The staff of Bethany EMC consider ourselves blessed to be able to work and serve together. Almost every Tuesday morning, you will find us in the Bethany Room meeting for a time of devotions, prayer and discussing ministry and office needs.
One week we discussed the difficulty of consistent quiet time with the Lord. Later, while preparing to present team devotions for the next week, I remembered our discussion. I went to the website of one of my long-distance mentors, Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth https://www.reviveourhearts.com/ and searched the subject, "Bible study and memorization." Here is a quote from Nancy that I found helpful:
"I've learned something important about having a devotional time early in the morning. Success starts the night before. Our choices in the evening will affect our time with God the next morning."
Nancy's quote reminded me of a principle that Weyburn and I have lived by since early in our married life. We didn't make a formal agreement to follow this practice; it just evolved because we both knew it was important. We would begin to prepare for Sunday on Saturday. Almost everything we did on Saturday aided our preparation for worship and ministry on Sunday. This included having our clothes for the family ready, the meal planned, and some of that preparation completed. Weyburn became proficient at making an excellent meatloaf and preparing the chicken or roast beef for baking while we were at church. We would also limit our Saturday evening outings, ensuring we were all in bed in good time. When the time change weekend came along in the spring and fall, Weyburn changed the clocks early in the afternoon—sometimes forgetting to tell me, which caused a bit of confusion.
So why has it taken me so long to put that same principle into practice for my quiet time? Why haven't I prepared my heart and mind for my devotions and quiet time each evening? There have been minor changes over the years, like going to bed earlier, but I haven't done much else. My devotional life has undoubtedly been more regular since the children are grown and moved out of our home, but it's still much too easy to allow other priorities to come ahead of my daily time with the Lord.
I'm trying to make Nancy's evening challenge personal: "My choices this evening will affect my time with God in the morning."
How do I make my choices? What do I need to consider?
This verse reminds us that what we allow to enter our body through our "eye gate" affects the health of our whole body. It will affect our mental, spiritual and physical well-being.
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Another verse cautions us to be careful with what we allow our eyes to see.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
What am I allowing my eyes to see and my ears to hear in the evening? Should I make different choices? What choices will help me to draw closer to the Lord?
Here are some questions I need to ask myself each evening:
Does my choice of entertainment enhance my walk with the Lord?
What are some activities that would enhance my walk with the Lord?
What will 2022 look like if I keep this challenge in mind each evening? As I prepare to welcome a New Year, I want to put this principle into practice by preparing my mind and heart “the night before” to be ready to listen to and respond quickly to God in the year ahead. So today, on December 31st, take time to prepare for that – don’t make a New Year’s resolution, instead make a preparation plan that will set you up to spend daily time with God. At the end of 2022, you can then look back to see how He has blessed you in both large and small ways, and be encouraged to continue to “prepare the night before” for what God will do in each day.
Success starts the night before.
Our choices in the evening will affect our time
with God the next morning.
Debi Snider... more