“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:7-8
Among the Christian disciplines is the believer’s relationship to God’s Word. Any believer can study it, meditate on it, memorize it, read it, or hear it spoken. Of all the disciplines, none may be more important than the study of God’s Word. More than one congregation is lukewarm at best, because her people are not regular in their reading of Scripture.
For the Word to live in our hearts we must incorporate the daily discipline of reading the Bible. We are blessed with many versions in our day and with many avenues to read; printed Bibles, computers, iPads, and phone. I can contribute to revival in my own church by keeping up with my regular Bible reading. This brings to our doorstep some accountability questions:
* Do I have a plan to read God’s Word?
* What is the best time of day for me to spend some quality time in God’s Word?
* Do I have access to and am I willing to use a version that will maximize my comprehension of what I read?
* Do I understand that the goal of Bible reading is not simply the accumulation of knowledge, but it is the means to heart and life transformation?
* What things are more of a regular habit in my daily routine than Bible reading?
* Do I want my Pastor to preach to a Bible reading congregation who has a heart filled with faith and expectancy, because they have been in the Word?
* Do I really understand that many good people have lost out spiritually, because they never consistently got into God’s Word? Hosea 4:6a convicts our hearts,“my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” God does not reward or bless spiritual ignorance. Have you read through the entire Bible? Be encouraged to start a Bible reading plan. Three chapters a day and five on Sunday will accomplish this goal.
* Read a chapter of Proverbs each day for a month
* Read Matthew or Acts a chapter a day for a month
* Read these special passages:
I Corinthians 13 Love Chapter
Romans 8 Hope Chapter
Hebrews 11 Faith Chapter
Exodus 20 Ten Commandments
Matthew 5 The Beatitudes
Galatians 5 The Fruit of the Spirit
* Read 3 Psalms a day for a year
In the book of Revelation, John the Apostle is directed by God to address seven churches. In chapters 2 and 3 there is a forthright address to these seven congregations regarding their spiritual condition as seen from the heart of God. It is not easy to read, but certainly would not have been easy to receive if you were a participant in one of those seven churches in the first century. Much has been written regarding these seven churches across the centuries, but in this devotional this point needs to be addressed straight on. The spiritual deficit of these churches was directly due to the lack of consistently practicing the Christian disciplines by her members. Wow! Even a casual reading of Revelation 2 and 3 reveals a need for revival.
As a new convert to Christianity, I was fortunate to sit under a Pastor who consistently proclaimed from the pulpit the practice of the disciplines of the faith. Of particular note, and directly tied to the theme of revival, is the relationship of the believer in regards to reading God’s Word. Here is a sobering truth: The quality of daily time spent reading God’s Word by an individual directly affects the spiritual vibrancy of their own congregation.
Reading God’s Word everyday across weeks, months, and years will add incredible value to your spiritual journey. It will also help you to be a person who blesses other people through your character. It will mold you into a living vessel that God can use to breath life and zeal into His church and the culture rather than being spiritually dry and experiencing decay. Every church in some sense needs renewal/revival. It always begins in an individual heart. Will it begin in you?
by Dave Childers