Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting daily with devotions

Do you struggle with reading your Bible every day? Do you get out of bed with intent to read your Bible and then get distracted by emails, or Facebook messages, and miss out? You aren't alone in your struggle.

Many Christians desire to read their Bible daily and fail. Don't beat yourself up over your lack of Bible reading. Instead, make a plan to succeed in this beneficial habit and you'll beat the distractions.

First, know that you are in a battle. There are forces outside yourself that are distracting you and interfering with your inner desire to read the Bible daily. When you read the Bible you will defeat those forces.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12 NIV)

Why you should read your Bible every day?

Bible reading feeds your spirit and your mind.

Just like eating physical food nourishes your body and sustains your physical life, reading your Bible nourishes your spirit and mind and helps you grow closer to God, transforming your thinking.

Bible reading changes your thinking.

Reading the Bible changes the way you think. It renews your mind. It short circuits the defeating messages that go through your mind every day, and replaces them with God's love messages for you.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2. NIV)

Reading the Bible changes your behaviour

By thinking differently, you can change defeating habits. Many problems have their roots in negative thinking. "I do everything wrong." "I'm stupid." "Nothing ever works for me." "I am always to blame." Negative thoughts zap your energy and prevent you from making beneficial changes in your actions and feelings. By changing how you think -- renewing your mind -- you can overcome the habits that hurt you. Daily Bible reading will help you short circuit the negative thoughts and change you, making you stronger.

Make daily Bible reading a habit

It takes 30 days to develop a habit -- so start today and commit to reading your Bible every day for 30 days. When you do anything regularly, 30 days of repetition will form the habit in your life. After 30 days, the habit will be formed, making every day of Bible reading easier, like eating or brushing your teeth. Start now.

How you can short circuit the hindrance

When you decide that you are going to work to form a new habit, you will have interference. That doesn't make you weak-willed or lazy. Look for the things that are hindering you from making the good choice to read your Bible and confront the hindrance head-on.

Are your emails and Facebook friends getting their messages to you before God's message can reach you in the morning?

Make Bible Gateway your homepage. Bible Gateway has several daily Bible reading plans that will meet your needs. Sign up for a plan and that will be the first thing you see when you open your web browser. Read it first and get God's message to you, before you connect with your friends.

Are your eyes struggling to read the Bible, making the task tiring?

My husband struggled to read his Bible every morning because of aging eyes. His progressive lenses made reading small print very difficult, compelling him to remove his glasses and squint at the page to make sense of it. Getting prescription reading glasses made the task of Bible reading easy on his eyes, and changed his attitude toward Bible reading. Perhaps a change in prescription or storing an extra pair of reading glasses with your Bible will make daily Bible reading more enjoyable for you.

Are you a nonreader who is guilt-ridden because the task of reading is daunting?

Change the format of your daily devotions by listening instead of reading. Bible Gateway has several audio Bibles available for you to listen to. You pick the book and the chapter, make sure Flash Player is installed on your computer, and press play. Close your eyes and let God's word transform you.

If you've never read the Bible before, a good place to start is "The Story of Jesus", a concise single narrative of the life of Christ, based on the NIV bible. You can listen to it at Bible Gateway.

Do you find the Bible difficult to understand?

Pray and ask God to open your mind and give you understanding before you start to read. He will.

What is hindering you from forming the habit of daily Bible reading? Have you found ways to overcome the resistance? Leave a comment.

Guest post by Chris. Read Chris' blog.

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