Originally published Tuesday, 20 August 2013.
In 1997, my mom gave me a NLT One Year Bible. I was in the hospital with severe eczema all over my face and feet. She read to me Hosea 6:1-3 that says,
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”
I was determined to find my own verse so I read through the One Year Bible for eleven months and twenty six days later I found it.
"In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation" (1 Peter 5:10, NLT).
My life has never been the same since and I wholeheartedly believe in reading the Word daily. That's why I do what I do. I write, speak, teach, publish, laugh, and love according to what I've learned through this book. 1997-2011 marks my crystal anniversary of being in the Word. That's 15 years of being fruitful and remaining in the vine that is Jesus. Because I'm SO passionate about it I'm giving you 15 reasons to read the Bible this year with me!! 1. Get to know Jesus. If you like someone you're going to spend time & money getting to know them. It's really that simple!
2. Be a follower. Disciple = follower. It's not a spiritual term. You follow people on Twitter and Facebook, so why not be mindful to follow God FIRST?
3. Discipline takes time. Over the years I've discovered what works for me. Yearly devotional + One Year Bible + journal = a very happy Renee. Find what works best for you and stick with it!!
4. If you're bored, God's bored. I don't remember who told me that, but it's stuck with me. If you're in the middle of reading your daily this & daily that and you find that you've replaced the ritual with religion. Get. Out. Quick. Find something else. Do something else. Go somewhere else. Ask someone else.
5. Don't be afraid. Perfect love (from God) casts out all fear. Throughout a year's time you and I will encounter trials and temptations. Watch for them and stay alert. Mostly though don't be afraid. If you need help remembering this just open to Joshua 1. I think God says it like 8 times. Don't be afraid...Don't be afraid...just keep swimming...just keep swimming...
6. Ask. Just because you or I am in the Word daily doesn't mean we still struggle. Ask for help!
7. Don't do it alone. We need community. We need people. We need help. See if one of your friends or family can keep you accountable to spend your time daily with God. If you don't tell others, they won't know to ask.
8. Learn more! I'm like a sponge. I soak up everything I see, touch, taste, smell, read, etc. Here is a great way to spark learning in your life. Take a topic you read about in your daily quiet time and dig deeper.
9. Use helpful tools. My favorites are NLT One Year Bible, Streams in the Desert (devotional), My Utmost For His Highest (devotional), BibleGateway.com, You Version, and Logos.
10. Use your senses. The Bible actually says to taste and see what is good (Psalm 34:8). Food tastes good, your time with God should too!
11. Find your promise. There are a million (okay maybe not a million) promises. I like to treat my Bible as a text book and underline my favorite verses and write "Promise" up on the top margin to remind me of God's promises.
12. Memorize Scripture. If you can quote your favorite movie, you can memorize Scripture. Just sayin'
13. Fall in love with God. No matter what you read, how difficult a passage is, or how frustrating it is to find time to spend with Him...He is worth it! All of it. All the marbles, all the money, everything in the world does not compare to Him!
14. His grace is enough. My heartache is knowing God, seeing that He can heal, and watching when He says no. Grace is figuring out that He is enough. No. Matter. What. 1
5. God is the Beginning and the End. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That means that January 1-December 31st is all under His control.