Monday, January 18, 2016

Plan to be Encouraged

This time of year, lots of websites are offering Bible reading plans. Three chapters a day, chronological, book by book, read through in 3, 6, or 12 months, the options are plenty. We know we want to be reading every day, but if we’re honest, it can be hard to keep it up after the first couple of weeks of January. I have stumbled upon a method for making sure I read every day, and I thought I would share it with you today.

I used to use a check-box type plan, and I read through the Bible every year. But then, as my God-ordained physical trial began, I became very thirsty for more encouragement and hope from the Word. It was no longer enough just to check off the boxes, maybe gleaning a nugget of truth or encouragement, then moving on. Now, I was desperate for help and hope.

So, I developed a habit of reading until I found encouragement, and that is what I still do today. Each morning, I sit down with God and my coffee, and I ask Him to reveal to me from His Word the encouragement He has planned for me. He has never let me down, I have never run out of time, and I’ve never had to miss or be late for anything I had planned for the day. When I find that verse or passage that seems to jump off the page, I write it down. But I don’t write it down just anywhere. I have a wonderful planner that I began ordering from Joni and Friends a few years ago. It has large blank spaces for each day, and this is where I write my encouraging verses. (See the pictures below.)

Each year, I fill my planner with encouraging Scriptures, and this serves a double purpose: Writing out the Scriptures helps to cement them in my mind, and later, when I really need a pick-me-up, I have hundreds of verses to choose from! Plus, Joni’s planner also has some devotional materials and encouragement to read along the way. A third bonus—My purchase helps to support Joni’s ministry, and what better place for my money than an organization that helps people with disabilities!
   
Whether you buy this particular planner or not, I think you will find this Bible reading method helpful and rewarding. There is nothing in the Bible that commands you to read through it at any particular pace or in any particular order. What God’s Word does command us to do is seek wisdom, encouragement, and guidance from it. With that in mind, I hope you will dig into the Scriptures every day this year, and do it with the expectation that you will receive exactly what you need!