Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Guest Post: "Half Way There"

It is August, the end of summer is just weeks away.  The stores already are stocking Halloween and Christmas items. The year is over half gone. And, for me, it means the end of the book of Isaiah.

Most years, I read through the Bible.  It is a spiritual discipline for me and one that I miss on the rare year that I skip.  I miss the many benefits of the daily reading of God’s Word that has nothing to do with what I am studying for classes and programs at the church, but just for time with God.

Reading through from Genesis to Revelation can seem to be a daunting task. It is scheduling 15-20 minutes a day to be in God’s Word. But there are other ways rather than just reading straight through that have the same benefits for you. These few minutes each day can have wonderful benefits for your life, your faith and your well-being.

Want to take the challenge? Here are a few suggestions I would make from my experience –
  •  Use a modern English translation. Possibilities include the New International Version, the Contemporary English version or The Message.  All are in contemporary language and easy to read.  I chose a different translation each year.
  • There are Daily Bibles available that are divided into reading plans that make it easy to keep track of your progress.  Some even include devotional thoughts based on the passage for the day. There are also reading plans that can be slipped into your favorite Bible.  They come complete with check off boxes.  Many of these have “catch-up” days worked into the schedule.  Some plans are even for two years to make the time spent each day even less.
  • Begin your daily reading with a short prayer thanking God for his Word and asking that he speak to you through the passage you are reading that day.
  • Mark passages that speak to you that day; write in the margins, highlight, under line. These will help you clarify what God is saying to you.
  • Last, but most importantly, don’t get frustrated if you miss a day or two.  Ignore the feeling of being ‘behind’. Plan a time when you can read a little longer.  If you feel you have missed too much to ‘catch up’.  Skip to where you should be and start reading again. You can do the skip passages later or the next time.  It takes time to develop the habit, and there will always be days that the time is just not there.

What do you get from being in God’s Word daily?
  • You get a sense of God’s big story – the way he chose to record it for history. You will realize that there are promises for you and his love for us shines brightly.
  • As you read, you will be reminded by God of ways his truths can help with a personal concern.
  • The Bible can serve as a guide as you walk into your future.
  • You will receive a sense of peace that comes from a deeper connection with God. 
  • Scripture can point out areas in your life that God wants you to change or strengthen.
Reading the Bible each day is a good habit. It takes time to develop something into a habit.You will be amazed, once you start the practice, of how much you miss your time with God. You can begin anytime during the year – you do not need to wait till January 1st. There is no time like the present to begin to deepen your relationship with God. If you want further suggestions on Bibles or reading plans, let me know. I will be glad to help find one that works for you.
So take the challenge and begin...In the beginning God…. 

Renda Brinson is the Director of Christian Education. She lives in Matthews with her husband, Earl and dog, Daisy. Renda has four sons, and six grandchildren. If you enjoy her writing, you should check out her blog at http://rendabrinson.wordpress.com//

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