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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 4 comments

Recently Dude and his Mama came over to make cookies. Of course being 2 1/2 years old, Dude quickly lost interest in baking and moved on to plan "B" - watching a Veggie Tales DVD. 

Even though we were in the other room we could hear him laughing, clapping and talking as he interacted with the video, which is why I was surprised when I actually entered the room to check on him and saw this on the TV screen:

All that time, he thought he was watching the movie but in reality he was just looking at the menu screen!  Dude thought he was experiencing the main event but was really just viewing a very small sample of what was to come.

I think many of us go through life this way without ever realizing it. 

We think we're living a life of faith but we're really just going through the motions. We go to church on Sundays, maybe we even attend a class mid-week and we feel we've "done our duty." We may have seen God act in answer to a prayer or experienced His protection but if we're not consistently spending time with Him every day we are missing the main event.

Believe me, I know, because for many years this was me.

The truth is, you don't know what you don't know. Maybe you're a new Christian and no one has told you how important reading the Bible is to your spiritual life. Or perhaps you've been going to church for as long as you can remember and you were told all your spiritual needs can be met within those four walls. 

Or maybe you do know...

Is reading the Bible something you know you should do, but for whatever reason you don't? Don't be deceived! God has so much more for you, but in order to experience it you have to move off the menu screen and get into His Word!

Set yourself up for success!

Did you know that the space around us and the things that occupy it impact our behavior profoundly?* This isn't something we normally think about and even if we do, we rarely know what to do about it. Can you think of anything you could do to make your surroundings more conducive to spending time in God's Word? Here are some ideas I've come up with:

 - Find a quiet place with minimal distractions. Is your location more conducive to solitude or conversation? For me this means I need to stay out of the kitchen and away from any electronic devices.

  - Choose a comfortable place to sit. Do you like to be seated at a table or desk, or would you rather be curled up in a chair? How about having the best of both worlds and curling up in a chair with a lap desk?

 - Consider climate. In the summer I like to be in the sunroom, but since I'm now using that room as a spare refrigerator (I live in Michigan) I needed to relocate.

  - Keep everything you need handy. Of course you'll need your Bible, but it's also nice to have a pencil and notebook on hand so you can write any new insights, pose a question you have or even jot down that thing you just remembered you need from the store so you can get your mind back to the task at hand. I have a basket next to my chair where I keep these things, along with the devotional I'm reading and a book of Bible maps. This is especially handy if you can't always be in the same place - at least you can keep your "study stuff" together and easily portable.

Make the invisible visible.

We often engage in activities out of habit or proximity. Do you turn on the TV or start up the computer for a purpose, or just out of habit? Make it easy for yourself to make the right choices. 

  - Make an appointment with God. If you use a calendar or day planner, literally block out time to spend with God. Choosing the same time every day will help you to be consistent. 

  - Give yourself visual reminders to go to God first at the moment you make a choice - perhaps a note on the screen or keyboard reminding you to "Seek first the kingdom of God ~ Matthew 6:33.

Or place your Bible on top of your morning coffee cup the night before so you can charge up physically and spiritually.  Act out of awareness, not impulse. 

  - Scripture itself can be your reminder. Lay your Bible on the counter open to your passage for the day and read it each time you pass by. This was especially helpful for me when my children were young and I was only able to snatch a few minutes here and there.

How can you set yourself up succeed in the goal of spending time with the Lord daily? 

Side note: If you think you're not influenced by what you watch or listen to consider this: after viewing the movie, when Dude was asked to do something his response was, "No, I'm a pirate. I don't do anything." 

The moral of the story?

Don't be a pirate - do something!


*This comes from a book called "Influencer" by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler,  which I'm reading because there's one person in particular I want to influence - ME!

This post is the fifth of a series dedicated to help you establish setting aside time with the Lord every day.  Prior posts are:

     1.  Getting on the Right Track - Motivation

     2.  Make Way for Jesus - Preparation

     3.  Overcoming Obstacles - Press on!  

     4.  Defeating Distractions - Small Change = Big Difference  

     5.  Set Up for Success - You are here!

     6.  Positive Peer Pressure - Growth in Groups

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4 Responses so far.

  1. What a perfect analogy! I love the sign you put on your TV. That verse is the guidepost to my life. I actually got rid of my TV (but I still watch movies on my laptop from time to time!) I am interested in the book you show here about the Muslim woman. There are many Muslims in my community. I would love to know the Koran better so I can witness to them. Any tips on witnessing to Muslims is appreciated!

  2. Hi Lisa, following back! Love the sign on the tv. I'd like to put this on every tv and computer screen in our house! Given the amount of electronics and dogs we have, there really is no hope of a quiet spot in the house, except for in my husband's office or our bedroom. One of those rooms is getting a makeover and a nice comfy chair, so I can have an atmosphere more conducive to quiet time with God.

  3. That's so cute that he was entertained just by the menu. :)
    Very good tips on how we can get more out of our time with God in his word. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Pamela says:

    How adorable...and what a great analogy. Such good suggestions, too. "Oh how I love thy law." I've made quiet time baskets for friends. Study Bible, highlighter, tissues, a pack of note cards and a journal. And oh...I love the chair!

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