Practice and Passion

I distinctly remember when I started reading the Bible regularly and spending time alone with God. I was about 13 and we were living in my grandparents' unfinished basement because my dad was switching from a farming career to an insurance career.

Perhaps it was the uncertainty of that time that led me to get out my NIV Bible, journal, and "Our Daily Bread" and sneak away for some quiet in my grandmother's mauve colored "good room."

It was then that I began a practice that I've stuck with to this day. The daily feeding on God's Word. The practice has become more of a passion with each year and I'm  thankful that even when I don't "get much out of it" the practice holds.

It's what gets me up each morning--desperate to spend time alone with God before the clamor of the day begins. Sometime around 6:00 a.m. it's what pulls me from the comfort of bed. That and the aroma of percolating coffee.

Once coffee is quietly poured and mixed with sugar and half and half, I head to the deck on these summer mornings. I hope for a half an hour before the boys rise, if I'm lucky an hour. And that's when I read God's Word, pray, and work on the passage I'm memorizing. I watch the morning sun creep quietly into the back yard and listen to bird song.

Yesterday, I finished reading Revelation. Not that big of a deal, right? But by finishing Revelation I finished reading the entire Bible using the chronological reading plan. It was organized to be a one year reading plan, but mine was more like a year and a half. Or two years. Something like that.

It doesn't matter how long it took me. I loved reading the whole Bible and this was the third time I've done so in my life. The chronological plan was really interesting because it helped me place everything in the correct timeline. For instance I read Job in the middle of reading Genesis. And the Psalms that correspond to David's life were mixed in with his story. This method helped me gain an overarching view of the Bible and identify  it's theme of redemption and grace through out.

I'm looking forward to taking a different approach in the next few months though, with a Bible study by Elizabeth George up next and then I'm considering Nancy Guthrie's The One Year Book of Hope as my Bible study aids. I'm looking forward to taking more time with a single passage and a specific theme and slowly soaking up all the details and nuances of that particular scripture.

So this is my practice and my passion when it comes to God's Word.

What's yours? What are you currently reading in the Bible? How do you read it? When do you set the time aside and do you use devotionals of any sort? I'd love to hear about how you spend time alone with God.