You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After sleeping all night, your body gets up in the morning and it needs fuel for the day. But so does your soul! What do you use for spiritual fuel for your day?
A daily devotional should be your spiritual breakfast. If you get ready in the morning, eat, and run out of the house, you've missed hearing from God. Don't you want to be spiritually encouraged before you go out of the house for the day? Your conversations with God are more important than any other conversation you'll have with any person. In today's message, Pastor Miles gave us a step-by-step plan for approaching a daily devotion time with Biblical Narrative, the first of seven genres he will cover in this series.
Before you begin
Devotional Necessities: Bible, Pen/Pencil, Notebook/Journal (so that you can write out what God says to you, what you are learning, and how He is answering prayer), Bible Reading Plan (Don't just open the Bible randomly and pick a spot. Have a plan! There is a suggested reading plan for the week listed at the end of the message.)
Quiet Place: Find a quiet place where you will be able to focus without distraction.
Regular Time: Pastor Miles suggested to set a regular appointment time for early in the morning, so that you can start your day with God on your mind and with your heart. If your morning is packed, get up earlier! Your goal is to hear from God before you ever leave the house, so that you will be armed with His word, have Him on your mind, and be watchful with whatever information He gives you.
Biblical Narrative Reading Rules
Biblical Narratives are stories about real people in real time involved in real drama. As you read, identify:
- God friends and Satan's friends
- The Plot (How are God's friends attempting to build God's kingdom and in what way are Satan's friends resisting them?)
- Plot Resolution (How does God, the hero, save the day?)
Beginning in Acts 12:1, Pastor Miles modeled the format you can use for the suggested devotional readings each day:
1) Read, pray and discover what God communicated to them back then.
Read the Bible text and background information. Every book in the Bible was written by someone to someone for a specific reason, and you should be mindful of this information as you read. Amazingly, the text will also have something to do with you, too! God doesn't just want to spend time with you to fill your head with facts and understanding; He wants to change you, help you, and mold you into His image.
A. Setting: Identify the time and place of the text.
Place - What is the location of the target audience or the where is the story taking place?
Answer: A Jerusalem jail cell
Time - When is the activity in scripture taking place?
Answer: Days of Unleavened Bread (7 day festival following Passover)
B. Key People: Identify the key people in the story.
Author - Who wrote the text and/or who is narrator of the story?
Answer: Luke, a doctor. His intent was to provide an accurate historical account of the gospel and that the Christian faith was being offered to Gentiles as well as to the Jews.
Audience - Who is the target audience of the scripture? To whom is the author of the Bible story writing?
Answer: Theophilus, Gentile audience
Characters - Who are the key people in the story?
Satan's Friends - Answer: Herod and prison guards
C. Drama: What is the context of the text?
Biblical Narrative Rules - Indentify the plot and plot resolution:
Plot - Describe the story's tension. How are God's friends attempting to build God's kingdom and in what ways are Satan's friends resisting them?
Answer: Peter is preaching the Gospel. Herod arrests Peter in an attempt to silence the Gospel. Herod intends to kill Peter.
Plot Resolution - How does God, the hero, save the day?
Answer: God supernaturally delivers Peter from jail through the assistance of an angel.
D. Discovery: What is the intended message by the author to the original audience?
Answer: God delivers his people both in the natural and spiritual world. God answers prayer!
2. Reflect, pray and determine what God is communicating to us now.
What does this narrative reveal about God's character? Satan's character? What are themes and life lessons that are communicated through the text? Is there a promise God is trying to fulfill in your life that your lack of faith is blocking? Describe it. Based on what you learned from the characters, how can you be more like God's friends and less like Satan's friends?
Answer: I need to pray for God to do the impossible in my life.
3. Respond and do something. Pray and decide what God wants to do in and through you in the future.
Identify the steps of faith you need to take in order to facilitate God's promises. What are you going to do to apply your faith to be more of who God wants you to be? Is there sin to confess? Is there someone you need to forgive, serve or speak to?
Answer: I must surrender my impossible problems to God in prayer.
Challenge: Go read this story in Acts 12 again, going through each step for yourself. Practice the process. Write down what you learn. Listen for God's encouragement to you and respond to Him!
Using the above guidelines, below is a daily Bible text for you to READ, REFLECT and RESPOND:
MON - Exodus 34: Warriors (Biblical Narratives)
TUE - Deut. 28: Character (Old Testament Law)
WED - Psalm 73: Soul Food (Poetic Language)
THU - Joel 2: Law Enforcement (Prophetic Literature)
FRI - John 10: Twists & Turns (Kingdom Of God/Parables)
SAT - Galatians 6: Letters (Epistles)
SUN - Daniel 9: Visions (Apocalyptic Literature)
Daily tweet: What did God teach you? Encourage others in that.
- Part 1, The Journey
- Part 2, Foundations
- Part 3, Preparations
- Book One: Warriors (Week 1)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 2)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 3)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 4)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 1)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 2)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 3)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 1)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 2)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 3)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 1)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 2)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 3)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 1)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 2)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 3)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 1)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 2)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 3)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 1)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 2)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 3)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 4)