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[I am reposting this from the archives. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to view all the posts in this series.]
As we begin the new year, many of us are taking time to look back and evaluate how the past year went. We look forward to the new year and a chance to strive for some new goals. We have changes we want to make so that we can make this new year even better than last year.
Unfortunately, as we reflect on the past we also tend to have feelings of guilt and disappointment of things not done well. While we do need to learn from the past, God wants us to move forward, to leave the past behind, and allow Him to redeem each new day.
Here are a couple of verses that I will be basing this series on…
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time. Ephesians 5:15-16
How do we do that? How do we walk as wise men (or women!), and make the most of our time? And how do we number our days? God gives us five things in Ephesians 5 that we are going to look at in this series. The first one is found in Ephesians 5:17:
Understand God’s Will…God’s Word
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17
We all struggle at times to determine what God’s will is for our lives. Each day we face decisions that must be made and our desire is to do His will. But in order to do His will, to understand what His will is, we must know His Word!
As we begin this series we start with one of the most important areas of our lives…our time in His Word.
How do we understand God’s will…
1. Read the Bible daily
We are all in different seasons of our lives, so this will look differently for each one of us. The important thing is that you try to saturate yourself in God’s Word…somehow. For some, it works best to spend time reading the Bible in the early morning. For others, it may be the evenings. Find what works for you and stick to it!
There are many Bible reading plans available online, one year Bibles, audio Bibles, and Bible reading apps to use. Here are some to get you started:
Bible reading plans
Ligonier Ministries (a variety of PDF downloadable plans)
52 Week Bible Reading Plan (online or PDF downloadable)
Bible Gateway (online/email)
Bible Plan (online/email)
Into Thy Word (lots of Bible reading plans to choose from)
Back to the Bible (lots of Bible reading plans to choose from)
Unlocking the Bible (printable PDF reading plan)
One Year Bibles
The Listener’s Bible (listen to the Bible in a year podcast – new audio posted each day)
Bible.is (download up to 3 different audio Bibles for free)
Bible reading apps
YouVersion (my favorite!)
Bible Reader4 (free app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad)
Bible Gateway (app for iPad, iPhone, and Android phones)
2. Memorize His Word
We all know that memorizing God’s Word is an important part of our Christian life. When we have God’s word in our hearts and minds, it allows us to go about our day with His Word on our lips and in our thoughts.
In order to know God’s will for our lives, we must know His Word. There are many different ways you can memorize Scripture. And again, give yourself grace. Start small…with just one verse…and work your way up. God knows where you are at right now and the season of life you are in. Do what you can and He will bless your efforts.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Bible Memory System (A very neat site where you can listen online or download Scripture set to music. They also have verse cards you can download!)
Scripture Typer (a fun way to memorize Scripture)
Bible Minded App (a neat app to help you memorize God’s Word!)
Bible Verse desktop wallpaper for your computer (a fun way to “see” a verse every day!)
3. Obey His Word
Understanding comes through obedience. As we obey the Lord we will come to know Him more, our relationship with Him will grow, and He will bring understanding.
While the first two points above — reading the Bible and memorizing the Bible — are so very important, it is of little value if you do not obey what you are reading and memorizing.
We are to be “doers” of the Word.
I want to encourage you as you begin to “redeem the time” through Bible reading and memorization, that you don’t stop there. Seek the Lord and see what He would have you put into action in your own life.
Keeping a journal is a good way to jot down what the Lord is showing you each day as you do your Bible reading. This will give you something to go back to each day to remind you what the Lord is teaching you…and give you some accountability to begin obeying!
Challenge: If you are serious about redeeming the time this new year, begin with God’s Word. Go over the resources above and decide on a plan to be in God’s Word reading it and memorizing it. Then buy yourself a pretty journal and begin to record all God is showing you.