Enjoying the Journey

There is a delicate balance in the daily devotional life: we want to keep both discipline and freshness in our time with God. Very easily routines turn into ruts and delight becomes drudgery. Today’s list is unique because each book must be used. Reading is not enough. Let me begin by clarifying that there is no book like the Bible and no daily devotional time can be what it should be apart from time in God’s Word. It is a very dangerous thing to allow any book, no matter how helpful, to substitute for the faithful reading of Scripture. Begin with the Bible and allow every other resource to drive you deeper into the Word of God. Here are five…

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We live by lists! Grocery lists, to do lists, lists to keep up with our lists. At this particular time in our world people are more reflective. God has providentially allowed us to have time to meditate and ponder what is truly important. The question is: will we remember what we are learning? Someone said that a short pencil is better than a long memory. It is so easy to forget what God is impressing on our minds. I learned as a student in college that if I intended to take action on something or share it with others then first I had to write it down. After our Lord’s miracle of feeding the five thousand He had the disciples…

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It was quiet in the house and I was sitting in my favorite chair, reading and reflecting. The little, leather books around me were not published volumes. No one else has ever read them, but they are books that mean a great deal to me. Perhaps someday my children will read them and find some encouragement. For now it is enough that they help me to remember. They are private journals of my journey with the Lord over the past decade. As I turned page after page the Lord brought so many things to my mind – things I do not want to forget. There are levels of journal writing: Activity – This is the most basic form of journaling.…

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Every close to the day is a reminder that God has not failed or forsaken us. Weariness should remind us that His strength was sufficient. Memories should remind us that His wisdom was perfect. Quiet hours should remind us that His presence was real in the busiest hours of the day. Evenings are a time to think. To pray. To give thanks. One of the Old Testament patriarchs had a divine appointment in the evening hours. It was then that the promise came to fruition and he met the wife God had chosen for him. I believe that it is no accident that the blessing came as he meditated alone… “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at…

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Books are wonderful tools.  When it comes to the daily quiet time there are a number of wonderful books that may be used with great benefit.  Occasionally I enjoy reading after an author whose sole purpose in writing is devotional in nature.  Oswald Chambers is a wonderful example of this.  His highly recommended My Utmost For His Highest is thought-provoking. E.M Bounds books on prayer are another good example.  They stir the heart to seek the Lord more fervently and purposefully in prayer.  Recently I ran across a rather new book that has been a great help to me in this way.  Though I know little about the writer, Bob Sorge’s Secrets of the Secret Place has served to enhance my daily…

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Writing is work!  It takes time and more mental energy than most tasks.  I am currently reading the biography of Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards was one of the greatest theological minds that America has known, and this is no accident.  His father worked diligently for the education of each of his children.  One of the disciplines that the elder Edwards built into his children’s training was the practice of regular writing.  Correspondence and other compositions were expected on a regular basis. Today’s young people are learning to tweet, post, text, and message…but they are not learning to write.  Some will argue that this is a different day and communication is so much simpler.  The truth remains that writing is connected to…

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The new year brings with it fresh thoughts about our devotional life.  We all need to give more time and attention to prayer.  To God.  Recently a fine young man sent me a message to ask for a few pointers on prayer.  I felt ashamed to speak on the subject in so many ways.  There is so much more to learn about true communion with God.  My answer to him was simple: 1.  Learn to pray by doing it. We do not learn to pray by listening to lectures on prayer or reading books about the subject.  Prayer is fellowship with God.  It is deepened only by time spent in His presence.  Find a place.  Make time.  Pray. 2.  Spend…

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Ours is a noisy world.  Growing up in the country there were certain noises you grew accustomed to.  Crickets chirping at night.  Birds singing in the trees.  The sound of gunfire during hunting season.  And at times – quiet.  Beautiful quiet. I remember one of the first trips I ever made to New York City.  The sights, smells, and sounds of city life accost you at every turn!  You go to sleep to the sound of traffic and horns and awaken to more of the same. Country people don’t particularly like the sounds of the city.  City people have a hard time with the sounds (or lack thereof!) in the country.  We all grow comfortable to some degree of noise.…

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At the end of 2008 I decided that I would try to begin writing in a journal each day.  I am sitting in my study tonight looking back through old journals.  The Lord has been so very good to me.  There have been difficult days, but these pages are filled with the faithfulness of God. For me, writing in a journal each day has been the most helpful daily discipline I have ever followed, outside of prayer and the reading of God’s Word.  David kept a journal.  Read the Psalms.  I have the journal of David Brainerd and George Muller.  People keep a journal for different reasons, but there have been several benefits for me. 1.  A journal helps me…

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