10 important considerations for daily devotions

Of all the things you should do each day: eat, sleep, work, exercise, and play, the one thing that Christians should do is spend time in the written word of God. Almost every Christian will agree this is important, and many have found strength and comfort in this practice. While some already have taken it to detrimental extremes, most people need to be encouraged, so here are some considerations for daily devotions.

1) Commit to Daily Devotions

It’s important so it’s worth making a commitment. Most struggling Christians admit they don’t hardly ever read their Bibles even thought they know they should. And, many mature Christians admit they could strengthen their lives with more practice in the scriptures. Therefore, start today and make a commitment to continue every day.

Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God’s approval. They equip God’s servants so that they are completely prepared to do good things. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 GWT)

Every Christian ought to be a Bible reader. It is the one habit, which, if done in the right spirit, more than any other one habit, will make a Christian what he or she ought to be in every way.
• If the church could get its people as a whole to be devoted readers of God’s Word, it would revolutionize the church.
• If the churches of any community, as a whole, could get their people, as a whole, to be regular readers of the Bible, not only would it revolutionize the churches, but it would also purge and purify the community as nothing else could. –HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK

Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your twenty-first-century life. –How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

2) Make a Plan

I highly recommend getting a good readable study Bible, such as the Tyndale NLT Study Bible and reading a section or paragraph at a time to get the full context of a complete thought. For instance, today I am reading James 1:22-25. Examine yourself, are you reading just to check off a religious requirement for the day? There is no profit in that (Colossians 2:23). It’s better to read and understand and apply one verse than to read the entire Bible and not understand anything and not apply it in your life.

Tyndale NLT James 1:19-27

An excellent online resource is the BibleGateway.com/reading-plans/new-testament-in-a-year, but in my personal opinion, each daily selection is too big a chunk to meditate on and apply at a time

Reading The Epistles

Another popular choice is to read a chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month. Since there are thirty-one days in a month and 31 chapters in Proverbs, it’s easy to pick up and catch up anytime. Then, choose a verse or paragraph that especially speaks to you, and put it into practice today.

3) Choose a Place and Time

Since we are creatures of habit, it’s important to set aside a place and time for your devotions. You don’t need a huge block of time and you don’t need a giant spread of space. Just choose a consistent place and time. In a chair with your morning cup of coffee. At McDonald’s for your breakfast sandwich. On the train to work. At lunch before taking a walk is ideal because physical exercise and communing with God are great pick-me-ups for the middle of the day. In the evening before dinner as a refresher and gear changer from the cares of the day. Late at night when it’s quiet if you’re that kind, but don’t wait until you’re sleepy and fall asleep reading because that won’t help you at all.

  • I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food. (Job 23:12 NLT)
  • Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:5 NIV)
  • Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:15)

4) Read, Think, Meditate, and Apply

King David spoke often of spending reading and doing the commandments of the Lord. In order to understand what God is saying to us in a particular passage of scripture, I think it’s very important to understand how that particular passage fits into the whole picture. I highly recommend reading the introduction to each book in your study Bible, then scanning through the entire book, before starting your daily devotions on the individual paragraphs. Otherwise, you may get off track and out into the weeds.

How can a young person stay pure?
     By obeying your word.
I have tried hard to find you—
     don’t let me wander from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart,
     that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
     be pleasing in your sight,
     Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

5) Begin with Prayer

There are 2 especially important promises that show we should approach God’s written word with prayer.

  • If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5)
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

6) Eliminate Distractions

This world can be filled with noise and movement, which will take your attention away from the things of God. Remember, God is a still quiet voice that guides you, but Satan is a roaring lion seeking to devour you. Therefore, seek the quietness to commune with God in your devotions.

  • As I lie on my bed, I remember you. Through the long hours of the night, I think about you. (Psalm 63:6 GWT)
  • My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. (psalm 130:6)
  • At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. (Matthew 11:25)

7) Track Your Progress

It’s good to keep a simple diary of your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Keep it on scraps of paper, a small steno pad, or a Moleskine notebook, or a note app on your phone. Just write it, because studies have shown that the act of writing something helps you remember it.

My son, pay attention to what I say;
     turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
     keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
     and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
     for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
     keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
     fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
     and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
     keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:20-27)

8) Don’t Get Discouraged

If you miss your devotions a day or a week, don’t give up. God is patient and loving. He is always ready to be a part of your life.

  • “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23)

9) Ask Someone to Keep You Accountable

One of my favorite ice breakers with other Christians is to ask them, “What is the Lord showing you today?” I have never been disappointed. And, usually it’s mutually uplifting.

All Christians want to please the Lord, but sometimes he feels a long way away. In those times, we need someone to be the Lord with skin on. Each of us has the opportunity to be an encouragement to one another.

  • So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:15)
  • Then you will be blameless and innocent. You will be God’s children without any faults among people who are crooked and corrupt. You will shine like stars among them in the world (Philippians 2:15)

10) Read with Observation, for Interpretation, to make Application

As you read, look for promises to claim, sins to confess, commands to do, commands to not do, examples to follow, errors to avoid, and prophecies for the future. How can you personally apply these things in your life? What will be the result of doing these things or not doing these things? For instance, read this passage and answer the questions below.

Blessed is the one
     who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
     or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
     and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
     which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
     whatever they do prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)

What are some commands to do or not do, examples to follow, and errors to avoid?

  1. Don’t pattern your life after _______________
  2. Depart from the ways of _______________
  3. Resist the lifestyle of _______________
  4. Find happiness in the _______________

What are some promises to claim for ?

  1. A godly person is like a _______________
  2. Which yields _______________
  3. Whose leaf _______________
  4. Whatever they do _______________

What are some applications?

  1. Put more emphasis on _______________ instead of the world
  2. Spend more time _______________ about the Bible
  3. I will _______________ the things I read instead of ignoring them

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