Our individual worship times are more essential to our spiritual health than serving in a local church; more essential than communion; more essential than fellowship, valuable though all of those things can be.  We have been looking at having nourishing times alone with God.  Five suggestions were:

  1. Faith attitude:  “God will nourish me as I pursue Him.”
  2. Love attitude:  “I am loved by God Almighty.”
  3. Investment attitude:  “I am going to do what is needed to satisfy my soul.”
  4. An I’m-Going-to-Get-the-Mechanics-Right attitude:  “I am going to make the time and be disciplined about the mechanics.’
  5. An I-will-Try-Some-Approach-for-a-While; then-Something-Different-to-Keep-it- Fresh attitude.

Let’s continue thinking about having meaningful meetings with the Master, Jesus Christ. 

6.  The Same Bible, But a Different You    Some may ask, “If a Christian keeps reading the Bible year after year, won’t they get bored?  Won’t they think, ‘I know this already?’” No. Let’s think about why. 

If you became a Christian at ten years of age, you could be reading the same Bible for 70+ years. I’ve been a believer since I was 20 years old and read the Bible annually. It remains the same, but I am different. One reads David & Goliath differently at 14 than one does at 34. And differently again at 58. How? Why? Because the reader brings more experiences, joys, troubles, victories, and mysteries to each reading of the Scripture. As the years pass, and with increased experiences, one connects with the sacred text at a deeper level.  Because the Author of the Bible is the Living God, and the Holy Spirit is the built-in Teacher, Its potential influence is without limit. 

After reading the Bible many times, I ceased to have new thoughts, so I started reading a commentary along with the Bible. A “commentary” is a book written about passages in the Bible. The best I have ever read are those written by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. He has a series that are all titled Be . . . something.  Be Patient is his book on Job.  Be Faithful, is Wiersbe’s book I Timothy. Romans is Be Right.

As you read the Bible and Wiersbe (or other conservative, Bible-based books), the pleasure of His company will become steel in your soul. 

7. Move into the Book and Set up Housekeeping   Mark your Bible — underlining, shading,  writing notes in the margin,  writing your own two or three word summary / title of a given chapter, circling words and then drawing lines to connect the same circled words or phrases elsewhere in the text. This is what I call moving into our own copy of the Bible and setting up housekeeping.  It’s where we live with God–marking your Bible makes it yours.    

Marking the Bible, we come to know where certain verses are located – center column, left-hand page, half-way down – so we can find it again easily.  A given verse or paragraph takes on special meaning to us if we read It during a time that meets a specific need.  For example, someone may say, “Remember when Dad died, and we saw that verse which became for us the voice of God?!  How comforting.”  “I remember when God gave me guidance when I was in limbo through chapter 6, verse 13.”   

As you move in, you lay claim to Scripture. God told the Israelites on the eve of the conquest that every place they put their foot would be theirs (Joshua 1:3).  I would paraphrase that to read, “Every verse you mark will take on additional significance to you.”    

Use colored pencils for writing notes in the margin of their Bibles. This is their way of saying to God, “Lord, I am paying attention to whatever insight You give me. I will write it down.” A little insight out of the Book, directly from God the Holy Spirit, is most nourishing.  

8. Family Devotions – Keep it Short    Be consistent about having daily family devotions, but keep it short (five minutes). Five minutes a day after dinner five times a week is better than twice a week for 15 minutes. Let your children occupy their hands (color, draw, put a puzzle together) while you read. They get to use their hands (busy hands are happy hands) while you fill their ears with truth (so you are happy). Busy hands will help them accept devotions as a standard feature of regular home life. And, yes, even if they color, cut out things or draw, they will know what you said.

Please Google Keys for Kids out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is an excellent Bible aid for boys and girls.  

9. Not Always Super-Charged     Eventually, any given way of Bible reading/seeking the Lord will feel old, unrewarding and stale. You will not always feel like you stuck your finger in a spiritual electrical socket each time you sit down to be with the Lord.  A given meeting with the Master – indeed weeks of meetings with the Master – may leave you feeling unnourished.  You may feel you are just going through a routine, just going through the motion, moving you toward a legalism (“I have to do this to be spiritual”). 

We are dull.  Sin has impacted our capacity to feed ourselves.  Many times I feel there is more that I should be grasping, sensing, or realizing.  I do not get it.  It does not sink in.  I have to read it four times and my mind can wonder even as I read out loud.   “I got nothing.”

Yes, that will be the case many times. Sometimes there are seasons of plodding ahead. That’s normal. But we know that as we seek the Lord, He is pleased.  We also know that the Bible calls the Christian life a walk, not a crawl and not a sprint. A walk. Keep walking and the scenery changes slowly enough for you to enjoy it all. And “It ain’t over till it is over,” and since you are reading this, it ain’t over for you. We are certain that over the weeks, months and years, there is an accumulative impact that provides genuine nourishment. Keep reading the Bible; God will be pleased – Matthew 6:33 says so.