January 1, 2019 Follow-up

The keystone habit for spiritual development has to be consistent time in the Word of God. Prayer is vital. The spiritual disciplines like tithing, witnessing, service are all crucial. But everything we do spiritually rises out of a regular, focused, intentional plan for staying in the Word. My friend Robert and I have been to a lot of Men’s Retreats together. As soon as we walk in to the dorm where we are staying he goes to his bunk and says, “I christen you ‘The Word.'” That way, during the course of the retreat when you see him coming out of the dorm room in the middle of the afternoon with a serious case of bed head, and you ask him where he has been, he will proudly proclaim, “I’ve been spending time in The Word.”
That’s not exactly the plan for the next three months. As we look at the keystone discipline of daily Bible reading, we will look at some different plans, some new ideas, and some tools to make your Bible time more meaningful. One of the key disciplines for me for years now has been reading through the Bible each year. Some years I don’t quite make it. Other years I am done by mid-November. But I can tell you this, I have never one time read the whole Bible in a year bu accident. If I don’t start out on purpose, I just won’t do it.
There is a free, and simple Bible reading app called You Version. You can download it to your phone, your tablet, or your computer. If you download that app you will see on the opening page the options at the bottom for home, read, plans, search, and more. Click on the plans tab and the first page right now is a plan to read the Bible in one year. In fact, if you send me your email I will send you an invitation to that page and we will be reading it together. There is a place at the end of each day to respond to the group. (One note, if you start right now you will be a day behind so plan to read a couple of days worth tomorrow, about 8 chapters.) After that it is 4 chapters a day, usually a Psalm or Proverb, 2 OT passages and 1 NT passage.)
If you want to just keep track on your own, read 3 chapters everyday and 5 on Sunday and you will read through the Bible in a year. One idea that keeps me focused, get a colored highlighter, choose a topic, theme, or story line, and then mark those verses every time you come across them in your daily reading. For example, 2 years ago I did race and works. Every verse that I encountered that spoke of God’s grace I highlighted in green. Every verse that spoke of my responsibility to do good works, i marked in yellow. At the end of the year I could thumb through my Bible and quickly see the number of verses dealing with each topic.
Here are 3 tips:
  1. Choose a consistent time each day. Even dividing it up works, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed.
  2. Prepare a place. Get a good light, your markers, a notebook, and of course your Bible, and keep it ready for you each day.
  3. Focus more on the daily routine than on finishing the task. If you miss a day or two, don’t get hung up on trying to catch up. Just do your 3 or 4 chapters each day. We are developing a habit, not winning an award.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some suggestions for the other journals, finances, eating, etc. For now, the focus is on daily  time in the Word of God. If I do that MOST days during 2019, I will have perfect 2020 vision at the end of this year.

8 Responses to January 1, 2019 Follow-up

  1. I am so going to do this. I need to read my Bible every day, and this is a great way to get into it. Thanks for your help.

  2. Please send me the link to the YouVersion page. I have lost the discipline of being in the Word and a bit of accountability might help me get back to that. In my life, I’ve noticed that God is able to use me more effectively when I’m in His Word.

  3. I’m glad to see your back. I really enjoy your blog! For the first time I started a journal this year and have a word for the year, HOPE!
    This blog was just a confirmation for me…Thank you!

  4. Happy New Year, Mike!
    I’m so grateful to you for the ways your lessons, stories, ruminations and guidance have enriched my spiritual life. I had been thinking about “2020 Vision” for my life, but knowing how I frequently fail in the area of discipline and perseverance, I had already prepared myself for some goal adjustments along the way. Having a virtual accountability group will be a great motivator! Wouldn’t John Wesley be pleased? And God, too, I hope?
    I will look forward to the conversations to come! Thank you!

  5. Great ideas, Mike. I bought an inexpensive chronological Bible that is laid out to read it through in a year. I read it a couple years ago but my ‘goal’ for 2019 is to do it again. (I don’t make NY Resolutions – I never keep them.) My ‘word’ for the last couple years has been Grace. It seems like I am always seeing quotes, hearing songs, etc., about Grace and I struggle a little with that. Maybe when I don’t feel that struggle, I will move onto another word?
    I am not a morning person so my time in the Word is at night. I am not allowed to go to sleep before reading my Bible, my devotion, and writing in my journal. So far, so good, but we will see if I can keep this up! I pray that I can make this a good habit once again!
    Thank you for your suggestions, your insights and your blog. I love to read whatever it is you write about!

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