Sometimes, when it comes to purposefully spending time with God every day, we need a little motivation, a little jumpstart. Other times – like in the middle of a busy time – we just need more structure to keep on track. If this describes you, I want to share with you three tools, which can help you end your year well especially as we approach the busy holiday season.
I’ve used each of these tools at different times and I highly recommend them. Each has its own distinctive features. Take a look at my summary, as well as my thoughts on each one’s positive and negative features to determine which one is right for you.
I just did a Periscope on this topic, so if you caught that, this post is basically the same thing; I just wanted to share it with my blog readers who haven’t jumped on the Periscope bandwagon yet. 😉
To skip all the reading below, check out my Scope here:
First5 from Proverbs 31 Ministries launched in the summer. Through First5, you read a chapter in the Bible per day. The app provides a daily devotional, a comment section to connect with others, and one particularly unique feature: You can set it to be your alarm clock in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it won’t allow you to check emails or social media until you’ve spent your “first 5” minutes with God.
- organized plan – Thus far they have gone through John and Genesis, and on Monday, November 9th they are beginning Matthew. If you stick with them for 4 years, you will have gone through the whole Bible!
- excellent devotionals – I truly enjoy reading these devotionals by the talented writers on the Proverbs 31 team
- ability to interact with others using the app
- option to dig deeper – each day has a “Read More” feature, giving you further Scriptures that go along with that day’s Scripture focus
- “my moments” – you can make your own notes within the app and keep track of them
- Print book available – you can purchase a print book to go along with each series from the Proverbs 31 store.
- The devotionals are so good, there is a temptation to just read them and not the Bible passage. Unlike the other two options I’m listing, the actual Scripture passage isn’t listed within the app. This is great if you prefer your Bible to reading to be in your actual Bible, but it makes it tempting to skip the Bible reading and go straight to the devotional.
- Below the devotional, you can see the comments of everyone else from that day. While this is great, it can be distracting. If you have a limited time in your quiet time, it would be easy to be drawn in to those comments, shortening your prayer time.
I love this app! If you’re interested, all you have to do is download it from your Apple Store or Google Play store for free. The new Matthew study starts Monday, November 9.
She Reads Truth
She Reads Truth offers Bible study plans, which include both a focal Scripture and related Scriptures. Then, after you’ve read the passages (within the app itself), you swipe over to the devotional that goes along with that day.
Most plans are based on a book of the Bible, but topical plans are also available. These plans range from 5 days to 47 days, and there is also a Bible in a Year option. These plans range from free to $2.99.
She Reads Truth also offers other features such as ability to write your own notes within the app, bookmarks, music playlists to go along with the study (for a fee), cute lock screens, and attractive downloadable art.
- The first screen of the day brings in the exact Scripture passage, plus related Scriptures right on the first screen. Then, you have to swipe to get to the devotional, limiting the temptation not to read the day’s passage and skip to the devotional.
- I’ve only done a couple of plans (the Hymns plan was excellent), but the devotionals were great.
- You can start these plans anytime! They aren’t dependent on day, and they are adding new plans regularly.
- The entire Bible is available within this app in several translations. I love this!
- Print journals to go along with each plan are available in their store to purchase.
- Some of the plans have a fee. Most are only $1.99 but I’m cheap and have only done the free ones.
Love God Greatly
Love God Greatly offers book of the Bible or a subject-driven studies. With this study, you read a particular passage each day for 5 days, usually for about 6 weeks. Within that passage, you are led to focus on 2-3 key verses.
Love God Greatly encourages you to print out their free materials, which guide you through the study. Their focus is to SOAP the key passage (Scripture: Write the Scripture, Observe: observe what you read, Apply what you read, and Pray about what you read).
While this is designed for small groups to do together, any individual can do it and take advantages of their online resources and Facebook community.
Three blog posts are e-mailed per week for anyone who signs up (or you can just check their blog). If you decide to go through it in the YouVersion Bible app, you’ll get daily devotionals.
- Heavy emphasis on digging into Scripture yourself. (This is its best feature in my opinion!)
- The accompanying materials are simply supplements to what YOU are reading in their guided plan.
- Weekly memory verses.
- It’s all free.
- Flexibility – they regularly start new plans, which are supported with their blog posts, but you can start any of their previous plans at any time.
- Print version available to purchase
- There is so much flexibility and so many resources available, it can be a little overwhelming at first to sift through it all.
Love God Greatly’s next study – the Names of God – starts on Monday, November 9th. This is the study I’m doing! I’ve always wanted to do a study on the Names of God and I am very excited to start this one.
Have you used any of these tools? What has your experience been?