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First Baptist Church - Palestine, TX

The God I’ve Come to Know – Blog & Podcast

Good relationships grow over time. The more we get to know someone, the more time we spend together, the joys in the good times, and the learning how to negotiate the difficulties all help us to grow closer to people. Many of us have had the experience of having our spouse or a special friend that we have that special connection with. Maybe a certain glance or a facial expression brings to mind some experience that we’ve had together in the past.

I can say the same thing about my relationship with God, can’t you? I mean, the God I’ve come to know is still the same, yet much different than the God I met when I got saved over 35 years ago. The God I’ve come to know is more personal, less distant and sweeter than the God I first met.

I was thinking about that recently when I was reading in 2 Chronicles about one of the good kings of Judah named Asa. Asa had a lot to deal with. He followed a number of kings were not God-fearing, who allowed a great deal of idol worship, and destroyed the altars of God.

It seems God brings encouragement and affirmation right when it’s needed. In 2 Chronicles 15, He brings a prophet named Azariah son of Oded. We don’t see Azariah anywhere else in Scripture. Let’s look at the affirmation God brought through Azariah.

2 Chronicles 15:1-7,The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. So he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Asa and all Judah and Benjamin, hear me. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without instruction, but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought him, he was found by them. In those times there was no peace for those who went about their daily activities because the residents of the lands had many conflicts. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress. But as for you, be strong; don’t give up, for your work has a reward.”

You see, Asa didn’t just know who God was, he KNEW God. He had an intimate, growing relationship with Him. The God Asa came to know was very real and personal.

I’ve had a similar experience to King Asa, as I hope you have. I want to tell you three aspects about the God I’ve come to know.

First, the God I’ve come to know is…the God of faithfulness. He is the God who is true to His Word, the God who will never leave or forsake you. As our text says, “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you.” The God I’ve come to know is the God that Abraham trusted when he was told to sacrifice his son on the altar. The God I’ve come to know is the God that told Joshua to march around the city 7 times, with trumpets, and the walls fell. The God I’ve come to know is faithful when I’m faithful, and faithful when I’m not. The God I’ve come to know is my rock, my refuge, my ever-present help.

Secondly, the God I’ve come to know is…the God of my returns. Throughout the Old Testament history of Israel, God’s children would start out faithfully, then turn away, perhaps even turn to idols, get into distress, then turn their eyes back on God. Asa surely found comfort in Azariah’s words, “but when they turned to the Lord God of Israel in their distress and sought him, he was found by them.” The God I’ve come to know is the God that delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh even when they doubted God. The God I’ve come to know is like the father who RAN after the prodigal son when he turned his eyes toward home. The God I’ve come to know is the God who receives me with open arms every time I fall on my knees after I’ve failed Him and turns my sorrows into joy.

Finally, the God I’ve come to know is the God of my distresses. Our text tells us that nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every possible distress. Don’t think for a moment that the God of my distresses only troubles us when we have misbehaved. The God of my distresses uses trials and tribulations, even when I’m faithful, to shape and mold me into the man He desires me to be. God is the God of the mountain and the God of the valley. He’s not a genie in bottle or a coin in a wishing well, but He IS able to move mountains at His command. He uses my distresses, that are all under His control, to teach me that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

The God I’ve come to know is different than the God I met – He’s more than I ever dreamed of and more. The God I’ve come to know is more full of love, more full of grace, and more awesome than I first thought. Isa. 43:1b-3a, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God,

Let’s pray, “Dear God, I’m so thankful that the God I’ve come to know is so much more than the God I first met. You’ve proven yourself faithful time and again. You’ve shown grace and mercy for my failures and the times I’ve wandered away, always welcoming me back. You are firmly in control of my blessings and my distress-ings, and I trust You completely. Amen”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

It’s All About the Gospel – Blog & Podcast

In our church, we will begin Vacation Bible School this Monday. It will one of the biggest events of the year for our church with the most adults involved for a concentrated period than for any other event or series. Some churches have started to question the validity of VBS, others have cut back on it because they can’t get workers, or their attendance is poor. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some trends in the curriculum that do not excite me, but if it’s done right, it can be a powerful tool.

When I was in seminary, I had a professor named Marcia McQuitty who made a statement that has stuck with me in regard to the church. “We have raised two generations of Biblically illiterate adults”. As sad as it is to say, I had to agree.

So when I think about Vacation Bible School, I am still a big believer in it, if it has the proper focus.

John says this in I John 4:2-3a, This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.

The focus, not just of Vacation Bible School, but everything in the church, should be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as this passage indicates, there are people in the world that claim Jesus, but they don’t claim Him as the Christ, the Messiah, or maybe they don’t believe that He came as the only begotten Son of God in human flesh. Some believe He was the brother of Satan or was elevated from an angel status. That’s just not a Christian belief.

What makes us Christians? We are CHRIST-ians, followers of Christ, believers IN Christ, disciples of Christ. Our hope comes in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. That means that VBS and everything we do in the church should be Gospel-Centered and Gospel-Empowered. Worship, discipleship, service, missions, and yes, even fellowship should have the Gospel as its center.

So what is the Gospel?

  1. God created man – just as sin entered the world through one man through his fall – so it spread to all men.
  2. Man was separated – For the wages of sin is death – and we’ve all been born into sin.
  3. Christ surrendered life – For while we were still helpless…Christ died for the ungodly.
  4. Amazing grace, undeserved – For we have been saved by grace through faith – it is God’s gift
  5. Repentance brings forgiveness – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive them and to cleanse us.
  6. My confession solidifies – If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

It’s because of this focus that I am still a big believer in the Sunday morning small group Bible study. You can call it Sunday School, as we still do, or Bible Fellowships, or whatever you want to call it, but it still serves the same 6 purposes, if done properly, which all have a Gospel focus.

  1. Biblical instruction – this one is obvious. There is teaching, discussion and interaction. We learn from the Word, from the teaching and from what others share.
  2. Community development – Community develops through the teaching, through the relationships that are built, prayer requests that are shared, and through fellowship.
  3. Ministry connection – Small group Bible study classes are the perfect platform to bind together to take care of needs of the members. Whether it be a death in the family, a sickness, a crisis of some sort, this family, as such, can minister to needs much more effectively than can be communicated through worship services.
  4. Entrance creation – We have multiple “entry points” in the church. Worship is an obvious one, but it doesn’t allow people to get to know one another all that well. Small group Bible study is another place to invite someone to, where they can actually interact with people in a similar stage of life.
  5. Gospel investment – The teaching should be Gospel-centered, to be sure, and classes can pray for and visit those who they are burdened about who may be lost. They can come up with a plan for investing in those they have burden for.
  6. Mission empowerment – Small group Bible study classes are just the right size groups to do ministry projects together, either as part of something going on in the church or something outside. The bonds built during this time can be very powerful.

All of these are part of the Gospel. Are you an active part of a small group Bible study class? If not, you should be. If you need some help finding one, I’d be glad to help you.

Let’s pray…”Father, help all that we do in our church to be Gospel-centered and Gospel-empowered. Thank you for small group Bible studies which help in these six areas and others. Use them for Your glory and Your glory alone. Amen”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Fatherhood, God’s Way – Blog & Podcast

For me, I feel like fatherhood has been not only one of my greatest callings, but perhaps my greatest responsibility. With it has come great lessons, great challenges, and also great moments of victory and satisfaction, and a good bit of patience and hard work.

Whenever we can draw directly from a Biblical example for something in life, I believe that is especially helpful. Such is the case with fatherhood. We see a number of great examples in Scripture, but I believe the story of Abraham and Isaac is just about the best.

Unable to conceive a child with his wife through 50+ years of marriage, Abraham, continued to trust God. Abraham and Sarah had to be giving up on the idea of having a child by this time. God came to Abraham when he was 75 and placed a unique calling on his life – to go. Just go and trust me to tell you where. Oh, by the way, you will have descendants as many as the sands on the seashore.

Abraham shares this with his 66-year-old wife, whose reaction was so very spiritual – she laughed and laughed and laughed. You can understand, right? Why now? Why at this age? Is this really happening?

It didn’t happen immediately. They had to wait nearly 25 more years, during which time they tried to take the situation into their own hands. It had to sound like a good idea at the time. Sarah says, “since I can’t give you a child, take my maidservant – he will still be coming from your bloodline.” Nothing could happen badly through that, right? WRONG. Just exactly what you would think happened, happened. There was jealousy and anger, and Abraham had to send his maidservant and his son Ishmael away. However, Abraham and Sarah once again began to fully trust God and he gave them a beautiful son when Abraham was 99 and Sarah was 91. They named him Isaac, which means “laughter”. Sarah remembered her laughter at the first revelation by God.

Abraham cherished his son, made him his helper and then God made the biggest demand on Abraham that any father could ever have to respond to.

Genesis 22:1-2,After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Take your son,” he said, “your only son Isaac, whom you love, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

Abraham had to be thinking “God, you told me I would have descendants, plural, and now you are going to take away the only one I have, the one I waited nearly 100 years to have??” But God was teaching Abraham the characteristics of a Godly father. Abraham was not a bad father to sacrifice his son in this way, He was following the call of God on his life. Fathers, if you follow the call of God on your life, there is nothing better you can do, and He will teach you the Way.

Abraham demonstrated 10 characteristics of a Godly father…A model for each of us, and something to pray for those fathers in our lives. A Godly father…

  1. Hears the Lord’s Word – Abraham walked with God daily and a Godly father gets his instruction from the Word
  2. Does the necessary work – There’s no short-cuts to fatherhood. He must be a disciple-maker, show love, teach.
  3. Commits to the journey – Once you hear “I’m pregnant”…. Teachers can tell quickly which dads are checked out
  4. Is a worshipping man – There’s nothing more valuable to the discipleship of a child than to be in the home of a worshipping dad
  5. Does the hard jobs – Abraham is faced with the hardest task, and never hesitates
  6. Trusts God for provision – God will provide the lamb. Honor God and He WILL provide. Give God the first and best
  7. Disciplines his children consistently – Just as the altar of sacrifice needed a particular order – children need consistent discipline, desire it
  8. Knows his children’s Owner – Abraham understood that ultimately his son did not belong to him.
  9. Leads from his knees – Abraham was on the altar, offering his son. “Abraham looked up”. We get low to look up.
  10. Takes a long-term view – Because Abraham was faithful with his first, he entrusted him with many.

The results – Abraham, Isaac, and the young men got up and they settled in a new place – and they were never the same. Abraham was the father of many nations, he’s demonstrated the Gospel for us – for God so loved. “Father, my children do not belong to me – I surrender their ownership to You and I will be Your steward. I pray for other fathers, that they too will follow Your lead in raising their children. It’s the right way and the only good way. Amen”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Church, It’s Time to Pray – Blog & Podcast

Have you ever been praying for something from the bottom of your heart, and this thought comes to your mind…

  • “why would God bless YOU with that? Don’t you remember what you said earlier this week?”
  • “What about your attitude yesterday? How you were short with your spouse last week?”
  • “What about the time you spent looking at stuff on your phone that you didn’t have any business looking at?”
  • “Do you think God will overlook that conversation you had with him or her?”
  • “What about when your friend asked you to help them, and you lied and said you had something you had to do?”

In situations like this, sometimes guilt grips us like super glue and won’t let us go – shuts prayer down like a water faucet. In our text for today, John reminds believers that God is bigger than our fleshly desires, failures, minds & doubts. We can come boldly to the throne in prayer, as a child comes to a loving father, knowing their request is heard,

I John 3:21-22, 21 Dear friends, if our hearts don’t  condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands and do what is pleasing in his sight.

God is greater than our hearts. God knows all things. God will reassure the hearts of His children who seek Him earnestly. So, what is this guilt I’m feeling? What his holding me back from being bold in my prayer life? John is basically saying sometimes that our conscience overrides the Holy Spirit’s confirmation in our lives. God forgives and forgets – we receive forgiveness and sometimes we can’t forget.

John is saying the same thing he’s been saying throughout the book – love God, love his people, and trust God. THAT will be the evidence that demonstrates you are a true child of God. If you are a true child of God, then you should exercise the main avenue of personal communication – prayer.

Show me a person with a consistently growing spiritual life and I will show you a person who has a consistent prayer life. Show me a church that is growing and reaching souls for Christ and I’ll show you people who are praying for it.

Church it’s time to pray…it’s time to move from being people who are held back by something in our past or present which has lied to us and told us that our prayers don’t matter. From people whohave treated God like a genie who may grant wishes if we are good enough to being passionate about loving God. From people who are praying about the smallest details but have lost sight of the big picture.From people who think of prayer as us moving God’s hand to people understanding that prayer is adjusting our hearts to God.

I want to challenge you today to move from guilt to grace, to become bold and unashamed in prayer– your life depends on it, your family depends on it, the health of your church depends on it.

Pray Enthusiastically

  • Ask God to give you an excitement about spending time with Him, to increase your desire.

Pray Systematically

  • Schedule it early in the day – make notes and a list if you need to, maybe even journaling and recording requests and responses to those prayers.

Pray Selflessly

  • If you make it a priority to focus on God first, needs of others second, and your needs last, you’ll honor God better.
  • Warren Wiersbe once said, “When our delight is in the love of God, our desires will be in the will of God.”

Pray Categorically

  • Jesus modeled a prayer for us that started with praise and thanksgiving, moved to intercession, confession, and then requests for protection. That’s a great model for our own prayers.
  • Are you praying regularly for your family? Are you praying for your children’s future mate? For the spiritual health of your children. Are you praying regularly for your church? When you do, are you praying for Kingdom growth or are you just praying that God would “bless our church”. Come bold and unashamed and pray for what would glorify God the most.

Whatever your hesitation has been, whatever your guilt is – God’s grace is sufficient. Whatever your excuse or reason is for not having a consistent prayer life, God is better. It’s not an obligation, but a privilege. Life is hard, prayer is not.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Motivation – a blog post and podcast

I John 3:16,16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

We have come to know love because He laid it down for us. That is powerful stuff! Christ laid down His life for people who were living a life apart from a true relationship with Christ – like Saul the persecutor, who later became Paul the missionary, Zacchaeus the thieving tax collector, the paralytic lowered through the roof, the Gerasene demoniac…and Tony Watson, yes even me – and you too.

That’s amazing enough, but what struck me this time through the passage was thinking about the motivation. Why would Jesus, who had it all in Heaven, who knew he would be mistreated, spat upon, beaten and cursed…what was his motivation to do all of those things?

When you look up motivation on the trusty internet, it gives you all kinds of lists of things that motivate people. Things like money, rewards, desire to be the best, power, fame, recognition, achievement…It seems like the world defines motivation as somewhat self-serving. Was that Jesus’ motivation? He wasn’t seeking anything like that. There must be something else. So, what was Jesus’ motivation to lay down His life? In a word, it was love.

Love was the motivation? That’s it? That’s the message? I have love for a lot of people and things but not like that

So, Christ’s love must be special, and I was created to be in His image so I need to know what that love is like. Let’s look at some characteristics of Christ’s love.

It was submissive. Christ laid down His life to be obedient to His Father. He totally surrendered His will. His love was totally His own to give, but His motivation was anything but selfish.

It was sacrificial. Jesus literally gave up His body, emptied Himself to take our punishment – to be our substitute.

It was sin-destroying. Jesus took our greatest need and made it His mission to meet it. Sin stained us permanently until Jesus covered it with His blood.

Now that is love! THAT was Christ’s motivation – He loves us that much! He desires a relationship with us.

John 15:13, No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.

There it is again! He desires to have relationship with us, to fellowship with us.

I hope you can say with me what Christ is in my life…

  • Jesus Christ is my one and only hope, my rock and my refuge, my shelter in the time of the storm. He’s the destroyer of my shame. He is my covering and my confidence. He’s my selfless redeemer, my strong tower, the source of all life, my light, my all in all. In times of trial or times of plenty, He’s my trusted friend, my healer and my victory. Christ is my defender and my stronghold. He’s my first and most true love. He is my joy and the well-spring of everything good in my life. Christ is my motivator and Christ is my motivation. I am motivated to be like Christ, for I am created in His image. I am motivated to thank Christ, and to reflect Christ. Christ. Is. My. Life.

Let’s pray… “Jesus, I want YOU to be my motivation. Your love has totally transformed my life and given me reason to live and to live differently. May my motivation be from You and have nothing to do with my own selfish goals and desires. Amen”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

 

Embrace the Obvious

Several years ago, I was serving on a church staff with a pastor who was quite a mentor to me. He had some funny sayings that he would use from time to time. Sometimes we would be discussing something and his response to me would be, “You’ve got a firm grasp of the obvious there, son” and walk away. I would always get a chuckle out of it.

In studying I John, I have noticed that John has a firm grasp of the obvious as well…

I John 3:9-10, Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because his seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.

Those who continue in a practice of sin are the devil’s children and those whose seed remains in Christ are God’s children. Obvious, eh? I have no problem with obvious – in fact, I really appreciate it many times when I’m trying to make a decision about something.

John’s point is Whoever does right, he is God’s child – and whoever does not do right, he is not. It’s obvious. He even punctuates it by saying whoever does not love his brother or his sister is not one who does right – therefore who ever does not have love for one another is not God’s child.

In looking at this concept of obvious in this passage, I have a couple of concerns.

First of all, this doing right, living right because I’m God’s child may be obvious, but it may not always be easy. Let’s look at the forces that affect this. First, we have the God-head – God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit, who teach us, protect us, save us, comfort us, and provide for us – all things good. Then, we have the devil, Satan, who is opposed to God, who really has all of us until we surrender to Christ. He wants to keep us from surrendering to Christ and gives us great temptation in this world for things that seem to satisfy any craving the flesh might have. Then we have a third force that also has a pretty strong will, that being self. If I’m honest, sometimes self is a bigger deciding factor in my choices than I desire it to be or know that it should be.

Three forces, two of them working against God – one of them all of the time, and one of them all the time if working on its own. It reminds me of a legendary quote that is sometimes attributed to long-time Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes as well as former University of Texas football coach Darrel Royal. “There are three things that can happen on a forward pass – and two of them are bad.” He, of course was saying that one possible outcome was a completion, which is good, but two others – an incompletion or an interception – were bad. For that reason, both of these men chose to stay with offenses that were run-oriented, where their preparation as far as blocking and staying within the play as designed were incredibly important.

But it’s hard to win a game if you never pass the ball, you never go downfield, if you never really challenge the opposition. However, if you challenge the opposition, they are going to bring out their best to defend you and try to lure you into making a mistake. Every time you line up, they are trying to do their best to disrupt what you are trying to do and negate your progress. Obvious, right?

That brings me to my 2ndconcern about what is obvious. We can take the obvious for granted if we are not careful. We can become oblivious to the obvious. It may be obvious that I love my wife because I’m committed to her, provide for her, spend time with her and live with her, but if I don’t tell her I love her, she could begin to wonder or doubt about that.

What about the church, are there things that are obvious about the church that I can take for granted if I’m not careful? Let’s look at some characteristics of what the true church is, that we shouldn’t take for granted:

  • The church that exalts
  • Worships, honors God above all else, puts aside preferences and gives God the glory, enthusiastically
  • The church that bows
  • The church that prays together, stays together – praying for Kingdom things and not just personal requests
  • The church that invests
  • successful churches are praying and mission-minded – in community, sending missionaries, funding, equipping
  • The church that obeys
  • Never neglect the gathering together, committed to the first-fruits, celebrates Biblical marriage, prioritizes the Word
  • The church that baptizes
  • Baptizing regularly means the body of Christ is sharing the Gospel of Christ and making disciples of Christ
  • The church that connects
  • It’s all about relationships – within the body, outside the body, with other bodies of believers, within our community
  • The church that embraces
  • Welcomes people from all walks of life, with all sorts of habits and hang-ups, all colors and nationalities

Are there aspects of the church, like these, that you have taken for granted?  Maybe it’s time to re-commit, to embrace the obvious and not be oblivious any longer.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

Practice These Things

Have you ever wondered why some preachers (like me) speak so much about having a daily quiet time and encouraging every believer to spend some time in God’s Word every day? Does it really make that much of a difference?

There are all kinds of reasons that people give for not studying God’s Word on their own. “I don’t know where to start”. “When I read it myself, I don’t really understand it.” “I don’t like to read.” “When I start to read, my mind wanders”. All of those are legitimate concerns, but they are not good reasons when you consider God has made His Word a priority.

What does God’s Word say about reading His Word? Let’s look at one passage from Paul’s writing to Timothy,

I Timothy 4:13-16, 13 Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. 14 Don’t neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Paul is instructing this young preacher that the reading of Scripture, the preaching, and the teaching are of high priority. Paul implores them to do this until he returns to them, but honestly, it could be stated with the same emphasis as if it was stated by Jesus Himself, telling all of His church to keep the focus on the Word.

You may say, “this speaks to the public gatherings, to church services, bible studies, and the like.” I wouldn’t disagree with that statement – that must be a priority, and this is another illustration of how important it is very every believer to be dedicated to a local church.

However, I believe we also have to look at that verse in context. In verse 16, Paul tells Timothy to pay close attention to his life and teaching, to persevere in it, for in doing this he will save both his own life and that of his hearers.

So, what is the justification here for the individual to read the Word of God on his own? I’m so glad you asked. Consider these questions…

How important is it for the believer to really know God? Is there a better way to really know who God is than to know His Word? If the Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Counselor, isn’t prayer really only the application of what we’ve learned in His Word?

Let’s take it a step further… If preachers and teachers like Timothy are supposed to stay in the Word so diligently so they will teach the pure truth accurately, and if we have all been called to “go ye therefore”, isn’t it then important that we, as empowered missionaries of the Gospel, know the Word of God?

The Word of God is to be preached and taught in the local church to empower the body to do the work of the church, inside and outside of the church. To that end, we must know what it is we are to be sharing and living out, therefore we must have a growing knowledge of the Word.

Convinced yet?

What about those concerns we dealt with at the beginning of this? Let’s take those one by one. Certainly this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully this will address some general concerns and hesitations people have about reading God’s Word on their own.

“I don’t know where to start”. Honestly, I can see where this is a concern for some. The Bible is a big book and there is so much area to cover. The main thing is, just start. Take a small chunk at a time and don’t worry about the mileage you cover, just cover what you cover well. I often encourage people to start in the Psalms, but don’t restrict your reading to that. Take a small book of the New Testament, like one of Paul’s epistles, and read a few verses or chapters a day. Maybe even journal your thoughts about what it says. The main thing is, just start.

“When I read it myself, I don’t really understand it.” I get this too. My first counsel is to take it slowly, even if it’s one verse each day that you read a number of times. There are a number of study Bibles with great notes and other resources which can help you too. I would also suggest that before you read, you ask God to give you understanding.

“I don’t like to read”. This is perhaps the number one reason people give for not reading on their own. I get it. Reading is hard for some people. Some have trouble comprehending or focusing on what they read. Others just flat don’t enjoy it. There are Bible apps which will read the Word to you, if you are one who would rather listen to it than read it. As God to give you a desire for it.

“When I start to read, my mind wanders”. Even as many years as I have been reading The Word, I still have this happen to me at times too. Sometimes I have to catch myself and then go back and read again. God’s Word is too important for me to take it for granted or just to check the box that says “read today”. Remove distractions, get in the right environment for you. Do it when your mind is fresh (for me it starts before 6 in the morning most days). 

2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

I pray God gives you a rich time in His Word, every day of your life.

Blessed,
Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX