What makes a great coach? Was Vince Lombardi right when he said that winning is the only thing? Or is it really more about how you play the game?
Read the rest of my latest column HERE.
Romans is a very popular book for many reasons. I suspect, though that the top two reasons it is so popular is…
(1) Romans 8.28 – One of the most beloved verses in the Bible: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Several weeks ago we purchased a One Year Bible for Kids – Challenge Edition (NLT) for our son. He liked it, but I wanted him to REALLY like it. I considered having it rebound by Leonard’s, one of the bookbinders I’ve considered using for another Bible rebind. I showed my son the potential covers from their “Children’s” page. He really like the Camo cover. So at that point I thought about making that his Christmas gift. But the more I thought about it, the more I hesitated.
First, our children are not exactly the least destructive children on the planet. And there seems to be a magical rule in operation that says the more money we invest in something for our children, the more likely they are to destroy it. I don’t know if we are the only parents in which this phenomena occurs, but it seems to be as real as the law of gravity.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. – Psalm 127.1
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11.28
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Matthew 8.37-38
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15.58
Expectations play a key role in our motivation and our success. This is true also in regard to an effective devotional life.
This is a short list, but it should help you set your expectations appropriate.
1. Don’t expect to immediately be logging 1-2 hours of devotional time each day. Start with some simple goals. Seek to spend 10 minutes in Bible reading and prayer (try 5 of each). Think of it like running. The first day you may only be able to run a half of a mile. But the next day you do it again. Then the next day you go a little farther. The next week you are running over a mile, and so on. Start with 10 minutes and then within a couple of months, don’t be surprised that you now need 20-30 minutes. Jesus would spend an entire night in prayer sometimes. If you try to start like that, you will probably burn out fast.
What do you need to have an effective devotional time?
A BIBLE. That is really the only necessity. I suppose if you didn’t have an actual, physical Bible with you, you could still reflect upon the Scriptures that you have memorized, but even then you are still engaging with the Bible.
The Bible is necessary because His Word is the means He has chosen to speak to us. And without utilizing the means He has chosen to speak to us, we are destined to only have a one-sided conversation: us talking to God. A dynamic relationship is one in which the conversation is two-way: both sides communicating to one another. God speaks to us in His Word and we speak to God in prayer. The two go hand-in-hand. In fact, one without the other for an extended period of time is not spiritually healthy. To pray apart from God’s Word is to eventually pray amiss. To read God’s Word without prayer is to eventually just be inputting information.
Is the Bible the only thing you should use in a devotional time?
When is the best time to have your devotions?
Most Christians have found it very helpful to start their day off with a devotional time. Apparently Spurgeon said 1 hour of prayer in the morning is worth 2 at night. I can definitely identify with that statement. Someone has also said, “Better to pray for guidance and strength in the morning than to confess and repent at night.” The basic gist of these quotes is that you are more likely to experience spiritual victory throughout your day if you start the day with your devotional time. Much like the cereal commercials that emphasize that you start your day off right (physically) with their cereal, it pays off to start your day off right with spiritual nourishment.