I started working out at the beginning of 2018. In addition to my 45 minutes HIT workouts, I’ve started running after all my workouts. I started a few months ago until I could finally run a full mile without dying. The progress was slow, but I was consistent. Each week I’d run a little farther, and be a little less tired. No matter how cold it was. No matter how rainy. No matter how tired.
The physical changes in my body have been rewarding, but mostly the change has taken place in my mind. When I first started going to the gym, surrounded by serious athletes, I was seriously intimidated. I didn’t know how to do the movements right, and I was exhausted at the end of each circuit. But I kept going. I started getting the movements. Started running after workouts. I just kept at it.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8
Paul himself said physical training is valuable and that is something we all believe, but what about training for godliness? I think we see the value in it, but we’re not sure how to really train for it.
We want to walk with God, want to be certain of his presence, and trust in his promises. Yet sin still reigns in our lives. Arguments flare up. We act selfishly. Bad things happen. We want abundant life, but it’s hard to have when real life is so messy, right?
The Christmas season is upon us, and before you know it, we’ll be starting 2019. We’ll set our New Year Resolutions, and all start confidently trying to be our best selves again.
Where God is concerned though, our best isn’t good enough. That’s why he sent his son Jesus to us. Jesus lived a perfect life knowing that we would never be able to, and realizing this truth has made me thankful.
God knows we are human, capable of great harm, but also capable of great change when we trust in Jesus.
When you understand all God has done for you, you realize not just how much you need him, but also how much you desire to be with him. How much you desire to be like him.
I want to encourage you to build a new habit (or revitalize an old habit) in 2019.
Set aside some time to spend with the Lord. Rise early in the morning before the world wakes up and life gets crazy, and spend some tender moments quieting your heart before God.
It may not seem significant at first. There may be a few days you miss, but don’t let that discourage you. Make time with God your 2019 habit. And as you learn to consistently rest in the finished work of Christ, you’ll find him changing you. Training your mind. Transforming your heart.
Here are some different ways to get in God’s word daily. Whether you are just beginning or already having consistent time with the Lord, I pray that you’ll be refreshed by the Lord in 2019 through consistent time pursuing him.
I’ve also included some additional reading to encourage your walk with Christ. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
A Psalm & Proverb a day, invites the Lord to come and stay
Read one Psalm & one Proverb a day. The book of Psalms is one man’s journey walking with God. We can learn much from reading his work because it gives us insights into man’s heart and God’s heart. A dear friend, Lisa, suggests reading a Psalm a day and asking a few questions. What does this teach me about who God is? How should I view myself in comparison to God? What perspective needs to be corrected? Proper alignment with the Father will bring you into proper alignment with everyone else.
The book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters. So you can read one every day of the month. The book of Proverbs teaches us how to live wisely. There are so many people out there telling us how we should live. How does God want us to live? Proverbs brings us that insight.
When you hear the bible is a unified story, but the books have you all confused.
How many times have you heard that the bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus? It actually is, but you could miss that reading the bible from cover to cover. The books are out of chronological sequence so you could miss how the story unfolds and what the bible is really about. The Daily Bible has rearranged the biblical passages into 365 daily readings to fit into their proper chronology.
Something Old & Something New
If you’ve been reading scripture daily on a consistent basis, but need a fresh approach to your quiet time, then you might consider Something Old & Something New
You read three chapters of Old Testament and three chapters of New Testament each day. If you follow this from January to December, then you will read the Old Testament once in a year and read the New Testament four times. Spending your time in both the Old and New Testaments can open your eyes to the wonderful work God has been doing consistently for all of time.
One Book for a Whole Month
Take one of the shorter letters to the churches, and read the same book every day for a month. 1 John is an easy read and if you commit to reading it for 31 days, I guarantee the Holy Spirit will bring clarity to the book. If we choose to meditate on the same words every day, they won’t just sink into our minds, they’ll begin to pour out of our life. You can also do this with Colossians, Philippians, etc. Choose one you can read comfortably in one sitting. And do it for a whole month.
I suggest taking a moment to read a daily devotional during your lunch break or later in the day. Mornings are reserved for God and his word, but later in the day is a good time to be reminded of truth when your getting tired and need encouragement.
Christian Biographies to Read
I have been thoroughly astounded by the faithfulness of God’s saints throughout history. It is good to read about theology, but I find it better to read about the people who practiced theology. We can learn so much from those who have gone before us.Here are a few I’ve read this year that I highly recommend (with a quote from each of their books.)
Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Eliott
“God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”
Shadow of the Almighty, Elisabeth Eliott
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
Tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom
“Surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ must not be partial—but total. Only when we repent and turn away from our sins (using His power, of course) does He fill us with His Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit makes us right with God, and God’s love in us makes us right with men. Through that we can forgive—even love—our enemies. Jesus Himself makes us ready for His coming.”
Captive in Iran, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh
“Despite our earlier bravado, we were afraid. For all we knew, this could be our last day on earth. We held hands and prayed to the Lord to calm our hearts. Our greatest fear was that we would break and say things outside of God’s will. We prayed for strength. We wanted our captors to see that we were confident and brave. If we are tortured, give us the power to stand fast.”
Evidence Not Seen, Darlene Deibler Rose
“We heard bandits return several nights after that, but they never again entered the house. It wasn’t until after the war that I learned why. I had suspected the Jaffray’s gardener; he was Boegis, and he knew the layout of the house. When I asked him why they had never entered the house again, he answered incredulously, “Because of those people you had there – those people in white who stood about the house.” The Lord had put His angels around us. He had delivered.”
Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand
“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists’ ] terms.”
William Carey: Obliged to Go, Janet & Geoff Benge
“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”
The Autobiography of Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor
“All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.”
Technical Reads on Disciple-Making
Tallyho, the Fox, Herb Hodges
The Master plan of Evangelism, Robert Coleman
The Great Commission lifestyle, Robert Coleman
In the Gap, David Bryant