The delicious and comforting smell comes wafting through the house….you can’t help but lift your nose and close your eyes… Man, that smells good! It’s only a matter of time before you will be craving a slice with butter…. or that’s just me. I LOVE bread and fresh homemade bread is just so much better.
During lock down I’ve baked a lot of bread. Feeding a family of 6 is no easy feat and as much as I’m worried about my waistline…..its. just. too. delicious! The unfortunate thing with homemade bread though is that it only stays fresh for 2 days. You can get away with toasting it….but after that you’ll be eating stale bread. No thanks.
As much as bread sustains us physically, we require daily spiritual nourishment! I have been enjoying and providing plenty of physical sustenance but only ‘getting by’ on just enough spiritual food. This has challenged me over the last while to get back to the HEART of God. Somewhere between my routines and to-do lists I was purely ‘doing’ certain things because it made me feel productive or effective. While I was hanging the washing He whispered these words quietly and gently:
“I want you to make time to experience My devotion for you!
I want you to be astonished by Me again…”
What a good and gracious Father! Always beside us, always with us, always available, always listening and always speaking just when we need to hear it.
Devotion: faithfulness, commitment, dedication, affection, love, admiration
I am reminded how vital it is for us to spend time with Jesus every day. But more because of the privilege and devotion and less to do with the performance. We get to spend time with God, we get to boldly approach Him. As I get back into a devotion that brings life I thought I’d share some tips that work for me. There is no set standard of what your devotional time should look like, so do what works best for you.
How to have a devotional time
- Find a reading Plan. This will help you stay focussed instead of just reading randomly every day.
- Decide on a translation you like and understand. When you understand it will be easier to apply it to your daily life.
- Pray before you read the scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you wonderful things in the Word and to teach you as you read.
- Read the scripture and re-read if you need to. Read listening…
- Write down words, thoughts, insights, instructions, pictures, songs that come up as you read.
- Put into practice what you’ve learnt. Think of practical ways to live the verse out.
- Pray. Ask God to help you, to remind you and change you where necessary. Prayer is communication with God, so make time to listen and give Him time to speak to you.
How to make the best of your time
- Decide on a time. Is there a right time to eat bread? Lockdown may suggest all day! But spiritually speak, there is no right or wrong time but it’s best done when there are minimal disruptions. If early in the morning, make sure you get enough sleep so that it’s easy to get up. As much as I prefer the morning before everyone wakes up, I’m often consumed more with what still needs to be done that morning that I find it difficult to focus. Let it be the best time of the day for you.
- Decide on a place. I really find it difficult to read while I’m still in bed or about to sleep…. Create a place specifically for your devotions. In that place keep a basket filled with everything you need: your bible, notebook, a pen, highlighters, headphones etc. so that everything is ready. For me this “bread basket” includes my 2020 planner, monthly planner and books I’m currently reading.
- Set the tone. Listen to a worship song or two. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Avoid your phone and other distractions.
There are so many other studies, cross references and commentaries that you can add to this, but the point is to see what He is saying to you and respond to that. He is your Shepherd and you can hear His voice. Enjoy the daily bread and nourishment that come from Him. He knows what you need. Your time with Him will leave a fragrance compared to nothing on earth.
But most importantly, make it personal, make it relational and make it real. Your life will never be the same again.
I would love to hear from you. Please share your favourite reading plans, translations and tips so that we can learn from each other. What fresh things has the Bread of Life: Jesus, spoken to you?