“I love the spring like weather.” That's what my friend said to me last night. In Florida, we may only experience a few days and nights such as this before it moves right on into summer. This morning, I was thinking about summer and going barefoot and stumping my big toe.
Have you ever stumped your big toe? It hurts. You find out how important your big toe is to walking and to your balance. Stumping your big toe is a visible reminder of a mistake you've made. Maybe you weren't watching where you were going and your inattention caused you to trip. Possibly you were moving too fast and in your haste you stumped your toe. For a short time (minutes, sometimes hours and maybe a couple of days) you were reminded to tread carefully. You were reminded to walk circumspectly so that you wouldn't further offend your big toe. It seems as if, for a season, that you have a messenger to torment you and to remind you of your inattention or unwise haste. Now, read what Paul has to say:
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NASB
Something “bothered” Paul. This thorn in the flesh was a constant reminder to Paul that God was Paul's sufficiency. This painful messenger was a tool to keep Paul from sinning against God and against others through his self-exaltation.
While I don't know the nature of Paul's thorn in the flesh, I do know about stumping my toe. Oh, how I wish that I were perfect and had never been inattentive to my spiritual devotions. Oh, how I wish that I had paid better attention to my surroundings so that I wouldn't stumble and stump my toe. I may not have a thorn in the flesh like Paul, however, I do fight against pride and against greed (intense and selfish desires). These sins cause me to stump my toe. They are a reminder that I need Holy Spirit to fill me each and every moment to keep me from self-destructing. They are a reminder that even though I am weak and fight against flesh that nothing is impossible with God and that in my weakness, God's power is manifested in His grace. His grace to forgive and to empower me to walk before Him.
Walk with the King today and don't stump your toe.
This past Sunday morning, Bro. Mike mentioned the vital role of God’s Word in our spiritual growth. He concluded his sermon with – “Three things that will really help you grow in your knowledge of God.” Number 1 on the list was “Reading your Bible regularly – at least 4 times a week.” He then mentioned that the “4 times a week” benchmark came from a recent Secret Church simulcast we participated in that was hosted by IMB President, David Platt.
Although I’m not sure where the “4 times a week” benchmark originated from, I can agree that it is a good starting point. For those who already exceed this goal, Platt jokingly stated that if you’re reading the Bible 5, 6, or 7 days a week, not to cut back to 4 because of his statement. He then stated that if you are reading the Bible 7 days a week, strive for 8. Now, some of you may be scratching your heads wondering what he means by this, but the point was well received by me…..we can never get too much of God’s Word.
So how does this goal of regular Bible reading play out? Are we to set goals of how many chapters we read each day? Should we be on a 90-day plan, 6-month plan, or 1-year plan? Should we start in Genesis, Matthew, or somewhere else? Should I read in the morning or at night? Should I read with my family or alone?
Friend, this is where we have liberty. Choose a plan that works for you including how much to read each day, where to begin, when to read, etc. I’m all for systematic Bible study, it is necessary, but you have the ability to choose the plan. The more important question is this, “HOW should we read the Bible?” Here is part of the answer given during the simulcast:
Read the Bible prayerfully.
Read the Bible humbly.
Read the Bible carefully.
Read the Bible joyfully.
Read the Bible confidently.
Read the Bible diligently.
Read the Bible completely.
Read the Bible expectantly.
Read the Bible personally.
When we read the Bible in these ways, we will fall in love with the Author of the Book!
Here are some ways that I read through the Bible. They are not necessarily the “right” way (or the wrong way), but they are effective in helping me and my family stay connected with God through His Word.
I’m finishing my current Bible reading plan this week and plan to begin the reading plan that Bro. Mike presented next Monday (Click Here for reading plan). Join me and let’s fall deeper in love with our Great God as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him.
Sheep who Shepherd: