First, take a fast from secular news and political commentary.
Stop browsing Breitbart, the Washington Times, the Drudge Report, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the New American, Red State, the Blaze, Newsbusters, RealClearPolitics, WorldNetDaily, etc. None of these conservative news sources have a clue about spiritual realities. They see symptoms, but they don’t understand the underlying fundamentals and they have no real answers. They are frustrated, and they will make you frustrated if you spend much time with them. They don’t know God in born again salvation; they don’t have the Spirit of truth; they don’t hold the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, the sole authority for faith and practice; they don’t live by a biblical worldview; they aren’t looking for the imminent return of Jesus Christ; they don’t believe Bible prophecy so they have no idea about the future. They don’t know a New Testament church from Adam’s house cat. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). At the very least, cut way, way down on the consumption of political news and commentary.
Second, cut your social media time way, way down, if not cut it off entirely, and cut your entertainment time way, way down.
The average American Bible-believing Christian spends an inordinate amount of time with social media and entertainment. In our experience, the average Bible-believing Christian’s daily life has a little Bible and a little prayer and a whole lot of party, party. This is not New Testament Christianity, even if the party, party is wholesome. Life is too short for this, and God’s business is too large and pressing. Pastor Simeon Western of Adelaide, South Australia told me recently, “Our staff, office bearers and their wives agreed to stay disconnected from popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are happy to allow the use of instant messaging Apps such as WhatsApp for communication purposes, but our desire is to set a good example on a leadership level and encourage a culture in the church of separation from digital platforms. I believe social media is one of the biggest tools the devil is using to destroy Fundamental churches beneath the surface.”
Third, take all of those precious hours that you gain from cutting way down on political news and social media and playing and spend them immersing yourself in the Word of God and prayer.
I’m not talking about a daily devotional and a few minutes of prayer. I’m talking about immersion. This is the path to real revival. It will change your life, your home, and your church. I think you will be amazed at the difference this type of thing can make.
I recommend the following, which are the types of things that our own people are doing, so that they have remained encouraged and growing under one of the most draconian lockdowns you can imagine.
- Go through the course Understanding the Bible for Yourself. This is for beginning Bible students and for advanced. It is for teenagers, for parents, for grandparents, for new Christians, and for pastors. It is available from www.wayoflife.org. Go through it carefully and prayerfully. Read every verse that is referenced. Practice the things you learn. Don’t tell me that you took a course in Bible study in Bible college, so you don’t need this. Over the past 47 years, I have gone through about 30 courses in Bible study and interpretation, and I’m learning more today than ever before. This course is packed with practical things.
- Make your own timeline of Bible history. There are 13 books of the Bible that contain the overall history. These are Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, the Gospel of Matthew, and the book of Acts. There are 352 chapters in these 13 books, so the project can be done in one month by reading and outlining 12 chapters a day or two months by reading and outlining 6 chapters day. In each study session, first read your chapters for the day (however many you choose). As you are reading, pay close attention to the main events. Then go back and write them out. Thus you must divide your readying/study period into (1) reading and (2) working on your timeline. For this project, keep your focus on the one main goal of finding the major events of Bible history and enumerating them into your own timeline. You need to read the books as quickly as you can with good understanding, without getting bogged down into examining the details or trying to figure out difficulties. When you have completed the reading of the 13 books and have made a timeline, then go back through the timeline and pick out the main events and list them separately. That will help you to further refine your understanding of Bible history. The main events are ones like creation, man’s fall, Abraham’s call, Israel in Egypt, and Israel’s exodus from Egypt. This project will help strengthen the foundation of your Bible knowledge by putting the whole Bible timeline in your mind. It is like standing back and looking at a forest before you walk in to examine individual trees and other details. Further Bible reading and study will build on this foundation. This is not just for new Bible students. I designed this project after seeing that people can read the Bible for years and still not have a good overall picture.
- After that, read the entire Bible twice in six months, which requires about 14 chapters a day. One pastor who read the Bible multiple times per year for a few years said, “That study helped me more than anything else in establishing the Bible in my mind, not as a volume of books, but as one Book, with one Author, and being able to discern from the pages of scripture the beautiful tapestry God has woven through history. It really helped with seeing the Bible from a dispensational perspective. The discipline of reading the Bible through twice in a year didn’t allow me to stop and spend a lot of time in one passage, so I didn’t get bogged down with too many details. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that regimen forever, since it is critical to examine ‘every word of God,’ but in establishing the ‘big picture,’ I found it incredibly helpful in my understanding of God's word, and in my walk with Him.”
- There are many other suggested Bible study projects in Understanding the Bible for Yourself.
- Engage in memorizing and meditating on Bible verses. The Scripture Memory Verse Journal, available for free from Way of Life Literature, has a memory verse program and teaches an effective way to meditate. Of course, you can choose your own verses to memorize. The important thing is to learn how to meditate on the verses so that it is not mere rote.
- Increase the time you spend in intercessory prayer and in seeking wisdom from God. I spend at least a half hour a day in focused intercessory prayer while walking in a private place, and that is a small part of my daily prayer. Some of our Bible school girls spend two and three hours a day in intercessory prayer.
- Make sure you are having daily family prayer. It is easy to let this slip. If it has slipped, re-establish it, and if it hasn’t slipped, look for ways to increase its effectiveness.
- Get a prayer partner and meet daily for prayer, or as regularly as possible. In fact, get multiple prayer partners. Your husband or wife should be your first prayer partner. Paul believed fervently in prayer partners. Paul taught the importance of this by his frequent, earnest requests for prayer (Ro. 15:30; Eph. 6:19; Col. 4:3; 1 Th. 5:25; 2 Th. 3:1). In 2 Co. 1:11 Paul gives one of the reasons why prayer partners are important. When multiple people are praying for something and God answers, there is multiple thanks to God.
- Spend more time in congregational prayer. Whatever prayer times your church has, be there, and be engaged! And encourage more prayer! Pastor Simeon Western of Adelaide, South Australia, says, “In addition to our regular Wed. night prayer meeting, we now have a prayer meeting before soul-winning on Saturday and a Sunday afternoon prayer meeting at 5pm for an hour before the evening service. We have a weekly prayer chain that runs from 8pm Sat night to 8am Sun morning. People commit to an hour of prayer in their homes in that 12 hour period. We have regular all nights of prayer, about one every two months on average. We divide the night into three-hour segments and have teams come and pray throughout the night. We usually assign a prayer leader and we use a prayer guide. We usually have a key theme we focus the prayer night around (e.g. lost souls, revival, missions).”
These kind of things bring real change, to individuals, to homes, to churches, to nations. Let’s stop fighting spiritual battles with weapons of the flesh.
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