Plan ahead and set aside a minimum of 10-15 minutes every day to spend time with and seek God through this devotional guide and journal.   Chances are if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.  If you happen to miss a day or two, don’t beat yourself up or give up.  Just go back and restart where you left off.  Realize, however, that it is easier to spend the 15 minutes every day than to miss a couple of days and spend 45 minutes catching up.     

Exodus 34:26  
"You must bring the first and best of the produce harvested from your soil to the house of the LORD your God. "Never cook a young goat in its mother's milk."
Proverbs 3:9  
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.

As God deserves and expects the first and best part of our income, we should offer Him the first and best part of our day.  It is usually best to spend time with God in the morning to devote yourself and your day to Him.  If, however, you are fresher and more alert later in the day, give that time to Him.  The most important principle here is to give God your best!

Treat your devotional time as more than a routine or ritual.  See it as an opportunity to actually meet with God – at His invitation!  

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Begin your time with prayer.  Thank God for His desire to meet with you.   Ask Him, as David did, to make you aware of His presence and to speak to you:  Psalms 119:18 LBOpen my eyes to see wonderful things in Your Word.

After you read the Scripture under the “Read and Reflect” section, pause and listen.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to you and give you insights about the passage before proceeding and answering the questions that follow.   Try to imagine the heart, motives, and circumstances of the original writer.  Write down what you feel God is saying to you.  When you have completed this go on to the “Questions for Deeper Reflection” and record your answers in the space provided.  Be ready to share what you have learned, as well as bring up questions, with your Community Group.

Note that there are also supplemental exercises interspersed throughout the journal.  While these don’t have to be done on the day they appear, please take time to do each of them during the week they appear so that you might be ready to discuss them with your Community Group.  Each exercise will help you to grow in faith and intimacy with God during this time that we have determined to seek His will together.