There is always a concern when I share with others how I spend my devotional time that they might consider me boasting or thinking I am holier than they. Well, that's just not true. I can't function without my time with the Lord. I so need His words to govern me.
I do want to share my methodology, because I hope it will help another. So if you are willing to understand my heart in this, let's proceed.
Each morning, I break up my devotional time into three sections: Prayer, reading, study/meditation.
In a binder I keep prayer lists: a daily list and an extra one for each day of the week which focuses on special areas (missionaries, government, writing, family, sick, etc.). I keep my reading schedule in a notebook tucked into my Bible cover. The schedule takes me through the Bible in a year with daily passages in both testaments as well as the Psalms and Proverbs.
Every morning a seek out my green 'nursing' chair tucked in a corner between two bookcases with a cup of coffee in hand, ready to spend time with the most important Person in my life.
I start with prayer, first going over God's attributes which helps me focus on Him. Then I move into praying for the salvation of those on my list, and then I continue with my other requests, seeking to remember, despite my flesh, to humbly submit to God's will in all.
This leads me into my reading and study time. I love the Word of God, and I love taking nuggets of truths and jotting them down, examining them in my notebook. I suppose I'm the only one who could decipher my notations, but there is a pattern.
Sometimes I start with jotting down a simple outline of what I'm reading, perhaps carrying it on from previous readings. Sometimes a verse sticks out to me and I chart it out. This charting might look something like this:
v. 7 The law of the LORD
converting the soul:
The testimony of the LORD
making wise the simple.
v8. The statutes of the LORD
rejoicing the heart:
The commandments of the LORD
enlightening the eyes.
Often I break the verses down grammatically, examining each phrase and clause and sentence and paragraph, viewing all of this in light of the entire passage so as to maintain the context, and even within the context of the entire Bible.
I might look things up in a concordance or Bible Dictionary, but overall I do my best to let Scripture interpret Scripture. Strong's Concordance is a helpful tool to see how words and phrases are used in different passages of Scripture. This helps in understanding the meaning of the word within the context of the entire Bible.
Then I conclude with some applications or something that I wish to remember about the passage. Sometimes there is a needling, but for some reason I just can't understand what God is trying to say, and so I pray.
During my note-taking often a specific verse speaks to me, and I jot it down on an index card. Then, throughout the day (usually when driving home from dropping the kids off at school), I take the time to meditate on the verse and commit it to memory.
I conclude my devotional time with prayer for the day and for my activities, and usually I feel a whole lot better for having spent that time alone with God.
Since my writing is focused on presenting Biblical truths through story then I must know those Biblical truths. I must study God's Word in great depth: dividing it, comparing it, ruminating on it, digesting it, living it. When I do this, I find verses pop out that fit so neatly with my work in progress, or discover some truth that perhaps was hidden to me before but now can be shown through a character. For example, Joab's Fire evolved from an in-depth study of the book of Job to a understanding of the need for us to humble ourselves before our God when we seek His salvation for our lives.
How do you seek out the Biblical truths you hope influences your writing?
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