Welcome Most everything I read regarding prayer and devotional time seems to focus on scheduling these habits for the morning. It’s certainly hard to argue with the fact that starting our day with a little quiet time with God is a great way to begin each day. I even shared some verses for “Rise and Shine” devotionals in my December post Eight Maids a Milking. But we all know about good intentions and being surrounded with this thing called “life” and the reality of our circumstances and schedules. That’s why today I want to talk about devotionals, not just in the morning time, but throughout your day. Devotionals do not have to be saved for the breakfast routine, and neither do the muffins I have in our recipe section today! Thank you for joining me.
Food For Thought I love my morning time with God and scripture. It is a great way to set the tone for the day and communicates to God that I want Him to be in control of my day. I lift up my praises and concerns, but also request His guidance. I am blessed to have a structured time built into my mornings right now that allows me to do this. But now so long ago, this was not a reality for me. And I felt so guilty about it.
I worked “outside the home” for 18 years. As an elementary school teacher I tried to arrive at work by 7:30 am to prepare for the day. Throw in commute time and a little girl to get up and ready for daycare and school, and I was getting up by 5:30 and we needed to be out the door between 6:45 and 7:00. Side note here, my husband has to leave the house by 6:15 for his commute and early work schedule, so he’s off the hook on this end of the day! Anyway, this schedule left me with little time to spend in quiet morning devotional and prayer. I tried a few different things. Getting up earlier didn’t work so well for me. I already was staying up late at nights to finish school work or household tasks and I don’t function well on little sleep…I never have. Getting up earlier only left me grumpy, groggy, and unfocused. I tried having my Bible on the kitchen counter so I could read a few verses while getting breakfast for my daughter and me. This didn’t work for me for two reasons. One of the issues is that I would get so caught up in my reading, that I would begin to run late. Being late would then make me feel frazzled or grumpy, ultimately undoing the good I had done by having morning Bible study. The second issue I had was not being able to fully meditate on what I was reading. I would have ideas and want to spend more time on a topic or verse, but would have to stop. Usually I was unable to get that same idea or focus back later in the day. Even though everything I read by all of the great devotional gurus said to start my morning with study and prayer, it just didn’t work for me and my family’s schedule, unless it was summer or winter break.
It took me a long time to stop feeling guilty over which time of day I chose for my quiet devotion with God. Finally, it clicked for me…God is always there, ready whenever I am, morning, noon, or night. Yes, God is delighted when I seek Him first thing in the morning as I dedicate my day to Him, which I still do with a quick prayer before I get out of bed. God is equally delighted when I spend my sunny afternoons on the deck with Him, praising His creation and learning His Will. God is equally delighted when I seek Him at the end of a hectic and busy day when I need His help and guidance to tackle the problems I have encountered. God is equally delighted when I relax after dinner with a book of devotionals and my prayer journal. Like any loving and devoted father, God is just delighted to spend time with us, happy that we have also chosen to spend time with Him.
The point is, if we only mark our “God time” for a certain time of day, we may be missing out on some opportunities for learning and growth. As we move through our day, our perspective often shifts. We may be more focused and alert at certain times or we may have times to avoid because we know there will be too many distractions. If you feel that your morning schedule will leave you frazzled, distracted, and unfocused, you may find it beneficial to choose a different time in your day for your main devotional and Bible study. The important factor, though, is to do it! Choose a time that can be consistent and free from (most) interruptions. In my latter teaching days, this was when I first arrived home from work. I needed God to help me clear my head and adjust my attitude so I could be focused on loving my family and those around me. My time now is mid-morning. I still focus on my daughter as she’s getting ready for school. I make sure to eliminate any tasks that might distract me from my studies. Then, I’m blessed with this quiet space to focus on God’s words and lessons for me. I just don’t want you to miss out on the amazing blessing of devotional time with God because of calendars and clocks.
Today’s Scriptures The word devotional simply means “of or used in worship.” I always like my Bible to be part of my devotional time, but I may also include a Christian “self help” book I am reading, a prayer journal, a scripture journal, or a regular journal. I might use a concordance or I might have my computer or tablet handy to make a cross-reference. When the weather is nice, I prefer to spend my devotional time outside on our deck, surrounded by nature. Winter weather has me confined to our dining room right now. Wherever I invite God to spend time with me, He is there. For today’s scripture, I would like to share this passage from the book of Acts.
Acts 17:24-28 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.”
Today’s Prayer My Dear Heavenly Father, it is a privilege and honor that You allow me to communicate with You and study Your word each day. Thank You for the blessings of devotionals as times when you bring answers to my questions and listen to my concerns and welcome my praises. Thank You for entering my place of worship and study, no matter where or when that may be. Thank You for the assurance that You are there, listening and guiding as I ask You to show me Your direction. Forgive me for the times I have taken this opportunity for granted. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Today’s Recipe If breakfast devotionals are your thing, then you may want to give these Splenda Brown Sugar Muffins a try. Actually, whenever you enjoy your devotional times, these muffins make a great snack. These are a HUGE hit with my family and are an any-time-of-day treat. They make a good portable breakfast for busy mornings, a tote-worthy snack for work or school, a nice accompaniment for a lunch time soup or salad, or a quick bed-time snack alongside a glass of milk. This recipe makes a dozen average-size muffins. These are lower in sugar, but not sugar-free, as the Splenda brown sugar is a blend of sucralose and regular sugar.
Splenda Brown Sugar Muffins (makes 12 muffins)
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar blend
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt