In my nearly 50 years of life I have learned a few things. Experience has confirmed what God Himself makes clear — I was created for relationship with Him. Relationship clearly implies interaction and time. When I live as if those things with Him don’t matter, life starts to deteriorate. I start to deteriorate.
One of the most important investments I make in any day is in God’s Word. I’m less disciplined than I want to be and more than I used to be. I’ve ebbed and flowed like a tide on this over the years, so I have experienced good times and not so good times. And please understand that’s not a deal where having morning devotions makes my day good and not having devotions makes my day bad — you know as well as I do that relationships are not like vending machines.
I’ve tried all sorts of plans and gimmicks and tools over the years to help me develop a habit of discipline or keep things fresh when they become routine. Some are better than others. Any of them are good if they work.
I’ve not found anything that has been as powerful, effective, and truly good for me than the discipline of study and accountability of relationship that I’ve experienced through Bible Study Fellowship. (You can use the search feature on this page to see what I’ve written about BSF over the past few years if you would like to know more.)
I’ve grown to love YouVersion — an online Bible suite (can’t think of a better descriptor off-hand) that I use on my Mac at home, my Dell laptop at work, and my iPhone when I’m just about anywhere. (It is available on numerous smart phone platforms.) I have access through YouVersion to many versions of the Bible as well as to what a whole community of people are learning and seeing in the Word as they study.
Audio recording of the Word can help me listen when I’m driving or doing repetitive tasks (like weeding the garden) or walking. I love Faith Comes By Hearing — with audio downloads (FREE ONES) available on their website and through an iPhone app. One of the other audio versions I purchased a number of years ago is The Bible Experience. I love it, too.
Through BuzzPlant (they occasionally provide me with a product to test drive and then blog about — with instructions to be totally honest about the product) I’ve been introduced to a tool/gadget called LifeDiscipler. I think the most interesting feature is an alarm you can set to prompt you throughout your day to turn your mind toward Scripture which it then provides on a simple LED screen. You can search for helpful verses by topic (there are 44 subjects programmed that reference 1500+ verses). Or pick a topic for the day/week and have the LifeDiscipler feed you a new verse every hour or half hour. [I’ve linked you to their website. If you decide to purchase one, please use the code GROW20 and you’ll receive a 20% discount on any purchase until December 30, 2010. It is also being sold at Family Christian stores.]
Besides these things (quite a few are technology-based) I use post-it notes and 3×5 cards to place Scripture where I will see it regularly. This also still works.
There are myriad ways (especially for those of us who live in a resource rich nation and speak a majority language like English) to help us develop or enhance the habit of regular Bible engagement (which goes beyond listening and reading to action and application) — but nothing will do anything for us without a softened heart and enlightened mind. Those can’t be downloaded or purchased at a discount. Those are gifts given to us by God as we invite His Holy Spirit to work in us as He wills.