Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. — Psalm 119:105
Effective military members are good at “mission planning.” Good planning applies well thought-out doctrine and is essential to the successful operation of a unit tasked with an objective. Have you ever looked at the Bible as God’s guidebook, His “doctrine manual” for your life? In Day 36 of The Love Dare we are reminded that not only does God have a plan for your marriage, but He also “. . . has a plan for the way you handle your money. A plan for the way you raise your children. A plan for the way you treat your body. A plan for the way you spend your time. A plan for the way you handle conflict. Isn’t it just like your Maker to know exactly what you need?” (p. 178) It’s all in the Bible, and if you are serious about submitting your life to God’s principles then implementing a plan to study His Word is essential.
The authors point us to three objectives: 1) Be in the Word—develop a plan to read it every day. We know couples who have purchased identical One Year Bibles before deployment so that they could read the same verses every day and discuss what God has shown them. You might also be encouraged by reading about Eugene and Louise in an Excellent or Praiseworthy devotional posted a year ago entitled “WWII and Beyond: A Story of Commitment.” Eugene was stationed in Germany and Louise in Indonesia—for three and a half years of separation during which time they read the Bible “together.” 2) If possible get “connected” with good teaching and fellowship in a church, chapel, or small group Bible study. It was in a base chapel in Germany where we were first introduced to Bible preaching and Bible studies. We were so hungry for the truth—and our chaplains were faithful to teach and preach with passion and clarity. 3) Take what you learn every day in the Bible and live it! Ponder what you have studied and be on the look-out for opportunities to put truth into action. The Bible is a living document because the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the writing, is alive in you as a Christ-follower. “And if you are serious about establishing strategies for life based on God’s way of doing things, He will guide you to make connections between what you’re reading and how it applies. It’s an enlightening journey with discoveries to be made all the time.” (p. 178)
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Develop a plan to read the Bible every day, either by yourself or with your spouse, even while geographically separated.
Another step that couples can take in order to grow together spiritually while separated is to go through a devotional together—or read a Christian book together. Excellent or Praiseworthy is an online devotional for deployed couples posted twice a week with “questions to share” at the end—designed for discussion by email or phone. And yesterday we heard about a Navy couple who each has a copy of the devotional book Moments with You to read together during deployment. This has been so helpful that the husband, while underway, is sharing each day’s entry with two shipmates whose wives at home have also purchased the book. What started out as one couple being intentional about their devotional time together has grown to three couples sharing spiritual discussions across the months and miles.
Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” — Matthew 7:24,25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. — James 1:22
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it . . . — 2 Timothy 3:14
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. — Psalm 119:10,11
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. — Romans 15:4
Also study Appendix III, “The Word of God in My Life” in the back of The Love Dare, p. 208-209.
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)