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Simply Daily Devotion

What does your daily devotional life look like? 

We should constantly be striving to read and study Scripture. In this episode, Brody shares what his time in the Word looks like and what our attitude should be when we approach the Word.

It is crucial that we read the Bible with an open heart and mind—a willingness to learn. Our goal is to be more conformed into the image of Christ after studying. Don’t overcomplicate things. Be faithful to read.

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Read Transcript of Simple Daily Devotion:

We are at Red Oak Church right now going through the book of Mark. We’re going through a study of the gospel of Mark, and it has been so good. Mark is my favorite gospel. It has been for years, because I think of the pace. It’s just really fast paced. It’s shorter than the others, but part of that is because there’s just less wording. Mark is a guy who just tells a fast story, and he’s… You ever sat down with somebody that tells a story, and, man, you’re just riveted and drawn in and you want more, and it’s just like they move from one thing to the next to the next, and it’s like, Mark is like that, just bam, bam, bam. His favorite word is immediately, and he’ll say, and immediately straightaway.

Then this happened, and then they went here, and this happened, and then they went here, and this happened. But to the contrary, have you ever… Do you know people, or have you ever been in a situation where somebody tells a story and they just, boy, they have to include details that you feel like, man, I don’t really care. I don’t.

And so they lose you. And I’m not implying that Matthew or Luke are the kind of people that lose you and that you don’t want to listen to their details. You do. But I’ll be honest. Let’s think about this for a minute. Matthew is a guy who was probably a detailed person, probably pretty analytical. If Matthew is Levi is the guy that was a tax collector, and I think I’m right on that. I’m not looking this up right now, but I’m pretty sure Matthew is Levi, who was a tax collector that followed Jesus. You know, any accountants? Let that hang there for a minute. Are any of you accountants? 

Any finance majors, any people that love numbers and math and spreadsheets? Well, we definitely need those people, and that stuff’s important. And Matthew is that guy. And so I enjoy reading Matthew because I love studying the details of Jewish law or the descriptions of things surrounding the festivals or just, I don’t know. He’s just a detailed guy. What about Luke? Luke, we believe Luke is a physician.

He was a physician. He was a doctor. So when you read Luke’s gospel, it’s the longest gospel, by the way, in terms of word count, not in terms of chapter numbers, but in word count. Luke’s gospel is long, and then Luke wrote Acts. So if you combine Luke and Acts, he… I believe I’m on solid footing here. From our study through those books at Red Oak church. But I believe Luke and Acts comprise more content than any other writer in the New Testament. So Luke was a guy that wrote in volumes, and he tells us at the beginning of his work, hey, I’m writing this as an account for this guy named Theophilus.

And so he’s sort of a documentarian. So you got Matthew, who’s an accountant, and the details guy. You got Luke, who’s a doctor and a documentarian. And along comes Mark, who’s probably more like most of us. We are the YouTube, short, TikTok Instagram generation right now. That’s who we are as a society.

And so it’s like short attention span. Boom, boom, boom. Show me the next thing. Eight second clips, just boom, boom, boom, boom. And Mark, Mark probably is the guy that most of us can read and identify with more. And he tells a story fast paced, but it’s also… He’s a good storyteller. And so we’re going through the book of Mark at Red Oak, and it is fast paced. Just boom, boom, boom. It’s a fast cadence.

And I’m at the point in my own personal study. I’m preparing to teach the first weekend in January, the first Sunday in January, on a passage in Mark 4, Mark 4:21 through 34.

It’s three just back to back to back parables or stories. The first one is a lamp under a basket. It’s where Jesus says, you put a… You take a lamp, you put it under a basket, under a bed. Do you not put it out on a stand where everyone can see it? That’s what you do with a lamp so that the light can shine. And then the next parable is the one about seed growing. He says, the kingdom of God is like a man scatters seed on the ground. He goes to sleep. He rises in the daytime and goes to sleep at night, and he doesn’t even know, but the seed sprouts, and it grows, and it produces fruit. And all this dude’s doing is sleeping, going through life. So there’s that parable, and then there’s the parable of the mustard seed. What can we compare the kingdom of God to? What parable shall we use for it? It’s like a grain of mustard seed. When it’s grown on the ground… When it’s sown on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds. And when it is sown. It grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts all of its branches so that the… Puts out all of its branches so the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

So he speaks these parables. So I haven’t even dug into the second two. I’ve been working on the first one, the lamp under a basket. But as I’m working through that, that Mark 4:21 through 25, something occurred to me, and it’s this. I don’t read high volumes of scripture on a normal day to day basis. And I want to just share with you why. I don’t know that I know a pastor or ministry leader that doesn’t say, hey, you need to read… You need to have a Bible reading plan where you read through the Bible like once a year is what most guys will say. I have a friend and brother who I love so much, and I’ve learned so much from. His name’s Mitch.

He’s a pastor in Rome, Georgia. Mitch Jolly. He’s preached at Red Oak before. And he… I think that church, they have a specific or particular plan that they follow for reading the Bible through each year. I mean, I fully and deeply appreciate that. And I think it’s good. I want to be on the record for saying that. And then I was listening to the… This is where the… This is sort of an advent thing here in the Snowbird Advent book. I think it’s in the intro. I was listening to it a week or two ago, it would have been a week ago because we’re just a week into it.

And the comment was made. I was listening. I was driving, so I was listening to the audio version, audible version. The comment was made. You should read through the Bible. You should have a plan where you read through the Bible every year. And I think it was something like, and if you don’t have a plan to do that, you should. And I don’t agree with that. Just go on record saying, I don’t agree with that. So there, I said it.

Now, the that book is produced by Snowbird, and that is… I’m in agreement with the proclamation of the Gospel, the exposition of scripture, the building of relationships. So I think hopefully you’ll see, hey, there’s… And I’m going to elaborate on why I don’t agree with that. And it’s not that I don’t agree with it.

Let me… I’m gonna give some clarity. It’s not that I fundamentally don’t agree with it, but I think it’s too flat of a statement that could frustrate people if they try. So let me just… I want to elaborate on this.

To read the Bible through in a year, you’re gonna need to read about four chapters a day. About four chapters a day, most of us, to read four chapters from scripture. It’s going to take us about a half an hour.

Okay. My simple daily devotion. This is not necessarily sermon prep, but just my daily devotion is about a half an hour in terms of reading and writing and journaling and study. Maybe 45. Probably 45 minutes. About 45 minutes. I block off about an hour of time. About 45 minutes is in and out of prayer and meditation on what I’m reading, writing down notes, and I’ll explain that. I’ll explain what that looks like in this episode.

If I spend 30 minutes just reading, for instance, through the book of Leviticus or sections of Job, or if I just spend that time reading the Jewish literary sections of Ezekiel, and I use 30 to 45 minutes to read my four chapters, then I’m kind of done. I might be able to jot down a note or two. Now, let me just pause and say, the problem is I can’t read like that and pay attention to what I’m reading.

If I’m going to read and pay attention. Now, if it’s a novel, a short story, I can read it. And if it’s engaging, if it’s fictional and it’s brain candy, I can read that and stay a little more focused. But if I’m reading the scriptures, I have to go slow and digest and jot notes.

And so, for me, for me, I don’t put a span of how many chapters I need to read in a day. Now, I’ll say this. I have read the Bible through in a year, and I have read the Bible through… That’s in the four chapters a day plan, I’ve read the Bible through in the six chapters a day plan, which takes then less than a year, of course. I’ve read it through in the two chapters a day plan, which takes two years, I’ve read it through… I read it one time. I said, you know what? I’m going to read the Bible an hour a day and see how quick I can get through. And see how long it takes me.

Not, like, how quick can I get through it? But it’s like, if I read this an hour a day, just read it out loud, and I have to read it out loud when I’m doing that. How long will it take me? And I started on January 1st, I think I was done. I think I’d read the whole Bible by sometime in end of March, early April. So three months read through the Bible.

And it’s effective. I don’t want to say, well, it didn’t help me or didn’t grow me. I think it did. But for me, it is much more productive to spend my 30 to 45 minutes. And you could say, well, you’re not spending enough time. You need to be more dedicated. Man, I’m telling you, 30 minutes in the morning of study, and reading is pretty good for me, 45 minutes to an hour is ideal.

So I can commit an hour of my time. For me, that’s typically, I don’t get up the same time every morning. I get up based on when I go to sleep. And so I want to sleep a certain amount of hours. My goal is to sleep seven hours. Used to be four to 5 hours, and I had some health issues, so now I try to sleep seven. Don’t always get it, but that’s what I aim for. So if I go to bed at 10:00, I get up at 5:00, if I don’t get in bed till 11:00, I’m going to sleep till 6:00. I just am.

It’s important for my mental and physical health. Now, by 7:00 the house is abuzz, really by 6:45, everybody’s stirring and moving and up and about. So if I get up at 6:00, and if all I do is throw my clothes and grab… I take a shower. At night. If I get up early enough, I might take a cold shower in the morning.

If I don’t get up till 6:00 because I got in bed late, I get up and within 10 minutes, I’m sitting at my kitchen table with a tall glass of cold water that I’m going to drink. And 6:10, I’m studying. Now, if I’m able to get up at, say, 5:15, 5:30, I might sit in my room and read by headlamp rather than move through the house. But whatever, I’m getting in the weeds right now.

The point being on a worst case morning, I don’t get up till 6:00 and I got to have everybody rolling by 6:45, the house is distracting. By then there’s people moving around, kids getting ready for school. So if all I do is read my four chapters on that morning, then that gives me 10… Maybe 10 minutes, maybe five minutes to reflect on it or to say a prayer. And I don’t feel like I get as much out of that as far as application of the scripture, impact of the scripture. And so for me, the more valuable thing is to get up.

Now, back up. If I’m up at 5:15, then I might read five chapters of the Bible, and that takes me to 6:00. And then I go into my devotional study. The point being, I don’t do it the same way every day. And I don’t feel guilty for not reading through the Bible in a year. I don’t, and you shouldn’t either. It’s a slippery slope when you start applying rules to what you gotta do. So I want to just kind of alleviate that pressure for some of you. Now hear me out, because what some people will do is they’ll say, oh, I heard Brody say on No Sanity Required. You don’t have to read through the Bible.

Nope. I think you should constantly be striving to read through the scripture. So, reading through the Bible might take you three or four years, but in conjunction with that, there are mornings where you’re only going to work through a couple of verses. So, for me, right now, I’m working through the book of Mark, and then I’m reading through the Bible. But that might take me three years this time around, might take four. Oh, the depth of the wisdom, riches, knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his ways, how unknowable are his truths. Who has known the mind of the Lord? Paul tells us in Romans 11, there’s a depth to the word of God, to who God is. If I read it all in three months, or 12 months or 24 months, there I’m… I’m not even getting close to the bottom of the depth of scripture.

Here’s the catchphrase. Quality time in the word trumps quantity time in the word. So slow down if you need to, but if you’re a person that reads at a high pace and you retain and you pay attention to what you’re reading, there’s guys… I know guys… Most pastors and theologians and preachers and teachers can read volumes and get through it quickly. They can get up in the morning, read for 30 to 45 minutes and clip along, and they stay focused on what they’re reading. Y’all, I’m going to tell you the truth right now. I struggle to read a paragraph of anything and not daydream, not get distracted. And our phones are making it worse because we’re constantly on our phones, and I’m as bad as anybody. We’re constantly entertaining ourselves and getting distracted. And so I had this lunch with a guy this week, a friend of mine, and he said, man, I just struggle.

I can’t read the Bible. I get distracted. I start trying to read it. I can’t do it. I get distracted. And, man, as we unpacked conversation, I realized this guy’s frustrated because he feels like, man, I need to be doing more reading, but I’m frustrated. So I just, like, try to encourage him with, hey, let’s back it up. What if you just read and meditated on a few verses a day instead of reading for 30 minutes? What if you read the same thing multiple times in 30 minutes with meditation, which would include note taking and journaling mixed into that 30 minutes? Could you do that? Get you a good pen and a nice journal? Invest a little money into it? I’m not saying you got to do that. It’s not a rule. You get you a 35 cent BIC and one of those cheap spiral notebooks from the grocery store or Dollar General.

But I find that having a good pen and paper and sitting down at the table, and what I want to do is I want to share with you in real time what I jotted down this morning in my study. Now, this morning, I was reading through this passage that I’m going to preach in a month from now. So I’m not really into the sermon prep for that. I’m just familiarizing myself with this passage I’m studying through Mark with our church, and here’s what I studied this morning. Mark 4:21 through 25, I just wanna show you how I did this morning. And he said to them, is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Not on a stand for nothing is hidden except to be made at manifest, nor is anything secret except to come to light.

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. And he said to them, pay attention to what you hear with the measure you use. It will be measured to you and still more will be added to you. For the one who has more will be given. And from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away. What is he saying? Alright, so that’s as far as I could get y’all ’cause I don’t… That was confusing to me.

Like at first glance, if I just kept reading, I would’ve maybe got a nugget out of that and move on. Like, okay, hold on, back up. Pay attention to what you hear with the measure you use, it will be measured to you and still more will be added to you, for to the one who has more will be given, and from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away, okay? Then what I did, and this is something that you might think about, I went to a different translation, so I just read that in the ESV I went to a different translation, which was the Christian Standard Bible, and it sounded very similar. And then I went to my go-to daily reader. And this is an important point. I do my daily reading in the new Living translation. I know I’ve mentioned that before here, but it’s just easier for me to read.

Again, I’m sure there are people that would judge me for that. And I’m okay with that. I’m not gonna argue about it or be defensive. Just I’m comfortable with it. So listen to how it’s worded in that. Those two verses pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given, okay? All right. Now that makes sense. So let me read it again. In the original one that I read, the ESV, and he said to them, pay attention to what you hear with the measure you use. It will be measured to you and still more will be added to you, okay? That’s, I get, if I think hard and concentrate, I can get that. But for me at 5:45, 6:00 o’clock in the morning at sometimes I don’t think my wheels are turning that good yet. Now they’re turning better than they are any other time of the day, ’cause early morning I’m fresh, I’m alert once I’m up. And but again, let read it from the NLT. Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given and you’ll receive even more. Okay, that makes sense. I can work with that. So here’s what I jotted down in my notes this morning. I’m just gonna read to you what I wrote in my devotion time this morning.

I wrote down that verse, pay closer attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given. And then I just… Now what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna journal some thoughts. There’s an old saying, it takes money to make money. There’s another old saying, the rich get richer. In both of those sayings, I see a parallel to the words here in Mark 4:24. If in when I get serious about studying and reading the scripture, then I’ll begin to get more serious about it and I’ll grow at an accelerated pace. The more you grow, the stronger you get, the more of the richness of God’s word that you receive, the more you will desire to receive, which will lead to receiving more. Okay, hopefully that’s not confusing, but that’s my thoughts. The stronger you get, the more you maximize what you get out of reading and meditating on God’s word.

There’s power in the words of Jesus. The transfer of that power comes to us when we open the Bible consistently with an open heart and mind and a willingness to learn. And I jotted down one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine bullet points. I’m not gonna elaborate on these nine bullet points that I’m now over the next few mornings gonna elaborate on in my own study. So when I approach the word of God, first in an attitude of humility, attitude of humility. So I come to the word of God, humble before the Lord asking him to teach me again, pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you’ll be given. So an attitude of humility, recognizing that I have to be given understanding. It’s not my own intellect or wisdom and knowledge that’s gonna make me understand the scripture. It’s the Lord giving it to me.

And that comes through humility. Next, I jotted down, with the desire to grow and learn. I gotta wanna do this. There needs to be a desire. I need to align my desires with the desires of the Lord. Ask myself and evaluate myself in full transparently… In full transparency, do I really want to grow and learn? Have a positive attitude about it. It’s a choice. And if you make that choice, next thing you you know, your desires are gonna begin to align with the desires that God has for you. The next thing I jotted down about approaching the scripture, I need to approach it in faith and believe that God will grow me. So do you open the word of God, believing that God’s gonna grow you? I’ve had times and seasons, stretches of time in my life where I didn’t have… It wasn’t like I had a genuine expectation of growth associated with the reading the scripture, meditating on the scripture.

In other words, times where I didn’t open the word of God expecting, like expectant of growth. And I think Satan will lie to you, your flesh will lie to you and say, ah, you’re not gonna get anything out of this. You need to rest more. You’re distracted. You can’t focus. Part of what my buddy was dealing with at when we went to lunch a day or two ago, is I think he’s bought into a lie. Well, I can’t focus, I can’t concentrate. Well, you may not be able to concentrate and get anything outta reading four or five chapters, but you’re believing alive. You don’t think you can get something out of a verse that you meditate on. Take a book like Mark where everything’s kind of action packed. There’s no slow spots. Take a verse or two or three and reflect on that.

A lot of folks fall for the lie that, well, I can’t learn, I can’t grow, I can’t meditate. I’m not a theologian. That’s the pastor’s job. Nope. In faith, believe that the Lord will grow you, in faith, believe that the word of God is living and active. That it really is the word of God. It’s from God to us. Next, I wrote down expect to learn and gain spiritual knowledge when you open God’s word, expect it. Next, have a plan of consistency. Approach the word of God with a plan. Don’t just sit down, and flop the Bible open and read randomly from where, like, have a plan. For me, the plan right now is to work slowly through the Book of Mark, multiple times probably, now I’m reading it more voluminously. Read a whole chapter or two a day and then reflect on, meditate on two or three verses.

Am I committed to obeying what I learned from the scripture, the commands of scripture? And then I wrote, be determined and undeterred, don’t let the busyness of life derail you or frustrate you. And then have the ultimate goal being that of conformity to Jesus. So my main goal for approaching the scriptures that I be conformed to the image of Christ in the long run. That’s why I come to the word of God. I want it to shape me. And this passage that I studied this morning, these two verses, really just one verse Mark, 4:24. This passage comes right after the passage called the parable of the sower. But a lot of people will say it should be probably called the parable of the sows or soils. The parable of the sows. The soil is the difference in the parable of the sower.

It’s one sower, sowing the seed. What makes the difference is the soil. Some of it’s rocky ground, some of it’s hard ground, some of it’s out exposed in the sun, some of it’s in weeds. What’s the difference? Good soil. What is that? When you approach the scripture, what we’re talking about is preparing the soil of your heart and your mind. My devotion this morning in the NLT, the New Living Translation, Mark 4:24. Then he added, pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you’ll be given and you’ll receive even more.

So the word and the challenge and encouragement to my buddy yesterday was, hey, man, just listen closely and really seek to understand what you’re looking at. And the Lord will give you understanding. And what you’re doing when you approach that way, is you’re making the soil of your heart. You’re preparing your heart. The soil is the difference. I’m not just coming in like, okay, let me, scroll off of Facebook or Instagram over to my Bible app and then scroll through a few verses. No, I’m setting that aside. I’m taking God’s word. Not saying it can’t be an electronic copy. I’m just saying, am I approaching it without any other distractions around me for a few minutes? And prepare the soil of your heart and then prepare it through prayer. Ask God to show you.

I hope that all of those things I just went through from, that’s just from… Those are the things I’m mulling over right now and reflecting on today. And there’s little tricks. You jot down a note on your hand. You carry some note cards in your pocket, you make the screensaver on your phone a bullet point that you learned that morning. Now I’m making progress in terms of my own commitment to grow and to be intentional and strategic in the way that I grow. That’s super important. You gotta be intentional. You gotta be strategic. You gotta be purposeful. Now, let’s go back to what the book says, Snowbird, Advent, the things concerning himself. It’s a good study. It’s so good. And I love it. And I encourage people to get it and use it.

And I know a lot of you have. But I don’t want you to feel the pressure that you gotta read through the Bible every year. Not if it’s just gonna be an exercise in spiritual religious activity. Now, if you can do it, read through it and absorb it, and maybe you’ve got the time to… Maybe you’ve got a solid hour every day and you think, man I can actually read four chapters in 15 or 20 minutes. I’m good at reading retention. When I get to something I don’t understand, I’ll just move on through it. And then I’m gonna give the next 20 minutes to journal and reflect on something that I’m studying. And then the last 20 minutes on prayer and jotting down some prayer requests and I don’t know, whatever… The point is, don’t become legalistic.

Just figure out how you learn and be committed to the scripture. And the more you listen and pay attention, the more the Lord’s gonna teach you from it, whatever that means for you. So if reading through the Bible in a year is something that works well for you, then do it. If reading through the Bible in two or three years, or like I always mention my stepdad Steve Parker, I think it takes him, he reads for about an hour a day. All he does is just reads the scripture. I think he reads from 30 minutes to an hour every day. And it takes him a couple years, two, three years to get through the Bible. And then he starts all over. And I love it because he’s so pure in his approach to it and faithful to it.

And so that works for him. And I think it’s awesome. My buddy Mitch, who leads his congregation in an annual Bible reading plan, I think that’s awesome. I think the point is, thus none of us become judgmental of others and say things like, well, if you’re not doing this, you should be. I’m slow to tell somebody what they should be doing in terms of the strategy or the program, programs can get in the way, man. So the point is, should you be studying and reading and meditating on God’s word? Absolutely. We all should be doing that. We should be reflecting on God’s word, spending time in the presence of the Lord each day, dedicated time to open his word read, study, learn. Are you wrong to not… Is there a magic number that 12 months, 365 days except for leap year, 366 days? 

Is that like a magic number that, okay, I gotta read the Bible through in that many days, or if I’m not, then I should? No, just fill some freedom there, but at the same time, don’t make that excuse that my buddy was making. I just can’t read. I can’t pay attention. I got a short attention span. I can’t do it. No. Commit to it. Figure it out. Spend time in God’s word. Now, back to this idea of advent. We’re reflecting on and studying the fact that Jesus has come into the world. I mean, it’s a season where we really turn our attention to that. And then in that, we’re reminded that he’s coming back. He’s gonna come again. It’s not just a one and done thing. He came to this earth to bring salvation. He humbled himself and was born in Bethlehem, laid in a manger, lived the life of a low income, blue collar, working class guy in a large family where everybody had to probably chip in.

And life was not easy for Jesus, when he came here. But he came here, he came into the world and he came to save sinners and we are sinners. And then he left with the promise that he would return. And what he left in the meantime is his word. He left us his word. He said, I’m gonna come back, but I’m not leaving you alone. I’m gonna leave my Holy Spirit. And then I’m gonna give you the scriptures and the Spirit will apply the scriptures each day, pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you’ll be given. It’s that simple. Figure out what you can listen to, what volume, what practicality.

What’s the best way for you to listen and listen, I wanna close it and finish it with one illustration that matters for my buddy. There’s a show that many of you’re gonna be familiar with. It’s called The Voice. This is The Voice. See, I’ve never been on that show, as you could tell, they wouldn’t have me. The Voice is, although I can carry a tune, my man, the Grizz over the Grizz podcast, who I love dearly. One of my favorite things is when he starts singing, when Jay starts singing. ‘Cause my man is tone deaf, but he appreciates good music. But when he opens his mouth and starts singing, [laughter] it’s rough, man. It’s so rough. Then I got a buddy Jonathan Res, who’s a board member at Snowbird, and he’s a pastor in Jacksonville.

And he’s… Literally, he could win The Voice. And he plays a guitar and he’s so good. Some people got it, some don’t. I don’t. But we can all appreciate it. My man, Jay, the Grizz, he appreciates music. And we have pretty much the same taste in music. And I love it when he starts singing on his podcast, it cracks me up every time. But so let’s go back to here we are, we’re sitting, we’re listening to The Voice and, [laughter] me and my fam… Alright, lemme set this up. So little, my wife and then Laylee and Juju, my girls that are still at home, they love to watch The Voice. And I’m just gonna be honest with y’all I don’t enjoy the show, I don’t enjoy it like the show in and of itself.

And it comes on at the worst times because the other night they’re watching it while a football game was on. Well, I wanna watch the football game. So what I do is I sit over in the corner and with no volume, I watch the football game on another device while I’m hanging out with my girls. Why am I doing that? Well, I wanna hang out with them. They wanna watch The Voice. They love it. So, and I wanna be with them and I love them. And so I watch The Voice. Now, I also, I’m gonna throw myself into it and try to pick a favorite candidate or whatever they call it. Candidate, contestant, I guess contestant. And if you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a singing contest. They got these professional famous singers, people like Reba McEntire I don’t know the other people. A guy named Nile. I don’t know him, I don’t know who he is, but he’s British. He’s Irish. He got a cool accent. Gwen Stefani, I know her from no Doubt in the ’90s.

And then a guy, I forget his name, but he’s like music producer I think, something, I don’t know. Anyway, and they’ve had different judges on there. Like they had the girl that sings, This Girl is on Fire. She was on Alicia Keys. She was a judge on there one time. Different people, Blake Shelton. So different professional singers are the judges on the show. And then they’re trying to coach these contestants that they’ve handpicked to be the best singer on the show. And then people vote on it, and at the end, you got a winner. And so every episode is just people singing and there’s some good stuff on there, man. There’s a girl in there right now. She’s a young teenage girl that sings good old school country. I mean, like real country, not no bro country garbage, like legit old school country. And I love listening to her sing. But then there’s other stuff that like, I just don’t care about, but I’m hanging out with my girls. So I’m loving that. Well, like the other night, everybody was gone. I was home by myself. Randomly, rarely so rare that this happens. It’s a week night, I’m by myself at the house for two hours.

Do you know what I watched? Not The Voice. I watched, an Alaskan Kodiak Island Black Bear Hunt. A guy went a bear hunting black bear. Not Kodiak Island. He’s somewhere else in Alaska. Anyway, he’s hunting Black Bear, put this stalk on a bear. He killed it and he had to cut it up and pack it out. I had a ball. I sit there and watched that and loved it. That’s what I would watch that, but I’m sitting there watching it with watching The Voice with Little, who’s a really good singer. And she’ll say things like, oh, she went into her falsetto. Or she’ll say, blah, blah, blah, vibrato. Or she’ll say, she went flat right there. Well, I kind of know what those things mean, but I can’t, I don’t recognize that stuff, right? I don’t have the ear to hear it.

Little has the ear to hear it. She’s a student of music. She understands music and the concepts behind it. Oh, she went flat right there. Well, I kind of… I know what that means, but I don’t have the ear to hear it. ‘Cause the girl sounded like she’s singing the same to me all the way through it. You gotta have the ear to hear it. You could say the same thing about having the eye to see it. I got a friend, his name’s, Nathan. He’s a professional football coach. He coaches defensive lineman, particularly edge rushers. And to hear him break down what makes a good edge rusher, I just can’t see it. He breaks down hip angle, shin angle, how a guy’s first step looks when he comes off the ball. Like he has eyes to see that, Little has ears to hear that music.

Listen, when we approach the word of God, all we need is to have ears to hear, to say, Lord, I wanna listen and I want you to teach me. And I’m not gonna cover a ton of volume here. I may not get through the Bible this year, but I’m committed every day to spend time at your table, feasting on your spiritual meat and bread and wine, and being fed from your hand. And I want it to nourish my soul and my mind and my spirit. And I wanna grow and be different because of it. I want you to shape me and change me because you have the power to do that. Jesus came into the world to save us, but then also in that salvation to bring us into relationship with himself and to grow us more into his image. And a key component to that is the word of God.

You wanna have victory in your life, you wanna have confidence, you wanna have freedom from anxiety and shame and guilt and everything else, spend time in God’s word, reflect and focus on God’s word, and you will be shaped by that. I will be shaped by that. And if you can read the Bible through in a year and get something outta that and really grow from it, then do it by all means. 100% do it. But don’t try to create the standard for somebody else. If you can read it through what… So what if somebody else can read it through in six months? Do they now get to say, hey, if you’re not reading the Bible through in six months, you should be. What about if you’re not reading the Bible through in two years, you should be.

I don’t know. Let’s don’t do that. Let’s don’t go there. Let’s just say, hey, are you spending time with Jesus in his word? Reflecting on it, absorbing it, having your mind washed by it. Letting the word of God pour through you. One of the things I love in the morning, I’ve read the science and the data on this, that if you drink a couple of tall glasses of cold water in the morning, it instantly begins to hydrate your brain. That’s important. I have found that waking up in the morning and whether I can take a quick cold shower or not, if I sit down with a couple of glass, 16 ounce glasses full drink one glass and refill it of ice water, cold water and just, it alerts me, it wakes me up.

Why? ‘Cause that water is rejuvenating the cells in your body. It’s hydrating your brain. It’s stimulating your blood flow. And it’s just water. It’s just cold water, but it’s washing through your body. And the word of God, think of it like that. It’s like it hydrates your spiritual brain. It washes through and cleanses and purifies. So spend time in God’s word each day. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t read a ton of it. Just slow down. I showed you what I did this morning, one verse and just jotted notes. And that was about a 45 minute quiet time. Now, not gonna… This is another episode for another day. But I will say this, as a lot of people struggle with their prayer life, and I do too, it’s hard for me to sit down and pray for a long time. So throughout the day, I just wanna talk to the Lord in five second, 20 seconds, 40 seconds intervals, a conversation here, a conversation there, maybe a time where I sit and write out some prayers.

But same thing. Don’t get… Don’t feel like legalistic about how and when you pray, just spend time talking to God and hearing from him. Maybe we’ll do another episode on prayer. I’m sure we will. But for now, that’s what I’ve got. And I hope it’s enough to encourage you this week, to open God’s word tomorrow morning. Spend some time in it. Get up a few minutes early if you need to. Just spend some time in it and let the Lord rejuvenate and hydrate your spiritual mind with the pure water of his word. Thank y’all for listening. Hope you’re enjoying this Christmas season. And, I know I am, I will close with some updates. Specifically, I wanna give some updates on the hunting season. Hunting season. This is a bonus. You can be done. You can get back to work if you’re not interested, you go on and do something else.

I want to tell you what I’ve killed and what I’ve killed it with. ‘Cause there’s a few people that care about these things. Just a few, first off, lately May, my daughter shot a nice eight point buck a couple days before Thanksgiving, hunted by herself. First time she’s ever gone out, hunted by herself and killed something by herself. She’s killed some good deer. She killed her first deer when she was about eight years old. Shot it, propped up on my knees from 260 yards and killed it. It was a small deer, a good shot. And then she’s killed a few deer. We’ve got some great and fun hunting stories. One we stalked a deer a buck one time she was about… She was probably 13 or 14, and there was a buck and we saw it across this field, but she couldn’t get a shot.

So we crawled through these pines until we could get in position and she could shoot it. And it was just, ah, it was awesome, man. It was so cool. Her biggest buck she’s killed was a buck she killed in Ohio. And that one’s on her wall. She calls that one Bucky Miller. ‘Cause the landowners are the Millers good friends of ours. And so she calls that one Bucky Miller. But anyway, she went out and she killed a nice eight point with her 7mm 08. She’s got a Ruger American rifle. And, it’s chambered in 7mm 08, which is a neck down 308. And, she shoots… I’ve got her shooting, nozzle, ballistic tip bullets. And man, it does a number. So she killed a real pretty eight pointer, very handsome buck. And then Moses has killed two deer this year.

Two does. He’s killed his first deer ever. He killed two does this year. Malachi got his first deer, a nice big fat doe. And then I’ve killed, four deer. I killed a doe with my bow. I killed an eight pointer with my bow. Both of those were in archery season here in North Carolina. And then Thanksgiving morning, let’s see, no, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the day after Laylee killed her buck, she killed her buck Tuesday evening of Thanksgiving week. And then Wednesday morning, I killed, a real good looking eight point buck. No big monster, but it was a really good, nice looking buck. And then, as I’m recording this yesterday morning here in North Carolina, public land, see… North Carolina mountains, the western part of state. The season goes out this week. So by the time you listen to this season will be out and we’ll be back into our late archery buck season.

But, I killed a seven point buck way up man. It was a hoof hump hike to get up on this ridge. Got way up on this ridge. By the time I got to where I set up, it was 30 minutes past daylight. I mean, it was a haul to get up there. Got up there. And, this is the coolest hunting story. I was talking to Kilby, my daughter that lives in Africa. And my son-in-law, Greg was there with her. We were FaceTiming. She had FaceTimed me and I was way up on the mountain, way up in a tree in my climbing stand. And my phone rings and it’s Kilby. Well, I’m not gonna not take that call. It’s 10:00 in the morning. I was like, I’ll take the call and just sit here. And the beauty of this morning sun was just starting to come up over that, the sun get hits you late and these mountains, depending on which side of the slope you’re on.

So the sun had been hitting me for about 15 or 20 minutes. It’s a little before 10:00, and it was like 24 degrees. And so the sun’s starting to warm things up and Kilby calls, and I’m just sitting there basking in these oaks, talking to Kilby, it’s so wonderful. And I look up and there’s a buck cruising down the next ridge over. And, I said, hold on. And I laid the phone down in my lap, threw my rifle up and shot this buck. It was probably 80 yards away, maybe 100, between 80 and 100 yards away, just cruising through the woods. And I shot him. And then I picked the phone back up. It took about five seconds, and I’m like, well, that what in the world that just happened, we were laughing. It was great.

So that was cool. So then I had to change my whole work schedule, ’cause it took me two hours to get that thing out of the mountains. By the time I got to where he was in X Ridge over, and he had run off the backside of the ridge, got to him and cut him up, and I got him all into my pack and packed him out back to the truck. It took a while. I didn’t get out of the woods till almost one o’clock. So that kind of blew the day. But boy, was it worth it, man, I needed that. It was so refreshing and just being out in creation like that. And so fun. So anyway, good time, good time. Love the fall, love this time of year. Hope those of you that hunt and like to get out in the woods.

I hope you’ve had the opportunity to do so. Or those of you that are fishermen, I hope you’ve had a good fall fishing, hunting, whatever your thing is, just enjoy creation. Get out there and enjoy it. Love this time of year. Love being in the woods. Hope you’re gonna come see us soon at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, I’ll leave you with this. We do have a matching grant that’s been put forward. A donor has put up $50,000 that he will match. Whatever we can raise up to 50,000, he’s gonna match it. And so, we rolled that out. Those of you that follow us on social media, we rolled that out about a week ago. And man, the Lord’s already started to bring that money in. I think we’re… My gosh, we might be close to halfway there. I don’t know the exact count, but I bet we’re at 20,000.

And, we’re asking people to give 10, 15, $20. And what that’s gonna go to is for us to grow, we’ve gotta put a six inch main waterline through the property at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. And, Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters has been here on a two inch water line from the beginning, but we’ve outgrown that. And to grow, we gotta put in a waterline, which costs a bunch of money. And it’s not the fun kind of money to spend, but we gotta do it. And so this donor said, Hey, I wanna get that waterline in. I’m really grateful to him and his wife and their generosity. And so if you wanna give, give and it’ll double, that’s pretty cool. I don’t know of any other place you can get 100% return on investment, 200%, however you do that. Put in $10, get back 20, whatever. You know what I mean? So help us out. Let’s change the world. Let’s invade the darkness in 2024 with the light. That’s what we’re gonna do. God’s gonna keep using this ministry to impact people. And one of the avenues is this podcast. So thanks for listening and supporting it. Hope you have an awesome week and we’ll see you next week.

December 11, 2023

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