Friday, March 15, 2013

Devotions – just a Snack

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Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.   
Acts 17:11

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.  But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 
 2 Timothy 2:15

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; 
all who follow His instructions  have good insight. 
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10 



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There are many devotions available on the Internet. Google search shows 7,010,000 devotionals on the web.  Of those, 5,760,00 are Christian Devotionals, and 2,020,000 are daily Christian Devotions. There are 1,210,00 Christian blogs devoted to devotionals.  Amazon lists 22,172 books that are categorized as Christian Devotionals. There are 5,929 Kindle e-Books on Amazon that are Christian Devotionals. At the time I am preparing this blog there are 53 free Christian Devotion e-books on Amazon. (A closer look at these free Christian Devotionals however, showed me that they were only free for Prime Members).  Naturally, some of these many devotions are good, some are not so good.  A label stating it is Christian is not a guarantee that it is based on true Christian doctrine.

There are many outstanding devotionals available. There are wonderful devotions written by dependable, honest, Bible believing people who teach the truth. In the '90s I had a website and one of its features was Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. That is a great devotional.  My current favorite devotional is one by Octaveous Winslow - Morning Thoughts and Evening Thoughts.  So the warning here is to examine what you read.  See if they are teaching the truth.

I think that a good devotional is a help in one's daily walk with Christ. Unfortunately, it seems that in our busy world, we use a daily devotional as a substitute for a regular reading of the Bible. I think of a devotion as a snack, an energy pick-up.  On those nights I have my actual unpaid lunch break at work, a devotion is often the pick up that I need.  Most nights it is the pickup that I needed, but didn't have time for.  There may be a time during your busy day that you can find a few minutes for that needed boost. A devotion could also be a springboardfor a closer study of the topic or verse of the devotion. But, a devotion it is never a substitute for essential, regular Bible study.

It is easy in our world today to skip serious quiet time for prayer, Bible study and meditation. I know I have been there and done that. Time flies by so fast and there is always seems there is something else that must be done. There is something on TV to watch.  Your friend just loaned you a new mystery novel to read. It will be alright, I'll catch up on my Bible study later. It is easy to allow those precious moments of "free time" to be used for less important activities. Catching up with previously planned, but missed reading is never as beneficial as the daily reading would have been. It easily becomes reading of words instead of thinking about what you are reading. Yes, there certainly are real times when one cannot spend the time they would like, time they had planned in study of the Scripture.  Just don't make it too easy to put off time with God.
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Here are some alarming statistics.

The Bible continues to be a best selling book every year.  Nearly everyone in the U.S.A. owns one, they may not read it, but they have one.  

Each year more than 100 million Bibles, either whole or in part, every year.

According to a Gallup poll in 2000, 59 percent of Americans read the Bible at least occasionally.  Sounds good, but in 1980 it was 73 percent.

In 1997 a study by the Princeton Religious Research Center showed that 63 percent of Americans could not name all four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

In 2000, the same Gallop Poll found that 41 percent of Americans say that they rarely or never read the Bible. Only 16 percent say that they read the Bible every day.
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We need to study our Bible.  We need to be in God's word.  Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105  Proverbs 6:23  God's word will direct our life, it will light our way. It will instruct us, it will enable us to discover God and to discover ourselves. It will guide us through this dark world.It will guide us in the right way. God's word is a light for our feet and our path.  We will not stumble on the path or injure our feet. His word will show us the right way and prevent us from a false step. Devotions can be a healthy snack in your daily life, but you need a good solid meal.  Stay in the Word.

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