New Year…Fresh Start – Read the Bible More

The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3:16, Common English Bible).

I haven’t always been very good about reading my Bible. In fact, I know that for man years, if I wasn’t going to church (having grown up in the Baptist Church, carrying your Bible was an expectation), my Bible lived on the shelf and didn’t see the light of day in between trips to church.

What that meant was, for much of the time I was in the Navy my Bible never saw the light of day. It isn’t that I never went to church in those days, but it was rare. Except when I was home on leave, I think it would be a pretty safe statement to say, I didn’t go to church for my last two years in the Navy, if not longer.

Several years after I left the Navy I got active in church again (this time as a United Methodist). One year I bought a One Year Bible and entered into that particular exercise. On the “One Year Plan” you read an Old Testament lesson, a New Testament lesson, a Psalm and one or two verses from Proverbs each day (If this is something you would like to do, I highly recommend the One Year Bible).  Over the course of a year I read the entire Bible.

I remember the day I read the verse from Colossians above. Paul really spoke to me. If the word of Christ must live in me richly, that would mean I need first to know the word of Christ, the Word of God. In order to know that would mean reading and studying. And, if the Bible is “The Living Word of God” as we say it is, to have the Word of Christ live in me richly then studying the Bible must be an ongoing process and not something I do and when I have read it cover to cover I put it down, never to pick it up again.

To be honest, it really doesn’t matter to me if you read the Bible in a month or a year or you take three years or longer to read it. What matters is that you actually take the time to read it. I am going to lead my congregation in a 40-Day reading plan for Lent. If that would be of interest to you, you can find the plan here: http://margaretfeinberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/UPDATED-LentReadingGuide2013smallpdf.com_.pdf.

If reading the Bible more is among your New Year’s Resolutions, get started. It won’t happen until you do. Second, make it a habit by working to read at the same time every day. Third, when life happens, and it will, don’t be hard on yourself and absolutely don’t think, well I missed a day, I’m done. You are only done if you want it that way. Work to catch up again. In the 40 day plan we are going to use during Lent, we will read six days a week. If you miss a day, you can use the off day to catch up again. If you are using some other plan either take a day and read two days worth of material or read a little extra every day until you catch up again. The point here is, don’t stop. Make it a habit and keep on reading!

Perhaps it might help to if you were to pray each morning when you get up, “God above, help me make time for you today. Give me the time to read your word.”

The truth is, the only one who keeps me from reading the Bible is me and the only one who keeps you from reading the Bible is you. If we are each committed to find a way to read Scripture, whether a verse or much more, we will find a way to get it done. I also believe God will bless us for it.

Have a blessed day in the Lord,

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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