It’s My Time

It’s My Time

August 17, 2016

“A woman name Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a dealer in purple fabrics who was [already] a worshiper of God, listened to us; and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention and to respond to the things said by Paul.” Acts 16:14 (AMP)

LEAH DIPASCAL

Every morning while it’s still dark outside, I sneak into my kitchen and make a dense cup of coffee before settling into my favorite chair.

As the clock quickly ticks away, I grab a lightweight blanket and toss it over my lap, simultaneously reaching for my well-worn Bible. A deep breath in and a slow exhale. I know one thing for sure …

It’s my time. It’s His time. It’s our time to be together.

Before everyone wakes up and the day’s chatter begins, I get to be with Jesus. And for a few quiet moments, I don’t have to share Him with anyone.

The routine may seem ordinary to some, but the words are always fresh to me. A new chapter from a different part of the Bible. What will He show me today?

Sometimes I understand the text right away. Other times … not so much. I read it once, twice, maybe even three times. Then I pause and whisper, “Lord, open my eyes to see the wonderful things in Your Word. Help me understand what You’re trying to show me.”

I don’t want to miss a single thing in God’s Word that could make a significant difference in my day.

I don’t want the distractions of the clock or the weight of daily assignments to pull my thoughts away from His.

I’ve come to meet with Jesus. To gather only with Him for a momentary Sabbath rest. To pray, ponder, understand and respond.

In today’s key verse, we meet a woman named Lydia. She and her friends had gathered for prayer on the Sabbath when they encountered the Apostle Paul and his traveling companions just outside Macedonia, near the riverbanks.

Scripture tells us Lydia was already a worshiper of God. But as Paul shared the Good News of Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross, we learn, “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention and to respond to the things said by Paul” (Acts 16:14b).

I absolutely love this statement! Oh, let’s not breeze past or miss any of its significance.

The word opened in the original Greek is dianoigõ, which means, “to open thoroughly what had been closed. To open one’s soul (mind, will, emotions), to rouse in one the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning.”

In those priceless moments down by the riverside, God opened Lydia’s mind to pay attention and understand a fresh revelation of Jesus. He deposited a desire in her heart to learn more about the gospel of grace which Paul was generously sharing.

Friend, let this be our heart’s greatest desire — today and every day!

In our special moments with God, let’s ask Him to gently open our hearts wide so we can receive a fresher revelation of Jesus. No matter how much we think we know about Him, let us long to know Him more!

Let’s yearn for a deeper understanding of His character and attributes. Let’s wake up every day saying, “Good Morning Jesus,” and embrace the desire to spend time with Him before anyone else, discovering His truths, memorizing His precepts and rejoicing in His promises.

And in those quiet moments as we read through the pages of our Bible, if we come to a part we don’t understand, let’s pause and whisper ever so sincerely, “Jesus pull back the veil so I can see You more clearly and hear You more distinctly. Open my eyes to see the wonderful things in Your Word.

And when He does, let’s respond with a wellspring of joy and gratitude that will quench our souls and make our spirits soar!

Lord, soften my heart and open it wide to receive all the love You have for me. Give me a greater desire to spend time with You. Teach me Your ways and help me understand Your attributes as I read my Bible. I want to know You more. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word.” (TLB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Imagine faith that changes every aspect of who you are. This is the faith that comes from saying “yes” to Jesus’ invitation. Check out Suzie Eller’s latest book, Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads.

Stop by Leah DiPascal’s blog today and sign up to win a free copy of Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take some time to read the story of Lydia in Acts 16. As you read, ask God to open your heart and mind to discover details in the text you’ve never noticed before. Write these new truths down and then share what you’ve learned with someone else.

© 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Leah, please reach out to me.

    • Hey, it doesn’t look like Leah checked her comments, sorry. I am not a part of this specific ministry, but if you need someone to unload on, or just to pray,I would love to listen.
      I am in Colombia until the 21st and prolly won’t be able to check my email until after, so if I don’t respond right away it’s not you.

    • I thank you for this word it is helping me

  2. What a sweet devotion! Thank you. Just sweet sweet time with Jesus before all else is so needed and crucial to the Christian life. I feel the tenderness of your love for Jesus Christ.

  3. Hi Leah,
    How do you determine what to read when you pick up your bible? That is the part that always overwhelms and intimidates me. I don’t know where to start!

    • Mandy,
      Pray and ask God to direct your reading! Proverbs, Psalms, Acts are great books to dive into and meditate on ?

    • There are thousands of ways to approach God’s Word, Mandy, because it is packed with wisdom and blessing. Opening it randomly probably isn’t the best. But starting in Genesis and reading through to the end doesn’t make sense for someone new to Scripture. Sunshine mentioned Psalms and Proverbs–books of praise and wisdom. The gospel of John is also a good place to start–stories of Jesus’ life and love. Rather than a goal of, say, a chapter a day, just read until the message leaps to your heart (that’s the Holy Spirit at work). It could be just one verse, or a single interaction between Jesus and someone else, or a paragraph of praise from a Psalm.

      Don’t think of it as a school reading assignment. Think of it as a conversation with God. It is his message of love to you personally. Talk it over with him (you can think your side of the discussion or say the words out loud–God hears either way). You will learn to sense God’s response. sometimes in words from the Bible, often as a surprising thought or image that settles in your head and sometimes as just a general feeling (joy, peace, understanding). As Leah pointed out, God’s Word has the power to make your spirit soar.

      Lord God, open Mandy’s heart to hear your wisdom, start her off with a satisfying tidbit and teach her to go after the bigger and best delights of your Word. Amen.

      • TAwnya tompkins says:

        Shirlee, I appreciate your ministering words you write so often on these posts in response to women’s hearts. I can tell they are divine and Holy Spirit lead and minister to my heart as well. I look for your responses and Im continually blessed by them and picture you on the front lines of Gods army

      • Hey, Shirlee. I appreciate your response to Mandy on how to approach reading the bible. I have another question that I’d like some insight on. It’s about the length of time spent in prayer and devotional reading. I start each day with a devotional and I truly hear God speaking to me through what I read. So often the reading fits perfectly with what I am going through in my life. But then I need to go to work or start my projects for the day and I’m always worried that I haven’t spent enough time with God and maybe I’m not being selfless enough. I talk to God all day,though, not just during my devotional time. I grew up in a very strict church, so I know that effects my thinking. Any thoughts?

    • godonlyknows says:

      A chapter a day helps soothe the heart and mediate the mind. There are a few chapters in the Bible that are quite long in passage. One has to determine whether to read it all or a little. But the Bible is the Book Believers need to hold onto for it can guide your ever path daily in so many ways.
      If you are not up for a chapter, then take so many scriptures a day. But digest the word so you can be uplifted and be able to fight the daily battles with the word you have read.
      The Bible is a book that you can always read and learn something new, even if you think you already read a passage. You will discover something you never thought you had saw before. It will also empower you in many ways.

    • Get a daily devotional book. Each day is focused on a certain scripture and then a message. Charles Stanley has a wonderful daily online devotion too.

    • Mandy,
      You are not alone! I have been a Christian for a very long time and yet still feel overwhelmed at where to begin reading my Bible. I will usually read a devotion and go over the scriptures that are listed with it but would love to hear how others go about studying scripture.

      • kathy wyg says:

        Good morning…Tracy…I just sent Mandy…an idea/suggestion too..the back of mine…
        Has a 365 key read plan….& i have made extra copies to give to friends who were just starting out..that is how I started reading, when I first started reading sev yrs ago…if…it is something you are interested in….let me know,..I would be happy to send your set of the reads…that’s how I started out for a few yrs & then changed out my
        Routine…

        Have a blessed day…….Tracy………..

        Kathy wygant
        Bwygant@bellsouth.net

        No pressure…..just let me know……

      • Jacqueline Williams says:

        If I am having an area in my life that I have had some trouble for example;
        fear of not having enough or faith or negativity I look for key verses from the back of the Bible. If I am not having any particular issue I read about Jesus or David etc. I also follow this website and others like Max Lucado that have books based on subjects like Grace Fear Faith which give verses from bible on thse subjects. I keep index cards and write a key verse and on the back how that applies to my life. I keep the index card in my purse and refer to it throughout the day. Its amazing how many times i run into a stranger on bus in the store we sta
        rt small talk and somehow the card i am carrying i give to that person and its just what they need. God amazes.

    • kathy wyg says:

      Good morning…Mandy….this is just a suggestion…when I first started reading sev yrs
      Ago..the back of my BIBLE…has a 365 a day key read planner…& that is how I started…made life so much easier..I followed that for few yrs…& then changed it up
      After that…if you don’t have something like that..& are interested in doing something of that routine…for awhile…let me know….I have printed off extra copies of it for sev friends who wanted to do verses like that…& would be happy to send a set to you…
      No pressure …whatever way you want & choose to go…just let me know….thanks…

      Have a blessed day………………kathy wygant
      Bwygant@bellsouth.net
      E-mail me..if you are interested…..

    • Someone who cares says:

      Hi Mandy, indeed you are not alone. Many years ago someone suggested I join a women’s bible study at my church. I was reluctant at first, because I was embarrassed that I knew nothing, I was intimidated by those wise “church” ladies, I was fearful of those terrifying words, “Let’s open to the gospel of John…” Uh, where is that? In the front, in the back, in the middle? Don’t they have page numbers? Etc. etc. I felt like all eyes were on me as I struggled to locate the scripture. But I slowly learned that no one was interested in judging how much I did not know, only interested in reading and discussing the delicious gift of God’s Word and how we could apply it to our lives. I grew SO much in those studies. It was only after joining those that I had the confidence and desire to open the Word and my heart all alone by myself. And now, several years later, my alone time with the Word (Jesus) is so precious to me, so nourishing, so fulfilling, I praise God for His love and glorious Word. I hope this encourages you. 🙂

    • Hi Mandy,
      Here are some of my Bible-reading “plans”. Every day is so different that for me, having a consistent place or time has changed and been lost and been fought for to establish as habit over and over again but I do try to meet with God and his Word as a “first fruits” discipline. The first moment I can legitimately choose my activity (after husband has been ministered to, baby has nursed, crossed legged dog is let out, teenager is driven to band practice, etc.) I sit down with a cup of something and open to one of my four ribbon (because they tend to not fall out losing my place) bookmarks. Yes four: one each in Old Testament; Psalms and Proverbs; Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John); and the letters and Revelations. For twenty years, until I got an ipad, i’d just keep cycling through those four sections. I wouldn’t read whole chapters in many seasons of my life but I would try to read a whole page ending with the break after the first paragraph at the top of the left-hand column. Sometimes I’d read all four bookmarked places – my goal – but sometimes I’d be interrupted by life or by a “rabbit trail” as I searched deeper into something I read, following cross references and such. I never made it through the whole Bible in any one year. I think it takes me about two and a quarter years to read it through once this way but also some parts (the gospels especially and Psalms and Proverbs) get cycled through more often.
      On days I don’t have any time at all I try to fit in at least the “Proverb of the Day”. I do those this way if I’m in a crazy busy season. There are 31 chapters so whatever day of the month it is no matter if I’ve missed all previous chapters, I read the Proverb chapter that matches the day’s date. Since over time I’ve found that even reading a whole chapter of Proverbs can be a race to tick off “chapter read” on some invisible self-righteous list somewhere, I’ve honed this method to reading only the first half of the day’s chapters on odd months and only the second half on even months.
      I read somewhere that one should read the Bible only until one senses a particular passage being highlighted to you. I could never really make that work but that concept did give me permission to SLOW DOWN as I read. In the early days I wanted to know the whole Bible so I’d have the whole picture and I wanted to do the whole Bible in a year but I couldn’t keep up and would get discouraged and fall off of reading altogether – enemy wins! In my latter days I like to stop and allow myself to be arrested by a phrase without the feeling that I must forge on. It’s the Living Word of God and I think needs to be approached and absorbed in a lifey way. I find I can read consistently if I stick to the “first fruits” of my free minutes – which sometimes has meant setting the alarm for earlier than my family members and sometimes means I read while dinner cooks after my work day.
      Once I gave myself grace to slow down (after I’d read it through a few times as if it was an athletic workout that needed to be crossed off each day’s list) I noticed that certain passages that DID jump off the page at me I never would have noticed if I had read it the previous day or week if I had been “caught up” with my plan. I see God’s hand in this and encouragingly therefore in my whole busy life.
      I do think you should read in some kind of order so you read the whole thing once through. My husband led anointed worship in our church for twenty years before he set himself the goal to do a read-the-Bible in a year plan. It took him about five months more than a year but I believe there is a deeper peace in his spirit now that he knows he has read it all once.
      With my kids I homeschooled and read Egermeier’s Childrens Story Bible from beginning to end and then beginning to end and again – through fifteen years, a chapter a homeschooling morning. It was neat what kids remembered and observed about the changes in their own lives when we’d come around to familiar bits again.
      I hope this helps you start somewhere or maybe even in four “wheres” :-).

  4. Lately, I have been feeling like I’m “phoning in” my Christian walk. You can say I’ve been in a valley for sometime, so it’s been trying to really feel the Love I know God has for me ?

    • godonlyknows says:

      No matter how long the valley may seem to be, there is always a Mountain to conquer. Matthew 17:20.
      Life is like a rollercoaster with it’s ups and downs and twists and turns. But holding on to what you believe can help you through those trying moments. God Bless!

  5. Nothing. Thanks.

  6. Wonderful!

  7. Wonderful! I need to look for those things I might have overlooked in His Word. It’s so filled with treasures!
    Bless you!

  8. I just live this! Thank you for this message.

  9. I just love this! Thank you for this message.

  10. Anne Reinfelds says:

    Just what I needed this morning.

  11. Yvonne Setowski says:

    Very encouraging

  12. Hi Leah
    This has really blessed me this morning,have been struggling with reading my bible,there times i dnt understand,there days i dnt pick up my bible,i would say i have not really been so consistent,i dnt even know what to write down when reading/studying my bible,i just feel so discouraging&frustrating,i really want to grow in bible-study life,i dnt even hear God speak to me,am i to read the bible&study,pls i really need ur adivce.

    • godonlyknows says:

      Leah! Just like the devotional said, Make the time! Sit down and read. No matter how much or how little, make the time. Then let the words mediate on your mind, body, and soul. Even if you feel you didn’t get anything from what you read……read it again. Even say a prayer before you read the scriptures and afterwards.

    • Lisa cervera says:

      Millicent, I used to have a hard time, too. At times over the years, reading my Bible was more like an obligation than something I looked forward to. I think when I started to pray for God to place that desire for more intimate conversation with Him, a desire to really love Hom, is when everything changed. i also started incorporating personal worship into my devotional time, often with a YouTube worship song, just praising Him and not asking Him for anything. Now, I get bummed if I wake up and the sun is already up because I look forward to watching it rise with Him. I believe if you ask the Holy Spirit to place that desire within you, He will!
      Lisa

  13. Lucia Ladd says:

    Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes to see the wonderful thing in your world”
    There are many points of view and differences in my journey;the horizon opens your mind and see the word on its way that I could follow God has a plan for us in my life Amen God bless!!!

  14. Wow! God is so good!! I expected to learn about Lydia, but Acts 16 is full of other goodies for me!! My first highlight that stumbled me was vs 6 “…because the Holy Spirit had prevented them…”. Last night I planned on going to a Bible study I signed up for 10 weeks, and I already missed the first one due to VPK orientation. Well last night I arranged my daughter to stay with my mom as my husband is sick, so I could go. I get to my mom’s house and my mom instantly has a meltdown! I guess Progressive insurance took $600 out of her account by error, causing her to be negative and not be able to buy her meds and power bill. I had no idea this was going on, so I told her I was calling them to figure it out. I spoke with a manager for 30minutes, and it concluded that it was Progressives error, and that everything was being fixed and reversed Thursday or Friday. Yay! I missed study again, as the final answer came at 7pm- study start time, I actually withdrew last night because of missing the classes, but I wonder if the Holy Spirit had placed me at my mom’s, preventing me from going to the study, to be my mom’s voice. Just like He prevented Paul from going to Asia. We never ask anyone to babysit, so this was huge for me 🙂 and I was so thankful to be able to help my mom.

    Then I noticed all the words “instantly””at once” “quickly””suddenly” and “immediately” in the chapter (I use the NLT). HOW EXCITING! I see Paul’s journey as an example of how the Holy Spirit works if we follow His guidings and allow Him to work in us. What a scary/exciting journey!

    Thank you for sharing the devotional, while I thought I’d learn about Lydia, it really was a great chapter for me 🙂

  15. Sarah Guenther says:

    Leah,

    I too get up at 5:10am Mae a cup of coffee, put a blanket on and read the bible. I now recently read a Proverbs 31 each morning. I couldn’t believe the similarities in ur routine. Wow! God bless and thank you.

    Sarah

  16. Today’s devotion is very timely. My morning ritual for many years was to sit on my deck in the very early hours of the morning for quiet time and prayer. Lately, I have not taken the time like I used to. This morning, I did! I asked for guidance. I asked to be able to hear. I asked to be able to see. I asked to be able to understand.

    When I got to my office, your email was the first I opened and when I read it, I knew He heard me.

    Thank you.
    ~Pam

  17. I do this ever morning. I call it coffee with Jesus if I don’t this my day will be bad.

  18. I love today’s teaching of “my time with Jesus”. You can just sense the warmth/love in that discovery time as He pours into us so we can pour out to others! Thanks – Blessings?

  19. I also get up early when the house is quiet. I pray God will soften and open my heart to Him. I’m in a slump and feel a distance between me and God and and I don’t know why. But I will continue to persue him.

  20. This is how I start my days too. And, also, with the wonderful devotions from Proverbs 31. Thank you for all the time and prayer you put into these devotions, I know they touch the hearts of many women. God bless you each one one you!

  21. Such a wonderful sight to see women encouraging one another, esp in the study of Gods word.

  22. What a great message today. Leah, you are a great cheerleader! A super motivating encouragement to spend time in God’s word. Thank you!

  23. Thank you for sharing your morning with us . . . It is such a lovely time in my day to spend with Him. I would just like to do it more often without having to rush off . . . one day.

  24. The message is wonderful! Starting the day with the King of Kings. Speak to my heart Lord.
    Thanks for sharing.

  25. Sandi Morris says:

    I too look forward to my quiet time with my Lord and Saviour each morning. Preparing me for what lies ahead in my day and knowing my Father has his arms wrapped around me and keeping hemmed in. Thank you Father!

  26. Unveil my eyes Lord and let me see treasures in Your Word. I ❤️ that we can have more and more understanding as we sit in His presence with expectation! Thank you for sharing this today!!!

  27. kathy wyg says:

    Good morning Leah…..thank you for this story/devo this am…quite poignant for me….
    I kind of start out this way…I have a one/two line verse I catch first thing as hubby & I
    Get up & we get him ready to send off to work..hi ho…hi..ho..off to work he goes…I
    Have retired…I do my 6:15 am walk in my driveway & I talk to him..&…watch God’s amazing sunrise unfold….my shower..& then by 7:30 am…it’s me & God time….
    Between my iPad devo’s like this & my bks…I find lots of encouragement & uplifting goodies….when I was still working…I did the breakfast shift…4am-12…so I obviously
    Didn’t have as much time..I purposefully put aside 15 min every am..before I left the house….that allowed me to start my day w/God…I always asked him..just make it a doable day….thank you for listening…..

    Have a blessed day……………guys………….kathy

  28. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing and your heart.

    Winnie

  29. Shalom. It’s my time!… It always my time when i read proverbs 31 blog!. You go girls!. God bless you more. Greetings from Spain.

  30. I to wake early so that I can have my time…uninterrupted…just to talk and reflect. To thank God for a new day ahead of me.

  31. Maryann Hodge says:

    One of the most touching and well taught truths of finding time to spend with HIM praying and praising His name. I have a prayer closet but still often find myself struggling in the AM’s to “get in there” due to the hectic schedules… Thank you for this important reminder……
    I absolutely loved this this morning …… and think it is one of the best devotions…. Thank you!

  32. So touching and right on track with my most recent thoughts… I love it when God speaks to me through one of his servants, and its exactly what I needed to hear… What a Blessing you are Leah to allow God to speak through you to a thirsty world!

  33. There is something extra special about morning moments with the Lord. I will never get over it, the newness of the day started with Him. Love this devotion.

  34. This was a great devotion that really spoke to me today. Thank you for being transparent.

  35. Thank u for the good word!! One line really spoke to me : ” Jesus pull back the veil…”
    I forget that since we live in a fallen world we must pray for “veils” to be lifted on a regular basis.

  36. Kathy Gresen says:

    Thanks for your words of encouragement today. I really struggle many times reading scripture, most times just thinking it doesn’t apply to me because I can’t figure out a message for me. One thing, as simple as it is that I have never done, was to stop and pray for insight of the message, then go back and read it again, perhaps the verses before and after, whatever it takes to hear the message God has for me in His word.

  37. Some days I read and it’s like I’m there and the story is so great and interesting I cant put it down. Along the way I find little messages. I literally have old envelopes with verses written on them. Im a new Christian so I find that I have to becareful in everything I do. Because evilis always at my back door. Just wait on me to mess up. And I do at times. Im far from perfect.

  38. Thank you, Leah, for this enlightening study. I pray the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of my heart daily to receive and see more understanding of what He wants to teach me. God bless you.

  39. THank you so very much for the words of spending time alone with God before the dawn. I havent done that during that time of day in a long time. Reading this is part of the healing of my broken heart, thank you Jesus, and thank you Leah for these beautiful words.

  40. ” Wow ! This is just what I needed tonight, some encouragement ! I think you wrote this just for me !! my husband has recently become sick and I have been trying to lean on my savior more ! I’m working two jobs just to try and make ends meet ! My car is about to be repossessed , we’re almost 3 months behind in rent , our cc are maxed out , we have medical bills that are sky high and I got a notice today saying the power will be shut off if we don’t pay it next week! I’m at the end of my rope! I’m trying to be strong for my son and my husband , but I needed this reminder! We have no family near by, I’m too busy working to make friends and everyone I know lives hours away! I’m reminded that I have a friend in Jesus! I’m so stressed and worried about everything I’m having a hard time sleeping tonight Thank you again for Allowing the Lord to use you to speak to. My weary body, soul and mind !

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