Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Page 21 of 366

I knew 2020 would be busy & that I wouldn't be able to blog every day, but I'll post them as I get them!

Coterie
- a small group of people with shared interests or tastes, especially one that is exclusive of other people; example: "a coterie of friends and advisers"
- a circle of people who associate with one another
- a communal burrow of prairie dogs

Clique:
- a small, exclusive group [of individuals], snobs
- to associate together in a clannish way
- to act with others secretly to gain a desired end

When I was growing up, I was exposed early on to the concept of cliques: a small, exclusive group of people who wanted nothing to do w/ me; in other words: “family” (just kidding!). In school it was amplified: there were the jocks, the jerks, the nerds, the geeks, the dweebs, the brains, the preppies, the yuppies, etc & they hung together; the cafeteria was were it was clearly delineated: who you ate w/ determined your categorization in that microcosm of social hierarchy.

There were only a handful of kids that could easily interact w/ every group; they could connect w/ whatever group they happened across. I was jealous of those people… 

Jesus connected w/ everyone; He had His coterie but He wasn't a snob. 

Let me back up a minute, well let me first back up 1000 years to King David. He had His three mighty men, Ishbaal, Eleazar, Shammah, his coterie, his “close friends & advisers”, yet he also connected w/ the common man. I'm reminded of a sermon my current pastor preached around 15 years ago about David hiding from King Saul in the Cave of Adullam w/ a group of people, many of them family. David had the chance to get to know all these people, really get to know them. He still had his mighty men whom he kept close, whom he trusted & who advised him, but he wasn't cliquish & wasn't a snob.

Fast forward 1000 years to Jesus; He had His Disciples & among them He had His coterie of Peter, James & John. He hung out w/ people in the community, He knew the bar owners & their patrons, He connected w/ everyone regardless of their occupation, reputation or gender. Jesus hung out w/ His Disciples & w/ His coterie, but He wasn't cliquish & wasn't a snob.

Fast forward another 2000 years to the present & take a look at our current social system: things really haven't changed much because human nature hasn't really changed; there's still cliques & there's still coteries. My pastor vehemently hates cliques, as do I  & I'm really making an effort to meet & connect w/ different people in my fellowship & soon the community but let's face it: birds of a feather do flock together; interests & values have the propensity to segregate.

I have friends, we all do but I have a couple of close friends that I can tell pretty much anything to or bounce anything off of; they are my coterie. I try not to be selective, exclusive, cliquish or snobbish; I try to be friendly & on good terms w/ everyone but there are some people that you naturally click w/ & others that you don't. Not everyone has to be in your inner circle, but we should all strive to avoid being cliquish. 

Let's be honest, it's hard. For me, I'm a shy & quiet person, I'm not much of a conversationalist. I'm perfectly fine just sitting & watching people… I'm perfectly happy if someone else is moderating a group… I've found that more people are Calebs than Joshuas, more Barney Fifes than Andy Taylors, more followers than leaders. However, in the last couple of years I'm really being challenged to connect w/ people both in & outside of my fellowship/community. 

Coteries... Cliques…. Community... & only Christ bridges them all.     



Monday, January 6, 2020

Page 6 of 366

DS9: Children of Time



Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite of all the Trek incarnations. I grew up watching the Original Series & still enjoy it, 'not crazy about the Next Generation or Voyager but really liked Enterprise, alot... however, DS9 seemed to be a cut above the rest w/ their story arcs, depth of characters, conflicts & amazing writing; it all came together in this series.

Lately I've been pondering an episode called “Children of Time” & here's a short synopsis: while on the way back to DS9 from a mission in deep space, the crew of the Defiant investigate an anomalous field surrounding a planet. They go through the field only to find the planet populated by their descendants, 'caused by them trying to break back through the field in 2 days only to be thrown back in time 200 years & crash land.

The current crew works w/ their descendants to devise a way that the ship can split in two, one crash landing in the past thus preserving the  history of the planet & the other breaking free to return our current crew home.

It was a great story, full of scenarios, conflicted emotions & a great sense of both uncertainty & urgency; uncertainty of the population as to whether they would even exist in 2 days & urgency of the crew to get back to their families.



On the day before the crew was to attempt their escape from the planet, they took part in a yearly Spring planting ritual, where the entire population came together & planted the seeds for the coming harvest. In light of the circumstances, many were questioning "why are we doing this if we may not even be here tomorrow?".

It reminds me of the hour we live in, where some have a futility-mindset:

- why plan for the future when we may not have one?
- why save money for retirement when Jesus could return any second?
- what's the point of having any long-term plans?
- why are we bothering planting seeds for a harvest we may never see?

In the episode, on the last day everyone worked together, until well into the night & braced themselves for whatever outcome time dealt them...

When I was growing up, I was bombarded w/ fear-based salvation, “Jesus could return any minute, any minute! Don't concern yourselves w/ things here, don't make any long-term plans, be ready for His return!”. In hindsight, this was not the best approach to an impressionable youth or their generation, the basic futility of living life.

This episode reminded me of John 9:4 “work while it is day” in other words, keep doing what you're supposed to be doing & if the whistle blows & your life ends or Jesus returns, there's nothing you can do about it.

(note: all photos property of their respective owners).




Sunday, January 5, 2020

Page 5 of 366

So, while I was running sound during service this morning I was thinking about 1933's “The Invisible Man” starring Claude Rains & Gloria Stuart, based off of H.G. Wells book. 



Why was I thinking about a classic Universal monster movie during a church service? Let me back up a little bit…

Near the end of October 2019 I injured my hand, it was my guitar fretting hand; long story short a window pane fell on it & I cried like a baby, it was fractured, swollen & bleeding. I was out of commission music-wise for the next few months & did miss two services between then & now. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, I found myself once again helping in the sound booth.

So this morning before service I said hello to a lady & she was wondering where I had been, she hadn't seen me. I almost said, “well, who do you think has been running sound?” but this is a new year & I wanted to make my words count so I replied, “I've been here...” & walked away.

When worship was over, I started thinking about the earlier conversation & how invisible I was in/to the fellowship. Now, I've never regarded “The Invisible Man” as one of my favorites in the Universal monster series, it was good but I preferred the other monsters. However, this morning got me thinking about how many people are there yet not there, are seen yet not seen, are moving around & serving “invisibly” not being noticed…

There's something about being invisible that's somewhat desirable in Kingdom serving. In the sound ministry, they're there long before people come in & long after they leave, often w/ little or no interaction w/ fellow congregants. I've experienced that myself, not being able to even say hello to people for a month or two at a time & they wonder “where I've been” as they haven't seen me! 

There's one Scripture that's been interpreted in different ways:

John 3:30 “He must increase, I must decrease”

- “I must empty me of me, so I can be filled with Him”
- “His ministry must increase, my ministry must decrease”
- “I represent the Law and Jesus represents the Kingdom/Grace; my time is over and Jesus’ time is here.”

It's interesting to read different commentaries & to hear sermons on this verse, everyone thinks they have the only possible & correct interpretation of these words…

The guy who makes the coffee is rarely seen but the aroma of his presence lingers in the air…        The lady who cleans the church building is also rarely seen but her work is evident... 

In my younger years, I was very visible in ministry: teaching Sunday School, helping lead worship & sometimes preaching but the older I get the more I like being in the background, behind the scenes, being “invisible” so that the focus is not ever on me but always on Jesus.

I boil that Scripture down to this: I do what He calls me to do but what I do is insignificant to what He's done & is currently doing. What you focus on becomes magnified, don't focus on me, magnify Jesus.

H.G. Wells may have been onto something...
  

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Page 2 of 366

This is my first blog of 2020; I basically took 2019 off from blogging but I'll be somewhat back at it & I took a nod from something that was trending on Twitter so my posts this year will be Page _ of 366 (the days of the year). I won't be blogging every day as that's impossible for me at this present time so you'll get it when I get it. 

I've been praying about/pondering 2020; apart from the obvious inference of the year (perfect vision, clarity) I believe the theme for me personally this year is simplicity.

As humans we tend to complicate things, that's just our nature. If there's a way to go from point A to point B, we'll usually add points C, D, E, & F to it. Many of us complicate life, love, friendships, God, the gospel, church, worship, politics, morality, you name it & we make it harder than it is.

computer/desk

As I'm typing this, I'm looking around at the cluttered mess that was once a clean desk, I see:
- pens & highlighters
- my wacom rablet
- a plastic egg w/ a cork foosball in it
- various computer screws
- apple or pear seeds
- a flashlight
- an empty altoids tin
- chapstick
- a stack 3.5 floppy drives
- a stack of computer memory
- a stack of various hard drives
- a stack of Linux distros
- a stack of VHS tapes
- a pair of chopsticks
- a half a deck of cards
- a couple of screwdrivers
- various golf tees
- a toaster oven
- an empty box
- various pages of notes on various & sundry things

It's cluttered alright & some people say a messy desk is a sign of genius but I don't know… I do know where everything is though. I also know I need to change, clean it up & simplify.

I need to go from this:



to something like this:



but this is my favorite setup right now, 
an old HP IPAQ pda w/ an SD card that floats across all my devices:


Now that's a simple setup & I find myself using it more & more...

songwriting/guitar

I like playing guitar, I really do. I spent years getting my sound, it took that long for me to figure what I wanted & to achieve it. For electric, I experimented w/ all different kinds of pedals & combinations but settled on a simple overdrive & different delays for soaring leads & an ebow for cleaner sounds. For my 12 string I have no effects: just plug & play, songwriting has never been easier & worship has never been more pure.

As for songwriting, I've been revisiting & rewriting some of the worship songs I was going to record last year before I smashed my hand. In looking them over, there's places where I can cut some things out, where I can simplify the chords or the expression of thought, so accidents can turn out to be very serendipitous…

commandments

In the beginning, it was simple & uncomplicated: God, two humans & a garden. It went from that to separation to rules for relationship. It went from 316 commandments, simplified & summarized into 10 & simplified further by Jesus into 1: love God w/ everything in you & love others.

Over the years, I've known ministers who’ve complicated the gospel, who preach works to obtain the love & approval of God, who preach both Law & Grace, jumping effortlessly from one to the other several times in their sermons. 

The simplicity of the gospel is this:

- You are forgiven 1 John 2:12 “Children, I am writing you, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Christ.”
- God is not holding your sins against you 2 Corinthians 5:19 “In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.”
You have the mind of Christ 1 Corinthians 2:16 “But we have the mind of Christ and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.”
You have the same anointing as Christ 1 John 2:27 “But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you...”

Note: Now this doesn't mean you have a license to sin, grace teaches/trains you to deny all ungodliness, Titus 2:12 “It teaches us to say “no” to/deny/renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”. It's simple: walk, move & live in love & grace. 

Another simple truth: you're either going to spend eternity w/ Him or without Him, the choice is yours.  

As I meditate on the commandment of Jesus, it hits me: the simple expression of love is giving, is serving, is preferring one another. Over the years, especially in my youth, I've heard many sermons & teachings that tried to pound principles into people w/ less than stellar results but the ones who simply taught Jesus, who taught on love (1 John 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13) had incredible results: giving & serving went through the roof and the marketplace, workplace & community were impacted w/ the practical expression of the love of God.

I quit making New Year's resolutions years ago but this year I'm shooting for simplicity in every area:

in faith: as I grow in the knowledge of God so does the reality of the simplicity of love & grace
in sound/songwriting: playing my 12 string acoustic more & writing simple yet deep songs of love & praise
in diet & exercise: eating cleaner = more fruits, veggies & nuts, less processed foods, more water & juice, more working out...
in general: getting rid of the junk I've accumulated & getting back to basics



Friday, December 27, 2019

2019 Year-End Post

This is my annual year end blog & 
if there's one word/phrase that sums up 2019 it's this: 
it was the year of the family.

March

My mom has had her health issues over the past few years, mainly blood pressure/heart related & she's been to the ER a few times but in March she was hospitalized w/ both a virus & dehydration. It's hard when you see your elderly parents in the hospital, laying in bed… helpless... dependent… lonely… discouraged… it takes an emotional & physical toll on everyone involved. She was not entirely encouraged but she did make some choices to change her lifestyle: diet & exercise, all around living a healthier life & it has made a difference; though she still has her up & down days overall, she's getting better.  

When her mother was dying four years ago, I would drop everything & drive my mom up to South Haven 4 – 5 times a week to visit her, help take care of funeral arrangements & all that stuff. Like her mother, we've also had our long talks on the round trip drive; I realized that I have so much more to learn from my mom & so little time to learn it.

I'm grateful to still have my mom around but I'm preparing myself for the day when she won't be & the word "family" may forever change...  

April

My nephew Dustin & his wife Susan moved back to America from serving several years as worship leaders at the Jerusalem Prayer Tower/King of Kings Ministries in Israel. They loved living in Israel & ministering there, but everything has it's time/season & they felt it was time to come home & be w/ family; so in April they moved back to Michigan where Dustin is on part—time staff at the Blue Roof Church, St. Joseph, MI. 

I used to see them once every couple of years when they visited the US but now I'm seeing them  4 – 5 a times a month & when we talk, we talk about the importance of family as we never know how long we have them for. 

So on the menu for 2020 are more family Winter bowling outings… sledding… Spring tennis… Summer golf & beach volleyball… Saturday night Michigan Rummy games & lazy Sunday afternoon croquet w/ their grandparents… Fall orchard outings... walks in the woods... & then the Holidays all over again.

They really missed family & having them around has reminded me of things that I sometimes take for granted... 

July

July was a rough month, I lost my Uncle Paul to cancer. He was the second brother mom lost to cancer; my Uncle Johnny died of it when I was a year old, I never knew him but I knew Uncle Paul. He was a person of grace, he knew it, understood it & lived it. Back in the 70's, he & my Aunt Lee were w/ grace teacher Andrew Wommack when he first founded his ministry. Growing up I kept hearing stories about this ministry & when I finally watched Andrew's teachings on TV he would relay the exact same adventures & miracles that my uncle told me about several years before.

Andrew Wommack now has a worldwide ministry, he never asks for money, he just trusts God to provide & God does. When Uncle Paul was in the hospital dying, Andrew was in the middle of a televised conference but he took time out to call my aunt & to talk to my cousin James, ministering to him over the phone, encouraging him about both his father's love & his Heavenly Father's love & I appreciated that. 

I miss my Uncle Paul, I miss him greatly...

September

I met my great-nephew Sebastion for the first time, he's the son of my niece Karinne & her husband Drew. Sebastion was a cute little fellow, mild-mannered like Clark Kent but w/ a hint of mischievousness like Lex Luthor. As I held him, my mind flashed back to when I used to hold his mother when she was his age & suddenly I realized the preciousness & brevity of life, the importance of time & legacy… the passing of the baton from one generation to another...

It seems like you blink & you're married w/ kids. 
You blink again & your kids are grown.
Blink again & your kids are married w/ kids of their own.
Another blink & your grandkids are now parents.

All the while time makes it's slow, steady march to eternity...

October

My niece Sarah came for a visit, I hadn't seen her in ten years & she made a surprise appearance to visit her dad & grandparents. When I last saw her she was 16 & that's how I remembered her, now she's 26, a grown woman & a lot has changed.

Sometimes you remember people the way they used to be in the past & expect them to be that same way in the present but that's not always the case; sometimes they progress, sometimes they regress, sometimes they don't change a bit & other times they change completely.

I miss Sarah & would like to see her more often but she has a life of her own & she's living it, much like my own aunts & uncles would like to see me more often but I'm living my own life & see them when I can. 

December

Three weeks ago my dad had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital as he was vomiting blood. As he was being hoisted into it I was told he was giving my mom last-minute instructions about his funeral! He honestly thought this was the end… well, he survived the ordeal & is doing better but now I not only have to take my mom to her doctor's appointments I now get to add my dad to the list!  

I'm so grateful to still have my parents; I know I'm not always going to have them w/ me & I'm preparing myself for that time, but right here, right now I'm enjoying my family (& learning to enjoy sitting in the various waiting rooms) & I'm prioritizing them over everything but God; our parents are to be honored regardless of their age & I don't mind rearranging my schedule to help them.

December also marked the end of the Mayberry Bible Study, our Men's Group ministry. I had led it for around 20 months & it was time to move on to something else. I miss it, the men became like a family to each other & that was my goal. The MBS helped me to be more sociable, to open up, trust & love like family & hopefully I can be more involved in my fellowship's activities now, which, being single, I still wrestle w/ from time to time...

Well, that was 2019, the year of hospital rooms, waiting rooms, doctor's offices, reunions, arrivals & departures; in other words, it was the year of the family. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

Since it's 2:13 am on Thanksgiving morning & my allergies are keeping me up, I thought I may as well blog!

I feel very blessed in my life to have grown up w/ all my grandparents; I started losing them in the 2000's, my dad's side first then my mom's side. I was very close to my maternal grandmother, in May of 2020 it'll have been five years since she passed & I miss her every day, especially around the Holidays. She lived to be a month short of 90 & she outlived everyone of her generation, including her siblings, her husband & one son.   

In the Summertime I remember going up to South Haven, Michigan (which was only 40 minutes away) & visiting her, spending many hours sitting on her porch or on her swing & just listening to her, laughing w/ her as she reminisced & crying w/ her as she shared her concerns about the salvation of her kids & grandkids. She never concerned herself w/ politics, her heart was always on the eternal & during the Holidays I'd drive up to South Haven to pick her up so she could spend Thanksgiving & Christmas at my mom's house. She always loved the drive & seeing the colors of the leaves & sometimes the snow covered landscape & our talks were the richest I've ever had.

She lived a simple life & she lived a simple faith; the one thing I'll always remember her for was her constant thankfulness:

Thank you for calling me…
Thank you for thinking about me…
Thank you for visiting me…
Thank you for picking me up…
Thank you for taking me shopping…
Thank you for making me tea…
Thank you for bringing me a blanket…

She loved Thanksgiving Day as she got to see her many kids & grandkids but for her, giving thanks wasn't just a day, it was moment after moment after moment, it was a lifestyle & she lived it.

Her life impacted mine & more often I find myself being thankful in all things: when I wake up in the morning the first thing out of my mouth is, “Thank You Father for a good night's sleep”, it doesn't matter if I've slept 8 hours or 1 hour, I'm still thankful I got any sleep at all! 

But there many, many things to be thankful for:

Thankful for every breath...
Thankful for life & health…
Thankful for God's provision…
Thankful for God's protection…
Thankful for God's love, grace & mercy…
Thankful for God's healing power…
Thankful for God's resurrection power... 
Thankful for my family…
Thankful for my friends…
Thankful for my fellowship…
Thankful for my pastors & leaders who model servant leadership…
Thankful for those who head up small groups & who are discipling others…
Thankful for those who teach the kids... 
Thankful for godly parents & grandparents…
Thankful for being born in America…
For those who have passed on, so very thankful for the time we had w/ them…

The list goes on & on & on...

If a day is as a thousand years it would take that long to express my thankfulness for all I've been blessed with.    

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Alternative Bible Studies

I'll be honest, due to my eye strain, this year had been a little rough in the Bible reading department; I haven't neglected my Bible – intake as I've really been into the audio Bible but actual reading/studying has been a challenge. In previous years I've done intensive studies: topical, historical, etc but this year has been different…

There's been several people that I know of that are just tired of reading the Bible in the same order, the same way so here's three ways to read/consume it differently:

Audio Bible

Like I've said before, I love the audio Bible, it's great for tedious books like Leviticus & Numbers but it's also great for the New Testament letters; there's something about hearing a letter all the way through without the chapter/verse breaks, there's a certain flow when someone reads it out loud & you can hear the author's heart in it.

Some people take a break from reading & listen to the Bible all the way through, others alternate reading then listening to every other book (for example: read I Samuel, listen to II Samuel, read I Kings listen to II Kings, read I Chronicles listen to II Chronicles, etc). If it's a longer book, sometimes I'll listen to it & read the short ones like Esther, Ruth, Jonah, Amos, Philemon, Jude etc to give my eyes a break.

Topical Studies

I spent a couple of years doing simply topical studies & the topics could be anything, like:

Praise/Worship
Love/Grace/Mercy
Faith/Hope/Trust
Marriage
Prayer
Holiness
Obedience

Just pick a topic & study it for a month or two; the same can go for any of the NT books/letters, spend 3 months studying Romans, read every commentary on it you can get your hands on, take your time, don't be in a hurry, let God reveal Himself to you… Do Hebrew & Greek word studies. I know this sounds overwhelming but believe me, it's something different & it's worth it.  

Chronological

Chronological is reading the Bible in the order the events occurred. I did this one time & it was really good, but I'm going to do it again probably starting around Labor Day 2019.

You can find a Bible timeline on several websites & go from there; there's also Chronological Bibles & chronological study guides to give you a jump start on this.

For example, you could start off reading:

John 1:1-3
Genesis 1 – 11 
Job
Genesis 12 – 50  
Exodus
Leviticus (audio)
Numbers 1-15 
Psalm of Moses: Psalm 90
Numbers 15 – 36
Deuteronomy (audio)
Psalm 91

There's always been a question as to exactly when Job took place but many historians place him in the patriarchal period so break up Genesis by reading Job in the middle of it. 

Imagine David hiding in this very spot in the cave of Adullam w/ a bunch of sweaty people, imagine the noise, the activity, the smell...



When you get to I Samuel 17 & the account of David & Goliath, go outside & mark a tree at 9 feet, 6 inches (the generally accepted height of Goliath). Read the account outside, stand 20, 30, 60, 100 feet away & look at the mark on the tree, imagine yourself w/ the sling aiming for that mark where Goliath's head was... 

After II Samuel 12 & the account of Bathsheba, read the 51st Psalm, the one of David's lament while the event is fresh in your mind; other examples of marrying I & II Samuel w/ the corresponding Psalms:

I Samuel 19:11/Psalm 59
I Samuel 21:11/Psalm 56
I Samuel 21:13/Psalm 34
I Samuel 22:1/Psalm 142
I Samuel 22:9/Psalm 52
I Samuel 23:19/Psalm 54
I Samuel 24:3/Psalm 57
II Samuel 8:13/Psalm 60
II Samuel 15:16/Psalm 3
II Samuel 15:23/Psalm 63
II Samuel 16:5/Psalm 7
II Samuel 22:2 – 51/Psalm 18 

II Kings 14:23-29 gives context to the Book of Amos, so pause & listen to/read Amos, then continue in II Kings. Personally, I like to read the historical books & listen to the OT prophets, it breaks things up & it's like hearing them as the people did.

When you read of Solomon building the Temple, find some artist's rendering of it, take a good look at all the work that went into it…



As for Jonah, study pictures of Joppa (modern day Tel Aviv-Jaffa) & research the history of Nineveh, built by Asher as recorded in Genesis 10:11. Picture Jonah walking up this path, nervous as he prepares to prophesy to the people...



Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther & Malachi were generally accepted to be contemporaries of each other, so try reading:

Ezra 1 – 6
Esther
Ezra 7 – 10
Nehemiah 1 – 12
Malachi
Nehemiah 13

Some historians say Malachi ministered between Nehemiah's visits as he addressed many of the same issues that Nehemiah faced. Growing up, I had always believed Malachi was the last living prophet/minister of his time, outliving everyone & that he was all alone but knowing he lived & prophesied in roughly the same time period/place as Ezra & Nehemiah changes things…

When reading Nehemiah, bring up some pictures of the different Gates in Jerusalem, look at a map of Jerusalem in Nehemiah's time, study it, study the pictures, imagine the men working on the walls & the gates…




Do a little research on the Prophets, find when & where they ministered, who they were primarily talking to & where they fit in Bible & world history, who they were contemporaries of.

Ezekial is a very interesting book, compare artist's rendering of the Wheel he saw (be warned, some are far out & others get into the ancient astronaut theory so don't get sidetracked). 

If you're a musician, sing the Psalms. Sit at a piano or grab a guitar w/ several translations of any Psalm in front of you & sing it as you play, pick any chord progression & go at it. 

When you finish the Old Testament, take a few days & read about World History from 400 BC to Christ, take a look at Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and how the world was changing in those 400 years, then skip the Gospels, seriously (not that I'm discounting the Gospels at all, you can either read the Gospels right away or) try something new, like:

Acts 1 – Acts 11:30
Gospel of Matthew
Acts 12 – 18:22
I & II Thessalonians (audio)
Acts 18:23 – 21:17 
I Corinthians
Galatians (audio)
II Corinthians
Romans (audio)
Gospel of Luke
Acts 21:18 – Acts 28:31
Ephesians (audio)
Philippians
Colossians 
Philemon (audio)
James 
I Peter 
Hebrews (audio)
I Timothy
Titus
Gospel of Mark
II Peter (audio)
II Timothy
Jude
Gospel of John
I John, II John & III John (audio)
Revelation

Don't always read the Bible in the same room in your home or apartment; I know there's not many options in the Winter but read it in different rooms, in front of the fireplace, etc. In the Summer, have devotions on your deck, in your gazebo, in the park, on the beach. There's been several times I've gotten up before sunrise & gone to the beach, sitting on the shore meditating on some Psalm & praying, listening to the waves lap & watching the sunrise; it's a great way to start the day. 



When you read Revelation, find a map & locate the island of Patmos (above), look at pictures of the island & how desolate it is in places, imagine John writing there. Just like Solomon's Temple & Ezekial's Wheel, find some artist's rendering of the New Jerusalem & there are plenty!

Find as many maps as you can of ancient Bible lands, trace the route of the Exodus as you read the account, find the various mountains & cities mentioned, look at pictures of Mt. Sinai...



Trace the life of David on a map, trace the missionary journeys of Paul, trace the life/ministry of Jesus in Bethlehem, in Galilee, in Jerusalem, find pictures of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus prayed His heart out... 




Little changes like these can make the Bible fresh again to you, punctuating the New Testament w/ the Gospels can bring you a new perspective & reading the letters during some of Paul's journey's can make them much more relevant & meaningful.

Doing anything different takes some effort but just start, you might find new life breathed into your devotions.