A few weeks ago, I posted a few pictures
on Instagram of some of my notebook pages from my morning time with God. I was
going through a hard time and felt such encouragement from certain things
people had said to me and scripture I read. I figured if I could benefit so
much from it, others will too. I got so much response to those posts. Turns out
A LOT of other people were (and still are) going through the same things or
even different things, but had found hope in those words.
I also had many of you comment or message
me asking questions like:
“What devotional do you use?”
“How do you do your time with God?”
“Where do I start in the Bible?”
I thought why not do a blog post on it?
let’s define “daily devotional.” Or maybe define what it is not.
Growing up, my dad was always in The Word
every morning. He would wake up at about 5:00, before the sun was even up, so
he would have plenty of un-hurried, uninterrupted time to spend with God. (Of
course sometimes I might be the interruption, but that was ok with him, because
then he had the perfect opportunity to teach me and show me what he was doing
and why it was important. I can remember being about 4 years old, and he would
give me my own cup of coffee…(which I happily drank with it being ¾ French
vanilla creamer and ¼ coffee!) One of dad’s favorite things to read was “Our
Daily Bread.” When I was old enough my Dad encouraged (made) my sister and I
have our own devotional time. He would get us our own “Daily Breads” and put
our names on them. And we would read them, almost every single day, and we
But I was missing
something…I was treating my devotional time like it was just something I needed
to do in order to check it off my to-do list. I didn’t wake up before the crack of dawn like my dad. I
was rushing every single morning to get ready for school and I was also rushing
my devotional time. I mean I could literally check off my “time with God” in 5
minutes….and I thought that was ok, because I had done it! But somewhere between
now and then I realized God is NOT just someone we can check off. He’s not an
item on our list. And we are not going to benefit from checking Him off. It’s
important to let what we read sink in and then apply it to our own lives. If
we’re not doing that, it’s pointless.
My definition of “daily devotional”: time we intentionally devote full-heartedly
to God every day, talking with Him and studying His Word.
and how often should I do my daily devotional?
Well part of the definition is “daily,”
Try to set some specific time aside from your
daily routine to spend with God. Don’t try to just squeeze Him in and work Him
into your day, but work your day around HIM. We have to be intentional about
this, and honestly this is something I am still having to work on, because
where I have been in my life lately- my routine is always changing. Especially
being in college now…with early, early, EARLY, mornings, and late nights, it’s
hard, and honestly sometimes I get off track and skip a day or two. But I am
quickly reminded when I didn’t devote that time to God by how my attitude
starts to change. He fills me up, so when I am not spending time with Him, I
feel depleted…I feel empty. I personally enjoy doing my devo time in the
morning because I feel like it gives me a firm foundation for my day to be
on…it helps me to get my attitude started off right BEFORE the enemy starts to
attack. But for some people, they find it easier to find time and focus at
nighttime. You figure out what works best for you.
should I do my devotional?
mind, I’m just telling you what I do and what works for me! I enjoy devotional
books, but John Luke likes to start at the beginning of a book from the Bible
and read straight through it. I
like to have something to guide me when I don’t know exactly what I want to
read. In the past I have read “Jesus Calling” and I love it so much. Sarah
Young writes it so its as if God is speaking directly to you. It’s a year-long
devotional book with dates on the pages and I always thought it was crazy how
it always seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear. Talk to anyone whose read
that book…it can really be weird how perfectly it lines up.
Something else I’ve done lately and
really love is “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. It has a lot of
depth to it and brings up many things I have never heard of before.
If you want to do a particular study, perhaps
on specific topics such as Ruth, hospitality, or books of the Bible, I would
suggest the website SheReadsTruth.com. It is so great for women and simply
takes books of the Bible and breaks them down. LOVE IT. They even have an app.
of apps…apps on your phone can be great. John Piper’s “Desiring God” is
fantastic. He is really deep and really, really good. The Bible app also has
plans on it. Many different kinds for any stage of life you’re at.
But when it comes down to it. Nothing is better than your Bible. All
of these resources are fantastic and are people breaking down The Word. But
never forget how wonderful it can be to let God speak to you directly from His
words. One of my professors told my class that she has a lot of people come up
to her and ask what books she recommends, and she always tell them “The Bible.
After you’ve read the Bible then you can start reading other things.” So I think
it’s important to keep that in mind when it comes to devotionals as well. Never let your devotional become your
Lastly, don’t forget to pray. Before you
open your Bible pray that God would speak to your heart and help you to be in
tune with His voice. Then, pray
that you would not only store up His truth in your heart, but apply it in your
To be honest, I tell you all of this because
this is something I constantly have to tell myself as well! To spend time with
God is a decision you have to make everyday and Satan is going to try and
distract you and put things in your path to keep you from spending quiet time
with God. But even if the feelings aren’t there, do it anyway. Even if you’re
too tired, too busy, too angry, too sad, etc., just do it anyway, because
nothing is going to be of better help!
Thank you for this! Needed it.
Mary Kate, this was awesome!! I loved how you made sure to point out that none of these replace the Bible itself, and the resources you pointed out are great. Us women need to stay grounded in God's truth to have that guide our crazy emotions. Thanks so much!
Thank you so so so much!
This is such a big help for me as someone who has been trying so hard to make time for work study, classes, homework and all the above time to spend with God. Hoping all is well at school and I'm excited for the next post to come.
Great post!! I had to laugh when you said JL likes to read through the Bible and you like structure because my hubby and I are the same way!!
Great post MK – It's truly an inspiration to read other bloggers posts about their daily devotionals and time with God. I try to post once a week about my time with the Lord, because I've seemed to get a lot of questions as well.
I think it's all about knowing when you NEED his word the most and for me, that's after coffee, during tea, and in the afternoon when I'm starting to feel deflated. That is when I craw onto my bed and spend the next hour or two in complete stillness with God and his word.
Keep up the great work!
Love this a ton Mary Kate!! You worded everything so perfectly and I agree with every part of it! Thank you for the great tips and encouragement:)
Hello Mary Kate! I just wanted to thank you for being such a positive impact in my life. You seem like an incredibly genuine person & I just thank the Lord that people like you are in this world. The compassion you show to all the people you love really motivates me to strive to be even better of a person. These past few teenage years, I strugged for awhile to find God & to find myself, because I always felt so empty when I tried to connect with the Lord. But with the help of your instagram positivity, reading an incredible daily devotional by Anita Corrine Donihue titled "Glimpses of God's Grace", by reading the bible, & by developing a bond with Jesus, I have been connected to the Lord in so many intimate ways that I had never dreamed were possible. You are one of my biggest inspirations and I thank you so much for being yourself, because you are helping me so much to find my place in this beautiful but yet also terrifying world. Sincerely, Libby Miller.
Thank you soooo much for this post MaryKate!!! I think one of the reasons I struggle with spending time in God's Word daily is because I never know what to read in the Bible! Like you, I need help in knowing WHAT to read sometimes. I will definitely check out the website SheReadsTruth.com I'm praying it will help me out!!
Thanks again! xoxo
Reading this really helped me. Thanks. May the Lord bless you!
Thank you so much for this! I have been adding it to my to do list and just never get around to it, pacifying myself with "I'm too busy" or "I pray during the day so that should be okay." But the conviction has been in my heart and I know that I can never be too busy for God…another great app is First Five by Proverbs 31 Ministries. I need to get back into that as well as reading my bible. God bless you and your family! xo
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer is a great place to start also. And if you haven't seen the movie, War Room, it is a great help also. ?
Just what this busy Momma needed! Just do it! I like your recommendations ☺️ have a wonderful weekend!
Awesome, thank you!
Mary Kate, thank you for sharing this. This is great encouragement! I love the She Reads Truth studies and enjoy doing them in the afternoon -in addition to my morning quiet time. Recently I did a blog series about Women in God's Word. It's all about real life quiet times with Daddy God, not the 'picture perfect' things we often see on social media. Thank you for being real and sharing with us. <3
There is an awesome book that I am reading with my kids, called "Bible Study: A Student's Guide," by Jon Nielson. It is a great book for helping you read and study and UNDERSTAND the Bible for yourself. I highly recommend it to anyone wondering where to start. it is enlightening, even for old people like me who've been reading their Bibles for decades. 😉
Such wonderful insight from one so young. Thank you for being such a Christian role model for this generation.
I'm so happy I read this, it was so helpful. Thank you. It's so amazing when you can use your struggles as a lesson and a way to help others. People like you are highly favored, just keep growing closer to God and I'm sure your blessings will continue to be abundant.
It is so encouraging to be able to follow your blog and see life through a young married couples life! My husband and I got married this past summer as well (July 4, 2015). We are both 20 and live about ten hours away in Georgia from our family in Ohio. We are in the same situation as you two and it is very reassuring and actually a huge blessing to be able to share that in common. Anyways, I just want to say thanks for the encouraging note!
I loved this! Thank you!
You should totally read "Jesus Today" also by Sarah Young. Its a different version of "Jesus Calling" and I love it!!
Thanks for your honesty in your blog posts too, so many people seem to be benefiting from your posts, I know I am!
Continue to shine God's light Mary Kate. You are awesome at it! 🙂
Love, love, LOVE your blogs! It's great to have a Godly woman not much older than me to look up to! Question, what are you majoring in?
Loved this. Thank you for sharing.
I love She Reads Truth. When I got married, the devotional book, Jesus Calling was given to me and it's become my favorite!
Beautiful post about a beautiful thing!
What kind of camera do you use to take your pictures?
Ahhh! I love this! I think you and John Luke make the cutest couple ever with an amazing love towards Jesus!
Please check out my blog I just started:
So is she not blogging again or what? It's not worth checking anymore
For a new Christian, what books of the bible do you recommend to go through first?
This post was so helpful and your blog is so beautiful. Thank you!
Hi Mary Kate,
I wanted to thank you for this post (and previous posts). I started following you on your blog and social media this summer and it's had a really positive impact on my life. I'm trying to connect more with God. I don't take time for granted as much and appreciate family time much more. I've tried to help others, in big or little ways, as I can. Sometimes it might feel like we're not making a difference so I wanted to let you know you have made a difference. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Also, thanks for the highlight of Paige Tate adult coloring books, I purchased one last week and love it! God bless.
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I set my time aside yesterday to read the Word, and I could instantly feel a shift in my day. Everything felt right. Thank you for sharing this. If you have any other advice for getting into the Word, please share!! What’s your favorite verse/life verse if you have one?