“I’m going to get into the Bible today,” we say. We flip it open toward the end – New Testament sounds good – and we come to Romans 12. It starts out well.
Rejoice! What causes you joy? What gives you the feeling that something great is happening or is going to happen? Is it football season? Is it your report card? Is it the bonus at the end of the fiscal quarter? Is it family gathering? Is it family dispersing? We may not use the word, rejoice, but it is present in our lives. What we rejoice about the most says a lot about what lies beneath the surface of our lives.
Jesus has a way of teaching us these things with great power and effectiveness. To teach this to the many people who were following Him when He was in the midst of His ministry, He sent 72 of them out into the towns of Israel to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom and to heal the sick and lame.
The demands of daily life are enough alone to push us away from the path the Lord desires. Think back to when we were little children, how large and impossible these demands were to overcome. To us, having to take a nap was the end of the world. Yet as we got older we realized how petty that really was. Now we look back and long for those days, wishing we could just nap and have time to just shut down from the outside world.
Like many of you, my family made the trip back home for the Christmas holiday. I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana – the second largest city in Indiana. We moved to Cincinnati over 3 years ago. Every time we come back to Fort Wayne I realize how easy it is to get from one side of town to the other. My perspective has been changed as a result of living in Cincinnati.
Perspectives are so significant. Your perspective steers the way you live. Before I moved to Cincinnati it would be a frustrating experience to drive across town in Fort Wayne. But now it is rather easy. Maybe you have experienced a change in perspective towards something in your life as well. Maybe it was more significant than traffic.[Tweet “Your perspective steers the way you live.”]
What if I told you that there is an absolute best time to read the Bible? That if you read the Bible at this prescribed time your walk with Jesus would improve ten-fold. You would become a more joy filled believer with audacious faith, ready to tackle all of the day’s challenges.
For probably all of us, we would prefer God to give us a specific plan on reading His word. I know I would. If He would give me a Bible reading plan (with the absolute best time prescribed) that would ensure that my faith would grow exponentially, I would be thrilled. But here’s the thing. God doesn’t seem to work that way. On a recent episode of a podcast I follow, Jon Acuff talked about how he believes God doesn’t give us a person-specific list of things to do each day in order to live for Him because if we had such a list, we would go to the list for hope. We would go to the list instead of God. He talked about how God wants a personal relationship with us that is grounded in daily interaction.
You have something in common with the prophet Jeremiah if:
1) You don’t believe you are good enough, or talented enough to do what God is calling you to do.
2) You see your age as a barrier in doing what God is calling you to do.
3) You don’t realize how intimately God knows you.
Read the conversation between Jeremiah and God (Jeremiah 1:4-10):
Distractions are easy to come by in life. We can set out to do something and find ourselves getting lost in something totally unrelated and unproductive. There are many times when I set out to get a certain amount of homework done or write an article for the blog, yet I find myself surfing the web instead. I know. Getting distracted. You don’t ever struggle with that, right?
The apostle Paul uses some profound imagery in his second letter to Timothy that actually relates to getting distracted. Notice what he says: