Last night as we lingered on the porch in refreshingly cool Colorado, very satisfied after eating our dinner, we watched a red-breasted robin peck away at a worm she was pulling from its home in the dark earth. Across the way, we observed a herd of wild Geese waddling around searching and pecking for their dinner. And nearby, squirrels and chipmunks were waiting for crumbs that we might be willing to share with them. As the moon replaced the sun, we were awestruck by the display of stars, planets and the brilliance of light that they produced in the night sky. We sat marveling at how God has made such a variety of species and the vastness of His creation. What amazes me is how attentively He still cares for each one of us and each and every creature He has made!
These thoughts of our Heavenly Father led me to thinking: How do we stay spiritually close to Him during this wonderful season of summer? Somehow summer manages to be both busier and less busy than the school year. I don’t know how it manages to do that. So, how do we remain consistent when the summer gets busy or when the hot days tempt us to take a vacation from spiritual things?
Here are five little practical ways I have found to help me stay actively pursuing the Lord during the summer!
1) Make a plan. Reading through the Bible following a plan helps me to keep a daily commitment to reading God’s Word. I find this helps me get the overall context of each book and the Bible as a whole that is so important to understanding it correctly. I also love to throw in a section from Proverbs every day. It’s so important to get a good dose of wisdom for those busy summer days!!
2) Share what you learn. Taking the time to share scriptures with a friend daily by text, phone or other social media gives me great encouragement. This kind of “catching up” allows me to more actively and specifically pray for my friends and family in a biblical way. It can also help me develop deeper intimacy and community with different women in the church and in my family.
3) Take advantage of devotionals. Reading a daily devotional can be a great source of encouragement. It may add something extra to share with others as well. Online versions and apps can make great truth available to you anywhere and anytime. It’s quick to access these encouragements and also so quick to share!!
4) Ask questions. I have found that these 5 questions can deepen my study of the Word: Who? What? Why? Where? When? It’s a very simple approach of study but yields great reward. Sometimes writing it all down can help you keep consistent and keep track of what you’re learning.
5) Pray, Pray, Pray! As you are reading through each passage, pray that the Lord will teach you what He wants you to learn. Pray as you share with friends that the Lord will give you opportunity to minister to their hearts. Also, pray that the Lord will convict when you’re tempted to slack off in those toasty summer days.
Our close relationships with God and others stem from the state of our hearts!! No matter what method we employ to read and study God’s Word or what acrostic we might use to direct our prayers, we must open our hearts fully to our Heavenly Father for His Spirit to do His Work! 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” We must come to our daily time with God with a teachable heart, humble and contrite. This is what our Heavenly Father desires most and what produces transformation in our lives!
My prayer for myself and for all of us is that we will grow closer to our God everyday (even in these summer months), becoming more like Him in character as He transforms us through His Word!