January 8, 2009

In the Morning with God II

Most weekdays I'm up by 5 a.m. I've been trying to discipline myself to greet the Lord immediately with His Word; sometimes all I can do is groan, "Incline my heart to Your testimony and not to selfish gain," other times I can actually say, "This is the day that You have made, I will rejoice in all that this day holds and be glad in it!" I make my way out to the kitchen to greet four cats in various degrees of starvation, turn the coffeemaker on, and start feeding the cats, the dog, greet the fish, and make Eric's lunch while the coffee brews. If he's lucky and I'm not moving like molasses, I may even make breakfast for him. But the goal is to be sitting in my chair, wrapped in a blanket, coffee in hand, ready to hunt for gold.
I start the day with a devotional by John Piper from his book, A Godward Life, I have returned to my beloved practice of reading through Psalms and Proverbs. I just can't get enough of those two books. Proverbs I read through in a month, a chapter a day. In Psalms I have done lots of different things: reading three Psalms a day in order to read through the book six times a year, to my current schedule- a Psalm a day. That will allow a person to read Psalms twice a year. When depression is a frequent guest in your life, Psalms are the sure fire antidepressant. Then I get into my focus study and here is how I divided it up for the year:
  • January- study the attributes of God using Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, chapters 11-13, and John MacArthur's Topical Bible. Create a 31 day chart for use in prayer.
  • February- study the doctrines of grace (election, calling, justification, perseverance). Because of the scope of this section I will be studying one a month. I will start by reading Saved by Grace by Anthony Hockema and continue to use Systematic Theology and the Topical Bible.
  • March- calling
  • April- justification
  • May- perseverance
  • June, July & August- study the doctrine of sin. No beach reading here! I am taking three months because I want to read The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgard and then hopefully tackle Sin and Temptation by John Owens. This is where I'll probably stop blogging and you will never hear from me again. I will also continue to implement Systematic Theology.
  • September- time for a break. Because I am a parent, I do find the study of Proverbs vital. Thus I will be doing a short study by Katherine Nielson and using Derek Kidner's commentary on Proverbs.
  • October- prayer. This is another vital component of devotions and Christian living. In 2008 I read Working with God by Edward Hiebert and it was tremendous. I had gone into the bookstore to purchase D.A. Carson's Spiritual Reformation and the Master's seminarian convinced me to get the other- I've always wanted to thank him for the powerful effect that book had on my life. And so this year I will use Spiritual Reformation.
  • November- when C.J. Mahaney recommended laughing, he also recommended the book, Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis by Terry Lindvall, so I will read it and then counter it with A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law.
  • December- what better way to finish the year then to read of Christ and so I will read through A Harmony of the Gospels which basically has you reading through all four gospels at the same time so that the events are coordinated.

I then finish my time by reading a prayer from The Valley of Vision and right now I often read a poem from Grace in Winter by Faith Cook. She has taken excerpts of Samuel Rutherford's letters and put them into poetry.

This is what comprises my Bible reading/study portion of my devotions. There are other components, such as meditation, memorization, and prayer. Those topics are for another day.

*Most of the above mentioned books I already own and they appear in the reading widget on the side bar. If they don't it is because I have not bought them yet; when I do they will appear on my widget. To insert links into each title was really too daunting of a task today.


Anna at Joy In Every Step said...

I admire you getting up at 5 am. After reading Shopping for Time it is something that I want to start. With being still in the baby stage, it feels a little out of reach at this time, but I am hopping to start in a few months. I want to ask though what time do you go to bed? Do you try to get 8 hours of sleep? I would love your insight!

I want to thank you for the links! I love the backgrounds! I want to figure if the top title pictures can be changed or customized. I like your new background!

Hopefull said...

That is a great example of how to organize our devotions for the year. It is so important, just like when the curriculum for school is scheduled, it works smoothly. I want my goals and aims to be that purposed in my devotion time. Thank you , thank you, thank you, for taking the time to share this!