“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
~ Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV 1984 ~
"He who fails to plan is planning to fail."
~ Winston Churchill ~
As I prepare for 2013, one of the first areas of consideration for me is my personal spiritual growth. I’ve had a lot of people ask, “What do you do?” to grow spiritually. Bible reading and prayer are two of my most helpful spiritual disciplines. There are others I do as well, but these work really well for me. I have to be intentional in carving out time for these things because - personally - I find I can end up wasting time if I do not plan it well, and this plan will help me – again, personally – not waste time.
2013 Bible Reading & Prayer Planning Guide
· Proverbs (1 Chapter per day)
I’ve done this for years at the suggestion of a man who disciple me. I read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the date of the month (i.e. Dec. 25, read Proverbs 25). As there are 31 Chapters in the Book, I’m never left without a Proverb to read daily.
· Psalms (5 Chapters per day)
I use a little mathematics to work this plan. There are 150 Chapters in the Book of Psalms. On the first day of any given month, I will read Psalm 1, then add the number “30” to each number (i.e. Jan. 1 + 30 = 31) until I get to the end of the Book (1, 31, 61, 91, 121).
One thing that tripped me up a little in my Psalms reading was the fact the longest Chapter in Scripture, Ps. 119 – with its 176 verses – is contained in the Book. I decided to break the Chapter up into smaller portions that I read throughout the month. [This means, on the 29th day of each month I only have a small amount of chapter 119 to read (29, 59, 89, 119, 149)].
If it works better not to complicate the issue and just read all 176 verses on that day, go for it. But for me, I feel I had to break it down since I have chosen to do a large amount of other daily Bible readings.
· YouVersion (Life Journal Read Through Plan)
As my Psalms & Proverbs plan is Old-Testament centered and consistently repetitive, this read-through plan helps me get to other parts of scripture and ensures I’m reading all of the Bible.
· biblegateway.com - Verse of the Day, NLT and/or NASB translations
I subscribe to biblegateway.com and the verse of the day comes into my email. It is usually the first thing I read in the mornings via smartphone device.
· "Jesus Calling," Sarah Young (Devotional)
My wife purchased this book for me this year. It is a one-page devotional thought.
· "Time to Get Serious," Tony Evans (Devotional)
I first read this in college and have re-read it as often as I could ever since.
· Selected Books of the Bible – Padfield
Evangelist David Padfield has posted several different Bible studies for free at the website http://www.padfield.com/. Padfield’s background seems to be Church of Christ, if that matters to you (my background is not Church of Christ, but that certainly doesn’t keep me from enjoying the studies).
· "Lord I Want to Know You," - Kay Arthur
Part of the book’s description reads: “When you know God more fully by studying His names -- Creator, Healer, Protector, Provider, and many others -- you'll gain power to stand strong. You'll find strength for times of trial, comfort for pain, provision for your soul's deepest needs. And your walk with God will be transformed.” I could use some of that in my life, so I’m going for it.
· "Simple Prayers," Kenneth & Karen Boa
This is a simple, daily prayer guide I’ve used for a while. It takes the reader through Scriptures written in a prayer-filled direction. This is a helpful book for someone who wants to take an intentional daily walk in prayer.
· Mastermedia International Media Leader Prayer Calendar
This calendar is available in print or by email and provides the name of a media executive and a cultural influencer to pray for each day. Located at http://www.mastermediaintl.org/resources/media-leader-prayer-calendar/, it only takes a minute to pray for all types of media folks. I really enjoy this moment daily.