Let's talk today about the fourth step in optimizing our mornings, and that step is illumination. To illuminate something is to shed light on it, and that is exactly what we'll be doing each morning. While we're doing our oil pulling and after our moments of prayer and thanksgiving, we're going to add some light to our day by reading a short passage in the Word of God. After all, Psalm 119:105 says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Keep in mind that, just like your morning prayer, this is not your primary devotion time. You can accomplish that later in the day. This is just something short to, once again, get your focus on God. It can be a verse, a short passage or even a short devotional that brings out an application from a portion of Scripture. The idea is to bring your morning awareness to God and how magnificent He is. We're not reading to check this off our to-do list. We're reading to hear what God has to say to us. So, pay attention. What you read is up to you, but here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Psalm 23 - Read one verse per day, or read the entire passage for several days in a row to let it sink in.
The Names of God - Focus each day on reading a passage about a particular name or character trait of God. For example, in Psalm 23, He is our Shepherd. In Genesis 17, we see Him as El-Shaddai (God Almighty). Genesis 22 portrays God as Jehovah-Jireh (God the provider). You can find a list of these names and passages online or purchase a book that has them. Each day, read the passage or passages related to a particular name or attribute and allow the light of Who God is to shine down on you.
The book of Psalms - Most of the psalms are pretty short, and all of them have something that will bless your socks off if you'll take the time to read through them attentively.
The Gospels - The first four books of the New Testament are filled with fantastic stories of Who God is and what He's capable of. Read a chapter at a time, or if you have a study Bible, the chapters will be divided into individual stories that you can read on a daily basis.
There's a Verse for That - Please forgive the shameless plug, but if you want to focus on verses by topic, you might enjoy using this book as a guide. It includes verses for varying circumstances like when you're feeling alone, afraid, discouraged or confused. Read one verse or a few until something jumps out at you. You can get the ebook version of this book for free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers.
Giggles and Grace Devotional Series - While I'm doing shameless plugs, I might as well mention this series as well. If you're not familiar with these books, they are full of short devotionals that focus on a verse and an application of that verse. Most of these devotions can be read in less than five minutes.
Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado - This is similar to the Giggles and Grace books, only the devotions are even shorter and, as a whole, there is less humor. It makes for a great morning devotional read.
These are just a few ideas. I'm sure you probably have others. Perhaps you have a devotional guide by your favorite author, or maybe you want to read my daily devotional blog for your morning reading. That's fine. The idea is to read something that will bring light and encouragement to your day and help bring (and keep) your focus on God. Tomorrow, we'll take this reading a step further, so be sure to check tomorrow's post.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. - Romans 15:4