I smiled when I looked out in the backyard yesterday. All the tools Van and his crew of helpers need for this morning’s patio project stand ready. After two weeks of preparation, the cement gets poured today. And once the cement arrives, work happens quickly. Having everything prepared in advance is critical.
Whether I enjoy my first cup of coffee or a refreshing glass of iced tea in the afternoon, being outside gives me great joy. So, I look forward to spending time on the patio.
Just as Van made sure he had all the right tools and they were ready to use, I want to be prepared to spend time with God every day. I need the right tools and easy access. In the summer, I keep my portable desk ready to go with me out to the patio. My Bible, a devotional or two, my current book or study, journal, pens, and highlighters all live in my basket. Easy to carry, I can grab it and head outside in an instant.
With the arrival of summer, life gets hectic. Picnics, play dates, and swimming lessons don’t have to interfere with your devotion time. I also keep a “go bag” with supplies so I can grab what I need for a spontaneous trip to the lake or pool. In addition to my devotion supplies, I added sunscreen, a hat, and a towel.
No matter where you’ll be, make sure you have all the tools you need to spend time with God each day this summer.
Tools for Your Daily Time with God
Tool #1: A Right Heart
First and foremost, you need to prepare your heart. Humility and a desire to know God better, to hear what He has for you as you come before Him. Meeting with God is not something to check off your to-do list. Worship the Lord as you come before Him.
I like to use John Piper’s IOUS method to help me focus my heart and mind.
- Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. (Psalm 119:36)
- Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. (Psalm 119:18)
- Unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm86:11)
- Satisfy me with your steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)
Tool #2: A Bible
Next, you need an excellent study Bible. Whether you have a traditional Bible, use an online Bible, or Bible App, the best way to grow closer to God, is by spending time in His Word. I love my Life Application Bible because it has notes, maps, and commentary. Recently, I added The MacArthur Study Bible with commentary by John MacArthur. This Bible also has maps, outlines, timelines, and other study tools to help me dig deeper into God’s Word.
Two of my favorite online resources include Bible Gateway and Bible by Olive Tree. I can access several Bible versions, commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and other resources all in one place whether I’m sitting at my computer or on the go using my phone. I also recommend You Version and the Blue Letter Bible.
Tool #3: Commentaries, Dictionaries, and Concordances
A commentary provides explanations and interpretations of the Bible. Although reading God’s Word and letting God speak to you personally is imperative, getting explanations from trustworthy Bible scholars like John MacArthur can help your understanding. There are hundreds of commentaries, so read reviews and check out free online resources before investing.
The same is true about dictionaries. A tried and true classic is Vine’s Expository Dictionary. You can look up words and find out not just their meaning in context, the original Greek or Hebrew meaning, and other places in Scripture the word is used.
A concordance lists words and phrases alphabetically and provides cross-references to help you understand the meaning of terms in context. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Nave’s Topical Bible both can help you study God’s Word more thoroughly.
Tool #4: Devotionals
A devotional is a tool with a Bible verse or short passage and the author’s thoughts on that passage. Often, they also contain a prayer. Devotionals can help by giving you a starting point. After reading the devotion, look up the Bible verse or passage on your own and journal how God speaks to your heart. You can use the provided prayer to springboard your personal prayer. My current favorites are Lysa TerKeurst’s Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God is Holding You Close and Timothy Keller’s The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Devotions in the Psalms.
There are also online devotionals and apps. Proverbs 31 Ministry offers the First 5 App as well as online Bible studies. Love God Greatly also has Bible studies online and an App.
Tool #5: Journal
I remember things best when I write them down, so I keep a journal to record what I’m learning. I pour out my heart to God in prayer in my journal as well. Not only does recording my thoughts help me process what God has for me each day, but I also have a lasting document I can look back on to see how God answered prayer and transformed me as I spent time with Him.
Whether you stay indoors, head out to your backyard, or travel you can always be prepared for time with God if you keep your tools ready. Happy summer!
I may link with:
Inspire Me Monday, Moments of Hope, LLML Link-up, Trekking Thru, #tellhisstory, Tea and Word Tuesday, Ra-Ra Link-up, Gracefull Tuesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Dream Together, Be Thee Inspired, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light, Quietly Through Thursday, Thankful and Grateful Thursday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings,iHeart Verse, Sunday Thoughts