Unfolding Each Day

How does your day start? How does it end? If you’re like me, we start out with the best intentions but end with more stressors, failures, and fears than we expected or wanted. I’ve learned that unless my day starts with a full tank of God’s peace, it’s often depleted before the day ends. When that happens, the day never ends well.

Something Coach Paul Quinn shared during my high school days became a lifetime lesson. His simple yet profound statement, “You will play like you practice.” If I don’t practice using the spiritual gifts God has blessed me with, they won’t be ready at game time.

As Christians, we must remember to practice like we want to play. #GrowingInFaith #AStrongFaith Click To Tweet

My days start long before the sun rises. This morning began at 2 a.m. and will end around 10 p.m. Most mornings, I carve out an hour or so for my quiet time with God. Bible reading, a few devotions, and my daily prayer list take up that time. When I’m fortunate enough to still have a bit of quiet left, I’ll softly listen to worship music through my hearing aids as I meditate and linger in His presence.

As dawn breaks, it’s time to start my day job. Making my way to the workshop, I stop to view the eastern sky. I call it “topping off my tank.” In that last quiet moment, I listen to the chittering of the raccoons, the chickens stirring, a distant group of coyotes calling to one another, and I listen for God. When I feel His presence surrounding me, I offer a silent prayer before I begin the day’s chores. It often goes like this.

Mornin’ Lord, give us this day, please. Lead me in how I can best
show Your light today. Fill me with Your peace; give me the patience,
kindness, and gentleness I need to face what is to come.
Please help me take each thought captive so that I
keep the thoughts I wish I didn’t have to myself. When this
day depletes these good fruits, lead me to seek Your
presence and refill my soul. Nudge me when You see me
nearing that invisible edge, Lord, help me remain
safe in Your will.

I wish I could tell you I always heed the Holy Spirit’s warning that my tank is getting low. Oh, that I could say I always keep my selfish and sometimes sarcastic thoughts to myself. But alas, like many of y’all, I too am human and will fail to honor God with my words and actions from time-to-time. Perhaps that’s why we need to do our best to walk with Him throughout our day. When I stray away, I fall right back into the muck and mire that fills this world.

Remaining close to God throughout your day helps to keep you in His will. #GodsWill #NotMine #InviteGodsPresence Click To Tweet

We must actively seek to remain close to God throughout our day. For me, that starts as He unfolds each day. If I begin my busy day seeking Him and inviting Him to walk with me throughout the day, it’s easier to keep Him close. I’ve learned through my years that when I surrender my day to Him, I accomplish more. It happens easier, and it glorifies God.

My social media friend, Mr. Peanut Coleman, reminded me how important it is to top off our tanks as God unfolds each day. A rancher in northern Virginia, Peanut (I wonder if that’s his given name) often shares images and thoughts that show his heart for God. My ranching friend often reminds me how we must be good stewards of His many blessings (spouse, children, friends, land, livestock, health, etc.) each day He gives us. We need more men like Peanut Coleman in this world.

As God unfolds each day before us, He gives us a reminder of His glory, His grace, and the reason for our hope. In this time of ever-increasing evil, war against Israel, government overreach and malfeasance, and attacks and persecution of Christian brothers and sisters across the world, seek God. His presence in our lives brings the peace our souls need to remain spiritually strong. My prayer for you this week is that you take time to seek God, making Him a priority in starting your day. Start strong my friends and finish well.

God’s blessings,


Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


60 thoughts on “Unfolding Each Day”

  1. I always get something I need when I read your posts, my friend. I love your prayer that you shared, and I especially love the reminder to top off the tank again as we go through the day. I tend to “hurry” through everything in my day, and I have no idea why. I highly suspect it’s from the enemy of my soul, to keep me from the pause that refills me. Thank you for following what Father has for you and sharing it with us.

    1. I often find myself doing that same thing (hurrying through my day) Ms. Ane, and have come to realize it’s because there’s so much to do. And there’s so much to do because; 1) I think I have to do it all. 2) I’m convinced that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. 3) There’s SO MUCH to do. In this season of caregiving, I’m finding there’s simply not enough hours in the day. What I’m asking God to help me with is prioritizing my day so that what doesn’t get done does not become the source of aggravation and anxiety for me. I keep trying to “boil the ocean” and wonder why I keep burning my hands.

  2. Beloved friend, J.D.,
    Isn’t it grand we can listen to music and actually understand it through our hearing aids! I’ve noted to my wife how enjoyable that experience is for me now. I still cringe at worship service because my hearing aids change the voices down to a frequency range I can hear. It makes them, especially the high freq voices of the women, crazy unmusical for me. Ahh the glories of the misplaced modifier, so to speak.
    I’ve also watched lately a video expressing how the sacred use of words creates a wonder of miracles to which all the earth responds.
    Your words, sir, always strike a most enjoyable chord during the reading of them. Thank you.

    1. You humble me with your words sir. And yes, hearing aids can most definitely change the way we hear things. I ask myself sometimes, “What do they/that really sound like?” I’m grateful that it’s not that way with the Holy Spirit. He’s inside my soul, and sounds more true than any external source. Now, if I can just learn how to listen better. 🙂 God’s blessings my friend, and give that darling little Ms. Barbara a squeeze for her old cowboy friend. She’s such a dear woman. I don’t know what you did to lasso her heart pal, but keep doing it!

  3. Beautiful reminder of our everyday walk with our Lord—from early morning ‘til I close my eyes at night. I praise the Lord He is faithful when I so easily forget He’s always with me. Thanks so much. Blessings!

  4. When my children were young I used to rise at 3 am to have my time with the Lord, prepare breakfast for my husband and kids and have that solid quiet time in His Presence before the day began. The kids are grown and with families of their own and my husband is semi-retired so I don’t have to rise quite so early – but beginning with acknowledging the Lord and spending time with Him is still the most important part of my day.

    1. Yes ma’am. Time with Him is such an important way to get our days started right. Glad to hear you’re not having to “get up with the chickens” any longer. God’s blessings.

  5. I like to have time with the Lord first thing in the mornings, too. He’s with me through the day no matter when I meet with Him. But when I spend time with Him first, as as nearly first as I can, I start the day with my focus on Him, and it’s easier to keep my focus on Him.

    I like that idea of “topping off.” We’re blessed to have so many ways to do that with Christian music and Bible apps at the ready. But even just seeing His hand in creation or His bringing to mind a Bible verse just as we need it reminds us He is with us and loves us.

    1. Well said Ms. Barbara. Learning to look and listen spiritually is a sure sign that we are growing in Christ. The more we do it, the easier it becomes to do it. I too love it when “God becomes a habit” with folks. Praying your tank is filled throughout the day my friend.

    1. Thank you sir. I think it sort of like preparing to go muck out the barn or walk around outside in the rain. You need to be prepared before you “wade into the world” each day. God’s blessings kind sir.

  6. I loved your example morning prayer. I can’t imagine getting up at 2 am though. But I do try to start every morning by connecting with my Savior. I recite the Lord’s Prayer each evening to close out my day. And it does keep me connected. Thanks for sharing

  7. That morning motivation to top of my tank has gotten a whole lot better since my brother and I removed the pine trees next to the house that would block out the morning sun. Now, an even more brighter start creeps into my office window each new day. What a powerful reminder that His mercies (getting reprieve from what we deserve) and his grace are refreshed each morning. Great is thy faithfulness!
    Thanks JD for the reminder!

    1. I bet it has Mr. Ben. That was a HUGE tree my friend. Isn’t it amazing how God created this natural world to heighten our experiences of/with Him. It’s as though He created it that way. LOL

  8. The prayer you included here is a sure-fire way to connect, and re-connect, with God, J. D. We can’t not go to God and expect that our day will go well. Our tanks most definitely need to be filled and topped-off with assurance of His presence in our lives.
    Mr. Peanut sounds like a gem of a man, too. How wonderful it is to have friends who inspire us!

    1. Yes ma’am. Godly friends sure can make our days better. I have two wonderful ones in Kennesaw, GA. I bet they’re busy making friends and sharing God in their “Punkin’ Patch” this week. God’s blessings and thank you for all your support, fellowship, and encouragement ma’am.

  9. I love the quote from your coach, J.D.–“You play like you practice.” What a powerful condensation of truth, that is. One of my coaches said the same thing a little differently, He said, “That old adage, ‘Practice makes perfect,’ isn’t true. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

    In any case, we’re witnessing daily demonstrations of the outcome of claiming Jesus as Lord and then conducting daily life as though the things He taught, demonstrated, and commanded don’t matter. We see what distancing ourselves from God looks like when we see the products of our “educational system” taking to the streets in support of those who have committed the most ungodly and horrific acts imaginable on helpless civilians whose only offense was being Jewish or being in Israel.

    I don’t mean to sound political, Brother, but to me the conflicts raging today aren’t political. What we’re seeing over there is what religious warfare looks like when it’s fought with rockets, bombs, bullets, and knives. What we see over here is the same kind of war only with weaponized propaganda. Words, ideas, and twisted theology are launched against an unsuspecting, distracted, complacent, naive populace who think “religious beliefs” don’t really matter that much. Sadly, many of them are folks that think that because they “prayed the sinner’s prayer” at some point years ago and sit on a pew for an hour once in a while, that’s all the service they need to offer. Our churches are full of people who’ve forgotten that God was the one moving Paul to plead with the followers of Jesus to “Present [their] bodies a living sacrifice…” He called it our “reasonable service.” Maybe the carnage we’re witnessing in Israel and Gaza will help some of us to realize that demonstrating to the world what we believe is the most important challenge confronting us every day.

    Many are saying that our current administration’s pattern of projecting an image of weakness has emboldened the enemies of Israel to attack. I’m convinced that the same thing is true over here. I have no doubt that generations of surrendering our values for monetary gain, surrendering godly principles for social acceptance, and sacrificing righteousness on the altar of political expediency has facilitated a different kind of carnage over here. After all, we’ve made the slaughter of babies in the womb a right, and called surgically mutilating misguided children “gender affirming therapy.” When Christians embrace and approve what God has condemned and forbidden, we invite the most awful demonstrations of what the enemies of God are really like.

    I’m sorry for sounding off like this in your space, but your admonition to begin our days by reinforcing who we serve, why we’re here is such a vital point. Most of us don’t get up as early as you do (don’t know how you function with so little sleep, by the way), but making that first activity a time to renew our heart’s commitment to serve the One who died for us is so vital. You make it clear so often that demonstrating what the living God is really like is something we can do no matter what our daily chores look like. It’s a much more effective defense against the enemy’s incursions than we might think, and one of the most powerful things we can do to ensure the peace and security that all of us want.

    Again, I apologize for the reactionary tone, J.D., but my heart is overwhelmed at the moment and I’m wrestling with my own responsibilities in response to what’s going on in the world, in our own country, and especially the status of whatever constitutes “Christianity” in America these days. As always, Diane and I are deeply grateful for you and what you do to inspire and encourage all of us. You never fail to make us feel like we’re a part of the Cross-Dubya family. Our continual prayer is that the living God will be sovereign over everything in our lives and that He will empower every gift, talent, and ability that He implanted in us. May God grant you and your Diane healing grace, sustaining strength, divine wisdom, and invincible faith in these critical times.

    1. AMEN and AMEN Mr. Ron. My apologies to you and everyone for being so tardy in responding, but there’s times when the waves are high and they tend to try and overwhelm us. Our job, with God’s help, is to stay afloat and ride them out. As for being “political”, you’re not. You’re sharing honest insights from a Christian-American. You are right though my friend. This is not a political problem, this is a spiritual problem. And while today’s news headlines may suggest that the world (Satan’s dominion) is winning, we both know that the victory has already been won and the outcome is assured. Still, it’s heartbreaking to see it play out around the world and in the lives of so many innocent children.

      I’ve long been an advocate for personal responsibility, and there are many (both in and out of the church) that are deceived into believing in those “little ‘g’ gods” that Satan uses to distract us. What I have, what others think of me, where I sit, and what I wear mean nothing! What does matter is the condition of our heart. Whether we are true Believers or mere posers who want to use “Christianity” as a means to attain worldly treasure. Christianity is not, and have never been, about gain, it’s about loss. I know this sounds strange, but you know me to be a strange person. It isn’t about what my human-side gains, but what it loses. As John the Baptist declared in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” is so vitally important to our spiritual growth. Our loss is Christ’s gain. And to gain Christ should mean everything to a true Christian. I think, somehow, that ideal has been lost. It seems Satan has subverted the church in America to believe that the church is “god”. We’ve lost, and I recognize I’m painting with a very broad brush here, that the church is here to serve God. We’re supposed to do that by carrying out the great commission and living out His great commandment. Our job is to build disciples, not monuments.

      I cannot agree more with you sir. What we Christians have done; what we have allowed to take place in this world, saddens me. I know that I could have said more. I know that I could have made stronger stands. And I know that I could have served Him better by surrendering to Him more. The treasures stored in heaven will be much less than they should have been perhaps, but I can’t change the past, I can only seek to be better each day.

      Thank you as always for your sage counsel, your uplifting prayers, and your godly wisdom my friend. I thank God for you and your family each day sir. I sometimes think that I’m sure glad Mr. Ron and I have eternity to talk each other’s ear off, but I soon recognize that the only thing we’ll have time to do is to praise Him. God’s blessings my friend.

  10. Maintaining the peace we gain from our QT is a daily challenge when life’s issues roll in. I keep scripture cards placed around my house to keep my perspective in line with truth.

    1. What a great idea Ms. Debbie. You’re certainly more neat and organized than I, but I have Post-It notes taped to the edges of bookcase shelves, computer monitors, etc. with little Scripture prompts or thoughts that help me to focus on Him throughout the day too. It’s so easy to let this world and all its busyness distract us, isn’t it? God’s blessings my friend.

  11. “We must actively seek to stay near to God all day.” Oh, yes, my friend. And doing so takes intentionality–an action on our part. When life interferes and the devil tempts us away from peace, harmony, kindness, and love, WE are the ones who need to turn away from the temptation and seek our Lord’s guidance to deal with the issue that’s conflicting us. You’re such a good role model for us, J.D., starting your day in quiet communication with God and seeking Him throughout the day, as well. Thank you, sir.

    1. Amen! Well said Ms. Katherine. Our relationship with God depends on US. He is always faithful and never changes. We must be the ones to seek Him out; He’s always at the ready, awaiting us. Thank you for all your kind words ma’am. I pray you keep your tank filled sweet sister-in-Christ.

  12. The picture of the Lord unfolding a new day is so beautiful. I especially enjoy that first break of day when it’s quiet. But when I don’t sit and acknowledge him, my frenetic thoughts makes a lot of noise. I’m trying to pay attention to the point where I’m finished with my structured devo time and transition to “work” (at home) That’s the place where I’ve often left him behind rather than follow his direction before I open my laptop. Thanks for this gentle, essential reminder to open our hearts to him as he gifts us with a new day, JD.

    1. Awww… I think that’s the default for many of us Ms. Mary. We tend to think we need a line of demarcation between our spiritual life and our “real world” life. The change happens when we realize that our spiritual walk in faith IS our “real world.” It has taken me many years, but it’s not uncommon for to say to myself, “Okay Lord, let’s go get that plowing done.” Other times you might hear, “Can you believe those chickens Father? Only six eggs today. We need to motivate them hens.” or “What am I gonna write about this week Lord, I’m looking here. Show me what you’ve got for me.” LOL

      My wife, I’m sure, wonders what I’m mumbling to myself sometimes. Usually, I’m not. I having a conversation. 🙂 God’s blessings sweet friend.

  13. J.D. the quote you shared, “You will play like you practice,” brings to mind the Scripture in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Filling our hearts up each day is vital to a successful life. Whatever goes into the heart is what will come out in actions and words.

  14. Wow, JD. America needs to appreciate the long days farmers put in with little rest. I hope you catch up on your sleep in the winter.
    Thank you for your message to us to refill our tanks through the day.
    God bless!

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy, and God’s blessings ma’am. I can’t tell you that every morning starts at 2am, but some do. I’m finding these days that I have to get up earlier to get my other work done so I have time to do all the things that need doing in the daylight. Sure glad my UTV has lights. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. This is beautiful! Your descriptions make me feel like I’m right there with you listening to God’s creations early in the morning. Thank you for always inspiring me and reminding me of the importance of sharing time with God. Blessings! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Mimi. I sometimes think about what it’s going to be like to stand on the shores of heaven with all my (I pray) Christian writing friends and observe (watch and listen) the various ways we praise our Lord. Oh, what a sweet sound that is going to be. You know my next morning is going to include a “conversation” with you as I’m sharing “fuel stop” with you to top off my tank. 🙂 God’s blessings and thank you for sharing your gentle soul with us ma’am.

  16. We must actively seek to remain close to God throughout our day and remain with Him if we want to know and do His will– were strong and gentle reminders at the same time. The Holy Spirit then has room to show, prevent, or lead me but only when I’m positioned to listen. Thanks for post for real living.

    1. How true Ms. Marilyn. F.F. Bosworth has a great quote about living out our faith. Paraphrased, it goes along the lines of, “Most Christians feed their bodies three hot meals a day and their spirits one cold snack a week. And they wonder why they’re so weak in faith.” Great points ma’am. Thank you for always adding to our conversation with wisdom and grace my friend.

  17. Love the idea of preparing for each day from a spiritual perspective – especially the idea of “topping off our tank.” And the way we practice certainly does impact the way we play.

    Just what I needed this morning after a most harried and busy week!

  18. What a beautiful prayer, J.D. This entire post is encouraging. I, too, try to rise early to spend time alone with God. In these days we are living, it is even more imperative to do so. “We must actively seek to stay near to God all day.” Stay close to Him, J.D., and keep encouraging us all to do the same!

    1. Oh my Ms. Joanne. How I hope to one day be as encouraging as you are ma’am. I don’t know how you find time to post daily, but I’m always blessed by them my friend. Prayers each day for God to use you in His service. As you point out though, He can only do that when we remain close to Him. God’s blessings little lady.

  19. It sounds like you are starting your days in a wonderful way to stay close to God, J.D., and I appreciate your insightful and encouraging posts from your times with Him! I especially like your pause to pray as you view the sunrise each morning.

  20. Yes, staying close to the Lord throughout the day, helps me stay focused on Him and gives me peace even in the midst of unpeacful situations. I fail to do this some days as you noted we all have a tendency to do. But when I spend time with Jesus and invite Him to come along with me each day, it makes all the difference.

    1. Oh my yes, Ms. Karen. His steadfast presence is so important in helping us to maintain our sense of wellbeing and peace in our souls. When I stray too far from Him, I feel it in my soul. I bet you do too ma’am. God’s blessings.

  21. I agree, brother JD, that staying close to God is vital each day. Your morning prayer is beautiful and heartfelt. God bless you as you strive forward in your busy and long days. May you get the rest you need to tackle each day, which can often be full of surprises. I haven’t heard you say anything else about Mr. John, but I am praying that his surgery went well and he’s on the mend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Yes, Mr. John is doing better and the medicine is helping to keep him regulated. He still tries to do to much, but I’m “riding herd” on him as best I can. Like you, caregiving comes with some pretty long days. But, also like you, we know the investment in love we’re making right now will bring a huge reward for our Lord on that Day. God’s blessings ma’am. And for the record, when I’m logging onto my computer at 2am, who do I always see online but my precious friend and sister-in-Christ over yonder a piece. God’s blessings ma’am.

  22. I love that quote of how we play how we practice. So true. If I don’t practice the organ several times every single week to prepare for the service on Sunday, my prelude will not fill the sanctuary with glorious sounds inviting worship. The choir will have to drown out my sour chords and the congregation will not leave the church with a song in their hearts. Discipline and practice are crucial. I don’t know you do it every morning, morning after morning, after such little sleep. How do you even focus? Nonetheless, it’s part of your routine. And I know you would miss it if it were not. I understand.
    Oh, and by the way, it is a good thing to keep sarcastic thoughts to yourself. It is even better to replace those thoughts as quickly as possible with something like how Jesus loves them and why. He is not impartial and that helps me see from a different perspective. Sorrow replaces anger; diligence replaces frustration.

  23. I love the way you start your day and identify with that great need to begin it in communion with our Creator.
    Though I don’t have the pleasure of hearing all your farm sounds early I do enjoy our neighbor’s young rooster well before daybreak.
    God bless you and yours, my friend.

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