800 Consecutive Days in the Bible app and What I’ve Learned About Myself
Wow. 800 days in the Bible app in a row as of 3/23/2020.
Each and every morning I’ve been waking up and beginning my day in the Word.
It’s been incredible.
I love the devotionals that YouVersion has available and that’s where I start my day.
Of those devotionals, I’ve completed over 200.
Some have been shorter like 3 days and some longer like 30.
The first one that I did was completed on 12/26/2012 Knowing Him By Name
Since then, I’ve been completing devotionals off and on until the middle of 2017 when I got back into the Word.
Since the first one, I’ve moved into a number of different devotionals and modified my approach.
Initially, I was just figuring it out. I wanted some time in the Bible but I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I didn’t have any objective or desired outcome.
Now, I strive to go into each devotional with the simple prayer along the lines of, “God may you open my heart and ready my mind to listen that I may understand and become closer to You through this devotional.”
Here’s the first devotional that I completed when I was getting back into the Word. “Proverbs Power-Up”
Ironically… now that I am in the Bible each and every morning also, I have read through Proverbs more than 10 times in my life. Each and every time that I reread and pray over verses and the 31 chapters, something impacts me differently.
God reveals a different part of the scripture to me. Proverbs is truly one of the best books of the Bible for many reasons. But more than anything, there is incredible relevance for so many areas of life.
I started just by reading the devotionals. I would read the devotional portion… pause. Then I would read the scripture… pause. Then I would go on with my day.
Today, that looks much different — but I won’t jump ahead just yet.
Back a little further, I had decided I wanted to read the entire Bible. I have to guess I was about 13 or 14 when I decided that. I know that it was just before I started high school. I didn’t really have much of a structure to it. I would open my Bible, read one chapter, and close it — beginning at Genesis.
I finished the Old Testament. But after that… I lost my focus.
I never finished the entire Bible until just this past year in 2019.
I’ve been reading a chapter of Proverbs, a chapter of the Old Testament, and a chapter of the New Testament.medium.com
Before that, I would close my nights by opening the Bible to a random page and reading whatever was “short” enough to read in a few minutes.
Again, that wasn’t very effective and because I didn’t have any type of objective or desired outcome, I didn’t really get much out of it.
I would have nightly prayers but quite honestly, can’t remember what they were about and I always tended to rush those when I was younger also.
PRAYING WITH INTENTIONALITY
Things have changed a lot but it hasn’t been easy — it’s been intentional.
Today, I structure my nightly prayers — and almost all individual prayers for that matter — with a few things:
Adoration is all about why I love God so much and how great He is.
Life is amazing and I’m so incredibly blessed to even be alive on this earth. I could be so many other places or I could have never even heard of God, muchless have a personal relationship with Him. I strive to spend the most time in this part of prayer. Let’s be real, I only have a life because of God. If it were up to me… I would’ve killed myself already when I was suicidal, by almost walking into oncoming traffic when drunk, or by being reckless when driving and almost wiping out. But I’m alive, and God’s got a purpose for me, I’m incredibly grateful and adore the God that still sees me as a vessel for His glory.
“It’s not what I do that matters but what a sovereign God chooses to do through me.” — Elizabeth Dole
Confession is all about a self-assessment; it’s admitting and repenting to God all the things that we have done wrong and withheld from doing that were right.
This one has become increasingly honest. The more time that I spend in the Word, the more that I’m able to look at myself through that lens. I know that I have committed more sins than I’d like to admit. I’ve broken every single commandment. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Here are the 10 commandments for reference (found in Exodus Chapter 20). Jesus was asked, which is the greatest commandment? Jesus responded by saying, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:37–40 NIV
Now, if we put our will above God’s will for us, doesn’t that mean we are our own God? I’d say yes. And that convicts me time and time again. It’s not easy to admit to our sovereign and omniscient and omnipresent God that we have fallen short. But it’s so important. We must be honest to God and show Him who are (though He already knows).
“If the biggest sinner you know isn’t you, then you don’t know yourself very well.” — Jean Larroux
Thanksgiving is being grateful.
Look around and think about it. We can look at other people and think that they’re better off than us. That’s as some people would say, “blocking your blessing.” God wants to bless us. He wants to see us be trustworthy stewards. If you’re reading this right now, you have internet access, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means you know how to read, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that you can see, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that you can breathe, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that you’re alive, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that you were created by God, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that God cares about you, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
That means that God exists, that’s something to give thanksgiving for.
There is a LOT we can be grateful for.
“Imagine you woke up tomorrow with only things you were grateful for today. What would you still have?” — Jay Shetty
Supplementation is giving requests to God.
This is the part of prayer where we ask God for what we need or want. This is the last part of prayer for a reason. We are already so incredibly blessed, we are broken because we are filled with sin, yet God CARES for us. With that in mind, we go to God to pray about our neighbor Nancy a little differently. God CAN and God HAS and God WILL. Anything that happens can be used for good when placed in the hands of God. Jesus said that we could tell a mountain to move from here to there and if it was God’s will, it would be done.
The most impactful portion of this part for me has been starting a prayer journal. I document the supplementation portion in particular and look back. I keep track in the Notes portion of my iPhone also. I list the prayer requests that others have and then document the date as well as when the prayer was answered AND what the answer was. Did God say yes? Did God say no? Was there more?
“You are never without hope, because you are never without prayer. You may find yourself in an impossible situation. You may feel outnumbered and outmaneuvered. You may want to quit. But for such times, memorize this promise and ask God to bring it to your mind.” — Max Lucado
But… my prayer is NOT finished.
The most important part is still waiting. We must be silent. It’s God’s turn to speak. It’s ALWAYS God’s turn to speak.
This part has always been the most difficult for me but as the maturity in my faith has increased and my knowledge and understanding of God has increased alongside my faith, I’ve improved.
God is all-knowing. God said this to Jeremiah:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” — Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
That means that God knows what we are going through before we tell Him.
God cares for you so listen.
I’ve always had a number of mentors in my life but God has been the best one by far.
God ALWAYS has my best interest in store. And when we ask God, “why am I experiencing this?” HE KNOWS.
The most important thing that we can do is to listen.
Back to the Bible, one of my favorite quotes is the following:
“The Bible was not meant to be read through BUT prayed through.”
The Current Devotional Model
Today, I go through devotionals both with friends and individually.
I love the setup of friends. I always choose to start a devotional with friends even if I do it alone. This gives me an opportunity to have a “Talk It Over” section.
Within there, I place my takeaways. I include things like:
What have I learned from this?
How has this scripture impacted me?
Where have I been convicted?
Here are a few recent devotionals that have been some of my favorites:
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