Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Step 1: Pick A One-Year Bible Reading Plan

Grief is exhausting, physically and mentally! It's hard to cut through "Widow fog" and start up the thinking wheels. But step #1 in transforming quiet time is to set a goal of regular Bible-reading for 2012. Considering a goal and plan ahead of time will help build momentum and willpower.

Regular Bible-reading feeds the soul like food fuels the body. Plus, it's a way to unload. Jesus said,
Come unto me, all you who are heavy burdened . . . Grief is a burden! Developing the discipline of daily Bible reading will soon generate a quiet, restorative time will help lift that burden. Plus, you'll begin to love and look forward to those moments with God. And we all know that during grief we especially need something to look forward to!

The Bible is a collection of 66 books. That's a lot of books to read and a plan comes in to the rescue and help! I'll give you some links and ideas; you decide which would fit you best.

First, find out if your church or Bible study group will be following a plan for 2012. If so, try to follow along so you'll have the local encouragement. I also recommend using Daily Light, as I mentioned yesterday. Especially in the early days of grief, Daily Light has it all right there for you.

Otherwise, check out these 3 free downloadable print-outs from Navigators on this link. Each plan can be started at any point in the year. Each plan schedules 25 readings/month which is great because then you have some free days to catch up or you can spend more time on certain passages.
To help you decide, here are brief summaries for 2 of the 3: (I can't bring myself to recommend the 3rd one during grief, it looks too complicated, and life is complicated enough!)
If you're still raw and in shock with grief, or if your schedule is already too full with children, career or both, or if you've never had a daily time with God before, start out with this plan:
*The 5 x 5 plan gets you through the New Testament in one year, 5 minutes a day. I highly recommend it if you're actively grieving, or if you've never read through the Bible.
If you can spend 15-20 minutes a day, and want to try getting through the entire Bible, try this one:
*The Book-at-a-Time is the plan I use. Each day it lists a set of 3 or 4 chapters to read, plus one chapter of a psalm, poetry or wisdom. You choose one or the other, or both. The important thing is that you've spent time in God's Word. Think of a Bible reading plan like your basic nutrient, and then give yourself the freedom to supplement it with Bible studies or books. The plan is a tool, not an obsession.

If you'd rather follow a topic and have guided Bible interpretation, then devotionals might work better for you, and many come to you directly by e-mail! Here are some suggestions.
1. GriefShare provides A Season of Grief daily e-mail messages. If you're in the first months of grief, or part of a GriefShare group, this is an especially great resource. Sign up today.
2, 3. When you're ready to step back into the mainstream, try Girlfriends In God or Streams In The Desert e-mail devotionals. These are uplifting, well-written, relevant devotionals for women of all ages.

I welcome you to add your favorite Bible-reading plans or devotionals, too, and take a look at the books by widows and widowers on the tab at the top of this blog.

A number of widows have told me that a rather new devotional, "Jesus Calling" has meant a lot to them. I haven't read it it, but I've looked at it online and have read some of the reviews, and from what I can tell, the tips I'll give you on Friday will help you write your very own "Jesus Calling" in 2012!

Check back tomorrow for Step 2, Friday for my secret key to daily Bible reading, and Saturday for dealing with the down days.

Thank you for visiting today, and THANK YOU, JOYCE for putting me one member closer to my Christmas wish of over 100 members! (see photo and icon tiles on right sidebar) God bless you,
ferree

3 comments:

  1. OOh can't wait.Bless you Ferree for sharing your precious time with us and welcome Joyce xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good advice, Ferree!

    Devotional/Bible reading/journaling time were key elements in my healing. A habit I started a long time ago brought me through many hard times during my husband's illness and subsequent death.

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  3. Merry Christmas Linda and Susan! I love hearing from you, and Susan, it's such an encouragement to new widows like Linda, to know that you've seen God's faithfulness continue through the years and that He's brought you healing. Peace & joy to you this special week.

    ReplyDelete

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