Over the years I've read a lot of devotionals. I am a HUGE fan of starting my day off focused on Truth and God. But I am not a huge fan of mornings, so I like something short to read (fact: I am not mentally functioning until around 10:30am and I have to read God's truth like three times before I actually comprehend it, so it's gotta be SHORT). There are many devotionals that I could talk about, but there's one that's made the most difference.
What Gets In The Way
I've shared here about this before but I can't help but share again. Quite simply, the best devotional I have ever read is the Bible. Now, I know this statement may bring up all kinds of thoughts and emotions in people. Seriously pay attention to how you feel right now. Notice any resistance? I'm the same! There are so many times when I think things like...
Well I'm not a pastor. Who am I to think I'll understand the Bible? Who can understand what this means? Thee, thou, WHAT?
It's so ancient! It's not relevant to my life NOW. Seriously, what are the chances of me getting eaten by a whale???
I don't have time for this!
And then there are times when I just don't feel like reading it. Sort of like when my kids don't want to do what I'm asking them to (even though it will HELP them!) because they're in a defiant mood. All of those thoughts have kept me from taking the time to dive into my Bible. However, every single time that I do? HOLY MOLY!!! God speaks, teaches, encourages, comforts, and inspires!
There are a few things that have really helped me in this process.
1. The translation I read matters. There are so many translations of the Bible that you should really check out biblegateway.com to get a feel for which one works for you. I personally love The Message version. It is incredibly easy to read and I find it to be so relevant to my life.
2. The way I read it matters. For me, it's best to read a chapter at a time. Doing this helps me keep track of where I am and it's not too overwhelming. I like to underline and write in my Bible (I buy new copies all the time!) so I can remember what was important to me in that reading, and also so I can go back and see how God spoke to me. I have friends who journal as they go and write down truths or promises that God gives them through their reading. I also read it not as a science or even history book, but as a spiritual guidebook for my life. That's helped me a lot in not getting too lost in details.
3. The state of my heart and mind matters. If I go into my reading with resistance or thinking there is nothing for me or that I am not going to understand any of it, I likely won't find much in that reading. But, if I go in KNOWING that God will speak through it or if I'm willing to believe that God has something for me in the daily reading, it NEVER EVER fails that I find Him. It's like a friendship, really. Imagine you have a friend who seems angry or upset. If you go into your conversation thinking she's upset with you, or you are critical of her, you will filter the entire experience through that lens and likely leave having "evidence" to back that up. But if you go in open and with love for and faith in who she is, you will simply ask her if she's upset and why. She'll likely SHARE her heart with you and you will connect on a deeper level. It really is that simple!
What About You?
Consider trying it for a week! Commit to reading the Bible each day for seven days. If you don't own one, just go to biblegateway.com, type in Matthew (I like starting with the gospels), and choose your translation in the next field. Before reading, check your heart and tell God you are willing to connect with Him and willing to believe He will speak to you. See what happens!!
Reach Out To Us
There are so many different types of devotionals that help us connect with and focus on God. I'd LOVE to hear about what you use!! Let us know in the comments below. And check out this week's VLOG for another devotional I absolutely love and a fun way to use it!