I start my morning off with a short one-paged devotional from a 365-day book titled “Daily Wisdom for Men: 2017 Devotional of Inspiration,” that I picked up at Cracker Barrel, of all places! It was on clearance (that’s not why I picked it up,) and has been a great inspirational morning starter.
YouVersion’s Bible app also has a 2017 reading plan that I believe has been mentioned here before. The daily devotional that accompanies each day in it is much longer than the one I start my day with. It goes into detail on the Scripture you’ll be reading for the day, presents the themes and discusses briefly the history and research that might apply to a particular passage or overall theme. It’s very well done, I think, but then again, this is my first Bible-In-A-Year read through! Each day includes a Psalm or Proverb, a section of New Testament Scripture, and then a section or two of Old Testament Scripture that usually parallels or relates to the new reading. It’s become very interesting to read it like this, for me, and opens up doorways of thought that I’d never considered or even noticed before.
A co-worker and I were discussing last night how many people say that they’ve “read” the Bible, and they just don’t get it. What the big deal is. What it’s suppose to inspire in people. “It’s just a book.” I’ve had this same reaction, so I’m not going to fault anyone for that opinion, but my current outlook is clearer, in my mind, at least. To just sit down and read the Bible from front to back like a regular book … well it’s going to be dry, boring and not really satisfy you, I imagine. That was my experience the one or two times I attempted to read through it in my younger days.
What a serious and thoughtful read-through of the Bible requires is an understanding of what you’re reading. An appreciation. A … well, a true desire to read, and learn, and a willingness to study what you’re reading. I’m not going to use the Shrek onion comparison, but there are many more layers to just reading Scripture and taking anything away from it. Again, I’m just speaking from my own experience. I’m no scholar or preacher, but as a Christ follower, and believer that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that’s my take on getting any understanding out of a reading, or read through.
The thing I am appreciating about the Bible-in-a-Year readings is that comparison to how Old Testament sets up the New Testament. How the prophets of old and the events that transpired directly set up and foretold of the coming of Christ as the sacrificial lamb that would die once for all. But I believe most people who claim they find no understanding in reading the Bible are ones who initially start reading it just to read it and “see what the big deal is about.” They initially may have no real interest in learning or digging deeper, they just know what they’ve heard, or what they don’t believe to start with, and are looking to disprove it further.
So, before I get too deep into a theological hole that my inexperienced hands can’t pull me out of, I’ll just go ahead and wrap this post up. If you have no real desire at this moment in life to understand or follow God, Jesus or accept the Holy Spirit into your life, then I doubt you’ll be open to anything you read in the Bible. It’ll continue to be dry and empty in one’s mind. I’ve been there, brother, I know the feeling. I know what my life was like at that point, too. I thought I was on top of the world. I also know the feeling when everything comes crumbling down and you lose all hope. I know what it’s like to realize there is an answer, but to fight against it because it’s not something you’ve ever been open to before. But, more importantly, I know what it’s like to finally drop your shields, to let yourself be saved, to accept the sacrifice that was made for YOU by Jesus on the cross, and to go under the water to come back out, born again. It isn’t any easier on the other side of the acceptance, but with daily prayer, Bible reading and study, and just giving it all over to God, you’ll find the changes in your life happening. You’ll find the joy that peace in Jesus’ name brings. It may not all come at once, but it’ll come as long as you’re invested in it, and Him.
I was about to apologize for the preaching today, but I deleted that. I’m not sorry. I’m no expert on the subject, just a regular man who turned his life around a couple of years ago. There’s still a lot I don’t know, a lot I don’t understand, but there’s also a lot that’s happened since then that defies all logic. Some folks don’t understand. Even some other fellow Christians look at me funny because even they may not have experienced certain things, yet. So I don’t apologize. Some of you reading this may even understand what I’m saying. Others may think I’m crazy. Others may try to be sentimental and say, “Oh, I’m glad you found what works for you. There’s so many variations of responses that one can offer, even other Christians. But this is my journey, my experiences, and my sharing with you. Your milage may vary.
Have a great rest of the week!