One of the best ways to have a healthy and happy new year is to read the Scriptures every day. Daily devotions, quiet time, morning manna – whatever you want to call it – this is the most important part of the day! This quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss is so true (and convicting!):
“Developing intimacy with the Lord Jesus requires a conscious, deliberate choice. It is a choice to spend time sitting at His feet and listening to His Word. It is a choice to put Him first, above all our responsibilities and tasks. Nothing – absolutely nothing – is more important.“
If we want to have a truly healthy and happy year in 2016, we must make time with the Lord Jesus our number one priority. If you’re not used to having a regular, devotional time with the Lord, here are a few suggestions to whet your appetite and get you started.
- Follow a Bible Reading Plan. This is a wonderful way to ensure that we are reading the whole counsel of God – both Old and New Testaments. There are a number of helpful reading plans that I have tried over the years. I have enjoyed the Thematic Reading Plan over the past several years, because there are readings from both the Old and New Testaments each day that usually relate to each other. The Bible Reading Plans at Revive Our Hearts offer several options, including a chronological and genre reading plan. You can also do in-depth studies of different books of the Bible using commentaries and Bible study books. This Knowing the Bible series from Crossway is a great place to start. Choose something that will get you into God’s Word each day to mine its many treasures.
- Pray. About everything. Spend time praising, thanking, confessing, and interceding. Bring all your cares to Him. Try keeping a Prayer Notebook to help organize all your prayer requests, notes, and journal pages. As Charles Spurgeon said, “To pray is to enter the treasure-house of God and to gather riches out of an inexhaustible storehouse.” Or as the wonderful hymn, Thou Art Coming to a King, says, “Thou art coming to a King, large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and power are such, None can ever ask too much.” Ask, seek, and knock. The Lord is waiting to meet you in prayer.
- Read a Devotional. There are so many rich devotionals available, and they serve as helpful guides to warm our hearts and point us to Christ. Some of my favorites include The Quiet Place, Streams in the Desert, and Morning and Evening.
- Sing, or listen to hymns of praise and worship. Praising God is a powerful way to take your focus off yourself and your problems and put it on our beloved Savior.
- Listen to sermons or podcasts. If you have extra time, this is a great way to increase your learning of Scripture and grow in your faith. If you don’t have time to do this during your regular devotional time, you can also try to listen while you clean the house, cook dinner, or fold laundry.
Spending time with the Lord each and every day is single-handedly the most important thing we can do for a healthier and happier 2016.
How do you spend your devotional time? I would love to hear about it in the comments!