Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Make a date with God

I read a blog post this morning by Mark Altrogge that described his process for doing morning devotions.  I liked his ideas.

It went like this:

5 minutes for Scripture memorization.  This idea I really appreciated.  In 2015 at Life in Christ we gave everyone the chance to memorize one Bible verse each week.  We called it "The 52" and I was really pleased at the number of folks who picked up a memory card each week.  I kept up with the memorization but have noticed that in the past few weeks, I've not spent much time with those cards. Altrogge's approach seems like a good way to keep those verses on the top of my head.

20 minutes for Bible reading.  Altrogge believes that in 20 minutes a person can ready three chapters of the Bible.  At that pace, you could almost read through the Bible in one year.  I think, for me, I would continue to use some of the devotional books in my library.  They feature Scripture readings and prayers (many include Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline).

5 minutes to focus on things you're thankful for.  Altrogge uses a Muleskin notebook and uses one page each day to record those things for which he is thankful.  He writes this out in prayer form.

15 minutes for prayer.  I was pleased to read that Altrogge isn't afraid to use written prayers (from prayer books) in this time for prayer.  These written prayers often inspire him to spend that time of prayer focusing on his own needs and those of others.  I like the little format to prayer that Max Lucado introduced in his book, "Before Amen."  It goes like this:

Father, You are good
I need help
They need help too
Thank You 

Altrogge also gives the key to developing a good devotional life.  He says to do your devotions first thing in the morning and do it that way every day.

Really, any format for doing devotions will work so long as they are done early, before distractions come your way, and that they are done habitually.

I know this to be true.  I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself that I'll do my devotions when I get to the office.  This almost never happens.  When I get to the office I discover phone calls that need to be returned, emails that need to be answered and projects that need my attention.  And before I know it, half the day is gone and the devos haven't been done.

Altrogge says that if you don't have 45 minutes in the morning to follow his plan then make adjustments.  Spend one minute working on a verse to memorize.  Read the Bible for ten minutes. The important things is to make a date with God and keep it.  The Lord will be pleased and so will you!