February 21, 2012

Increasing your hunger for God's word

“ Hi, how do you get the word to mean so much to you, I read it and believe it, and long for it to be that meaningful? Please help!

This excellent question was asked of me recently and I believe that it is time for every believer to have a new hunger for the written word of God.  It is time for us to eat the word of God instead of merely reading it.

Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty."
This word is not merely a light to our path or a source of comfort but it is living and powerful. 
So in answer to the question “how do you get the word to mean so much to you?” I will share some pointers that will help you to read your Bible more deeply.  

But first you may want to read more about my testimony on my blog Deeper Devotion as it portrays a lost young teenager who knew nothing about God and had never held a bible before this time.

After I became a Christian I became so hungry for God’s word and that hunger has never abated in 40 years but has grown even stronger. 

I make a point of reading the word of God regularly. 

It may be a verse, a chapter or more.  But before I start reading I invite the Holy Spirit to come and be my teacher and to reveal new truths or fresh understanding.

I also journal.  This is a photo taken from my actual journal.  As you can see I date the entry – you can see how I have even written down my invitation to the Holy Spirit asking Him to “reveal Jesus to me today.”  Yes, I do express my love to Him with hearts!

2012 I have been reading straight through the gospels.  I have just finished Luke and have started into the book of John.  Sometimes when a story has been “familiar” it is easy to fall into the trap of skimming over words so at times like this I may read the words out loud.  This makes the mind slow down as you listen to the words you are speaking. 

If a verse captures my attention as it did the other day when I read the following words in John 6:6 
“This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” 

This was the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus was talking about Philip.  Jesus knew he was going to multiply loaves & fishes to feed the five thousand. But what on earth was Jesus testing Philip on? 

I will make a note of this in my journal and may do a “Google search” on references to this scripture to gain further insight.

I find it important not to rush through the word as I am reading.  It is about relationship not mere knowledge.  There are times when it is wise to stop and ask the Holy Spirit how this applies to your life or the situation that you may be facing.

I have a little ruler in my bible that I use to underline and as you can see – I use coloured markers and make notes beside the verses of things that have “struck me” with further insight. 
I will “date” certain scriptures if they seem to resonate with further meaning that addresses certain circumstances that I am facing in my life.

In seasons of trial or times of struggle I will often play cd’s that have scriptures spoken to music and listen to them through the headphones asking God to wash over me with His word.
There are times I read listening to worship music and other times I prefer silence.

I regularly read my bible but I don’t set a “time limit”.  Certain seasons of life are busier than others and I am in the time of life where I have fewer distractions so I often read a few times a day.  I make it a comfortable spot as I come to spend time with Him.

I put a priority on reading the bible over other books and materials as His word should be our reference point.  However, there is wisdom in reading other authors and teachers.  It widens our thoughts and can bring understanding on a variety of topics.  Just be balanced by making sure that the bible is read regularly.  (This is the top of the closet in my converted bedroom/office).

Diligent reading of the bible is the only way to develop a hunger for His word.  Some days you may read and it seems like nothing happens – but your spirit receives it.  Then there are those times when words seem to leap off the pages right into your heart.

As I sit to read, I consciously make myself aware that I am holding the living, breathing word of God and that He wants to reveal Himself to me. 

There is the awareness that the Holy Spirit is within me and with me as I read. The word IS spirit and it is life.

I pray, asking Him to confirm His word to me and through me.  God is speaking and we need to develop “ears” to hear.

Faith comes as we read His word  Romans 10:17

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