I'm giving up reading my Bible daily for Lent.  For those that don't know the tradition of giving something up for Lent is intended to prepare the believer for the coming of Christ (Easter).  Usually this preparation comes in the form of prayer and self-denial.  The practical application of which is, every time you have a longing for that thing you're fasting from, you go to God in prayer.

Why am I giving up reading my daily Bible for 40 days?  There are three reasons, and they are personal and I do not recommend anyone else try this.
I read God's Word daily to bring myself closer to Him and to start my day off properly, put my attitude and heart into the right perspective.  So why would I want to give that up?  I don't.  Here are my reasons for doing so:

1 - A friend recently asked me 'what does following Christ get you besides heaven?'.  My answer was Hope and Truth.  I have seen in my life, many people without hope, and those same people don't have the Word of God or choose not to read it because of their beliefs.  They wake up each day dreading what the day may bring, and find temporary happiness in things that leave them quickly.  I suspect that by stopping my reading, my daily reminder of Christ as my hope, will give way to a growing sense of despair, and after 40 days I'll be longing to jump back into the Bible.  I can already feel this affect happening.

2 - Thousands of people and hundreds of language group in Papua New Guinea, have no Bible in their language.  Fasting from reading the Bible, is going to help me appreciate their lack.  It hopefully will add fuel to the fire in my heart already to work in Bible translation, and to get them God's Word into their heart language.  So many of them have never heard in a way they fully understand "God LOVES you, and His Son died for you!"  They haven't heard that!  I know there are those who heard that and believed it, heard that and rejected it, but these people haven't heart it at all!  Giving up my daily reading for 40 days should help put me in their shoes for a short while.

3 - I have a theory that the day to day life of business and distraction, all the thousands of details that go into simply living in the U.S. (or anywhere) distracts us from God.  Will I be able to keep my focus on Him without my daily reading?  Will I be able to automatically pray when troubles come up? Will I be thinking of Him and His kingdom perspective instead of a worldly one?  Or will the world creep in along the borders and begin to depress, distract, and destroy me?

I know I'm flirting with my own happiness here.  But I think this is going to answer that question for my friend (at least in part, I'm still going to follow Christ).  What does following Christ get you while you're here on earth?
I think at the very core, my daily happiness is at risk.  I'm voluntarily severing my daily time with God, for 40 days.

I'm not sure it is a wise thing to do.  I'm fully aware there are plenty of believers who do not in fact read their Bible weekly much less daily.  For me connecting daily to Christ is a survival skill.  It strengthens my defenses against temptation, gives me more patience with people, it fills my heart with love, and reminds me that there is more to life than me.

I'm a bit nervous about quitting this habit, so we'll have to see how it goes.  It might turn out to be a horrible idea, and I might have to give it up.  This experiment is making me a bit queasy to be honest.

I'm hoping in the end, instead of having broken a discipline, I will have created a stronger thirst.  I'm told it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but much longer to break one.  A few years ago I gave up complaining for Lent, and I still complain, so let's hope it takes longer than 40 days to break a habit. (-;

Here we go.

Ash Weds:  Feb 18
Day 1: Apparently I chose to use the time I normally spend, sleeping in a little bit.  Was a good day, nothing to report.
Day 2: Today I felt kind of off, not sure why, just focused on work.
Day 3: Slept in today, I apparently needed the rest.  Found myself a little impatient with people and wanting to be alone.
Day 4: Saturday - woke up to a great breakfast, had a great day with my daughter, visited with my folks, didn't seem to miss it.
Day 5: We didn't go to church today, spent time as a family instead.  It was one of those days where I was misfiring my jokes though, I was off center a little.
Day 6: Odd day, I was alone waiting outside for a while and found myself thinking about all the problems in the world, felt very stressed and like there was a huge weight on my shoulders.
Day 7: I feel like the world is doomed. While I gave up Bible reading, I didn't give up news reading and there is so much going on in the world, I want Christ to return badly.  Can it be I'm already starting to lose hope?

Day 8 is tomorrow, I'll post another few days in a short while....