It’s that time of year when we wish for happiness, make promises, and change routines.
But did you know that studies reveal that it takes 21 days to start or drop a habit?
I challenge you to begin a new habit that will affect every area of your life: Spend time with God and read the Bible and pray. It is impossible to consistently spend time with God and not see change. A change in attitude, a change of heart, a change in direction, a change in your strength, a change in your faith, conviction, thankfulness, and even motivation.
“I know, I know,” you say. “I’ve tried this but it doesn’t work.” Try it again for the next 21 days. Make a commitment to spend a few minutes each day talking with God in prayer and reading His Word. This new habit will change your life.
Christian author and speaker Charles Swindoll said, “God’s Word is a place we turn to for assistance in living our lives in ways that honor Christ. In the pages of Scripture, God has given us models–people, believe it or not, who are just like you and me, who, despite the odds, lived lives pleasing to Him. By faith. In obedience. With Courage.”
So, let’s get started:
- Find a quiet spot free from distractions of things like your phone, computer, and anything else that would cause your thoughts to start wondering. Your spot might be a special place in your house. Some things to have on hand include: a journal to record your thoughts, your Bible, a devotional guide, praise music, pens and highlighters.
- Begin by simply saying thank you. Write the date on the top line of your journal page. Then write the word, Thanksgiving. List a few things you are thankful for: health, friends, forgiveness, for example.
Psalm 50:14, and 23 say that offering praise and thanksgiving to God brings Him glory. When we come before God with thanksgiving it’s like we are opening the conversation with him. Circumstances aren’t always good. We can thank God for not leaving us alone and for the strength He provides to endure the hard time.
- Read your Bible and/or devotional guide. The Bible is a source of inspiration, strength and encouragement. Choose a version of the Bible that is easier for you to understand. Devotionals are also good guides, especially when you don’t know where to start reading in the Bible. Don’t let a devotional book substitute reading the actual Word of God though. Where it references a passage of Scripture, look it up and read it for yourself.
- Record in your journal the passages you read. You can summarize what you read, or you can write out exactly the verses you read. This will help you memorize Scripture too.
- Apply what you read to your life. The Scriptures are not just historical events written for other people. They are written for you. Make them personal by inserting your name into the following verses:
Call to Me, _____________________________and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
Cast your cares on Him, ________________________, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
When talking to God, pray what is on your heart and use your own vocabulary. Just be you!
Practice the disciplines of prayer, reading the Bible, and worship through praise and thanksgiving, and watch as you see God reveal Himself to you. The change you experience will be amazing in 2018 and beyond.
Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with Polished Living Ministries. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.