I couldn’t wait until my son, Timothy, was old enough to start eating solid food—even if solid food consisted of sloppy baby rice. Prior to that moment, I had endured months of him staring into my mouth every time I ate. He would look at me in such a way to show what he was thinking, “Why can’t I have some?” His big, brown eyes never failed to make me feel guilty.
When the day came that he could eat solids, he took to it right away. Immediately, he wanted to hold the spoon himself and put the rice into his mouth. He didn’t even dribble a bit (I think he thought he had waited so long, he had better not waste any). As the days progressed, so did his eating skills. He ate pretty much anything we offered him. One of his favourite things to do was pick tomatoes from the greenhouse and eat them right away.
Then one day, Timothy decided on his favourite foods. He determined that he no longer wanted to eat what was put in front of him but rather what he wanted to eat ONLY what he wanted to eat.
The technical term for this behaviour which peaks between the ages of two and six is food neophobia. In January 2016 research from a journal called Appetite showed out of 120 kids aged three to eleven, an overall 39% were identified as picky eaters at some point. Personally, I think the percentage is far higher.
As I was reflecting on Timothy’s eating habits, I wondered how often I’d approached my spiritual diet the same way.
Much like physical food, spiritually, I am inclined to digest the things which are to my taste and reject the parts I dislike. I tend to lean towards soft and sweet rather than chewy and nutritious. When I read a chapter from the Bible, I often find myself like a child on Christmas, eating what I enjoy while avoiding the brussels sprouts.
Three Reasons Why We Become Picky Eaters
According to the professionals, there are three major reasons why children become picky eaters: fear, independence and boredom.
The main reason children become fussy eaters is because they are scared that food might hurt them. Consider the time before supermarkets existed. We had to hunt and gather our food in the wild. In that sort of environment, we had to know which foods were safe to eat and which foods would kill us.
Today, we don’t suffer from the same extreme (unless of course, you decide to go on holidays with Bear Grylls). Nevertheless, we still experience pleasure or displeasure when we put food into our mouths. Imagine eating a sweet bit of fudge or a red hot chilli pepper. Both are very different tastes, and without knowledge or experience, there is no way of knowing what experience you will receive. How confident would you be to eat blindfolded? This is how a child feels when given new food for the first time.
Fear is often a bigger motivator than pleasure. For example, imagine there are two unmarked boxes, one with a cheque for a thousand dollars and another with a deadly scorpion. Most people would not take the risk to put their hands in either box, even for the chance of the pleasure of winning a thousand dollars.
Along with the fear of the unknown, there is also the fear of the known. As adults, if we don’t like something, we simply don’t eat it but imagine if someone forced you to eat your least favourite food. Dr Gillian Harris, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Birmingham, asked, “What is going through your mind—disgust? And if I tried to make you eat your horror food—anxiety and then fear.”
So what does this look like when it comes to reading God’s Word?
Often I find myself wanting to stay within the parts of the Bible that I am most comfortable. For example, many Christians are happy reading the Gospels and the Sunday school stories, “Noah and the Ark,” “Samson,” and “Joseph and His Technicolor Dream Coat.” However, they choose to stay out of the more difficult passages and Old Testament prophecies. We like to stick with what we know. The Hebrew church had a similar problem. They became content with drinking milk and would not move on to solid spiritual food.
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14
Perhaps we need to wean ourselves off spiritual milk and move onto solids.
Timothy and I eating toast
Another reason why children often reject food given by their parents is that they want to show their independence. To begin with, Timothy was more than happy to be fed with a spoon, but then all of a sudden, he hated it. He wanted to hold the spoon himself. In fact, he would often rather not eat than be helped. Now, this was not a problem at all when it came to finger foods, but when it came to eating breakfast cereal, well, let’s just say the phrase, “Don’t cry over spilt milk,” didn’t sound so funny anymore.
As parents, we try everything. The choo-choo train coming through the tunnel. The aeroplane flying in the sky, but NO, NO. That tunnel is bricked up and staying shut.
We often call this time “the terrible twos.” Although, children will often begin to show their independence long before they are two-years-old. Children’s growing independence shows itself in a variety of contexts beyond eating. They want to choose their own clothes, decide which toy to play with, walk by themselves, and so on. On some days, toddlers want help, but on the next, they refuse it.
When children demonstrate their independence, it is their way of saying, “I know what is best for me.” Children don’t care about the nutritional value of foods. They don’t care about eating a balanced diet. They only want to eat the food that gives them instant pleasure.
Yummy yummy ice-cream – one is never enough
Like children, we have a tendency to refuse to eat anything that is not suited to our tastes. I could list all the reasons why sugar is bad for you, but in all likelihood, if I mention cakes, ice cream and chocolates, it will only make you crave them. If you’re more of a savoury person, I could talk about the fat and salt in crisps, sausage rolls, and pork pies. Yet again, while you may know that they are not good for you, you will still crave them anyway.
Equally, I could talk about the healthy benefits of tofu or how raw cabbage and spinach shakes will reduce your acidic level and provide you with loads of micronutrients. But it is probably not going to encourage you to go out and drink one.
How does this translate into spiritual food? Well, we find ourselves only reading the things that we enjoy and ignoring the things that we dislike or don’t fit into our belief system.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 2 Timothy 4:2-3
What does this look like in its simplest form? It means that we read about God’s love but not his holiness. It means that we study about the blessings of God but not about the disciplines of God. Often we try to pick and choose verses from the Bible to support our positions on something. Our motivation in doing so is that we want to run our own lives, and we don’t want God to interfere. This is a very dangerous and ungodly way. The life of the believer is one of dependence—not independence.
Another reason why children often reject food is because they are bored of it (sorry parents but it’s true). As parents we eventually decide it’s not worth a battle each meal time and so pick the easy option of just cooking foods that our child likes. Then, to our surprise, they start rejecting that food also. The reason? They are tired of eating it. There are only so many chicken nuggets any one child can eat.
My grandfather always told me, “Don’t tell your nan you like anything because if you do, you will be stuck with it forever.” He would then go on to tell the story of how forty years prior, he had told my nan that he enjoyed the ham, potatoes, and parsley sauce she made for tea one Wednesday evening and as a result had been left eating it every Wednesday night for the rest of her life.
Spiritually speaking, as sad as it is to admit, we can become bored with God’s Word. We scan over the things familiar to us. We switch off our attention during the Sunday Service and think to ourselves, “I’ve heard this before.” This was often my Sunday School experience as I would hear the same stories year after year with the same application. One survey showed that 75% of Sunday preaching is from the New Testament. Could it be that we don’t have a balanced spiritual diet?
I love the passion that this psalmist had for Scripture:
“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” – Psalm 119:14-20
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”” – Matthew 4:4
Matthew 4:4 is a familiar passage to me, but I want to focus on one word: “every.” Man shall not live on bread alone, but on EVERY word. Just as we need a balanced physical diet, we need to balance our spiritual diet as well. We can’t just live on SOME words. We need every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Has your child taught you any lesson in regards to your relationship with God or Scripture?
What tips can you give to help us stop becoming spiritually fussy eaters?
As followers of Jesus, we all know that we should be reading God’s word. You may have read my other post “7 reasons why memorizing Scripture is vital”. We also know that we should be studying God’s word. We have also been taught that we ought to be memorizing God’s word, but, many of us have convinced ourselves our memory just is not good enough. Let’s be honest, sometimes we need to stop and think just to remember how old we are or where we parked the car. If we become convinced that we cannot memorize parts of the Bible, how are we going to live out Psalm 119:11?
Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11, NIV).
Rather than working so hard to convince ourselves that it is impossible for us, let’s take some proactive steps to see how we can hide God’s word in our heart. Here are 7 Steps to Memorizing Scripture. If you will put these into practice, you will discover that you CAN memorize Bible verses and it will positively impact your walk with the Lord.
Step 1: Read the verse. Then, reread the verse.
When you come across a verse that you want to memorize, read and reread the verse several times. Start to get the flow of the words. Read it slowly. Look at each word. What purpose does each word play in the sentence? As you read the verse, you will start to get a feel for the impact this verse can make in your life.
Step 2: Study the verse.
Carve out some time to study the verse. Read what others say about that verse. Look at the truths that a few commentaries pull out of that verse. Work at pulling the verse apart to find what others say the verse means and how it applies to life. What is the context of the verse? Who wrote it? To whom was it written? How does it fit into the narrative of what God’s word is teaching in that passage? Is it a part of an Old Testament account? If so, learn the events that occur in that account. Is it a part of a parable of Jesus? If so, learn the gist of that parable so that you can tell the context as you quote the verse. When conversing with others, knowing the context of the verse you are memorizing will be extremely helpful in conveying the truth of Scripture to them.
Step 3: Meditate on the verse.
To meditate on a Bible verse means to let the words roll through your head and your heart over time. You know you are meditating on a verse when it is what your mind goes to when you are not thinking about anything else. Meditating on a verse is like having a song stuck in your head, but rather than a song, it is the verse you are memorizing. As you meditate, the Holy Spirit will show you deeper truths from the verse. What does that verse mean to you? How can you live out the truth of the verse? What changes are required to live out the truth of that Scripture? When you meditate on a Scripture verse, the truth of that verse sinks deep into your heart. When you start to apply the meaning of what the Bible is saying in that passage, it will be easier to memorize the words because the truth is changing you.
Step 4: Write the verse out.
Using pad and pen, or computer and keyboard, write out the verse several times. When you start producing the words, your eyes and your hands will help your mind cement the words into your heart. As you write it out, be sure to check that you are writing it out correctly. Making repetitive mistakes will only make it harder to memorize that verse. But, as you correctly repeat the verse in writing, you will find yourself knowing what the next word is without having to look. Do that several times and you will be close to memorizing that verse.
Step 5: Hang the verse up.
Find somewhere to hang the verse up where you will see it every day. A post-it note or paper from a small pad will suffice. It does not need to be fancy. Just a reminder to you to read every day in a obvious location (The fridge door, your desk or bedside table for example). This will keep the verse before your constantly.
Step 6: Review the verse.
For a verse to truly be memorized, you must review that verse over time. At first, you will need to review the verse daily. Then, you can move to reviewing the verse once a week. Finally, you can go to once a month. But, if you really want to remember the verse, you should start a review process where every verse you have memorized is reviewed at least once a month. Notecards are very helpful for this review process.
Step 7: Use the verse in conversations.
Probably the best tool in Scripture memory is to use the verse in your conversations. That may be as overt and intentional as: “Let me share with you this verse that God is using to speak to my heart. Romans 1:16 says….” As you quote the verse in conversations with others, you are forced to remember the verse and the reference. Then, you will have that verse in your arsenal of Scripture that you can use during the spiritual conversations that you have with others. It makes a significant impact on those who are searching to know what the Bible says about a certain topic. You quoting the verse will bring validity and power to the conversation because others will hear what God says rather than what you think.
What was the last verse you memorized?
If it has been awhile or never, why don’t you get in the habit of hiding God’s word in your heart? If you think that you can’t, try these steps and watch over the next couple of weeks how that verse will not only start to be etched into your memory, but the truth of the verse will begin to shape your life to be more like Christ.
You can memorize Scripture. Give it some effort. Work at it and you will be amazed at what you can remember, and God will use it in your life.
We are constantly being bombarded with an earthly way of thinking through numerous channels. Movies, television shows, commercials, music, the internet, social media radio programs, blogs, podcasts, and many other vessels carry the message of the world straight into our minds. God has called us as followers of Christ to be set apart, holy, and different from the world. To do this, we must be consistently filling our mind with the truth of God’s word. His Scripture is truth. We combat the lies of the world with the truth of God’s word. But, to fight that battle, we must carry the weapon of the sword of the Word with us. We must let the changing truth of the written word change our hearts. The only way to have God’s word with us and let it change our hearts is to memorize it. Then, the Bible can always be flowing through our minds and permeating our hearts.
Each day in our daily devotions I included a key verse. I would like to encourage you to take the key verse each day as a memory verse. Here are 7 reasons why memorizing Scripture is vital.
Follow the Example of Jesus
As Christians, we are constantly being reshaped to be more and more like Jesus. In Romans, Paul says it this way:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29, NIV)
If we are being conformed into the image of Jesus, then we are doing more things that He does with more of the heart that He has. We follow His example in action and attitude. There is no doubt that as Jesus walked this earth, He was one who knew the Bible. He was constantly quoting from the Old Testament. The example that we have from Jesus is knowing and living the word of God. We should be memorizing Scripture because Jesus did.
God Commands It
God told us that we need to be carrying His word around in our hearts. After giving His people the law, God told the people this:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart (Deuteronomy 6:6, ESV)
The very words of God that He was giving to the Israelites were to be in their heart. They are to know it so they can live it. The passage goes on to instruct the people to impress the words on their children and talk about the Scripture often. How can we be talking with our children about God’s word if we do not know God’s word? We memorize God’s word so that we can have it in our hearts to know and to live.
Renews Your Mind
If the world is incessantly blasting its message into our minds, we must consistently recondition our minds to think as God wants us to rather than like the world shapes us to:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2, NASB).
To have our minds renewed means to filter out the trash of the world and to replace it with the beauty of God’s word. Memorizing Bible verses and passages fills our hearts and minds with the good things of what God says. It changes our minds. It cleans our thoughts. Verses that we can recite from memory show that our thinking is on what God wants rather than what the world is selling.
Transforms Your Life
In that same verse, Romans 12:2, we read that the renewed mind brings about the transformed life. The life that is being transformed is being remade in Christ. The old habits are being replaced by new habits. The old way of talking is gone as new, Godly words are used. The old way of loving oneself is exchanged for the new way of loving others. The old way of life is dead. Jesus is growing a whole new life. Memorizing the Bible transforms us from the inside out. A renewed mind leads to a transformed life.
Every time we memorize a verse of the Bible, we provide ourselves with another piece of truth that can be used to fight off the lies of Satan. When temptation comes, it is God’s word that can speak the truth into the situation and give us the ability to say no to the temptation. That is exactly what Jesus did. When tempted by Satan to turn a stone into bread because of His hunger from 40 days of fasting, Jesus quoted Scripture.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4, NIV).
Throughout this passage in Matthew 4, Satan tempts. Jesus responds with a Bible verse. If that is how Jesus fought off the temptation from Satan, we should use that same plan. When Satan tempts us, we can fight off that temptation with a truth of God’s word. But, that only works if we have God’s word in our heart and mind for it to be used.
Helps Share Christ
When we are talking to a friend, we can use the verses that we have memorized to share the love of Christ with that friend.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
God’s word has power. When we quote Scripture in our witnessing opportunities, we are unleashing the power of God into the conversation. We need to be able to speak that kind of truth, especially when someone is searching. Those words of power can only come out of our mouths at that time if they are in our hearts and minds all the time. Memorizing the Bible enhances our witnessing abilities.
When we listen to and live by Scripture, we are drawn to live the pure life that God has called us to. The psalmist speaks of the value of knowing the word of God.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11, NKJV).
Hiding God’s word in our heart will change the way that we walk every day. We avoid sin more when the Bible is in our hearts. Memorized Scripture is a wall of defense against impurity in our life.
Memorizing God’s word is a discipline that will change everything about us: how we think, how we act, how we talk, how we love, how we share, and how we obey. Let the Bible sink deep into your heart. Know it so you can live it.
The Christian life is not about a set of religious rituals and going through the motions each Sunday. Instead, walking with Jesus is all about relationship. When we become a follower of Jesus, growing that relationship with Christ is the most important spiritual endeavor for us to pursue. All relationships have one ingredient that inspires growth – TIME. Just as a dating relationship requires time spent together for the couple to grow closer and a marriage needs time invested between the husband and the wife, so to our relationship with Jesus demands time invested in the relationship for closeness to occur. Intentional time. Dedicated time. Devotional time. Daily Devotions time.
Here are five reasons why you need to discipline yourself to spend a time of daily devotions with the Lord:
1. Daily Devotions are Essential for Connection
Since our walk with Christ is all about relationship, our daily devotional time allows us to connect with the Lord in meaningful ways consistently. This closeness will enable us to talk with Him, and He to us. We can share what is on our heart by praying, and He will share with us what is on His heart through our time in the Bible and the Holy Spirit illuminating our hearts to the truth of who God is and what He is doing. Through this time of growing our relationship with Christ, we will experience a deeper love for God, a more significant appreciation for what Christ did for us when He died on the cross for our sins, and a stronger relationship with our heavenly Father who loves us and has a plan for our life. Without this time of devotion, our relationship will weaken as the world bombards us and pulls us away from our walk with the Lord. The Apostle Paul says it this way:
“I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11, NIV).
Paul wanted to know Christ and everything about Him in a personal, relational way. That connection comes through consistently spending time with Jesus through a daily devotion.
2. Daily Devotions are Essential for Direction
The truth is, we are not as smart as we think we are. Issues are going to come up in life when we wonder what to do. Which direction should we go? What choice should we make? What does God want us to do for a living? When is it time to change jobs? How is God calling us to serve Him? These are just some of the many decisions that we face and will continue to face. Where do you go for answers? How do you know which choice to make? God will show us which path to take, and He will show us which direction to go. But first, we need to ask Him, then, we need to listen to Him. We strengthen our communion with God and our listening to Him through an ongoing conversation with Him. Daily devotions provide an avenue for that interaction to be consistent and growing. We need direction, and God wants to provide that direction.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV).
How do we hear those plans? We ask the Lord to show them to us and listen for His response during our daily devotions. God has a direction for you to take. Learn to listen to His guidance.
3. Daily Devotions are Essential for Correction
Everyone gets off track sometimes. Every Christian has habits that need to be adjusted, attitudes that need to change, and growth that needs to occur. Romans 8:29 teaches, we are being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. God highlights the areas of our life that need correction by bringing the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon our heart. Our daily devotions give God the opportunity to point out areas that He wants to change in you. When Isaiah came into the presence of God, Isaiah’s response was:
“Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5, NASB).
Isaiah’s sin and the sin of the people became evident when Isaiah stepped into the presence of God. When we step into the presence of God during our daily devotions, our sinful acts will become apparent, like sunlight reflecting off dust. By His grace, we can confess them, turn away from them, and grow in to be more like Christ.
4. Daily Devotions are Essential for Refreshment
The world is continually trying to beat us up and tear us down. Sometimes in life, we feel attacked and defeated. Where can we go to be healed? Where we you go to be rejuvenated? Where can we go to be refreshed and renewed? We step into the presence of the Lord. He will bring healing when we are hurt, encouragement when we feel defeated, and renewal when we feel depleted. This refilling from the Lord happens in our daily devotional time.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings life eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31, ESV).
Being replenished with the joy, peace, and strength of the Lord comes from being in His presence in an intentional way. Daily devotions accomplish this for us.
5. Daily Devotions are Essential for Worship
God is worthy of our worship, adoration, and devotion. He deserves our heart pouring out praise to Him. This act should happen more than just on Sundays when we gather at the church to worship. It should happen in our personal walk with the Lord. Our daily devotions gives us the chance to praise God often. He deserves it, and it blesses us.
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1, HCSB).
God deserves our continual worship. A daily devotional time reminds us that we should be intentional about pouring out our worship to the Lord consistently. We need to spend time with the Lord every day. We will be blessed. God will grow us through it. And, spiritual progress made in our life.
Take you Bible. Find a quiet place. You may bring a devotional guide with you, an online devotion or sign up to receive devotions by email. Spend time in God’s Word. Spend time in prayer. Spend time with the Lord. Our Christian life will never be the same once we develop this discipline in our life.
I think most of us have a desire to spend time with God each day. Yet, many of us struggle to make it a reality. We’ve bought the devotional books but never made it past the first few pages and signed up for the emails, but never get round to reading them. If you have decided to try and keep up daily devotions in 2017, here are 12 steps that will help.
Commit to Thirty Days
Most of us have heard that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. Truth is that it usually takes around 66 days, but committing to one month is a good place to start. If you can make it through the initial days, it becomes much easier to keep up daily devotions in 2017. A month is a good block of time to commit to a change since it easily fits in your calendar. Use the first 30 days as a trial run to get organized and see what works best for you.
At jtdyer.com we will be spending the first 30 days of 2017, looking the attributes of God. Since the bible begins with In the beginning God, so will we. Why not join me for 30 days, as we have a better understanding of who God is. You may also sign up to receive devotional by email here or using the form on the right sidebar.
Do it daily
It is much harder to do something regularly if we don’t do it daily. As the saying goes, “tomorrow never comes”. Scripture is compared to food on more than one occasion in the Bible, so as we plan to eat daily, we should also plan to spend time in God’s Word.
If you want to keep up daily devotions in 2017, Don’t try to spend hours in your quiet time on day one. If you are starting at zero, then ten minutes is already a 10x improvement. Try to schedule thirty minutes, that should give you time to pray, maybe listen to a track of a worship song, read a chapter of the Bible, a short devotion, and time to pray and meditate on what God has revealed.
The more consistent your time of devotions is the easier it will be to keep up daily devotions foe the rest of the year. Try doing it the same time, in the same place for your thirty days. When cues like time of day and place are already set, it makes it much easier for us to stick it.
Get a Friend
I am sure you have heard the importance of an accountability partner. If you’re struggling to have time alone in your devotions, invite your spouse, parent or friend to join with you and keep up daily devotions together. That way you will keep each other accountable and you are far less likely to put it off until later. If it doesn’t work daily, choice a reading plan, then meet up with a friend once a week to discuss what God has spoken to you both.
Write down what you’ve read and what God has spoken to you, as well as your prayers and answer to prayers. It will change your life and remind you of how important daily devotions are to your spiritual walk. I don’t have the space to write the full value of journaling here, but I will do in a further article.
Restructure your place of devotions so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. For example, do you check your phone first thing each morning, then get lost in facebook and twitter. Put your phone away from your place of devotions. In fact, don’t even pick it up until after you’ve had your devotions. Do you end up being distracted by the radio or TV. Leave them off, or go to another room. If you remove the temptations, you won’t need to struggle with willpowerto keep up daily devotions later.
Know why you need a time of daily devotions
If you’ve read this far, you probably know that you need to make time for devotions each day. The truth is that we always make time for the things we need to do, but not always for the things we want to do. I have never once met someone who said they didn’t have the time to go to the toilet or drink water in 24 hours. Here are 5 Reasons Why Daily Devotions are Essential
Know the consequences
We should also be aware of the consequences. If we don’t commit to keeping up daily devotions we will continue to lack the intimacy in our relationship with that that He desires. We will continue to value the opinions of the world over God’s Word.
Place reminders in an obvious place or even download an app that does it for you. It often helps if you can piggyback off another already formed routine. For example, if sit down with a cup of coffee every morning, leave your Bible and anything else you need on the table the night before. That way, it’s there waiting for you the next morning.
Go to bed early
The main reason why so many people don’t keep up daily devotions each morning is they cannot get out of bed in time, that extra five minutes, becomes twenty and you end up rushing out of the door without time to eat breakfast, never mind read and pray.
Don’t end the devotion when your time is up
Write the key verse down and revisit and meditate on it throughout the day. Allow God to continue speaking to you.
Since today is world thinking day, I thought I would write a small article on the importance of guarding our minds.
Paul tells us in Romans 7:23 “But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” The mind is a battlefield, and we must “let His (Jesus) peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Our mindset is can be our greatest strength or our biggest weakness. It determines how we view life, our attitude towards what happens, and how we will react to situations. The mindset we have can hold us back or take us to a higher level.
What are some ways we can ensure our mindset is geared for think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise(Philippians 4:8)? What are some characteristics that can take us forward in this battle?
For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Fear is the biggest thing that holds people back from never fulfilling the call of God on their lives simply because every time they try to go forward, the devil uses fear to stop them. Is he using fear to stop you?
Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of being laughed at, or fear of success itself, there are an endless amount of reasons why fear is stopping us serving God. Throughout scripture, we find numerous people who faced the same fears as we did, but more importantly we find a God that allowed them to overcome the fears they faced.
David wrote in Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
In Isaiah, we see a promise from God “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds of the air, so how much more will He provide for His children? “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). Just these few verses cover many different types of fear. God tells us not to be afraid of being alone, of being too weak, of not being heard, and of lacking physical necessities.
God loves you and cares for you!
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:27
Another mindset that holds us back is to have limitations in our faith. There are people who only mop around, claiming to the a victim believing that they are stuck where they are at.
Someone once said, “Why settle to do the great, when God wants you to do the impossible?”
Like fear, the Bible is filled with examples of great people that God used, but they all understood what it meant to be limited.
Moses felt limited by his ability to speak.
Gideon felt limited by his 300 men
The disciples felt limited with the five loaves and two fishes
Jeremiah felt like he was just a child in Jer. 1
Paul had a thorn in the flesh; admitted he was weak and trembling in I Cor. 2
But above his limitation Paul took God at His word and says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 It’s not about our abilities but his faithfulness.
Know your direction
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Having a focused purpose in life makes it so much simpler to overcome obstacles because you know what you are ultimately working for. This is the starting point.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God says “ For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
When God gives you a vision, it is specific and individual. Although it’s expressly for you, it is also intertwined with His bigger picture. Your job is to obey the vision you’ve received just like mine is to obey the one He’s sent to me. Then, as with Cornelius and Peter, when our worlds intersect, the mission of the Church will be advanced, God receiving the ultimate glory.
Every day there is a new possibility for serving God, but we must watch or mindset and the battle which is raging there. Don’t hold yourself back with senseless limitations and fear just because you don’t know what the future holds.Trust God because if we “Trust in the Lord with all our heart; do not depend on our own understanding.6 Seek his will in all we do, he will direct our path.”