(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Day 24 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share your thoughts and what you've learned in the comment section below each post. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)
A good book is hard to put down. There are some books that captivate me from the beginning to the end so much that I can finish it in a day. There's just something about a really good book that makes you want to pick it up again and again. You never forget it's there, on your table, next to your bed. You always know where it is so that if you get a free moment you'll pick it up to read a few pages. Let me ask you this. Do you feel the same way about your Bible? The Bible is God's Word. It is the best story ever told and what makes it even more fascinating to read is that it's all true.
I'll be honest with you, I have not read the entire Bible. I want to read the entire Bible but I want to truly understand it as well. I also want to dedicate more time to reading the Bible.
That's why I loved Day 24, Transformed by the Truth. On this day, we are shown how important it is for us to spend time reading the Bible. I love how the author encourages us to make time to read our Bibles. Take out a thirty minute tv show and read instead. This spoke volumes to me. At the end of my day, I can't wait to put my children to bed and veg out in front of the television to my favorite shows. After reading this, I'm really going to try my hardest to read my Bible first. I really do believe that we will get so much more out of reading God's word than watching America's Got Talent. Although I do love that show! We also learn that there is so much more to just reading the Bible. We have to accept its authority, assimilate its truth and apply its principles. I believe that applying its principles is the one area that most people miss out on. It's so easy for us to read the book of Luke, know it's true and really understand it's power. But to take what we've learned and apply to our own lives and circumstances, we often forget to do. The same is true with dedicating ourselves to reading our Bibles. Do you ever find yourself reading the same verse over and over again because it's just not sinking in? I struggle with this a lot. Several years ago, I joined a women's bible study that taught me how to really spend time in God's word, study it and put it into my own life. I want to take some time to share this with you today. I find that when I spend time reading God's word in this fashion, it impacts my life on a deeper level.
Here's what you do....pick a book of the Bible. Any book. I, personally, loved starting out with the book of Luke. You're also going to need some sort of journal. It can be as simple as a single subject notebook. Then, you choose a handful of verses that you want to read. Enough to give you something to really think about but not too much to overwhelm you. Then, at the top of your notebook, divide it into four columns. The first column you can title "Verses." The second column you can title it "What it's saying". The third column you can title it "What it means to me." The last column you can title "Prayer." So, let's just say that you were to read Luke 1:38. Under your "Verses" column you would write: Luke 1:38 Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true." And then the angel left. (Sometimes, if you are clumping together a lot of verses, you can just write Luke 1:38 or whatever your verses are.) Then, under your second column you would give a quick summary of what you read. So you could write something like "this is when Mary willingly obeyed God not knowing what was in store for her life. She accepted it because she knew it was in God's will." Next, move on to the third column "What it means to me." Here you share your feelings on your own life. For me personally, I would write "if Mary, an unwed mother who is now going to share with the world that she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit, wanted to obey God especially not knowing what would her life would be like, then so can I. I should embrace the path that God has placed in front of me and do as He wants me to knowing that He is with me every step of the way and will lead me in the right direction." Under your last column is your "Prayer." With this particular verse, I would write down the following prayer...."Dear Lord, help me willingly accept everything you lay in front of me, even autism." A lot of verses, you can clump together. I just happened to chose a verse that would go well on it's own. Only you will know how much to do. Just start reading and as you read if you feel yourself drifting off and not really paying much attention, then stop and shorten the verses you're reading. If while reading you really start to see how this ties into your life, stop and write it down. The key is, there's no hurry to reading the Bible. To me, it's more important that we truly feel what we are reading instead of rushing through it.
Now, this may not be an ideal way for you to read and study the Bible. This way is not for everyone. It just made such a huge impact on me and how I learn from God's word that I had to share it with you today. If you have a suggestion for others on how to stay dedicated in reading His word and how to learn from the greatest book ever, I encourage you to share it with us!
I absolutely love how on page 188, Rick Warren writes "Daily Bible reading will keep you in range of God's voice." In other words, if you are waiting to hear from God and you don't understand why He's not answering you, it's probably because you're not recognizing his voice. I've been there and at times I still go there. It's very easy for us to become distracting and to stray away from reading God's word. We have so much going on in our lives especially with having special needs children. However, what we need to remember is how much reading the Bible can and will help us during these times. God's word will renew us and make us that much stronger.
My favorite Bible verses from Day 24
"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
"But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law-the law that sets you free-and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." James 1:25
"But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God." Matthew 4:4
"And now I will entrust in you to God and the word of his grace-his message that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself." Acts 20:32