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Food For Your Soul
The Expository Teaching Ministry of Dr. D. Richard Ferguson 

Spreading & deepening delight in Christ


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Many Christians have trouble carving out a daily time alone with God. Often it's because their devotions have been dry and boring. Here are some principles that help me have delightful experiences with God each time I open his Word.

Prepare:  S.I.O.U.S.

S is for Seek
Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

All our seeking after God will be worthless if He does not seek us. Begin by asking God to come near to you. 

is for Incline.
Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart toward your statutes.

Inclination has to do with what you like and dislike. We do not observe life with a detached, robotic analysis. We have a sense of liking and being attracted to some things and disliking and being inclined away from others.

Before you open your Bible take a moment to remind yourself that you could begin reading, come across some wonderful truth about God, and be bored by it. Horror! What could be worse than being unable to be delighted by the glory of God? Before reading, ask the Lord to incline your heart toward whatever it is He is about to show you so that when you see it you will love it.

O is for Open.
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

When you read something in Scripture about God and it does not thrill your soul and cause great joy, peace, comfort, or awe, there is only one explanation: your eyes are blind to what is wonderful about that truth. Every truth about God in Scripture would absolutely thrill you if your eyes were opened to see what is so wonderful about it. And only God can do that. So before reading, pray—“God, open my eyes.”

U is for Unite. 
Psalm 86:11 Unite my heart, that I may fear your name.

When we come to the Word of God, we usually come with a scattered, distracted heart. We must pray, “Dear God, please unite my heart so for this brief little time I can focus my entire being on You.”

S is for Satisfy.
Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

The presence of God is like food—it always satisfies the soul. If you go away from your time in the Word unsatisfied, then, it is because you did not experience the presence of God. It is good, before we open the Bible, to remind ourselves of the purpose of coming to God’s banquet table. The goal is not just to gather information, but to leave the table with our souls satisfied!

Respond to Scripture

Read a paragraph carefully four or five times. Think deeply, beyond the surface. Write down the answers to these questions:

 - List everything the passage tells you about God.

 - List everything it tells you about yourself.
 - List any:
   * commands to obey
   * promises to trust
   * new ways God wants you to think

After you have pondered all that you have written, pick whichever one or two strike you as the most important for today. Ask the following questions about those one or two:

  - How would my life be different if this were explosively alive in my inner being, if I really believed it?

  - What would I gain?

  - How would life be better for the people around me if this were real in my life?

  - What problems result when I forget what’s in this verse?

  - Why is God showing me this now - on this day?

  - What do I need to confess?

  - What should I be grateful for? (Try to think of a good praise song to express    your joy over that thing.)

For a sermon on the topic of personal Bible reading see the message on James 1:25:

For a basic class on personal Bible study:

NOTE: Unfortunately, we only have the recordings of the first 3 parts of this class: 
   1)  The Importance of Personal Bible Study
   2) Interpretation of Scripture
   3) Meditation and Insight

For an in-depth class on how to interpret Scripture: