On My Mind and Heart: 3 Things I Do Before Breakfast

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Routines are important to me.  If I can get into a routine of doing something at the same time, in the same way, every day, the chances of me continuing to do it are much greater than if I leave it to chance.  You are likely the same way.  Today when I was thinking about what to write this week, I thought I would share some of my daily routine.  Here are 3 things I do before breakfast everyday.  I’ve been doing them for a long time and I can’t hardly remember not doing them.

One: I Pray for Carrie (My Wife)

I pray for Carrie every day.  I pray that she would be blessed.  I pray that she would be protected.  I pray that I would be a good husband for her.  Men – praying for your wife is one of THE most important things you can do for your wife and marriage.  Only you can give your wife a husbandly blessing.  So, if you don’t do it, then it’s lost forever.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or long, but it absolutely should happen – every day.

Two: I Read the Bible

Most days I read at least one chapter from Proverbs (there are 31 chapters so I read whatever chapter number corresponds to the day of the month) and then something from the Old Testament and something from the New Testament.  There are some days that I wake up later than I wish or have something else going on so on those days I at least read at least one passage (or even just one verse).  When you read the Bible it is hearing directly from the Lord.  For me, it helps me get my mind “straight” before I start a day full of meetings, emails and conversations.

Three: I Read Something Else

There’s an old saying that goes something like this:  “There is no difference between the man who can’t read and the man who doesn’t read.”  It is so important to read something every day.  I know it’s a lot easier in our culture to just watch t.v. or listen to the radio, but actually reading results in things that watching or listening will not.  When we read, we are choosing what goes into our minds instead of having it chosen for us.  When we read, we comprehend differently and deeper.  Reading causes us to think much more about the topic we are reading about than if we just listen to someone else talk about it.  I read different things: magazine articles, blog posts, the newspaper and, of course, a variety of books (see my Reading List here).  Reading gets my mind “warmed up” for the day and thinking about things I would probably not think about if I just drank my coffee and headed out the door.

Those are a few of things in my daily routine.  Maybe you will choose to incorporate some of them into your daily routine too.  I’d love to hear about your daily routine, so post a comment and share what gets you off to a great start in the morning.

A Simple, Intentional Bible Reading Plan

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

During a recent sermon, I mentioned a daily Bible reading plan that I have used for almost 15 years.  Some have asked me to share it here.  In addition to my Bible reading plan, I am also sharing some thoughts and ideas about reading other material on a regular basis and in an intentional way.

Reading the Bible Is God Speaking to You

Reading the Bible is a spiritual discipline.  Reading is different from studying.  It is not memorizing or mediating.  While all of those disciplines are of great value, I believe a great place to start my day is just reading the Bible.

The Bible is God’s Word.  It is God speaking.  When we read the words of the Bible, it is God speaking words to us.  That’s pretty awesome!  And, almost 15 years ago, I decided that I would like to hear from God regularly, so I started a plan of reading my Bible regularly.

The system that I developed for me is not complex and it is certainly not novel.  But it works for me for a few reasons:  First, it doesn’t take long to do what I am about to describe (about 20 minutes or so, depending on the particular text).  Second, because I do the same thing every day, I don’t have to think about what to read next (which is often a stumbling block for some people; i.e., “where do I start?”).  Third, the plan I use takes me through the Bible systematically and completely each year, and for many portions of the Bible, several times a year.  I like the discipline of reading the entire Bible, not jus the parts that I “like.”

Here is my daily routine:

  1. Read 2 chapters in the Old Testament (start at the beginning), except don’t read Psalms or Proverbs in this section of the plan. (By doing this each day, you get through the entire Old Testament at least once in a year).
  2. Read 1 Psalm every day.  (By doing this each day, you will read through the book of Psalms more than twice each year).
  3. Read the Proverb chapter that corresponds to the day of the month.  (There are 31 Proverbs so there is one for each day.  By doing this, you will essentially read Proverbs 12 times each year).
  4. Read two chapters in the New Testament each day.  (By doing this, you will read through the New Testament several times each year).

Read Other Good Books, Too

In addition to reading the Bible, it is very important to read a variety of other good books on a regular basis.  I have found that the more intentional I am with my reading of books, the better I become in nearly every other aspect of my life.  As I read, I become a better leader, father, husband and friend.  I am wiser and more patient.  I am much more thoughtful.  I believe it helps me be a better pastor, too.

There are many things to read.  There are more books available to read than any one person could ever accomplish in a lifetime.  So, it is important to be intentional in choosing what to read.  While reading in and of itself has value, there can be no real argument against the proposition that some books are more valuable than others!

Be Intentional in Your Reading Choices

Vary your areas of reading so that you get a broad spectrum of insight and knowledge.  Read books that are related to your profession so you can keep up on trends and new information.  Read books on leadership and history.  Read books that are classics, including Christian classics.  Read books that will inspire you.  Read biographies.  And, it is even good to read a good, fiction novel every now and again (but not exclusively!).

I suggest that you have at least one book that you are reading at any given time.  Some people I know often have several books they are reading at one time.  I usually have a couple going at any given time, with a few “on the shelf” waiting.  For example, right now I am reading “Team of Rivals” (a historical biography of President Lincoln and others) as well as a leadership book by John Maxwell.  Recently I finished a book by Marc Driscoll titled “On Church Leadership” which was very good.

The more you read, the more you will enjoy it.  Try it.  I challenge you to turn off the t.v. for just 30 minutes a day and read instead.  See what changes will happen in your life.

Share Your Best Reading Suggestions

I invite you to share your best reading suggestions in the comment section of the blog.