Thank you also for all of your Bible studies and testimonies. They were much needed. In answer to Stephanie's question about personal Bible study, consistency in this and finding the best time has always been a struggle for me. What about the rest of you? We would all love to see input from others on this.
I have tried many different methods over the years. For a while I tried to get up early in the mornings, before the rest of my family, and have my "devotions". However, this was nonproductive for me because I am not a morning person. I was not very regular about it and when I was, I would find myself rereading the same passages over and over and getting very little out of it. I learned that for me, midmorning coffee-break-time was much better. This worked for a while, when I had small children in my home. Of course, there are so many interruptions that can hinder Bible study at this time of day. I also found afternoon nap time to be a good time. Other times, I would just leave my Bible open and read during breakfast, lunch and other times during the day.
Another method that I found to be very beneficial in later stages of my life, was setting aside a whole morning or afternoon once or twice a week or, sometimes even in the evenings, making an "appointment" to do so. I would then spend a couple of hours or more in Bible study at that time. The rest of the week I would just read a few verses or passages here and there as I found a few minutes. This is the method I still use quite often. I find I learn so much more, and also get so excited and caught up into what I am reading, when I set aside these larger blocks of time. Maybe, it is in times like these that "the eyes" of our "understanding" are "enlightened" as in Eph. 1:18. The Lord tells us to "set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:2-3). This is very hard to do, but I find in larger blocks of time for Bible reading, study, and prayer, that it is much easier to concentrate on the things of the Lord. And thus, it becomes easier to set my "affection on things above".
I believe that in the dispensation of grace that we live in, in Paul's epistles, the Lord hasn't given us any specifics on personal Bible study and "devotions", as some call it. He does tell us to pray without ceasing, not to pray three times a day as Daniel did, nor specifically to pray every morning as some do. The same is true of our Bible reading and study. Whenever we can, as often as we can, we should draw close to the Lord through His Word. Also, I believe He wants us to think about and/or talk about the Word of God ALL DAY instead of just a few minutes once a day. So let's not judge ourselves too harshly if we don't adhere to a plan as someone else may do, although for some, "plans" may be the best thing. We live in this wonderful period of time in which we are not under the law, but under grace. God is not standing over us, rewarding us each day "with a good day", IF we have our early morning devotions, as some would seem to indicate. The important thing is just to do it! Let's praise the Lord for His graciousness with us, find what works well for us, and get on with loving Him, serving Him and reading His Word to the best of our ability!