The New Year is almost here! I wanted to share some daily devotional tips and Bible reading tips to give you a jump start to 2014, starting with 10 Tips to Renew Your Devotional Life.
1. BE A FOLLOWER. Disciple simply means follower. It’s not a spiritual term.
QUESTION: You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).
2. DISCIPLINE TAKES TIME. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Daily eVerses + Yearly devotionals + One Year Bible + journal/pen = a VERY happy Renee.
QUESTION: What have you found works best for you?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NLT).
3. IF YOU’RE BORED, GOD’S BORED. My friend Monique told me this phrase, and it’s always stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily don’t be afraid to get creative. Try a new Bible translation, time of the day, or devotional book.
QUESTION: In the past what have you found most helpful in getting creative with changing up your devotional life with God?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts” (Exodus 31:1-3, NLT).
4. DON’T DO IT ALONE. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don’t tell others, they won’t know to ask.
QUESTION: Write down the names of one or two people who help keep you accountable for reading the Word daily. If you can’t think of anyone, write down the name(s) of people who you will ask this week:
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT).
5. ASK FOR HELP. Don’t be afraid to lean on your accountability partner for help. When trials come (and they will), God tangibly offers His support in the form of those who are made in His image (your friends and family).
QUESTION: Are you afraid to ask others for help?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” (Acts 16:25, NLT).
6. KEEP WATCHING! Even when we’re asking others for support and encouragement—ultimately we need to take responsibility to stand watch and keep watching for the Lord to speak to us.
QUESTION: Where do you go to watch for the Lord? Write down at least three places including your room, the outdoors, private gardens, etc.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint” (Habakkuk 2:1-2, NLT).
7. USE YOUR SENSES. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of food. I like how it fills me up, tastes good, and gives me energy. The Bible is like that too. We taste and see that God is good by spending time daily in the Word, through prayer, and meeting with others.
QUESTION: How do you use your senses to connect with Jesus daily?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Jesus replied, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:33, 35, NLT).
8. FIND YOUR PROMISE. It took me eleven months and twenty-six days to find my promise of healing from God. He told me specifically “In kindness He called me to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after I have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen me, and He will place me on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10, NLT-emphasis mine).
QUESTION: What kind of promise from the Lord are you desperately searching for or have you already found one?
YOUR BIBLICAL EXAMPLE HERE ________.
9. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’.
QUESTION: When was the last time you memorized a favorite passage of Scripture?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “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” (Joshua 1:8, NLT).
10. LIVING FOR ETERNITY. God has given us every spiritual gift we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). Don’t let Judgment day catch you by surprise. Live each day with for eternity. Add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, affection, and love to your faith daily.
QUESTION: What attribute do you find most difficult and/or easy to live out loud?
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT).
15 Reasons to Read the Bible in 2014
1. Get to know Jesus. If you like someone you’re going to spend time & money getting to know them. It’s really that simple!
2. Be a follower. Disciple = follower. It’s not a spiritual term. You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?
3. Discipline takes time. Over the years I’ve discovered what works for me. Yearly devotional + One Year Bible + journal = a very happy Renee. Find what works best for you and stick with it!!
4. If you’re bored, God’s bored. I don’t remember who told me that, but it’s stuck with me. If you’re in the middle of reading your daily this & daily that and you find that you’ve replaced the ritual with religion. Get. Out. Quick. Find something else. Do something else. Go somewhere else. Ask someone else.
5. Don’t be afraid. Perfect love (from God) casts out all fear. Throughout a year’s time you and I will encounter trials and temptations. Watch for them and stay alert. Mostly though don’t be afraid. If you need help remembering this just open to Joshua 1. I think God says it like 8 times. Don’t be afraid…Don’t be afraid…just keep swimming…just keep swimming…
6. Ask. Just because you or I am in the Word daily doesn’t mean we still struggle. Ask for help!
7. Don’t do it alone. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don’t tell others, they won’t know to ask.
8. Learn more! I’m like a sponge. I soak up everything I see, touch, taste, smell, read, etc. Here is a great way to spark learning in your life. Take a topic you read about in your daily quiet time and dig deeper.
10. Use your senses. The Bible actually says to taste and see what is good (Psalm 34:8). Food tastes good, your time with God should too!
11. Find your promise. There are a million (okay maybe not a million) promises. I like to treat my Bible as a text book and underline my favorite verses and write “Promise” up on the top margin to remind me of God’s promises.
12. Memorize Scripture. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin’
13. Fall in love with God. No matter what you read, how difficult a passage is, or how frustrating it is to find time to spend with Him…He is worth it! All of it. All the marbles, all the money, everything in the world does not compare to Him!
14. His grace is enough. My heartache is knowing God, seeing that He can heal, and watching when He says no. Grace is figuring out that He is enough. No. Matter. What.
15. God is the Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means that January 1-December 31st is all under His control.