Author Info: A Buffalo native, Natalie Kate "Kate Hill" Hill (of the Modern Nomads) is best known for her unique vocals and indie style. Yet it's her heart for seeing students lives transformed by the power and love of Jesus that makes her a quality leader. She serves on the staff team at American University Chi Alpha. You can connect with her via our AU Chi Alpha Staff Page.

There’s this thing in the church I grew up called Bible Quiz.  It’s probably exactly what you’re thinking, on steroids.  It’s a competition between teams from all different churches where you’re asked questions about the Bible, all ranging in point value.  Some require answers with direct quotes and scripture references (known as “quotation questions”), you can interrupt the question and complete the question and the answer (to beat the other team to it), and the competition is complete with buzzers and strategies on how to hold your hands for the quickest “beep.”  I don’t mean to brag or anything (actually I do),  but my team won first place in the Junior Bible Quiz state competition in sixth grade.  All of that to say, I knew a lot of things about the Bible.

I learned a lot and knew the answers and memorized the facts.  I take great pride in how quickly I can recite the books of the Bible and the 12 tribes of Judah in order.  And growing up in church, people always talked about devotional life, but in my head, I thought I already knew everything I needed to know.  I knew what was in the Bible backwards and forwards, literally.

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It took me many years to realize how misguided I was.

I think there will always be a season in our lives when we learn that knowing about the Bible and knowing Jesus are not the same thing.  I learned it my sophomore year of college in a season of depression where reciting the 12 sons of Jacob didn’t change the pain or the loneliness.  I knew what the Bible said but I didn’t have a daily relationship with Jesus.  I wasn’t letting the words of scripture come to life and speak hope into my bones.  It took hurting to understand that Jesus wanted to be with me every day, reminding me of who He was to me and how much He valued me.  And that took a daily devotional life, reminding myself of who God was and how the Jesus of the Bible is the Jesus of today.

At a certain point, we can’t be satisfied with where we’ve been.

We can know all the facts, but God wants to bring us to a deeper place with Him.  When I got to college, there was knowledge but not depth.  At a certain point, we can’t be satisfied with where we’ve been.  When we spend daily time with God and in His word, we start to delight in His commandments (Psalm 119).  We start to find hope in our brokenness (Lamentations 3).  We start to understand just how much Christ values us (Luke 12).  We can stay where we’ve been or we can want more.  And we can have a fuller, deeper, more rewarding relationship with our savior.

I keep talking about devotional life because I know what it was like to not have it, and I know what it’s like to have it.  And I could get by just fine for a while.  I could explain my religion with a list of facts, and my faith looked a lot like a to-do list with things to check off and things to know.  I think that’s how the majority of self-professed Christians view it too.  

But there’s more to be found.

There’s a God who longs to give us a hope and a peace and to show us grace.  His laws are there for our good, because He loves us.  He wants to show us this every day.  And He just longs to be in relationship with us.  But like any true relationship, it takes work.  It takes showing up each day with all our baggage and saying, “Let’s be together.”



Published on July 25, 2016 • Short Link: http://bit.ly/29YZaNG

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We’ve all said this before: I’m going to read the Bible cover to cover, starting with Genesis, every day, starting…now!  You sit down with your bible, a cup of coffee the size of your head, pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, all ready to go.  A month later, you haven’t made it past Genesis…chapter 2.

Written by Allyson Sarring   Facebook  ||  Twitter

Written by Allyson Sarring

Facebook || Twitter

I've tried reading the Bible cover to cover many times, but have failed.  I would forget a day, be lazy, or just was having a difficult time understanding the scriptures.  It’s pretty easy to get frustrated and discouraged.  I used to think Bible reading plans were for the weak or made things more complicated, but now I am so thankful for them!

With all the technology these days, we can get anything with snap (or should I say swipe) of a finger!  We can read the Bible on our computers, tablets, phones, etc.  If you’re tech savvy, you probably have the YouVersion Bible app downloaded on some device.  It’s fantastic and super easy to use!  The Bible app is great, but the key to its success is that you actually have to use it!  It’s nice to have it downloaded, but if you are just reading the Verse of the Day and nothing else, you are missing out on this awesome resource that is full of…..Bible. Reading. Plans.  Yes, I said it!  This app has hundreds of plans to keep you fed and focused on God.  Especially with the nice daily reminders it sends you. 

I've done some research and found tons of reading plans that you should consider doing.  I actually will be working though some of them myself!

Click on each plan to begin your reading plan on your computer! Download the app on your smartphone or tablet to take each plan on the go!  

 

1.       Ownit365

This plan takes you through the entire Bible in a year, with two readings per day, six days a week.  OWN is an acronym that outlines the reading plan.  Every day you will have a reading from the Old Testament, in conjunction with one from the Wisdom Books or New Testament.  This plan focuses on balance, letting you work though the Bible, while at the same time including daily, easier to understand passages that you can apply to your life.  In addition to YouVersion, downloading the OWNit365 app will give you access to their videos, reading plan guides, discussion questions, etc.

This plan was provided by OWNit365.com.

 

2.       Discipleship Journal 5x5x5 Reading Plan

Not ready to tackle the whole Bible in a year?  No problem.  This plan allows you to just work through the New Testament: 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  Giving you 5 ways to dig deeper.  You will read through one chapter each day.

This plan was provided by NavPress.

 

3.       Before the Cross: The Life of Jesus

If you are looking for an efficient way to get through the Gospels and gain a complete understanding of the life of Jesus, this plan is it!  This is an 80 day reading plan that walks you through the four gospels in order, outlining his life from His birth to His death and resurrection.

This plan was provided by Before the Cross.

 

4.       Major People, Major Themes, Major Beliefs, Major Events

These are four separate reading plans that will take you through the major people, themes, beliefs, and events of the Bible in only 65 days.  They are beneficial when used separately or when all four reading plans are done at once.  It’s also a great way to focus on one aspect of the Bible at a time. 

These plans were provided by LCBC Church.

 

5.       The Overflow Devo

YouVersion has awesome seven day devotionals written by some of Christian music’s biggest artists, such as Lecrae, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, for KING & COUNTRY, and Hawk Nelson.  Each week, you can work through a devotional written by each artist that features music from their albums.  Their songs aid understanding each week’s topic.

These plans were provided by The OverFlow.

 

6.       The Essential 100

This plan helps you get an overview of the Bible without getting overwhelmed.  In 100 days, you will have read 50 Old Testament and 50 New Testament passages.  The goal of this plan is to help you develop a daily habit of getting into the word, while at the same time, giving you an overall view of the Bible.

This plan was provided by Scripture Union.

 

7.       Project 345

This plan takes a unique approach to reading the entire New Testament in one year.  Five days a week you will read a chapter a day, using the weekends to catch up if need be.  The name Project 345 was inspired by the average time is takes to read one chapter in the New Testament (3 minutes 45 seconds).  If you are looking for this approach plus a little extra, check out Project 345 Plus  which adds a Psalm or Proverb each day, along with passages from the Old Testament. 

This plan was provided by The Ark Church.

 

8.       Bible in 90 Days

If you are feeling ambitious, this plan will help you get through the Bible in just three months!  Perfect one to do in the summer!  Maybe even this summer?  Every day’s readings average to about 12 pages each day.  This plan takes more commitment, but is very worthwhile. 

This plan was provided by Bible Gateway.


These are just a few of hundreds of thought out readings plans that YouVersion provides.  Go grab some coffee and a quiet place, and get going!  Happy Reading.

Written by Natalie Hill

Written by Natalie Hill

One time a friend wrote me a note, folded it up, and tucked it into my journal for me to find the next time I went in it.  She knew I was feeling “stuck” in my devotional life.  At the top of the page it read, “A Helpful (but Incomplete) Guide To Your Quiet Time.”  It was a simple gesture - just a page torn out of a notebook with a couple thoughts written down - but I still look back on it even now.

Having a personal devotional life is important because we can always go further and deeper.  We continually grow in our understanding of Jesus, not just by learning more or reading more verses, but also by constantly being recharged by God, knowing that He truly is our daily bread.

But all of us struggle with being consistent.  We do well for a little while, but then we stop. My friend’s practical tips helped me with the sustainability and regularity of my quiet time.

One thing I know is that everyone has different preferences.  Some people (like me) are morning people, and others (definitely not me) are night owls.  Some people like white noise, and others need complete silence.  So it’s important to find what works best for you and to create an environment that brings you joy.  Because, after all, you should enjoy the one-on-one time you have with Jesus.  Here are some more thoughts:

 

Time

Find a time when you’re the most energized.  I like to do my devotions in the morning before work when I’m feeling refreshed.  I’ve found that it starts my day off well and dictates my thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.  

 

Setting

Find a place where you’re at peace.  Solitude and privacy is important.  I’ve found that if I’m not somewhere private, I don’t feel comfortable praying or really losing myself in my quiet time.  I’m distracted and self-conscious.  So I’ll usually sit at my desk after my roommate leaves for work and open the blinds so the sun comes in.  Little things like that make a difference.  It’s also good to change up routine.  Go to a coffee shop or a park.  I have friends who love the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral.  Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. 

I like to listen to music in the background and often make morning playlists (lately it’s included John Mark McMillan and All Sons & Daughters).  Music helps settle me.

Good food makes a huge difference.  In my friend’s note, she wrote, “Take something delicious with you.”  For me, that’s coffee in a favorite mug (the mug really does matter).  Maybe for others it’s breakfast or chocolate or a diet coke.  

 

Content

There have been times when I’ve journaled and read spiritual books but have left feeling empty because I didn’t fill up on God’s Word.  It’s easy to get caught up in the outside voices and forget that our best way to hear God’s voice is through His actual words in the Bible.  YouVersion is a great website with all kinds of Bible reading plans.  Taking notes helps me remember what I’m reading, and it’s good to look back on my thoughts and feelings.  And I think there are few things better in life than a good journal. 

Overall, I think the most important thing is to find out what works for you.  Once we get caught up on the rules and steps, we’ve lost the point.  Devotional life is about getting in God’s presence and growing in Him through His Word and through prayer.  It’s up to us to create a quiet time environment where we find joy. 

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AuthorBlane Young