How To Read Through the Bible in 2015 (and Why You Should)

rtbfl-logoEarly in my ministry, I met a sweet widow named Marie. Marie was a godly woman. She was a poet, a prayer warrior, and a lover of Scripture. I remember once that Marie told me that she had read through the Bible from cover to cover over twenty times in her life. Her declaration both inspired and intimidated me. Since Marie had that conversation with me two decades ago, the status of the Bible in America has dwindled. Al Mohler adeptly dissects the latest attack on God’s Word from Newsweek. Moreover, in a 2014 Barna survey  39% of Millennials say they never read the Bible and only 37% of Americans claimed to have read the Bible at least once a week. Of course, it should be common sense that Christians should read the Bible. The reality is that few people read any part of the Bible, much less all of it. Compared to the devout Muslim or Orthodox Jew it is shameful just how little regard Christians give the Bible. It is more than shameful. It is sin. [Read more…]

Six Steps to Spiritual Growth in 2015, Part Three

praying handsToday is devoted to the final two steps in developing your spiritual growth plan for the coming year. On day one, we looked at reflecting and committing. Day two was devoted to reading and memorizing the Bible. Today is focused on prayer and evaluation.

Step Five. Decide how you will pray. Prayer aligns our hearts with the heart of God. Read a book like With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray to help you orient yourself rightly toward God. A simple and useful device to remember some components of prayer is the “prayer hand” by the Navigators. As a parent, I love to pray for my children using Andrew Case’s free resource, Setting Their Hope on God: Biblical Intercession for Your Children. You can also list the people you know who are lost and pray for them by name. I have a list in the front of my journal. This has allowed me to celebrated as I have been able to record the dates that many friends on the list have come to Christ. It also causes me to weep over friends who do not yet know or have rejected the hope of Christ. Additionally, use a prayer guide like Operation World to pray for the peoples of the world to know Christ.

Step Six. Evaluate. As we noted in the first post of this series, most people abandon New Year’s resolutions within the first six months. This is due in large part to the fact that people rarely stop to evaluate their progress. It is a good idea to schedule monthly reviews of how you are doing in your spiritual growth plan. Frequent stops along the journey will prevent you from falling so far behind that you become discouraged and drop out. A monthly audit allows you to get back on course or make course corrections. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Where am I on track with my plan?
  • Where have I fallen behind?
  • Are the practices I am engaged in helping me grow in Christlikeness? Why or why not?
  • What do I need to change?
  • What do I need to do differently/keep the same to ensure success?

So, finish 2014 by setting your course for 2015. Hoist your sails and get ready for a great ride!

Read Part One
Read Part Two

Six Steps to Spiritual Growth in 2015, Part Two

bible glassesIn the last post, I talked about the importance of planning for spiritual growth in 2015. Step one was to reflect by asking some questions to determine where you are spiritually. Step two was to commit by scheduling a daily appointment with the Lord for 2015. Today we will look at the next two steps. Both are related to encountering the truth of God’s Word.

Step Three. Decide how you will study God’s Word. Apart from intentional intake of the Bible, you will not grow spiritually. It is God’s Word through which He communicates His great story and His purposes. There are many different reading plans available from YouVersion. I will be reading through the Bible in 2015 using the Read the Bible for Life plan (more on this next week). Devotional guides such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening or Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest may also prove helpful for insight and reflection. One warning about devotionals – make sure they are reflections on God’s Word, not additions to God’s Word. A human’s comments, no matter how popular, should never replace the Bible itself. Don’t forget the material your church provides for you Bible study or small group. These can also provide a great framework for systematic study.

Step Four. Decide how you will memorize Scripture. Making the Word of God a part of your memory will benefit you tremendously for the purposes of avoiding sin (Psalm 119:11), worshiping God moment by moment, and encouraging others by giving biblical counsel. Perhaps, you should focus your memorization on verses related to the answers to your questions from Step One. Two great memory plans are Fighter Verses and the Topical Memory System. The Fighter Verses app gives lots of tools for aiding in memory. The Topical Memory System helps give someone a basic foundation in key biblical truths.

So, spend some time today deciding how you will study and memorize God’s Word. Without it, you will not grow spiritually. It’s how God talks to His people. Tomorrow, we will look at how we talk to Him.

Read Part One
Read Part Three

Six Steps to Spiritual Growth in 2015, Part One

Photo Credit: A.L.Gibson via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: A.L.Gibson via Compfight cc

The last week of the year is a perfect time to reflect on the year that was and the year the could be. I say “could be” because a fresh year brings fresh possibilities and opportunities. There is a season for everything according to the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3. The New Year is the season for resolutions. The problem with resolutions, though, is that they often do not stick. In fact, leadership expert Michael Hyatt tells us that twenty-five percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week. Moreover, sixty percent of people abandon those resolutions within six months. In fact, it is believed that the average person will make the same resolution ten times without success! [Read more…]