Posted by: ritagone | December 22, 2010

Youversion.com

Well, it’s that time of year again, when we start thinking about resolutions, what we’re going to do or be differently in the coming year.  Come on, admit it, even if it’s only to yourself: you’re already committing mentally to that diet or that exercise program you’ve shirked this year.  Or that budget that simply got away from you in 2010, causing you to overspend once again.  Yes, 2011 is going to be different, by golly.  You’re for sure going to make it so.

If one of those resolutions that’s niggling in the back of your mind right now is to read your Bible more (and isn’t this true for all of us?), I’d like to step in and try to help a bit.  I have found a resource that is one of the most helpful I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve been at this early-morning devotional-type quiet time for decades. (I must confess that I am a morning person – a very early morning person, which helps when it comes to morning devotions.)

It’s called Youversion.com, and it’s a website that you can access via your computer, your iPhone or smartphone, your iPad, or any other electronic device.  One day soon they may be able to implant it directly into your brain so that you can read it on your your eyelids, but that’s for another time.  Right now, though, it’s as convenient as can be if you have any of the devices I mentioned, and who doesn’t?  (Even my husband does, and he prides himself on having the most basic cell phone around.  But even he has a computer.)

Anyway, one of the ways in which Youversion is most helpful is that it has a list of many, many Bible reading plans to take you through the year or longer.  You can pick and choose the kind of plan you like: reading, for example, through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation in one year, reading a little from Genesis each day and then, on the same day, reading a bit from Matthew, back and forth through the Old and New Testaments.  You can read smaller pieces so that it takes you two or even three years to read through the Bible.  You can read only Psalms and Proverbs in a year (which I’ve done many times before and highly recommend if what you’re looking for is a real boost in the morning to get your day going well).  You can read five days a week instead of seven.  Or you can read the books of the Bible in the historical order in which they were written.  Almost anything you want, you can get in this program.  The plans are listed with a short description of each to make it easy to figure out what you might be interested in.

And you can even make a checkmark at the end of your reading session each day to show that you have achieved your goal for that day.  In the case of my plan, which is called the Essential 100 Challenge, you read 50 key passages of the Old and New Testaments, and it tells you when you started the plan and when you will finish.  And what percentage of the plan you have finished each day.

No more excuses.

Youversion makes daily Bible reading and devotional time as easy as can be.

I’m going to stick with my Essential 100 Challenge and finish in mid-February; then I’ll find another plan to round out the rest of the year.  No more lugging devotional books with me when I travel (or reading ahead as I’ve had to do in years’ past).  For example, I’ve been reading through a wonderful Philip Yancey devotional book called “Grace Notes,” which is a compilation of the best of his writings down through the years.  I’ve also been reading through a devotional book by F. LaGard Smith called “The Daily Bible Devotional – A One-Year Journey Through God’s Word in Chronological Order,” both of which are rather hefty in size, neither of which fits conveniently in a carry-on suitcase.  So if I’m leaving for a one-week trip, for example, what I’ve done all this year is spend a week before the trip doing double duty and reading through the selections until I get home.

Now, in 2011, I won’t have to do this.  I can stick to the plan on a daily basis even though I’m away from home.  For me, this is a big deal, because it means no rushing to double up on my Bible reading to prepare for a trip.

So at least if I don’t stick to the budget for 2011 or the diet that seems to evade me year in and year out, I’ll have no excuse regarding my early morning time in God’s Word.

One out of three resolutions isn’t too bad, is it?

Meanwhile, as Christmas Day draws closer and closer, I want to wish all of you reading this a wonderful day filled with great food and fellowship with those you love.  May the best gift you receive this Saturday be the awareness of God’s peace and joy in your life.  That’s truly the gift that keeps on giving when everything else is broken or out of date or digested.

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!   Rita

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