Sharon Herbitter

About Sharon Herbitter

Sharon's Blog
Sharon is a wife, mom, and nana. She shares living space with her husband Bruce and two huge shelter mutts named Stella and Gilligan. She lives and works (at a pregnancy center) smack dab in the middle of Alabama where she never imagined God would plant her.



10 Helps for Daily Bible Reading

You know it’s important to read the Bible every day. And every January 1st that resolution makes it onto your list. THIS will be the year you accomplish your goal of reading God’s Word from cover to cover!

You start out with a bang in Genesis 1 and somewhere around Leviticus 12 your resolve begins to fade. What to do? How can you keep the motivation going when you hit passages that seem to have no application to our lives today—and may not even seem to make sense?

10 Helps for Daily Bible Reading

Here are a few tips to keep you on track through the dog days of summer and beyond. You don’t have to wait until January, either—start today!

 

1. Remind yourself how precious it is to have the gift of God’s Word. For most of history the average man or woman hasn’t had access to a copy of the Bible. Illiteracy, unavailability (no printing presses!), oppression—these are a few of the things that have historically kept the Bible out of the hands of all but a very few. Today most of us have multiple copies of Scripture and a few seconds on our cell phones can get us a look at any passage we want in dozens of versions. It’s easy for us to become complacent and forget how privileged we are.

 

2. Remember that God’s character is revealed in Scripture. When you are scratching your head over arcane passages in Numbers it is helpful to step back and look at the big picture. God is serious about worship, serious about his glory, serious about his people. We see this in every page of the Bible. And while God’s awesomeness is displayed in his creation, everything we specifically understand about his nature and his will comes from what is contained in the Bible. To understand the God we serve it is imperative to know him and the most direct way to do that is through reading the Bible.

 

3. Follow a reading plan—or a different reading plan. If you start reading Genesis 1 on January 1st it can be a daunting task when you hit various sections of the Old Testament. How many laws ARE there? Isaiah is a LONG book! Do the minor prophets speak to us today? (Traditionally, 613 laws—give or take; yes, 66 chapters—not as long as a Stephen King novel, though; yes, they do.)

 

It can be helpful to mix it up a little. There are countless Bible reading plans out there (just Google “Bible reading plans” and you’ll see what I mean); you can even have a daily portion emailed to you each morning. One of the oldest reading plans was written by Robert Murray M’Cheyne and will take you through the entire Bible in one year, plus the Psalms and New Testament twice. Each day’s portion contains both the Old and New Testaments spread over four different passages. If that seems too ambitious there are plans that will take you through the Bible in two years or plans that present your reading in a chronological way. Try a plan or if your old plan seems stale, trade it in for a different model.

 

4. Your daily Bible reading should not replace Bible study. Just read. Don’t feel the need to drag out commentaries, concordances, and Bible dictionaries. It’s fine to make a note of passages that raise questions for further study, but let your daily Bible reading be just that—a time of reading and letting God’s Word envelop, feed, and sustain you every day.

 

5. Remember that reading your Bible is a sure way to gain wisdom. “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.” —Proverbs 4:5. God’s words are the truest and quickest path to wisdom and that is surely something we all need.

 

6. You need help because you are reading a supernatural book. Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that God’s Word is living and powerful; we need God’s help to understand it. Before he begins his daily Bible reading John Piper prays his IOUs:

 

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” —Psalm 119:36

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” —Psalm 119:18

“Unite my heart to fear your name.” —Psalm 86:11b

“Satisfy [me] in the morning with your steadfast love.” —Psalm 90:14a

 

7. Recognize that you cannot sustain a vital, vibrant, healthy Christian life without constant feeding on God’s Word. Bible reading and prayer are our direct connections with God; without them we grow stale, weak, untethered. We need constant nourishment and there is nothing (nothing!) more vital to our daily health than a dose of Scripture.

 

8. The best way to recognize bad theology is by knowing what God’s Word actually says. In these days of biblical illiteracy it is not uncommon to hear “Scripture” interpreted by a secular source (or a preacher who might just as well be secular). If we know the context of the verse they are using (because we’ve read it for ourselves) we are better able to recognize when passages are used incorrectly, taken out of context, or even misquoted. Ephesians tells us that God’s Word is the “sword of the Spirit” and is our weapon of choice against the world and Satan. A good soldier knows his weapon.

 

9. This is a subset of the first item, but do not look at daily Bible reading as something that has to be checked off of a “to do” list. Take a glance at Psalm 119 for an example of the right attitude to have with regard to God’s Word. Treasure it, make reading it the highlight of your day (because that’s what it is, even if you don’t see it yet).

 

10. When you don’t feel like reading the Bible, read the Bible. That is when you need it most. But don’t be a slave to a reading plan if you are going through a dry spell. Spend time in the Psalms or special passages that have personal significance. You don’t get credit for sticking to a reading schedule, but you do need to turn to the source of all wisdom, comfort, strength, and peace.

By | 2018-06-19T01:59:00+00:00 June 19th, 2018|

#BeAmazedEveryDay

For years now I’ve followed the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan that takes you through the entire Bible in one year (and the Psalms and the New Testament twice). And every year when the time for Ecclesiastes rolls around I say to myself, “This is the year when I’m going to understand what this book is all about.”

And…every year the same thing happens. Every year I wonder how such a hopeless, depressing, world-centered book got into the canon in the first place. Every year I wonder what I’m missing, how I’m supposed to get something out of this portion of God’s word.

Every year I dutifully finish reading the words of the Preacher and am relieved that I don’t have to meet him again until the following year.

#BeAmazedEveryDay

 

Digging into Ecclesiastes

In 2018 I decided to change that. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to do an in-depth study of this book that had me so befuddled. I started by reading it—a pretty good place to start! I listened to a preaching series (it wasn’t very satisfying, but I’d just gotten started). Then I hit my first (of several) commentaries.

I chose Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End by David Gibson, mostly because it was one of Desiring God’s Top 17 Books of 2017 (love that annual list compiled by Tony Reinke!). And finally the light began to dawn.

This isn’t a book review (here’s a quick take: Great book! Read it!). It’s about how reading (and beginning to understand) Ecclesiastes has changed my day-to-day mundane life. Because when you look closely, when you look with eyes that seek out wonder and amazement, you’ll find that there’s no such thing as a mundane life.

 

Be Amazed – Every Day!

We all know that God created the world. What we tend to forget (or maybe it’s just me – what I tend to forget) is that he goes on and on, sustaining us, holding all of creation together. Every rock, every caterpillar, every molecule, every cupcake—everything is held together by the word of his power. If you meditate on that for a minute or two it takes your breath away.

All of creation, not just humanity, has been broken by sin. But even in its groaning condition the world remains a place of astounding beauty and a display of incredible imagination. I spent part of yesterday in a butterfly conservatory where I learned that adult butterflies live only two-to-four weeks. I stood in the middle of a kaleidoscope of flying critters, flashing stained-glass wings, beautiful in flight, alight, even just the idea of such creatures. What extravagance—to only grace the world for a few weeks! What a generous, preposterous, unrestrained, lavish, boundlessly gracious God to give us the gift of these small flying jewels.

 

Gifts of a Loving Father

If we look at the world, our jobs, our wealth, our friends, our pleasures, as ways to find meaning and happiness we will come away empty. (“Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”) Even the most beautiful vista, the most alluring lover, the most decadent pleasure cannot quench the longing deep inside of us.

Our restless hearts are calmed for only the briefest of moments and then the longing returns. But if we look at those very same things as gifts given to us by a loving Father, given to us to enjoy not worship, to use to glorify him—then those things slip into their rightful places and we can find pleasure and happiness as we exult in blessings given to us because he loves us so. When our hearts come to rest in God we find that lasting peace that allows us to thrill to the world around us because he made it for us to enjoy.

And so every day I make it a point to look at the world determined to find something amazing. It might be my winter-straw front lawn coming to life again right before my eyes. It might be fresh gratitude that God made us to live in community and the wonder I feel when I think about the sweet friends who make my life so much better than it would be without them.

It might be considering the astounding variety of foods that he provides (we don’t just have to eat manna all-day-every-day!). It might be the sweet voice of a co-worker’s little daughter chattering in the office next to mine. All of those things—if you really think about them—are amazing.

I use the hashtag #BeAmazedEveryDay to go along with a picture or a post of something “mundane” that reveals its improbability, its complexity, its declaration of a Creator who sustains his creation. The exercise forces me to see the world with eyes open to finding gifts, wonder, delight. I’m awed by a gracious God who gives with such openhanded benevolence. I’m amazed every day.

By | 2018-04-28T04:37:17+00:00 May 7th, 2018|

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