“A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t,”stated an anonymous someone. I love that quote. And it ties nicely into this post.
In a previous post (go HERE), my hope was that you would commit to a daily morning ritual of making your heart happy in God. But what does it look like in your morning ritual to meet with God and make your heart happy in Him? Here are six musts:
* Commit the time. Let’s don’t be legalistic about this thing. Your devotional time can vary according to your commute and work hours, if you have young children, and the like. I argued for the morning in the previous post. But if you’re an evening person, it can apply the same. The important thing is you choose, plan, and commit to the time–whether 5:00am, noon, or 9:00pm. View it as a non-negotiable date, meeting, conversation with the Lord. You wouldn’t stand up your best friend, your spouse, or your dad, would you?
* Declare the place. Visualize right now where you will meet with the Lord. What room? What chair? In other words, declare a place as the place where you will daily meet with God in prayer and His Word. Jesus often chose a mountain side, a garden, and so forth. So there’s something to spending time with the Lord in nature. Ultimately, the point isn’t where you meet or when you meet, but that you meet with the Lord personally and alone in an isolated place (Mark 1:35). That place needs to be comfortable and serene readying you to meet with your God. When you read Scripture, you never read alone. God, the Holy Spirit, meets with you to converse, unveil, awaken, enlighten, convict, and encourage your soul.
* Choose your food. Have you ever felt starved and gone to the fridge or cabinets to scan the jars, boxes, and cans trying to figure out what to eat? It’s frustrating. So don’t approach Scripture like that. Don’t wait until your devotional time to scan the pages and decide what Scriptures you will feast on. Be prepared the day or night before. Even better, have a plan already in place. Right now, I am reading through the gospel of Matthew, one chapter a day. If I have time, I will also read a Psalm and Proverb that correlates with the day of the month (i.e., October 29 means I am reading Psalm 29 and/or Proverbs 29 that morning). Upon finishing the gospel of Matthew, I’ll switch to an Old Testament book.
* Ready your tools. Get the coffee cup out the night before and set it by the Keurig. Have the water vat filled to the rim and your k-cup ready to go. Have your journal, pen, and Bible ready and waiting for you in your chosen place of solitude. In the winter, if you’re big on making a fire as I am, have the newspaper, kenneling, and wood placed in the fireplace and ready to go with the strike of a match. In other words, remove every obstacle and time-stealer you can between you and the precious time of meeting with the Lord Jesus. And surely it goes without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder to turn your phone and laptop off.
* Savor don’t Surf.The most dangerous thing you can do leaving your solitude with the Lord is mark “Bible-reading and prayer” off your check-list with no sense of eternal perspective, no deeper wonder in God, and especially no take-away to apply to your life. You will get none of the above if you are simply trying to get your chapter read and prayer prayed so you can get to your email. Don’t surf Scripture. Savor it. As Tim Keller says, sometimes you’ll need to savor Scripture like hard candy. It’s weighty, so you can’t chew and swallow it too quickly. Other times the Scripture can be like a good chocolate. It’s soothing to the soul. So don’t gulp it down, enjoy it. Practially speaking, if you are on verse four in your planned reading of a chapter, and the verse grabs you, by all means STOP! God is speaking! Turn the verse and its truth over and again, like spiritual hard candy or sweet chocolate, to get all that you can from it. If that takes all your devotional time, so be it.
* Share your fruit. Share what you’ve learned with your spouse, kids, parent(s), best friend, small group, or believing co-workers. God is passionate about community. In community you should share what God is teaching you and revealing to you. With all the social media at your finger tips (that should not replace community, by the way), post a tweet or Facebook post, or send to an email group, what God is showing you and teaching you. This sears the truth into your heart, mind, and life.
What I didn’t cover in the above is prayer. That’s a given. But let’s take it a step further—praying Scripture. How do you do that, exactly? That’s the next post! Stay tuned.
Do you practice a daily ritual of meeting with God–morning or evening? Do share! And share how you approach your “devotional time” with God–where, when, how, and the like! I would love to learn more, as I’m sure the readers would. Share in my site’s comments section on this post. Thanks!