Grace and Truth

Grace and Truth for Your Devotional Time

Today’s featured post, Real Life Devotions by Barbara Lee Harper, brought back memories of when I decided to earnestly study the Bible. I wanted to do it right, so I invested in all the necessary supplies. 

First, I shopped for weeks and spent $50 on the perfect Bible – a beautiful Holman brown leather-touch, large print, thumb-index study Bible with maps, concordance, ribbons, introductions, index, and photos. 

Next, I bought special highlighters, expensive multi-colored gel pens, and gentle sticky-notes – all designed just for Bibles. 

After that, I found a beautiful leatherette Bible case with a handle, a zipper, pockets for all my accessories, and Psalm 46:10 stitched in calligraphy. 

Then, I focused on the space. I designated a shelf to keep the Bible, a matching journal, a dictionary, commentaries, and devotionals. 

Finally, I printed a reading plan and the perfect color-coded highlighting guide. 

I had the accessories, the space, and a plan. Finally, It was time to set the perfect stage and get down to some serious Jesus time. I brewed a hot cup of tea, turned on the fireplace, and curled up in my favorite blanket.

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And I sat there trying to figure out where to begin until the room overheated and the tea got cold. After a few more failed attempts, I realized I wasn’t smart enough for this whole Bible study thing. 

Just as Barabara wrote, I’d set myself up for failure because I couldn’t live up to an ideal. 


Now, I’m more like Heather as she wrote in Candid Conversations

You know how all you ever see on Instagram are perfectly poised Bibles and pens? Well, my quiet times don’t look like that. I have my Bible and a notebook. Probably a dozen pens and highlighters depending on the day. And all the above is usually strung out over a table that needs to be cleaned. My Bible shares the space with paperwork that needs to be done, my half-eaten breakfast, and most likely a few of the kid’s toys or school papers that have been abandoned. 

Heather Hart, Candid Conversations

In the spirit of Barabara’s movement to talk about #RealLifeDevotions, I’ll show you what my Bible time looks like now. 

It’s all about function. I sit on the couch while my husband watches sports. I have a basic NKJV reference Bible in the largest print I could find, the Blue Letter Bible app and the Hope devotion planner Heather got me for Christmas. That’s it. I read, and I write as inspiration strikes me.   

And speaking of devotions, I’ll let you in on a Candid Confession. Behold – the birthplace of most of my writing ideas, including Candid Moments audio devotions!


Are you struggling to find the perfect place and time to get into Scripture? Then I encourage you to join the #RealLifeDevotions movement and just give up. Quit striving for perfection, because, as Barbara wrote, we can meet with God anytime, anywhere.

And if like Heather and I, you’ve already given up on the ideal, then join Barbara on Stray Thoughts to see how messy her devotion time is!

Grace and truth for your devotional time

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Real Life Devotions

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  1. Thanks so much for featuring my post, Valerie. I admire literary or artistic journals and “perfect” devotional practices, but for many of us, waiting for the ideal keeps us from the Word. It’s like waiting to talk to our husbands until we have a beautifully set meal with tablecloth and candles and mouthwatering food and a string quartet in the corner. Those times are nice, but if that’s the only time we ever talked…we’d be in trouble.

    I enjoyed your pictures. I forgot to include my phone! I use an ESV Study Bible, which is hefty, so I look up cross references and definitions on my phone instead of flipping back and forth. And I get so many ideas in the shower, too! And I have to pray God helps me remember them til I can write them down.

    1. I loved your post because it is so real and I love the spirit behind your new hashtag (which is why I included it like 20 times in my post!). I know you’ll encourage a lot of women to stop wasting time with all the frills and just snuggle up with Jesus. Thanks again for linking up with Grace & Truth, Barbara! It’s always such a pleasure reading your words!

    1. I know you’ll enjoy Barbara’s fun and encouraging post, Tiffany! And if you love growing in your devotion time, I’d like to recommend my latest treasure find – The Greatest Words Ever Spoken by Steven Scott. It has all the words of Jesus listed in different categories. I’m really excited to begin using it both with my Bible time and my writing!

  2. Quite possibly one of the most important things you can encourage women in! It’s taken me years to accept a less than perfect quiet time with the Lord! I still need reminders!

    1. I agree, Amy. Chasing an ideal may represent good intentions, but sometimes it can just be a distraction that keeps us away from Jesus. I’m thankful that He’s always there waiting to welcome us no matter how long it takes

  3. My motto is we must do what works for us. For me, the best way is to find a quiet place first thing in the morning. I have a habit of over-preparing for everything and getting nothing done.

    1. That’s a great motto, Maree. Anytime I’ve been guilty of over-prepping, it only leads to confusion and I don’t use the majority of what I thought I needed anyway. I think sometimes I’m guilty of trying to fancy-up scripture, like my additions to God’s Word will somehow make it better. But His Word alone is perfect and the frills are just distractions.

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