Featured Article: Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles Part Five

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.

The Obstacle of ComprehensionI just do not know how to get anything out of my Bible reading.

When it comes to your Bible reading and devotional time, you get to the moment where you will meet God for the day. You open and read your Bible, and suddenly you are seeing a familiar setting (Bible open) with clear markers (books of the Bible, chapters, and verses). However, the moment you start to read the words, you realize you do not understand what is happening in the passage. When you finish reading your assigned Bible reading, you walk away without getting anything out of your time with God’s Word. It is frustrating when this happens, but Bible reading and Devotions do not have to be this way. This scenario is not what the experience is supposed to be for the believer.

When I am in a place of not knowing or getting anything out of my reservation with God, I know it is not Him. I know it is not His Word. So I feel guilty that I am not getting anything out of the Bible. Here I am a preacher, and sometimes even I feel that way.

The tips below to Overcome the Obstacle of Comprehension are what I use when I feel like I am not understanding or getting anything from my time in the Word of God.

Tip #1: Write these statements on a 3×5 card.
Put the card in your Bible or near your devotional book. Copy the words to your reading device and read them aloud before and after your quiet time.

I read the Bible to feel better, not worse.
I read the Bible to grow in grace, not in guilt.
I read the Bible to get to know the Author.
I read the Bible to become who God needs me to be for His glory.
I read the Bible not to impress others.
I read the Bible for God to make an impression on me.

Tip #2: Rest before reading.
The days I feel this way I look at my sleep schedule and consider, did I prepare for my reservation with God this morning by getting proper rest? As kids, our parents would say to us, “Get some rest! Tomorrow is a big day.” For the believer, each tomorrow is a big day. Each day I have a reservation with God. I will meet Him; He will speak to me, and I will talk to Him.

I know for many it is easy to recommend waking up earlier. That is fine if you are a morning person. Sometimes I feel like my “later at night” and my “earlier in the morning” will meet and there will be no more sleep.
You may be in a season of unrest. Your nights are filled with restlessness and thoughts of what might be coming next in your life. God works third shift. He never sleeps.

There have been many nights when I prayed the following based on thoughts of Psalm 127:
Dear Lord,
Your Word tells me you give Your children sleep. I know I am Your child. Please help my mind and body to get in sync to get some sleep. Will You please grant me sleep?
Until sleep comes, lay upon my heart someone for whom I should be praying right now.
Lord, if You chose to awake me at this hour to have me listen to You from Your Word, please speak to my heart.
Help me to have the strength I need for tomorrow.

Tip #3: Remove distractions before reading.
My preferred way to read is to have headphones on with either ocean sounds or Baroque period music playing, or instrumental only music. I do not listen to music with words during this time. The music is softly playing.
Secure a space that will allow you a moment of privacy. I know many young mothers who retreat to private areas in the home to do their Bible reading. Seek your spouse’s help to give you the haven you need to have this Quiet Time with God.

Enlist your spouse to help you find a quiet place. Ask them to assist you with what distracts you while you read. Then return the favor to them. Meet God with as few interferences as possible. After all, you have a meeting with the King of kings. Remove anything that is a distraction so you can focus on Him.

Tip #4: Reduce the quantity of verses you are reading.
I know this sounds unusual coming from a preacher. Allow me to explain. If you are in a season of your life where you are not understanding or getting anything out of your time with God and His Word, maybe you are trying to read too much. Instead of trying the marathon (reading the Bible through every six months), try reading from the Psalms each day.

For a two-year period of my life, I read just the book of Psalms for my devotions. Every month or so, I would read it through. I would read and try to imagine what the Psalmist was going through as I read. I slowed down my reading and got more from it. If it takes you five years to read through the Bible, you are not less of a Christian. Read it at a pace that you can comprehend it and receive something from it.

Tip #5: Reset your expectations.
What are the expectations you have when you read the Bible? Perhaps I can help reset them for you. When you read the Bible, you should expect at least one of these things to occur. Copy these five expectations to a notecard, put it in your Bible or on your reading device. Read them aloud before you read the Bible each day.

God will have something for me that day in His Word. I will look for it.
God will teach me a precept, a principle, or a promise. I will look for them.
God will help me discern a solution to a problem I am pondering. I will look for that solution.
God will strengthen my faith in Him. I will trust Him as a result of what I read today.
God will renew my courage to walk on with Him. I will walk today in the light of what I read.
God will convince me of how dearly I am loved. I will meditate on His love for me and the security of His love.

I encourage you to make your own list of expectations of God. Think about the things that you love to look for about God’s character and nature.

Tip #6: Read with a companion.
I would encourage you to have a companion with whom you can seek clarification or get the sense of something. If you do not understand something, how will you learn unless you ask? Do not be afraid to seek help. This companion might be:

  • A trusted friend–identify someone with whom you are comfortable being spiritually vulnerable. Contact them. Tell them, “I need someone I can call when I am stuck understanding a passage. Will you be my devotional companion?”
  • A spiritual adviser–your pastor, Sunday School teacher, or a deacon at church may help you as you seek clarification.
  • A printed Bible reference companion book–a book that helps you understand passages in bite-sized pieces.
  • A devotional commentary–a trusted author who gives the sense of the passage and teaches a principle or precept from the passage.

Tip #7: Reflect on your daily reading.
Reading without reflection causes me frustration later in the day. Reflection is pondering the words you read and then looking deeply into your soul and spirit. The time for reflection is the time when you give unrestricted access to God to adjust and remove the elements brought to light from your reading as you reflect on His Word and while the Holy Spirit works on your heart. As you first begin, give yourself thirty seconds for reflection. Work your way up to several minutes for reflecting. I think of it as a time to acknowledge what I read, appreciate what I read, and ask God to change me based on what I read.

Tip #8: Revise your reading plan.
I would not recommend the same Bible reading schedule for every season in your life. I sometimes read a plan of ten chapters a day from random books. Other times I read a plan of themes I can choose within my Bible software on my portable devices and computer. There are times I read a devotional book and its assigned reading. Try different plans of Bible reading; the variety will engage your senses and heart.

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.

From the Memo Board: October 2017

Dates to Know

October 9 – Most US Banks will be closed for Columbus Day.

November 1 – September Financial Reports will be due.

November 11 – Most US Banks will be closed for Veterans Day.

November 20 – Please contact us by this date if you will need funds in your account before Thanksgiving.

November 23-24 – The Office will be closed in celebration of Thanksgiving.

November 30 – Revised pay date for those who normally receive funds on the 29th.

December 1 – October Financial Reports will be due.

December 8 – Revised pay date for those who normally receive funds on the 10th.

December 8 – All prayer letters should be submitted to our staff in order for your recipients to get them before Christmas.

December 18 – Please contact us by this date if you will need funds in your account before Christmas or the end of the year.

December 20-27 – The Office will be closed in celebration of Christmas.

January 1 – November Financial Reports will be due.

January 9 – Missionaries will receive their statements of December Support Received.

January 11 – All missionaries will receive their final December support on this day, regardless of the day they normally receive support.

January 15 – December Financial Reports will be due, along with any remaining receipts or financial paperwork for 2017.

January 31 – W-2 Forms and other tax documentation for the 2017 year will be available.

New Privacy Policy

WWNTBM is committed to securing the privacy of all individuals associated with our agency. Therefore, we have adopted a new privacy policy to guide our staff and to inform our missionaries concerning how information is shared. A copy of this policy is available on SecureCloud under the Security Protocols folder. If you have questions or concerns about your privacy, please contact our office.

SecureCloud Settings

With our move to placing Support Lists and Ledgers in SecureCloud, we are receiving more feedback on the use of this secure platform. One common concern is that many of you have begun receiving emailed activity logs. These emails are automatically sent by the software, as a way to inform you of new files shared with you, or changes in your folders. If you do not want to receive these emails, you can change it in your settings.

  • Log in to your account.
  • Click on your name in the upper right corner, then select “Personal” from the dropdown menu.
  • Add your email address if you have not yet done so. This will aid in password recovery.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page, under the Activity section.
  • Adjust your preferences in the “Mail” column. If you never want to be notified, be sure to uncheck every item on the list.
  • Return to your main screen by clicking on “Personal” from the upper left corner, and select the “Files” icon from the dropdown menu.

Click here to watch a video on how to change or retrieve your SecureCloud password.

Click here to watch a video on how to share files in SecureCloud.

Financial Report Reminder

As we enter the last quarter of the year, thoughts turn to year-end tax procedures. Many people begin thinking of last-minute deductions that will affect them. If you anticipate making large ministry purchases and you desire the purchase to be a deduction in the year 2017, you may wish to make the purchase by the end of November. Because of the way our W-2s are calculated, December expenses are “reimbursed” out of January income, so the tax benefit on your W-2 would actually be considered a 2018 reimbursement. Regardless of when the purchase is made, you will still receive a tax benefit. However, we wanted you to be aware of these deadlines as you plan your expenses over the next few months. If you have questions about this, please contact Naomi Torberson.

REAL ID Update

In April 2017, we wrote about the future enforcement of “The REAL ID Act.” Starting January 22, 2018, state driver’s licenses presented at U.S. airports for ID purposes must be a “REAL ID” version. Otherwise, an alternative form of ID, such as a passport, will be required. Many federal agency websites, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, have recently published updated information regarding the requirements and enforcement of these policies. State-specific DMV websites provide instructions for obtaining a “REAL ID.” Please take time to research how this issue may affect you in the future.

Click here to find out more about the “REAL ID” and how your state is handling these new requirements.

Click here for more information from TSA.

Uplift Podcasts

The following recordings were recently published on Uplift.com. You may access the site by entering the username: wwntbm and the password: gospel. These recordings for our missions family contain the Uplift calls in their entirety, including prayer requests and challenges to our missionaries. We hope they will encourage your heart.

A Stewardship of Faithfulness: Duey Whitfield
Going Forth in God’s Grace: Ernie Bauserman
Trusting God to Provide: Jonathan Earnhart
Maintaining Focus on Deputation: Gene Krachenfels

Devotional excerpts from our Uplift calls are now available to the general public at upliftforservants.com. The new podcast, Uplift For Servants, will help other Christians benefit from the encouragement provided to us each week. Please feel free to share this resource with your friends and family!

Summer Intern

We were thrilled to have Rene Pollack complete her graphics design internship with us this summer. Rene is a member of Memorial Baptist Church in Ocala, FL, with Pastor Michael West. She is a student at Pensacola Christian College. Rene helped us with several projects, including redesigning our application forms and creating new designs for kid-centered faith promise cards. She also assisted us with photography at FFW and has helped several of our missionaries with their design needs as well. If you have a design project that you need assistance with, you can contact her at [email protected]. Pray for her as she continues her education.

From Our President: October 2017

Danny Whetstone

We hear so many various views about happenings around the world and, especially it seems, in the United States. My guess is that we will have to have more discipline in the future than ever before to keep our minds on the most important thing in our lives. God has given us a specific call to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We will always have an opinion about what is happening in our world, but that opinion must never keep us from doing our best in the Lord’s work. When the Lord met with His followers just before His return to heaven He gave them a reminder of their task. They were challenged once again to take the way of salvation to the world. The angels appeared to them with the question, “Why stand ye gazing?” It seems their message was that the disciples knew what to do, now they were to go and do it.

I am not attempting to say that we should not be concerned by what is going on in the world today. But I am saying that our primary interest while we are in this world should be to fulfill our responsibility to carry out the Great Commission at every given opportunity. Many things are going on that could very easily anger and frustrate those of us that hold to Bible truth; however, anger and frustration will not advance the Gospel to anyone. Let’s guard our minds and our tongues as we face the ever-increasing changes with which we are confronted. More often than not arguments drive us to extreme positions.

Go back to God’s call in your life. Ponder the days after He initially unfolded His purpose in your life. Remember how exciting it was to imagine that hundreds of faithful Christians would support your family so that you could carry out that dream. If you find yourself off track, get back on track. If you find that you are still on track, determine that you will fix your heart and mind on completing the path that the Lord has set before you.

We are blessed indeed to have the opportunity to spend our earthly existence sharing the Word of God with a world that seems to be “fainting and scattered abroad.” Find those who are searching for an answer and give that answer to them. Give every effort to avoid getting tangled up in the affairs of this world.

May God bless you, your family, and your ministry as you serve Him faithfully.

In His Service,
Danny A. Whetstone

If this article has been an encouragement to you, you can email Bro. Whetstone here to let him know.

Prayer & Dates: October 2017

October Prayer/Praises and Special Dates

Click the link above to download a PDF of prayer requests and praises as well as the birthdays and anniversaries for October. Note: You will need to login to SecureCloud in order to view this document. Once you have logged in, click on Files, Shared, then Headquarter Happenings, then scroll to the month you would like to view. This step protects people with WWNTBM in restricted access fields.