Recently my four year old ran with joy and delight onto her daddy’s lap and poured out all her joys and sorrows for the day into his listening ear. I watched grateful that I had such a wonderful husband that would take the time to sit with her and listen to all her seemingly petty tales. Then I watched as he gently instructed her on several lessons she could learn from her day.
Every morning as I sit on my couch, I come to my Heavenly Father, my
Abba Daddy, with my Bible in my hand just like my four year old comes to
her daddy. I picture myself sitting at the feet of Jesus and asking
Him, “What do you want me to do today? Is there anything in my life that
you need me to change? How can I praise you today?”
And through the words of God’s Word the Bible, He gently teaches me doctrine (what is right), reproof (what is wrong), correction (how to make it right) and instruction in righteousness (how to live right)—2 Timothy 3:16.
According to Lifeway.com, while the majority of churchgoers desire to
honor Christ with their lives and even profess to think on biblical
truths, a recent study found only 19% actually engage in personal
reading and study of the Scriptures.
And of those who do read their Bibles, I believe many have come to think of having their “devotions” as a quick reading so they can check it off their to-do list. However, we should have a fundamental mind shift of calling it what it really is: Spending time with Jesus.
If we’re going to seek the Lord, we’re going to have to seek Him with all of our hearts, and it takes time—time to get our hearts prepared, time to hear what the Lord has to say, time to let Him reveal Himself to us through His Word, and then time to respond and let what He has revealed to us really take root in our hearts.
You have no more precious commodity than time to seek the Lord. Put Jesus first.
Five years ago after the birth of my youngest, I went through a very dark period in my life. I had just had my 11th baby in October of 2014. Although I did not realize it at the time, it was a very bad case of post-baby depression. As I struggled through that time emotionally and physically, I realized that my spiritual foundation of not being in God’s Word was lacking to the point of neglect. Everything seemed very overwhelming.
Slowly, as I was able to think straight, my help truly came from a simple truth my sister shared with me. Everyday, I would read one verse, sentence, or paragraph of my Bible, rephrase it into my own words, and make an “I will” statement based on that truth. This transformed my life, because I learned what it meant to learn of Jesus! It was simple.
My enthusiasm for Jesus and His Word and my utter failure in spending close fellowship with Jesus on a consistent daily basis throughout the years has become my message to the ladies around me. Jesus slowly healed my body and heart...but as Jesus was healing my heart...He was revealing His power through his Word as well.
Choose a book of the Bible and read or listen to the entire chapter. Then focus on the first verse, sentence, or paragraph, writing it out word for word. The following day, you will read the chapter again and move your attention to the next verse (or phrase).
Write down the verse again, but this time, write it in your own words. Going word by word (and without interpretation), try to use different, yet equivalent words. Think: “How would I reword this verse so that a 5 year old child can understand it?”
Now take a few moments to quiet your heart and listen to God’s voice. Looking at your verse, ask yourself two questions:
1. What does it say about God or Jesus?
• What is God like? What is true about Him?
2. What does it say about man?
• Are there any promises to claim? Any sin to confess?
Optionally, you may also want to journal more about what God is saying in this passage and how it relates to your life.
Be a doer of the Word by making a decision to respond to what God is teaching you. Finish these statements:
• Because God is____________________
• Because Man is____________________
• I will _____________________________
Try to be as specific as you can. For example, do not just say, “I will trust God.” Go even further: How will you trust God today?
You might say, “Today, I will not be anxious when I get a large bill in the mail. I will remember that God will take care of me.”
Another example: Do not just say, “I will love others today.” Ask yourself, “How will I love others today?” Your “I will” could be, “I will love my husband by giving him a note and a back rub when he walks in the door. I will not fuss at him today.”
Make your “I will” so practical that you KNOW that you did your “I will statement” in 24 to 48 hours.
Importantly, this is where you also ask God to help you obey His Word. Remember, we can do NOTHING apart from God’s power (John 15:5).
We all need to do more than just read God’s word. Go beyond just figuring out what it says and means—put it in your life, depending on the Lord to help you by His grace. God’s Word changes who we are so we might be more like Jesus!
Write down someone you will share your “I will statement” with, and then share it! It is incredible how the Lord uses something simple like this to help and encourage others. And in many cases, it is a perfect bridge to the gospel.
That’s it. You can meet with Jesus every day! The next day, listen or read to the chapter again, then go to the next verse or phrase.
Everyday listen or read the same chapter until you get though
the entire chapter verse by verse; sentence by sentence; paragraph by
paragraph. This will mean that you could listen to that same chapter up
to 20 times depending on how many verses are in the chapter.
Since I have been spending time with Jesus this way, He has transformed my life. Every morning, I can come to my Heavenly Daddy, sit on His lap, and spend time with Him through His Word and walk away changed a little bit more into the image of my Savior!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Ps 1: 2,3