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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In my Arsenal

If my time with the Lord does not happen in the morning, it may not happen for that particular day. Then, Mommy is (wrongly) grumpy and (wrongly) full of guilt. She may yell more, too. (I think that is wrong).

So I have to stock my arsenal and prepare myself for the battles of the day. I have to get up earlier than I would like. I have to account for the time it takes to make Beau's breakfast and lunch. I have to exercise and then immediately sit down to study Scripture, chai tea in hand. I wouldn't choose this for myself, particularly. However, "In his heart, a man plans his day, but the LORD directs his steps" (or hers, if you like).

The key to a good battle plan is preparation. If I just sat down haphazardly, I may miss what God wants to teach me that day. What does the Lord expect from His children? He desires a "broken and contrite heart" (Ps. 51) and He desires that we "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12). What does that look like? It looks like prayer and study of the Word.

So here is my plan:

1- Prayer. My heart is less likely to be broken and contrite over my sin if I don't take time to examine myself. I can then praise God, thank Him, and offer up my requests. I use a journal to track my prayer requests, what I am struggling with, what my family is struggling with, and any other important things I bring before the Lord. I do this mainly to look back and see how God has answered prayers I may otherwise forget about. I also got to make a prayer binder, thanks to my lovely and crafty sister-in-law. She helped me stock it with daily promptings of how to specifically pray for my husband and children. It also has pages on how to specifically praise God for His attributes. Staci's is cuter and more elaborate, and you can make yours any which way you would like, but the key is just to have one. Sometimes I don't know what to pray for, or how to begin my prayers, and the binder really helps.

2. Daily Scripture Reading. I think I have talked about the MacArthur Study Bible before, but it definitely deserves a second mention. Just find the date, open to the right page, and read consecutive passages from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. You don't need to fret over what to read, or if you are taking Scripture out of context, or how in the world you are going to get through the book of Isaiah. Little by little, bit by bit, and then...it is December of 2010 and you are plowing through the book of Revelation (all with commentary, which is just as good as the Scripture!).

3. Additional Bible Study. If you have time, of course. This year, I am studying Isaiah in Bible Study Fellowship, so I do a few questions each day, and then my homiletics. My sister-in-law also gave me a study by Kris Goertzen that I can do intermittently. I also read bit and pieces of a book called Parenting with Scripture, so I can write down verses and pray them for my children (also helpful for discipline time).

4. A warm and caffeinated beverage. You know why.

Sometimes I am asked how to do one's daily quiet time. These are just some pointers. We don't gain favor with God by diligently reading our Bible or praying. We don't lose favor by going days or months without doing these things. Our favor is found in the person and work of Christ Jesus. God does desire a deep relationship with His children, however, and He knows that a deep relationship with Him does not just happen, or come about in the gym or at a soccer game or at the grocery store or while crafting. It comes through spending time with Him. Don't feel guilty if you aren't doing these things, just start small...little by little...bit by bit. It is true, though, that the more time you spend with the Lord, the more you desire to spend time with the Lord. And of course, the inverse is true as well.

Would you tell me a little about your arsenal?


Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

I really like this post, Jen! I have been thinking I wanted to get more organized and intentional about these things, so I appreciated all of your good ideas. I think I want to get my hands on your Parenting with Scripture book! :)

Farm Girl said...

You are so wise and it does make the day go easier to start it that way. I just have a basket by my chair with all of the same things, notebook, journal, Bible and my devotionals.


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