For many years, I have made it a practice of having a time of devotion early in the morning. I like to spend this time outside, preferably at sunrise. There have been gaps when I missed. The demands of the day were pressing, and I was unwilling to get up early enough for this discipline. I have discovered that when I spend time for personal study of Scripture, prayer and reflection on what God wants to say to me, the day seems to go better. My life has a healthier center and, when the day is done, it seems to be more productive.

When I lived in Texas I would go out on the patio behind our house. The landscape seemed braced for the scorching heat that would surge past 100 when the sun reached its full height. After my devotion, I watered the potted flowers on our patio: bachelor buttons, petunias, chrysanthemums and periwinkles. I kept a watering pot handy, and often left it filled the day before so I would remember to do this. If I missed a few days, the plants showed it. They become stressed, and, if neglected too long, they withered and died. When I missed a few days of having my devotion on the patio the flowers missed their watering. Their leaves shriveled and the flowers began to fall from the drooping stems. They became a spiritual barometer reflecting the condition of my soul from these times neglected with God.

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Order his devotion book, Authentic Disciple Sermon on the Mount from Amazon. Email

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