A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my latest favorite Bible study tools. You can find that here. Although I stand by this list of useful instruments, within a few days of publishing I began to reevaluate how I spend time in God’s word.
As a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, I received a complementary copy of the Third Edition of the NIV Life Application Study Bible. As I thumbed through this beautiful gift, I remembered days of pouring over a Bible with actual paper pages. I thought about reading notes and jotting notes and consulting commentaries and concordances. But I confess it had been a while. I somehow convinced convinced myself that my busy life demanded devotionals on the go. I’ve been reading scriptures on my phone at the gym or skimming a few pages in the carpool line for so long that I forgot how much I enjoy really digging in. So I cracked open this book and breathed in the scent of newly printed pages with excited anticipation. The anticipation of knowing that God would meet me there. And He has.
The notes in this Bible have three features. First, the explanation – a more detailed description to help us understand what the text means. This is where most Bible study notes end. Next, the bridge explains how the passage is relevant to us. The “so what?” if you will. And last, the application, or the “now what?” – suggestions on how we can live out the message of the scripture. The notes, study aids and red letters all strengthened my understanding of the concepts, commands and constructs of God.
I hope you don’t hear condemnation from me if you tend to spend time with God on the fly. I am so thankful for tools that allow us to stay in communication and fellowship with Him no matter where we are or how much time we have. Isaiah 55:10-11 tells us,
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Any time with God’s word is time well spent. And some days, with kids and jobs and volunteering and relationships, quick and to the point will have to do. But God gently challenged me that if I chose to fit Him around my schedule every day instead of orienting my schedule around Him, then my priorities were out of whack. In Mark 1:35, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Now, Jesus could very well have been a morning person. But more likely, it cost him something to meet with God in this way. And I’m finding that my time with God is much more meaningful when it costs me a little something too. I’m not any less busy than when I THOUGHT I was too busy before, so I’m not managing to make this extended time happen every day. I don’t think I have to. Being legalistic is not the point. The idea is to be intentional to carve out time whenever I can to really feast on and savor God’s word. So that I’m not only meeting Him, but also getting to know Him better.
How about you? Do you have extended times with the Father? Drop a comment below. I would love to hear how you carve out time or what you do to get the most out of your appointments with Him. And…
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