The other day, I was helping facilitate a conference call with about a hundred people on the line. In an effort to mute our line, I hung up on the entire group. Whoops! This was the same day that one of my best friends, teasing me, relayed to another co-worker that my texts are often (almost always) garbled and nonsensical. Are you beginning to get the picture that you should keep me far, far away from technology? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets can be great tools to connect and engage with friends near and far. I personally love being able to be a part of the lives of friends who are scattered all around the world. I do, however, firmly believe that we meet God in our stillness, when we give Him the first fruits of our day, when we sit at His feet in eager willingness to listen to His voice. He instructs us to ‘Be still and know that He is God’, not run around like a crazy person trying to discern who He is at a red light.
After spending years reading here and there through the Bible, I realized that I knew very little about it’s overall content. Like, shocking little. In His grace, I believe that God has allowed me to come to know Him in a way that I didn’t think was possible for someone who wasn’t a pastor or missionary. I firmly believe that this change would have never occurred without making the time and effort to spend time at God’s feet. I know that a verse a day would have never revealed God’s character to me. We are a culture of convenience, but in trying to microwave our faith, we are destroying all the nutrients. God has so much He wants to bless us with, but we’re too busy, too tired, too stressed and too over scheduled to be blessed. I get it – working and caring for my children and taking care of my marriage and being a good friend and trying to save the world – it’s hard! But, I don’t run this race alone, and that makes all the difference in the universe.
The bottomline is this: God is not going to send you a tweet. If you want to really feel a peace you’ve never felt before, if you want to experience joy in the midst of sorrow, if you need love or reassurance or hope: sit down and open your Bible and spend time with the Lord in prayer. Don’t know where to begin? Ask a trusted friend to help guide you – discipleship is an important part of our faith. You’d be doing them a favor in allowing them to pour into your life. Don’t have a Christian friend who can disciple you? Below are a couple suggestions of things that have worked well for me:
- Read a short devotional each morning to get you centered in God’s word before you begin to pray. I especially like the First5.org devotions and use their iPhone app to access them.
- Begin a prayer journal and use it to speak to God – everyday. I have a habit of journaling at least one page each day. Anything shorter and I’ve found that my prayers remain very self centered. By developing the habit of journaling more to the Father, you begin to ask Him what else you should be praying about: Our country? Refugees? Your church? Your children’s school? Difficult relationship? What God wants you to be doing or not doing?
- Download the Bible.com app on your phone and work through a Bible reading plan. I especially like the Chronological plan as it helps you understand the events in the order they happened, whereas reading the Bible from cover-to-cover will allow you to read like kind books together.
- Write what God teaches you in your Bible. What section spoke to you the most? What is the context of that section? How can you apply that to your own life? My Bible is so crazy marked up in places where I’ve really spent time that it looks like a marker factory exploded. Don’t worry about ‘messing up’ your Bible – it’s meant to be more of a handbook than a shelf warmer. Not sure which translation to buy? Try a couple different translations on your phone and see which is the easiest for you to understand. I personally found that the NLT was a great Bible to help me connect with and understand scripture in a whole new way, but others like the NIV, ESV, KJV or another translation. Here is my post on the NLT My Fair NLT – The Bible I Actually Understand
Whether you’ve been studying your Bible for years, or your pages are still very crackly, I hope this post will inspire you to ask God to reveal something new to you in how to connect with Him and grow closer to Him.