Your word is a lamp to guide my feet & a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
"Heaven & earth will disappear, but My words will remain forever." Jesus, speaking in Luke 21:33
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Who knows what 2017 will hold?
If there was 1 thing I could share with you for 2017, it would be this...
If I was saying goodbye to you & would never see you again, this is what I would say...
If I could talk to any local, state, national, or world leader, & tell them 1 thing, I would tell them this...
If I was going to address any group from House of Grace, any church, any group of soon to be commissioned missionaries, a joint session of Congress, or a world wide broadcast, this is what I would say...
If I were going to have a gravestone (I'm going to be cremated & scattered), I would have this put on it...
Read the Bible every day, without fail.
About a year or so ago, there was a cartoon going around Facebook with 2 panels.
In the first panel there was this guy with his hands in the air, yelling at the heavens, “Lord, speak to me!!!”
In the next panel there is a huge hand extending from the clouds with a large book in his hand, labeled “Holy Bible”.
We have an incredible gift from God – a book that is the word of God, speaking to us.
Is it stupid or what to NOT read on a regular basis a book that we KNOW God is going to speak to us through?!
I can say it's pretty stupid – I speak from experience.
I didn't start reading the Bible every day without fail until January, 2003 – I was 52 ½ years old & had been a “professional Christian” (church staffer) for 20 years.
I used to say my Bible reading before 2003 was higgledy-piggledy – it would be more accurate to say it was disgraceful.
After 13 years, I CANNOT imagine NOT reading the Bible every morning. I have come to depend completely on that daily contact with God through His word.
God speaks to me through His word – pure & simple.
I wouldn't be the person I am today if I didn't listen out for God to speak to me through reading the Bible.
I would have NEVER done some of the things I've done in the last 14 years if I hadn't been reading the Bible every day.
Now, before you do this, let me warn you about something...
If you do this, GOD WILL MESS WITH YOU!!!
He will start by messing with you in the area(s) that you least want Him to put His finger on.
And He will NOT let up.
After 14 years, He STILL is messing with me.
If you read the Bible every day, you WILL be slowly & certainly drawn into an incredibly intimate connection with God.
Ok, so, you think you might do this but don't know how to start?
Start with Psalms. Read 1 psalm every day. Read them sequentially. Psalm 1 tomorrow. Psalm 2 on Tuesday. Psalm 3 on Wednesday. You get the idea. There's 150. When you finish Psalm 150, go back to Psalm 1 & read through them all again. ALWAYS be reading through Psalms like that. Trust me on this.
Read the Gospel of John, starting with John 1. Read a chapter a day, sequentially. Then read Luke. Then Mark. Then Matthew. Then start back in John. Keep reading through the Gospels one after another.
Start reading the letters the apostles wrote. Start with 1 Corinthians. 1 chapter a day, sequentially. Don't start with Romans- it's big league – wait on reading Romans. Then read 2 Corinthians. Then read Galatians, then Ephesians, then Philippians, then Colossians. THEN go back & read Romans. After Romans, read 1 Thessalonians, & then read the rest of the New Testament books after that. If you don't want to read Revelation your first time through, it's ok. I read it once or twice a year. It gives me a BIG headache. There's lots of imagery that is kinda lost on my pea brain.
Also, start in Genesis & read the Old Testament 1 chapter at a time, sequentially. Leviticus will be SO boring. Job will wear you out. If you are a guy, The Song of Solomon will overstimulate you. The minor prophets at the end of the OT will be pretty tedious. Just wade through it all the first time. It won't kill you.
I know, I know – that sounds like a lot. But it's just 4 chapters a day. Some chapters may be kinda long, but some won't be.
Keep a journal.
Just get a small spiral notebook or keep a Word document or something. You'll need a place to write down where & what you read the day before so you won't lose your way. DON'T TRUST YOUR MEMORY! ;-)
Also, write down verses that may speak to you or seem to stand out on the page.
Trust me, it's gonna happen. Write it down.
And God just may seem to say something to you. Write it down.
I will assure you this...
If you do this for a month or so, you'll never stop reading the Bible, ever.
It becomes that important.
Go ahead, & do this. And if you want to, write me & tell me what's going on.
I remember about 6 years ago, while I was still leading House of Grace...
(A moment of silence for House of Grace...)
I challenged them to read the Bible every day.
About 2 months after one guy had started doing that, he came to me after one Tuesday night HOG service & told me he wasn't going to read the Bible anymore.
When I asked him why, he said because God won't leave him alone! It was awful!
He was kidding, I think. He didn't stop reading – he just braced himself for more butt kicking from the Lord.
Read the Bible every day, without fail.