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But First … - Encouragement for Today - August 21, 2020

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Anitha AbrahamAugust 21, 2020

But First …

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“They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23 (ESV)

It was a typical Friday morning. I was off from work and wanted to start my day. But first things first … still in my pajamas and fuzzy socks, I grabbed my coffee and Bible and headed back to my room.

Just as I was ready to dive into the Word, I heard my phone ding. Actually, it was more like “Pick me up now! Don’t you want to know who just texted you?” So, I gave in.

I checked my text, put my phone facedown and started reading the Bible. Then, it happened again.


Since I hadn’t made it very far in my Scripture reading (at least that’s what I told myself), I looked at my phone again. Honestly, it wasn’t a big surprise that this text was equally as unimportant as the first one.

I eventually got back to my chapter, and in the middle of a very detailed description of the temple, Ezekiel mentioned a particular area with a wall to “separate what was holy from what was common” (Ezekiel 42:20, NLT).

A lot has changed since the days of the Old Testament. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice once and for all, there are terms and guidelines for worship that we no longer use in the modern church. At that time, various offerings were acceptable as long as they met certain criteria. People were also instructed to “consecrate” themselves prior to entering God’s presence. (Exodus 19:10)

While we may not follow these same, specific laws and regulations, there are still principles we can apply. What does separating the holy from the common look like today? It may be different for everyone, but here are a few thoughts for all of us to consider:

1. Wait.
I may not have a green thumb, but there is one thing I do know … flower stems should be cut under a stream of running water. Why? It allows the flowers to absorb the water right away by reducing air pockets.

There is nothing like a little scrolling to create its own “air pockets.” It’s hard to absorb the Word when we have already filled our hearts and minds with something else. Something to consider would be waiting to check social media until after we have saturated our souls with the Living Water. In other words, before we get on Facebook, we should get in the Good Book.

2. Focus.

The video announcements during church do not mean it’s time to catch up on emails or make brunch plans. Jesus challenged His own disciples who had fallen asleep when He asked them to pray, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” (Mark 14:37, NLT). It isn’t just about spending time with Him; it’s the quality of that time that matters.

3. Change your posture. 

I am all about my comfy chair, but there are times when I feel prompted to kneel when I pray. I have found that changing my physical posture impacts my heart posture and reminds me I am in the presence of the King.

Thankfully, we serve a gracious God who does not expect us to be perfect. But more than anything, I want to put Him first and give Him my best — not because of a law or regulation, but because He’s already given me all of Himself.

Dear heavenly Father, I am so thankful I can come boldly into Your presence. May I always have ears to hear and a heart yielded completely to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Luke 12:31, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” (NLT)

1 Timothy 4:8, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (NLT)

Do you want to make time for God, but you aren't sure where to start? We created a guide to help you start developing the habit of spending time in Scripture. The 21-Day Invitation: Steps to Reconnect with God uses these Encouragement for Today daily devotions with key verses and questions to help you process and pray through what you’ve learned. It includes tips on how to have consistent time connecting with God and a bonus guide on how to pray through Scripture. And the great thing is, it’s never too late to start! Click here to download!

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Want to connect with today’s author, Anitha Abraham? More of Anitha’s posts can be found on, or on Facebook at @whispersandfringes.

What are some ways you can put God first in your daily life?

What can you do to avoid distractions during your time with God? 

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© 2020 by Anitha Abraham. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28106

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