How to Form the Discipline of Daily Devotion
welcome to this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge where each week I offer a 15 to 20-minute answers to tough the illogical and pastoral questions the show is 100% listener supported audio Ministry of relearn. Org and for those who don't know our mission a tree learn.org is to bring the church back to the Bible ever bowled a daily encouragement over 500,000 Christians who follow us on social media by searching for relearn. Org on any platform
 all right everyone biblical illiteracy is a very real issue in the modern Church in fact in March of 2020 a study was released by the cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University that revealed that only 6% of Americans have a Biblical worldview this is fascinating because LifeWay research says that nine out of 10 Americans own a bible mean that we have many people with a Bible available to them and very few people that hold the worldview of that Bible another study by Ligonier Ministries earlier this year stated that over 30% of American evangelicals and 50% of American adults don't believe that Jesus was God so ultimately we are beginning to see the true state of the western church and unfortunately many Christians are actually part of the problem namely that they have a general understand
 King of the Bible it's made up of their periodic devotions podcast and Sunday sermons but they don't have a disciplined devotional time that reflects the degree of gratitude and love they have for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will bring them to maturity other words the question that would be posed to you is do you have a Daily Commitment to a genuine Hardy study worship prayer and praise time that is been fruitful and edifying for you if not today I'd like to share not only what I do for my personal devotional time but get down to the root of the American churches what I say is fickle and lethargic commitment to the word of God but before we dive in like to make this one quick announcement the first thing is praise God we hit our donation goal for the end of the 2020 year we made 20,000
 hours of extra donation for this last month we had that goal for the podcast listeners and some of our online social media support or so thank you so much to all who supported us your faithfulness really does make our ministry possible I also wanted to just briefly talked about our program at ultimate marriage.com many of you might know that many of you don't know my wife and I Veronica we have produced a six-week marriage Mentor program on theology rolls money sex children and more and these are basically 30 to 40-minute lectures with both her and I with a quick breakdown of tasks to do for the week and it will really help you form a Biblical marriage you can do this program by yourself I mean as an individual couple or in a group of small group of couples and it's $99 a couple there's a discount for those
 do it in a group format and all of that funding goes to support our ministry to great time guys to start investing into your marriage and it's a great way to do that so check out altimate marriage.com to get started Justin from Jackson Tennessee and he asked an increasing hostility toward Christianity in our culture and I'm finding more and more friends falling prey to the cultural influences of our day however I don't feel equipped to respond to many of the common questions around sexuality gender substance abuse and suicide that come from non-believers in my life in addition I also don't feel equipped to answer the biblical or theological questions that come up among people in my church
 ultimately I'm tired of not having the answer to these important questions and I would like to change that in 2021 can you tell me your daily routine or another routine that would help prepare me for an active Ministry in this new year okay Justin this is a fantastic question thank you for its timely and I believe your observation is correct regarding the Changing Times in our culture
 ladies and gentlemen I need to say something the Lord has been very gracious to his church here in America and the West with his soft warning signs of the more difficult season to come ahead the last place that you want to prepare yourself for battle is on the battlefield the time to make yourself equipped and useful for the Lord's Ministry is now and those who are faithful will be fruitful and those who are spiritually lethargic and apathetic during this time will be Barren and we cannot keep believing that the five minute Jesus calling Devotional time and the 32nd prayer each day will be sufficient investment spiritual investment for the Lord's sanctification in preparation for the season that's ahead of us and it amazes me that
 so many people who are hurting and broken hopeless and weak everyday walk by I mean literally physically walked by the word of God that sits upon the Shelf the very solution that they are yearning for is laying upon the pages within a few feet of their hands
 but instead we find ourselves looking to social media and the therapy of entertainment and video games we run to alcohol and pills and food people this book okay if it's booked it hold the answers to life not not just in a sense of a of a solution to your immediate problems but to the larger and deeper issues of life to the joy into the contentment in to the to the Wonder of the Gospel there is a depth to scripture that I've seen that I can't explain it it must be experienced and I just want to encourage you guys to to go and see what their Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness
 and all these things will be added to you all these things previously in that passage he talks about food and water and basically the things that we all worry about that we need and in Jesus has noticed first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will take care of themselves
 now I can sit here and passionately encourage you to read more that's not what I want to do what I want for you is to want to read more I want you to be extravagantly aggravated by the wastefulness of your time upon things that don't compare to time spent with the Lord I want you to have a hunger and a passion for the gospel and a desire for a constant use saturation of the word on your mind. That's what we need in this season I want you to want the words of God more than you want food more than you want sleep more than you want a hot shower I want to be the priority of your day the primary reason for your life that this is the part after that I'm trying to get at is not a podcast on go read your Bible more
 it's pray the prayer that God would change your heart that he would increase an appetite for the word of God that you would have a desire that is boiling up in you to get in the word of God to be dedicated and committed and disciplined about studying God's word now I think there's a misunderstanding in a church that leads many Christians to believe that this Rich biblical study as a duty strictly reserved for the pastor and all the pastor is called Shirley to a deeper and more comprehensive study of the scripture than those he Shepherds the Bible still calls for each of us to be prepared to give an answer at to preach the gospel when presented the opportunity to correct a brother who's in sin to exhort the church who has gone flat to defend the name of Christ in public
 got to suffer for the Savior when truth must be upheld and to just be in a state that is a representative or an ambassador of the lord we are each called to that Duty in the Christian Life Church it is high time that we move Beyond this again 5-minute devotion and step into a commitment that's more accurately reflective of the of the true love that we have for our savior I mean there is no valued relationship on Earth in which 5 minutes per day is a sufficient quantity of invested time to grow the bond between two parties it's just not a thing imagine if you invested 5 minutes a day into your wife's relationship and you know imagine if you invested 5 minutes a day into your children you can do it for a week and things might be okay but in the long-term narrative that is a tragic story
 you're missing out of the depth of that relationship so on that note Justin I wanted to share my personal I think you asked specifically for that what do I do on a daily basis what is the routine that has helped me be more fruitful growing maturity and has been used by the Lord to prepare me for more active Ministry so I want to begin with the why I don't want to just again tell you to go read more that's not what this episode is about but I want to say the why I study the way I study and why I commit the time to be with the Lord first is that I want you guys to know you can't know your Bible by always allowing or by only allowing other people to tell you what's in it can you must be like the bereans and check the teachings of others against the word of God
 yourself the one you can't rely always on the podcast or always on the sermon or always on the theology book you need to get in the word yourself so that's one just overarching principle
 second is Christians are deceived by heresies and false teachings when they don't know enough of the truth to recognize a lie and so I am committed to not being deceived doctrinally theologically by a teacher I am fully aware of what the the Bible says what Orthodox historic Evangelical Christianity has come to believe and committed to I know the Creeds I know the confessions of the faith I am not one to be fooled by deception now that doesn't mean that I can't be but the truth is is that I work hard to make sure that I'm not and the sad thing is that many people in the church do not do this and that is why we have a variety of mega churches and false teachers behind his Pulpit spewing out lies and nobody recognizes it because they don't know enough of the truth even notice the LIE
 so those are some principles there
 getting back to the Y for to talk about 2nd Timothy 2:15
 this is probably a central passage it says do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a worker who has not need to be ashamed rightly handling the word of Truth this is a call from the Apostle Paul to Timothy and a great example and a call to Christians to work diligently to present ourselves as one approved one who's not ashamed one who is ready for Ministry one who is prepared for the word for the Lord has for them rightly handling the word of Truth meaning that they know how to interpret they know how to you know what communicated they know how to properly view it within the context of scripture as a whole meaning that we can read the parts in light of the whole and we can read the whole in light of the parts so this is a call to diligent comprehensive study of the scripture so that we can be useful for Ministry
 another passage I often reflect upon at why I do the routine that I do and I'm going to get there in a second Jeremiah 9:23 through 24 and reads thus says the Lord let not the wise man boast in his wisdom but not the Mighty Man boast in his might but not the rich men boast of his riches but let him who boasts boast in this that he understands and knows me that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love Justice and righteousness in the Earth for these things I Delight declares the Lord okay first this is saying to glory in the knowledge of God the glory and the fact that you know God now the vehicle by which this relationship of you knowing God has been developed is by his word
 and so you got to be careful that it's not just about having knowledge but it's actually knowing. It is the greatest most lofty most critical most valuable possession that you can have on Earth it is the only thing that God says that we can glory in is in our relationship with him
 the more importantly this is this is also saying don't become sidetracked or infatuated with the glory of wisdom or the glory of cheese Meant For the Glory of money for the glory of business these things are like grains of sand beside of mountain if you're going to be obsessed with anything if you're going to be committed to anything if you're going to be sold out for anyting Let It Be for God alone that's what this passage is saying and I've really taken that overarching seen that passage of scripture are these the foundational rules and I've really applied that to how I study in why I study night remind myself the value of knowing god and that there's nothing more valuable than that time that I spent with the Lord
 until my devotional routine is about 4260 minutes six days per week and I don't do it right when I wake up I'm not the best right when I wake up so I usually do it about an hour or two after I wake up I actually think about it is what's the best part of my day like what am I most alert and I want to give the Lord the best part of my day and that's around 9 a.m. for me and so that is my offering to the Lord as I want to sit before him fully aware fully awake fully ready
 and give myself over to him and I don't do this primarily because of Duty well that is a part I do this primarily because it's love it's the most well invested hour of my day
 and so I really break it down into six segments the first is I do a Bible reading the very first thing I do is I just open up the word of God and I start reading usually I do one chapter a day now sometimes that will turn into 325 I've even finished you know an entire book before sometimes it'll also mean that I get stuck on a certain passage of scripture and I just will read a three or four verses and I I don't put any rules on it I'm not trying to get through the Bible I'm trying to read and see what the Lord has for me and then again it's more organic than it is by I got to get this chapter. And get this chapter done I also always have a notebook with me and so I I use the notebook for a variety of reasons. One is I use it to write down any distraction
 that might be popping up in my head while I'm with the Lord so that I can write them down
 side table them and forget about them and come back to them when my devotion is done instead of having them lingering in the back of my mind and I'm giving the Lord half of my attention
 and the other reason I have the notebook is that I'm constantly trying to write things down that might be edifying not only for me to remember but also for others to know that we are rivers not reservoirs meaning that we are intended to bring something edifying to our church family to our families there are things that I read that I often share with my wife or my children to my friends to the people to the men at my my church and this is this is critical I just want to eat we so often will read and selfishly forget the wonderful truths that the Lord has revealed to us
 and not share them with anyone and we diminish our own Ministries in this moment now there are things that the Lord shares that are just for me
 and then I don't immediately turn to Twitter or they don't immediately turn into an Instagram post and those things are special the second thing I do after my Bible reading is I do a devotional now that devotional there are
 thousands of devotionals out there and 99% of them are crap now this devotional that I do I found to be very helpful now there's a handful of really good devotionals out there but the one that I've been doing for the past almost 2 years now is called the voices from the past or might just be called Voices From the Past volume 1 and volume 2 it's a 365-day devotional each of them are and they're from the Puritans from the 16th 17th century era and the depth of maturity that has come from these Puritans especially because they come off the heels of A persecuted era is just incredible and it's been very uplifting another thing I look for in a devotional Charles spurgeon's you know morning and evening has a good devotional set there but the reason I choose a devotional like
 is from the past over maybe a Spurgeon devotional which I love Spurgeon is because I like the variety there's something about having several I mean 20:30 different writers that are forming daily devotionals these are short one page sermons that is more fruitful in my experience of having the teaching of just one individual over a long. Of time I could absolutely enjoy Spurgeon for an entire year but I do like hearing from a variety of these Puritan writers that I think gives me a more well-rounded perspective from their from their respective Ministries the next thing I do he is I read a book called The Valley of Vision and this is a prayer devotional it is basically a collection of Puritan prayers you probably heard me talk about it before both the DeVoe
 snow and the Valley of Vision are books that are produced by the publisher Banner of Truth and they are a fantastic resource for really strong theological content Valley of Vision is a one prayer a day book and I have a little leather-bound copy of it and it helps me see the
 great prayers of saints in the past it also helps me grow my own prayer life as it expands my comprehension of what prayer is and helps me see what other Saints are thankful for our asking for our framing they're thinking around and it's become a very edifying process to widen my personal prayer life into the Valley of Vision once I'm done with that the devotional takes me 34 minutes to Value Vision takes me 34 minutes so we're moving quickly here the next thing I move into his prayer and
 prayer is not easy okay either labor to get into deep prayer I mean it is
 sometimes excruciating to get into deep prayer
 the distractions of my life and my phone and my kids and my dog and whatever else is going on in my life is often difficult to get myself into a place where I'm feeling and experiencing a true communion with the Lord and then I'm getting past the superficiality of asking for things but thanking God and submitting to his will and and glorifying his wandering and revelling in his truth and really getting a chance to to have an intimate moment with the Lord I'm not speaking for some experiential moments that I'm trying to get a better spiritual High every time that's not the goal the goal is genuine authentic Fellowship in gratitude and reflection of the things that have been revealed to me in a response
 I I end up in worship and so that is the next portion and I try to spend many minutes in prayer it probably averages out to somewhere between five and 10 minutes of prayer this is also a time that I would cover some of the immediate needs in the supplications for the the the the local church that the individuals that are Church the prayer request my local community the persecuted Church to the issues around the world that the leaders of our land Etc then there is the last section is a praise and worship and I don't do this every time but every time I do it I wish I would do it more often and this is a praise and worship meaning that I am actually turning on some old hymns icing the classic hymns and I worship the Lord and praise the Lord in one or two songs on my own
 the last thing I do is not actually part of my my devotional time but it's a part of my day is that I'm always I mean always reading it least one theology book meeting somebody that is shepherding me in the theological comprehension of a certain issue and so and again I'm not turning to these what I would say is pretty entry-level Christianity that many people are stuck on I am turning to the Deep historic
 magnificent teachings of the great Saints of the past and some of the present I would again look at Banner of Truth for some of the great content Reformation Heritage also is another great publisher of good books Crossway has some pretty good books I get into some of the Puritan stuff but anything that's older from the 1800 1700 1600 is great Charles Hodges Systematic Theology would be a great book frames I forgot his first name but frames his last name is frame is booked on the doctrine of God that's another fantastic book there are so many great books so please go deeper than you usually do
 at the end of the day 2nd Corinthians 9:8 is a good reminder I'll close here in a second if it this time sometimes I'm worried about I got things to do I got to get going for the day I can't spend all this time studying when I have deadlines to meet and I Remember 2nd Corinthians 9:8 which comes on the heels of giving it comes off the heels of a verse that's about giving to the ministry of a Christians and he reminds the Christians this and I and I quote and God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiently in all things at all times you may abound in every good work
 other words the fastest way to accomplishing anything is first seeking God because God is the one that can make up the time God is the one that can change the timeline of my achievements and the productivity of the day and the income that I'm looking for he is the provider of all these things therefore seeking him first is the most effective path forward I believe it was Martin Luther who famously said I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer
 I think that's a great perspective to have. Always guys I will leave you with a few resources that will further your understanding of this topic and hopefully encourage you to have a stronger a devotional time every day in the year 2021 and inability to prepare yourself for a more active Ministry to prepare yourself for the season of more increased hostility toward the church for the ability to answer the questions that are are brought to you to edify and strengthen the church in the Christians that are around you to not be lethargic and apathetic like many are in the church today but to be alive in Christ to be growing in Christ and so the resources are the resources that I spoke about but again it's the voices from the past devotional number one and number to the Valley of Vision I will also leave you for
 I praise and worship section I put together a Spotify list it's available actually in our relearn. Org Instagram account if you go to our bio there's a link for there but also put on the post section of this page and it's titled biblical worship and I have handpicked probably 40 songs on there so far and I always add more biblical songs for for that playlist and so I'll put a few other resources that I mentioned in this post is well. So hopefully this episode was edifying for you I am praying that 2021 is a year of maturity for your walk with God and if you guys have not already would you guys consider please leaving a review on the podcast app you can just tap the stars but if you write something I will read it and they are very encouraging to me when listeners take the time to write something about the show if you don't already follow us on Instagram
 what are you can also follow me personally at deal Partridge on Twitter for a daily content on that note thank you guys for joining us today on real Christianity and I will see you next week
 thank you for listening to this episode of real Christianity if your regular was no to this show would you personally consider making a donation to support our ministry efforts simply visit relearn. Org forward slash donate again that's relearn. Work for donate and for those looking to explore the idea of joining or planting a church in your home you can download our free PDF book titled the basics of biblical house her by visiting relearn. Org for house lastly do you have a theological question you would like answered on the show submit your question at relearn. Org forward slash question thanks for joining us on this episode of real Christianity we will see you next Wednesday