Have you made New Year’s resolutions before? Have you kept them? Here are resolutions that may last more than a month.
Mind over Mattress
One of the keys to changing your new year is to get up a little bit earlier in the mornings so you don’t have to rush around and forget to do certain things. One morning I was in such a rush, I forgot to shave, and read my Bible (more important). I determined to change that, so I set my alarm clock 10 minutes earlier. It gives me a bit of a cushion to get my day started off right. I’m not sure who said it, but its like, “mind over mattress.” When I moved back my alarm clock, I found wasn’t rushing around in the morning. I could actually take my time, but I also had more time to pray and read my Bible before the day started. For me, it’s “Bible before breakfast.” I’ve noticed that if I don’t start my day off with time in His Word and prayer, then God’s obviously not a priority for me that day. I am actually showing God that my own routine takes precedence over Him. It’s like saying, “I’m in a hurry God, and You’ll have to wait.” I certainly cannot honor God when I don’t even give him the first portion of my day. The father of the Methodist church, John Wesley, rose up every morning at four o’clock spending one hour on his face before God. I really believe if every Christian woke up at least 10 minutes earlier and devoted at least five minutes for prayer and five minutes for Bible reading, they would not only grow spiritually, but they would be better prepared for whatever the day brings. Interestingly, sometimes the very verses I had read in the morning fit perfectly with the circumstances at work.
One reason to memorize Scripture is to resist the temptation to sin. The psalmist wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Notice he stored up God’s Word so that he might not sin. Perhaps what he is saying is that when he is tempted, he can recall a Scripture and that helps to keep him from sinning. That’s why memorizing at least one Bible verse a week will equip you to resist the pulls of the flesh and the Devil. Try this: Write out one Bible verse per week and put it on a 3 by 5 index card where you can see it every day of the week. One verse a week is very easy, but by memorizing one verse a week, you can memorize 52 Bible verses in a year. Bible verses such as 1 John 1:9 which says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Some of my favorite memory verses are 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 10:28-29, Hebrews 9:27, Romans 5:1 and several others. One advantage of memorizing Scripture is you can share the gospel without needing a Bible.
I have a lot of prayer requests and so I had to simplify and organize them, so I bought a 5 subject, wide-ruled notebook that I write down prayer requests. I put down the date so that I can look back to see how God has faithfully answer certain prayer requests. It quickly turns into a prayer/praise journal. You can organize it like this:
Person’s Name Praying For
Their Prayer Request
Date Answered (when it comes)
I went to Moody Theological Seminary, so naturally I learned about D. L. Moody, and one of the things I admire about him the most was his faithfulness in obeying the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20). D. L. Moody was a relentless witness because he loved people. After he was saved, he would go out and seek young men to come and attend Sunday school, and he always encouraged them to do the very same thing. He also inspired many a young man to be faithful witnesses for Christ, and despite the rejection, scorn, sometimes facing hateful, angry words. Yes, there are times when I have failed, but I keep hundreds of Bible tracts with me at all times so that I am continually leaving Bible tracks everywhere I go, and handing them to people I don’t even know. After his death, D. L. Moody left such an impact that the Chicago Bible Institute was renamed the Moody Bible Institute and the Chicago Avenue Church was renamed the Moody Church. And why not? He built it with his relentless pursuit of the lost.
Prayer and the Word
This may sound easier than it actually is because many Christians do just what I did for years. I climbed into bed each night and prayed sleepy-time, bed-time prayers, but I frequently fell asleep before I ever finished them. Then, I started a routine of reading my Bible and then praying to God just before bedtime. It’s fine to pray in bed, but it doesn’t work for me. The routine of reading the Bible and praying just before bed are the bookends to my day. I start the day with prayer and Bible reading and I end the day with Bible reading and prayer. I can assure you that this is going to make your life a lot richer in many ways. When I start out the day with prayer and Bible reading, I’m more prepared for the unexpected. When I fail to do this, I seem to fail at other things during the day too, so I begin each and every day with prayer and Bible reading, and I end it in the same way. What you’ll discover is that you go to bed with so much more peace of mind. I begin by reading and meditating on the Word of God, and then praying for others, and finally for myself, including asking for God’s forgiveness. If you do these things, you’ll discover that God “gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2c).
Resolve to make this year a more productive year by disciplining your body and mind to take in the Word of God and to consistently pray for others. If you spend more time reading the Word of God and praying, you’ll not only take in the Word, but you’ll take the Word with you. Get into the Word and the Word gets into you. Examine the Word and the Word examines you. Go through the Word of God and the Word of God will go through you. Not only will you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it will pay immediate benefits, but also benefits into eternity.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.