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A Life Saving Practice

By November 18, 2013 10 Comments

How do you start your day? I begin mine with the Bible (and a coffee.) Reading the Bible has been more than a good habit. It saved my life.

LifeSavingDistress. I went through a serious encounter with distress in the third year of my career as a pastor. For almost two months I was awakened in the middle of the night unable to breathe. My lungs felt like they were shutting down. If you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you, that’s how it felt. My doctor said it was not physiological. He asked me what was going on in my life. “Your body is under distress and is shutting down to protect you.”

Awakening. One morning, after the most recent episode, I had an “awakening” of sorts. It dawned on me that I had been so busy that I had slacked off of my practice of giving God first place in my life by giving Him first place in my day.

Routinely to start my day, I would read a few verses from the Bible, reflect and record my thoughts. The pressure of a growing ministry tempted me to skip what I thought was dispensable. That morning I re-instituted my practice. The first choice of the day would be time with God.

My responsibilities and expectations have increased tenfold over the decades, but the symptoms of distress never returned.

Blessing. When I look back, my distress was a blessing in disguise. It got my attention, helped me re-prioritize and created a pattern that has served me well for the last 33 years.

Reading the Bible is not magic.

Reading, reflecting and recording – 1st thing each day – has been medicinal for me. It makes me strong at the centre.

The Bible is described as “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16)  and “alive.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading, meditating on the verses, studying their meaning and applying the Bible to life is empowering and freeing!

Some or all of the following resources can help you in your Bible reading.

1. Bible Reading Plans:
• Community Bible Experience (read through the Bible with your family or small group)
• Read through the book of Proverbs in one month by reading one chapter per day.
• Read the Gospel of John in one week by reading three chapters per day.

2. Using Bible reading app on your iPhone can be helpful. I use YouVersion which includes some of the following reading plans:
• OwnIt365 (read through the Bible with 2 readings per day)
• Mariners Church Chrono-Condensed (read through the Bible in chronological order). This is what I am using each day.
• New Testament in 30 days

3. Websites for reading and studying the Bible:
www.biblegateway.com – I use this one.
www.studylight.org (to compare the English version to the original languages choose Bible translation to search using NAS with Strong’s Numbers)

Lastly, one of my favourite passages from the Bible: “Be strong and very courageous…Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

QUESTION: What have been your experiences with reading and studying the Bible? Please leave a comment below.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Sarah Gardner says:

    Pastor Bob,

    After reading what you wrote – A Life Saving Practice – I got out my Bible and re-read the book of Esther this morning. What a blessing. And then I went on to write the words below. Thank you for your encouragement to read words that keep us alive.

    On Your Words – I Meditate

    When I’m down and feeling lost
    I come running to the cross
    Bow my head – get on my knees
    You’re the God I want to please!
    By your words – I live my life
    You breathe them out (on me)
    and I come alive!!
    On your words I meditate
    I read them out
    Every night and day
    Because of you
    I can say
    I AM surely NOT afraid!!

    Thank You for allowing me to share this with you.

  • bob jones says:

    Thank you Sarah for sharing your poem. Glad to know you were inspired to read the story of Esther – God’s timing is perfect.

  • Anita says:

    My favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5&6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks for sharing those verses, Anita.

  • Shirley Bidnick says:

    Thank you for all the words of wisdom and encouragement you post. Of all the advice you give, though, this is the best of your best. It has kept me a prisoner of hope. I began reading the Bible daily before I went to sleep more than thirty years ago. I didn’t understand what I was reading but I persisted. Now I study in the morning. If I don’t because of an early, or full day commitment, I am out of sorts. I try to plan ahead and do a double study if I know the next day will be busy. God never fails to speak to me and give me the help I need for the day, through His Word. Dark mid November, when almost everything that is happening in the world seems bleak, calls for Light within. We fill ourselves with His Light as we read. Your advice is timely. I hope all new believes take it. It works!

  • bob jones says:

    You are so right, Shirley. Thanks for sharing how the Bible has brought light to your day. Your post was like blue sky and sunshine to my day. God bless.

  • Lem Mundorf says:

    The first thing I try to do most mornings is our daily reading and then I take a 2 page prayer list to The Lord. I was touched by Mark 5 reading where all the woman had to do was reach out and touch His clothing to demonstrated her faith and was healed. I so enjoy the daily readings. It must take a lot of effort to plan. We are very blessed to have such a great pastoral and church staff. I know that prayer and daily Bible reading are life saving practices for me. Thanks God for His promises.

  • bob jones says:

    I am pleased to know you are following along with North Pointe’s Bible reading plan. Its a life saver. High five to you!

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    Bob, I made a comment and still learning this stuff, I posted it and it’s gone.

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    I’m going to try again.
    My morning starts with a good breakfast.
    No calories, good nutrition, your thirst is quenched by the living water.
    The cares and things of yesterday have gone and the new tomorrow begins.
    I receive wisdom and knowledge, peace and strength, I put all my armour on with understanding. I am guided by my Father, Protecter, Provider, Healer and a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I shall never be lonely, I shall be given strength and power.
    And all of this costs me nothing – priceless for me but a gift that was paid dearly by my Maker, my Lord and Savior who will never foresake me or leave me begging for bread. (His promise to me)-
    Jesus Christ my All in All.

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