For the next few months, Bro. John O’Malley will be sharing with us from his book, Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles. We know that everyone can use some encouragement to stay in the Word of God on a daily basis, and we hope these articles will be a blessing to you in your walk with the Lord.
Our hearts and minds are bombarded with thousands of messages each day. These messages come from our technology, our work, our children, our academic institutions, our churches, our medical professionals, and our spouse. Those messages are just from the relationships in our lives.
Then we get to the advertisers who spend millions of dollars each year to get us to remember the name of their product when that particular need arises in our lives. We look at our televisions; then we listen to the radio and podcasts. Everyone has a message for us to recall.
The messages that find us each day are not always wrong. Sometimes the words we read bring good news, and other times messages we read do not bring good news. These inbound messages seem to assault us the moment we wake up in the morning until we are lying in bed in the glow of our phones. In a world filled with messages from technology, relationships, and society’s advertisers, what makes those slogans, jingles, and images stick in our mind?
Why is it we go to church and by the time we get to the meal after service, we cannot remember the sermon or even think of the Small Group, Bible Study, or Sunday School lesson? Why is it we can remember the jingle from a fast-food restaurant from two decades ago, but we cannot remember what the Lord showed us that day in His Word?
This devotional obstacle of distraction is common, real, and embarrassing. How do I have meaningful and memorable Devotions when I so easily lose interest or am so easily distracted?
Tip #1: Create an environment of solitude.
You need to create the environment where you can hear God’s Word and listen to His leading.
Tip #2: Choose one or two verses from that day’s Bible reading on which you will mediate.
When I need to work on keeping interest and focus, I settle on one or two verses. I then take advantage of the Bible study methods in the resource section and begin to work through that passage. Take a 3×5 card and write the verse on the card. Write it neatly and deliberately, and add the punctuation marks. Meditate as you write the words.
Tip #3: Write down three thoughts about the passage.
- Take the same 3×5 card and turn it over. Write down these three words: Inspires. Instructs. Includes.
- Look at the verse you wrote. What inspires you in this passage?
- What precept or principle is mentioned in this verse that teaches or is an instruction for you?
- Read the verse aloud and listen to how your name could be included in the place of the names or pronouns mentioned in the verse. Now, write one sentence beside the word Includes: You could start it with “This verse includes me because…” or “I am included in this verse because…”
Now, read aloud from both sides of the card. This next step is very important. I want you to take that card with you for the next twenty-four hours and set an appointment on your phone to read it over at least four times in the next twenty-four hours. My goal is to give you a tool to overcome the Obstacle of Distraction. Anyone can do this Bible study method. This 3×5 card method keeps you interested and distraction-free because anyone can fill out a 3×5 card with ease.
If these thoughts have been an encouragement to you, you can email Bro. O’Malley here to let him know. If you’d like to purchase the entire Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles book in PDF, Kindle, or iBooks format, click here.