Strengthen faith this summerPublished 8:52pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Summer is a time to kick back and relax, but can also be a time of personal improvement. For followers of Christ, summer affords opportunity to grow spiritually.
Consider three suggestions.
One, Christians can develop a new appreciation for the Bible. We know we should read the Bible daily, but statistics say many don’t. The first step is to find a readable translation of the scripture. Though many of us cut our teeth on the King James Version, many modern-language versions are available today.
I came across my mother’s copy of “The Living Bible” lately and remembered how much she loved it. It was also helpful to me as a college student. I had a few professors along the way who didn’t like it, including the late Dr. Dale Moody who called TLB “the green monster.” His opinion was an academic one since TLB isn’t a translation but a transliteration; that is, Ken Taylor took the King James Version and paraphrased it into modern language rather than using the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. So TLB probably shouldn’t be used for scholarly research, but Taylor didn’t intend for it to be. He wanted a Bible that communicated to his children when he read to them at night. Bookstores have plenty of reliable versions available that don’t present a language barrier.
And we can devise a workable plan. Many who intend to read through the entire Bible meet with discouragement, so why not adopt a summer goal of reading a more compact group of books, such as the four gospels, the 12 minor prophets or the 13 letters of Paul?
Two, Christians can develop a deeper prayer life. Most of us pray in crisis but know we should have a more consistent prayer life. A good place to begin is the prayer list your church probably publishes, and then customize it for yourself. Add physical needs such as the mortgage and groceries (our “daily bread”) but also spiritual goals such as a new love for your church or finding fulfilling ministry for your life.
Three, Christians can find help through the media. Most cable packages have religious programming and most areas have one or more Christian radio stations. Find a Bible teacher who communicates to you and make an appointment to watch or listen every week. I’ve discovered lately a helpful Bible podcast that’s delivered to my computer every Monday morning for downloading on my iPod. I’ve enjoyed these while driving or doing yard work and have discovered that many such electronic programs are available to us that weren’t dreamt of a generation ago.
We can establish some good spiritual habits this summer that will remain when summer is gone.