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The Campground Map

We have been traveling now for nearly 120 days. I used to dream about this season of life, so even with its challenges and inconveniences, I am mindful of the trade we made to gain quality time and adventure with our children.

Yesterday we pulled into yet another campground. The routine has become comical. As soon as I get back into the truck after checking us in with the office staff, I will get asked a question from whomever of my children can get it out of their mouths the fastest.

“Can I have the map?”

The campground map shows the kids where we are to park our RV and, more importantly, where the RV will be in relation to the playground and the pool. These are the priorities of children.

Over the past two and a half years, I have been working on aligning my priorities so that the first thing I do, when I wake up is to sit down and read my Bible. This means that before I look at any texts or social media or do any shopping, wash my face, or feed my family, I sit down and read the Bible.

I struggled with reading the Bible, mainly because where to start and how much to read felt overwhelming. Since I downloaded a Bible app’s 2-year reading plan, I have found myself with direction. I know where my pool is, so to speak.

But knowing where the pool is doesn’t seem to satisfy my children. They want to experience it fully. Therefore, their father and I must work to get four tiny humans ready for the sun and the water and trek them and too much stuff down to the pool.

The true joy of the pool is experienced when my children are inside it. They want to feel the water on their faces and test their abilities by swimming further or deeper in pursuit of a pool toy. If they found the pool on the map and we did the work to get them there, but no one got inside, the thrill of the pool would soon lose its appeal. It wouldn’t be fulfilling its intended purpose.

The good news is that won’t happen when we read our Bibles.

Isaiah 55:11 says, “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; it will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it” (NASB).

When you read the Word with intention, you are not just putting a check in the self-discipline column. You welcome God to engage in His purposes for your life. You are saying, in essence, “Here I am. What are we working on today?”

Recently, I watched my four-year-old swim deeper and further than he had in the past for a simple pool toy. He doesn’t want to go deeper or further because he is still afraid, but the pool toy makes it fun and interesting. Each advancement in water survival brings a smile to his face and adds to my comfort.

Might God be using the circumstances of our lives the way we would a pool toy? When I read my Bible, I join God in the day's most important work. I’m allowing His purposes to be met in my circumstances, affording personal and relational growth, growing in the worship of His character––and in so doing, I am learning the way of life.

“Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105 NCV).


Prayer: Father, I long for the joy of being in Your presence and want to hear Your voice, but getting close to You often feels like a chore, as does getting down to the pool and relearning how to have fun in it. I am reminded that the discipline of making time to be with You is a personal accomplishment, but You have Your purposes planned, and those are far more wonderful. I don’t want to get stuck in a cycle because I refuse to learn what you long to show me. And I don’t want to miss knowing who You––Creator of the Universe and King of Kings––are. Forgive me for my self-centeredness and renew in me a right spirit. Amen.

Your Turn: What do you prioritize in the morning and why? Does it align with what you would say your priorities are or what you want them to be? If you want to hear God speak to you, do you have a plan to get into the Word and close to His presence? If not, download a Bible reading plan today.

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Peter Springer
Peter Springer
Jul 28, 2023

Life has slowed in some ways for my wife and me (married 37 years next week) as we've retired, but in other ways we're still extremely busy. I organize my weeks (I'm the planning type) by looking for ways to contribute something meaningful to my community. I feel like that is not only God's plan for me, but that everyone should ask themselves, "What am I doing to make the world a better place?" Today I've got one of my former sixth-graders coming over to our house. I'm going to pass on some teaching materials to her as she will be launching her career in the fall. I also will be reading to some seniors in assisted living (I've been…

Monica Hopper
Monica Hopper
Aug 02, 2023
Replying to

What a beautiful way to spend retirement - being the hands and feet of Jesus.

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