Disciplines (Sanctify the Lord's Day), and Neighborly Disciplines (Evangelize sinners with the gospel).
To help me focus upon and ultimately meet my goal of regular Bible reading and meditation upon the Scriptures, I have modified Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading Plan. I did the same thing two years ago but failed to faithfully follow through. I pray 2017 will be different. You can download a copy of the modified plan here:
I hold no copyright over the above file so please feel free to make and distribute copies.
In his regular plan the reader will read through Proverbs and Acts every month. In my modified plan I have moved Psalms in with Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. I have moved Acts over with the Gospels. Readers using my modified plan will read through Daniel, Proverbs, Romans, and Revelation every month or so. I can think of no better books to read more regularly. Daniel and Revelation contain much prophecy concerning the times in which we live and the near future. Romans is the greatest book ever written and is intensly focused upon the righteousness of God and why we need that righteousness and how we can have it.
The plan calls for reading 10 chapters daily, one from each list provided. By following this plan the reader will never read the same 10 chapters together again. This will help prevent bordem as it keeps things interesting, so to speak. With my modfied plan you will be reading Revelation every month and Revelation is the only book that promises a special blessing to the reader just for reading it. For those who might find 10 chapters daunting you can also modify the plan so that you are reading five chapters a day instead of 10. You can also read each page every other day but have one day where you read all 10 chapters. I've even heard of some who read 10 chapters daily during the week and then five chapters on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). And, if you're like me and miss a day or two once in awhile, don't panic, just pick up where you left off and keep going.
It is also important to remember the Bible teaches us sactification (the process of becoming more like Jesus) occurs as we renew our minds with God's Word. Paul wrote, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2). God told Joshua the same thing in Joshua 1:8, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." The Psalmist wrote, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
I can think of no greater responsibility we have as Christians than that of renewing our minds through reading and meditating upon God's Word. Will you join me in 2017 by commiting to the spiritual discipline of regular Bible reading and meditation? I believe God will honor your commitment by transforming your mind and heart thus making you (and me) more like Jesus Christ.
I'll be the first to admit I don't read my Bible often enough. This sad fact never ceases to amaze me yet I seem almost powerless to do anything about it. The Bible claims to be God's Word to us yet far too many Christians fail to read it regularly. Why is this? I was just pondering this question today as I dealt with a difficult ministry situation. The one thing that God is sure to use to sustain me--reading and meditating upon His Word--is so often neglected. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. In the meantime, here are a couple resources that might help you in your journey.
First of all, Andy Naselli offers Three Tips for Better Bible Reading on the Desiring God Blog. He offers three suggestions, (1) Listen to audio Bibles, (2) Read entire books in one sitting, and (3) Read a Bible without chapter and verse numbers. There are also links to related resources at the bottom of the blog entry.
Secondly, Professor Grant Horner of The Master's College, has designed a Bible reading plan using a book mark system. Basically, you read 10 chapters a day but you're never reading the same 10 chapters together again. Personally, I have been using a modified version of this system for awhile (when I actually read my Bible). I say "modified" because Grant's system has you reading through Proverbs and Acts every month. I decided I'd rather read through Daniel, Romans, and Revelation each month so I adjusted the book marks accordingly. By the way, for you Facebook people, he even has a Facebook Page dedicated to his system.
Thirdly, whether you use a formal plan or your own plan, remember, what's important is that you and I regularly read and meditate upon God's Word. There is no substitute for regular Bible reading and feeding. The Psalmist wrote, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). Jesus said, "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me" (John 5:39). Let's all renew our commitment to read God's Word regularly.
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Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
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