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The Rob Skinner Podcast: Helping You Make This Life Count


Jun 3, 2024

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/robskinner

Would you like to be “prosperous and successful?”  God gives clear direction to his people on how to enjoy that very thing.  He tells Joshua the secret to prosperity in Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”  In this episode I’ll be talking about how to:

·        Kindle or rekindle your passion for God’s Word

·        How to meditate on scripture

·        Ways to see old scriptures in new ways and…

·        How to develop “greatest hits” collection of your favorite scriptures

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Transcript

How to Become a Multiplying Disciple:  Meditate on God's Word

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 

Joshua 1:8

Joshua was handed the unenviable job of following in Moses’ footsteps.  The same Moses who faced down Pharaoh, who raised his staff to part the Red Sea, who kept his nation fed for forty years in a desert and who brought down the tablets of the Law from Mt. Sinai.  Imagine the pressure Joshua must have felt in trying to follow in the footsteps of this man for all generations.  Not only that, but Moses had left Joshua with the massive challenge of crossing the Jordan, taking on the fortress of Jericho and conquering all of the promised land.  God assures Joshua in this chapter that he is with him and that he will give him the land and he hands him the key to success and prosperity, meditate on God’s word, the book of the law.  It’s interesting what God doesn’t give him.  He doesn’t give him a pep talk talking about how great Joshua is or how much God believes in him.  He doesn’t give him a buddy like he gave Aaron to Moses.  He doesn’t give him advice on his time management or speaking skills.  Instead he tells Joshua to devote himself to reading and meditating on the words of God.  That one habit will bring success and prosperity to his leadership.  Joshua must have taken this to heart because unlike most other Old Testament figures, Joshua lives a nearly perfect life.  He parts the Jordan, levels Jericho, divides and conquers the promised land, allots all of the tribal territories and successfully leads his new nation until his death.  The only failure he faces is when he forgets to pray when the Gibeonites scam him into making a treaty with them.  He is truly a worthy predecessor to his descendant who shares his same name, Jesus.

Are you looking for success and prosperity in your life?  The formula for success hasn’t changed in three thousand years.  Keep God’s word on your lips, meditate on it and do everything written in it.  Your devotion and application of God’s word will establish the level of fruitfulness, effectiveness and impact of your life. 

Many turn toward God in times of difficulty, become followers and then attempt the long period of marching daily toward Zion.  Some fall by the wayside or settle for an unsatisfying and unfruitful existence with little “success and prosperity” to speak of.  They don’t become multiplying disciples, they often settle for spiritual barrenness, emotional distance from God and a sin-compromised existence.

That doesn’t have to be your life.  Determine today that you will follow in the footsteps of Joshua.  Here’s how you can do that.

Get excited about the Bible

I walked into the Christian bookstore in Berkeley, California a few days after my baptism.  I scanned the Bibles for sale and settled on a Zondervan Study Bible.  It had commentary notes below each page.  It was massive with a bonded leather cover.  I put the small paperback Bible my neighbor had given me into my backpack and used my new Bible for Bible study in my dorm room.  I remember opening the box, pulling it out and tearing open the mylar covering around the Bible.  I flipped through the pages and smelled the brand new book smell.  I loved how the gold gilding around the pages stuck together initially and how the pages were shining white without a flaw on any page.  I sensed something awesome and new was happening in my life with the opening of this new Bible.  I wore that Bible out. 

If someone handed you a goose that laid a one-ounce golden egg every morning, how would you care for and tend to that animal?  Would you be excited?  Would you take good care of it?  Absolutely!  How much more for a book that will bring you success and prosperity all the days of your life. 

Get excited about the Bible.  Look at it with new eyes.  Whether you have it on your phone or have a paper Bible, treasure it.  Here are some things you can do to refresh your excitement about God’s word.

Go out and buy a brand new Bible.  Sometimes it helps to buy a new Bible.  There are so many variations on the Bible that can stimulate your approach to God’s word.  Try a study Bible or chronological Bible.  A Bible that offers space in the margins for notes can help.  Figure out what works for you to bring a new passion to God’s word.

Buy a new translation every year.  Reading the same translation year after year can bring a comfortable feeling of familiarity to your Bible study.  It can also turn your active mind off and set you into mental cruise control as you read through page after page without remembering what you just read.  A new translation can often force your mind out of a mental rut and cause you to start consciously thinking about what you are actually reading.  New translations are coming out every year.  Try a new one to stimulate your excitement.

Read through the Bible every year.  This is one of the best practices that keeps your interest in God’s word burning hot.  Download a PDF file that will guide you through the Bible in one year.  This will keep you from the “flip and find” method of random scripture study.  It will broaden your love and knowledge of God’s word and the background to Jesus’ arrival.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to look up how many pages there are in your Bible, divide it by the number of days in the year, 365 and that will tell you how many pages to read each day.  Keep a post it note or bookmark handy to keep track of your location.  The only downside of this method is that it can be difficult slogging through the entire Old Testament before reaching the New Testament in the last quarter of the year.  One way to fix that is to alternate readings every day or for every two pages of the Old Testament, read one of the New.  This year I’m following the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan by Michael Coley.  Every day I read a passage from a different genre of the Bible such as letters, law, history, Psalms, poetry, prophecy and gospels.  You can find the link below. [1]

Carve out time every day

God told Joshua, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night.”  Joshua was commanded forcefully to make the Bible a daily habit of his life.  One of the best and most important ways to do this is to read your Bible first thing in the morning.  Do it before you check your phone or schedule.  Try doing it before you get out of bed.  Satan’s plan is to drown you in trivial details and get you to forget your devotion to God’s word.  You have to KEEP it on your lips.  Read or listen to at least a chapter a day of God’s word.  Those who experience growth in their spiritual lives prioritize the consumption of God’s word.  I force myself to get into God’s word as soon as I sit down to my desk after getting a cup of coffee in the morning. 

Keep it on your lips

I think God is telling Joshua to use the Bible in his daily conversation and normal activities of life.  Memorization of important passages is powerful in times of trouble, temptation and transition.  I keep a stack of 3x5 cards that are lined and whenever I run into a passage that physically impacts me, I write it out on the card.  I have a stack of cards that I started thirty years ago.  When I travel, I will bring them with me and pull them out.  It’s like having a “greatest hits” album with you at all times.  I know that each scripture I look at will be one of my favorites and deeply impacting. 

I’ve also use the Navigator’s memorization system to memorize scriptures.  They print and sell powerful scriptures from the Bible and can really help in keeping God’s word on your lips. 

The impact of this practice reveals itself in two ways.  When you are facing challenges, you can call up scriptures from within that can help you with whatever you are facing.  You don’t need to flip through the Bible to find them.  Secondly, when you are talking to others, you can drop in scriptures into your conversation that can counsel and encourage others.  The power of your conversation intensifies based on the power and wisdom of God’s word.

Meditate of God’s Word Day and Night

Meditating on God’s word is simply ruminating or thinking deeply about God’s word.  Meditation is integral to eastern religions and yet not limited to them.  God was calling his people to use meditation to deepen their walk with him three thousand years ago.  How can we do this?  Take time to think about what you just read.  Read long enough that your mind gets in sync with what you are reading about.  Sometimes it takes 10 minutes or longer before your mind settles down and starts really connecting with a passage.  That’s why as a younger Christian I recommend reading for volume as opposed to isolating single passages for deeper study.  If you are less than a year old as a Christian, your first assignment should be to first read through the entire New Testament and then read through the Old Testament.  A broad view of God’s word and his dealings with men will allow you to think more deeply and give you the context to drill down and understand better any singular passage.  Keeping notes or a journal of what you are reading can help you meditate on the meaning.  I like to read and then meditate on what I just read.  I kneel on my prayer bench and think about what God was trying to communicate to me that morning. 

Don’t turn from it to the right or left

Reading, knowing, meditating and memorizing God’s word is important but incomplete.  God’s intention is that we are so influenced by his commands that it affects our daily behavior.  This is what made Joshua one of the greatest generals and leaders of all time.  And that is what we will cover in the next chapter.



[1] https://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.pdf