This past Sunday we gave out Bibles to a number of our children entering first grade, which is a great tradition in our church. I still have the Bible a church gave to me in third grade, and the evidence that I read it is found in the underlining scribbled about its pages.
I loved Jesus from earliest childhood, and along with that came a genuine love for God’s Word. But it wasn’t until I got to college that I really learned how to read it for myself.
It was sometime very early in my freshman year, that I connected with a group called the Navigators, and a friend named Bob from the Navigators asked me one day, “Hey, how are your quiet times going?” “What’s a quiet time?” I asked. “You know, your devotions, reading the Bible every day.” And I said, “Well to be honest, I struggle with that. I know I should, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it. Maybe you can show me what you do.”
Well Bob was all over that. And he began to disciple me, in the art of the quiet time. And it changed my life. Bob taught me some secrets on how to get more out of the Bible when I read it. He gave me some direction on what books to read first. I had always started with Genesis but got a flat tire by Leviticus. Because that’s how you’re supposed to read a book, isn’t it? From beginning to end! He said, “You don’t have to do that.” He also encouraged me to keep a notebook and write down what I was learning. He helped me to start memorizing verses. (I still remember the first verse I memorized – Galatians 2:20).
Bob must have done a good job, because what he showed me stuck. My first entry in my first quiet time notebook was from September 1980. And 40+ years later, I’m still at it. The picture with this devotion is of most of my quiet time notebooks stacked up in Jenga fashion, with my cat Flynn Ryder Eugene Fitzherbert offering perspective.
I can honestly say that my quiet time is the most important 20 to 30 minutes of my day.
Think of it! King David only had the first five or six books of the Bible available to him, and yet he could write in Psalm 19: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” I’ve experienced that, when I read my Bible – my soul being renewed and replenished. “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” The moral instruction the Bible has given me has guided me, over and over again. “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” More often than not, my times with the Lord lead to an uptick in joy and peace. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” My times with the Lord almost always break up any darkness of doubt or lukewarmness I might be feeling. It’s as though light pours into my being.
David had five or six books and talked this way. We have all 66 books at my fingertips, so how much more of this should you and I be experiencing? Yet many of us still struggle with having any sort of consistent or meaningful devotional life.
If that describes you, be sure to view or re-view this past Sunday’s teaching. And to help with the reminder, we’ll break the teaching up into some smaller devotions – I like to call them “Sparks” for you to read and think about.
With each devotion we’ll ask one question of you. Here’s your question:
Read Psalm 19:7-11 then list 6 or 7 benefits of studying God’s Word for yourself. Describe a time when you experienced one of these things for yourself.