Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Resolutions

I don’t know if you are planning any changes for the next year but I wanted to share what I have found transformational for my life. These suggestions are very basic but powerful…...

1. Read your Bible Daily… And More

I read my Bible every morning and generally listen to it from www.Bible.is as I read along. I also pick a book of the Bible that I plan to preach through and listen to it over and over as I check my email, facebook, google+ and ebay accounts. Sometimes I simply set my computer on the counter and listen to the Bible while cooking breakfast or doing any other task that doesn’t require a lot of “brain work.” 

Life is very busy and dedicated Bible reading should never be replaced with what I might call background listening. However, as I daily check my accounts or perform “mindless tasks” the Bible plays continually in the background. When I worked as a night auditor at Sleep Inn I would listen to the Bible as I folded laundry. In only 2 months I had listened completely from Genesis to Revelation. I think this could be called Bible saturation.

I personally prefer the M'Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan it is a bit heavy for some but it covers 4 chapters a day and each chapter is in a different portion of Scripture. If you want to print your own book marks here is a link to the bookmarks that I print for our church.

 

2. Memorize the Bible

This seems to be a novel thought for most Christians. If we are honest we think it is cute when children can quote verses and then we expect them to learn all the “key verses” that we generally know because we have heard them so many times. As time progresses the only memorization that takes place is because there is some “program” that encourages it. Even as I was in college I didn’t memorize Scripture unless it was required for a class and most Bible collage students from my perception fit that pattern. I have met very few Christians who actively memorize Scripture and I wonder why. For years I didn’t memorize anything unless there was some incentive but now I spend about 30 minutes a day working on Bible memory.

Obstacle 1: Planning/Organization

I believe the greatest obstacle to this is planning or organization. Memorizing books or portions of the Bible takes time. I recommend that you plan ahead by picking what verses or passages you want to work on.

Obstacle 2: Review

I believe the second greatest obstacle is reviewing verses. I have heard of memory programs that do a verse a day and they are effective for a while but as time goes on if you memorized 365 verses in a year how do you keep all those verses fresh? Should you review all your verses every day, every other day, every week or once a month? How do you organize all these verses? This “verse a day” approach tends to become overbearing and eventually it just becomes confusing and to difficult to maintain.

Obstacle 3: Time

You may be wondering why I didn’t have this as the first obstacle so I will explain. We have time to check our email, check the classifieds on Craigslist, read this article, check facebook, google+, and so much more. We make time for what we want to make time for. If memorizing Scripture became a habit like our addiction to social media then time wouldn’t be a factor.

Solution

I was unsuccessful at memorizing Scripture as a daily routine until I began using my computer. For those who are old school and prefer a paper note card system I would say more power to you. Just do something!

I use the computer for a few different reasons.

1. The computer keeps track of how well I remember the verse.

2. The computer brings back my verses for review when I need it. (Daily at times, monthly at times, yearly at times)

3. The computer offers predefined groups of popular verses.

So how do I use it?

In the past I used www.Memverse.com but after time I came to prefer www.scripturetyper.com. Both are great websites, but I prefer ScriptureTyper because it takes your average typing speed and only considers a verse correct if you can type it at 80% of your average typing speed. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a slow typist or a fast one. Memverse lets you select how well you feel you did, but it’s not very objective.

Another reason is ScriptureTyper has apps for apple, android, kindle and more. This allows me to memorize verses on the go or review them. Memverse is only available online through a browser.

Here are some videos introducing these tools.

3. Study your Bible Daily

Bible study is not Bible reading or Bible memorization. I currently work through materials or books that point me to Scripture. I don’t do this daily but about every other day I work though a detailed study of Scripture. I currently am studying “How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead.” To me it is an important issue because this it helps me explain to a Jewish person how they can believe in Jesus without denying the Old Testament. As one person explained it…

A lot of Jewish people feel that they really can’t do this because believing in Jesus would somehow compromise their monotheism. Again, the main creed of Judaism is Deut 6:4, the Shema: “The Lord our God is one.” And so, it’s a stumbling block for Jewish people to accept the idea of Jesus as Savior and as God Incarnate because of their monotheism. (Michael S. Heiser,The Jewish Trinity: How the Old Testament Reveals the Christian Godhead)

Find a topic that interests you and go for it. Read about it, think about it, talk about it.

Here is a free study Bible that I find helpful

4. Talk about the Bible Daily

You don’t want to become the “Bible Thumper” who every post on facebook is a Bible verse or a preaching quote. To be honest you can program a computer to spit out quotes of Scripture at intervals. This is not talking about the Bible. Take something your reading, memorizing, or studying and share it with others. Don’t be the person with all the answers, but listen to their perspective and what God has taught them about that passage.

Talking about what you are learning will do two things. First, it will encourage others. Second, it will solidify what you are learning.

Conclusion

So far I have emphasized that you…

1. Read your Bible

2. Memorize your Bible

3. Study your Bible

4. Talk about your Bible

But what about prayer? I spend time daily in dedicated prayer where I have a prayer list, but every aspect of Bible exposure should foster prayer. When I read my Bible I pray and ask God to show me truth and change my life. As I memorize the Bible, I often stop and pray that God will work the verse I just memorized out in my life. The Bible and prayer go hand and hand so don’t divorce the one from the other.

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