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Posts Tagged ‘Quiet Time’

Getting A Little Personal

September 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Bible QuestionThere are so many ways to read the Bible. You can read it like great literature, read it for academic purposes, read it to understand a culture, read it to gain a sense of morality, or, of course, read it for a myriad of spiritual reasons—to know GOD, to know His Son to know the working of His Spirit.

I’ve discovered the best way to read the Bible is to make it personal, to view the message of God’s Word as personal, and to understand the words as written for me—personally. How’s that for personal?

The Bible itself encourages this method of Bible study. David, speaking in Psalm 16:11, says, “You make known to me the paths of life.” David has a personal relationship with God. While it’s true the Bible has a message for all people, God intends for that message to be understood and received by each individual.

Although I read through the Bible every year, I always ask for new insight into how each day’s reading is speaking to me personally, what personal message God is intending for me in the verses, and in what way a particular Scripture can deepen my personal relationship with Him.

How personal can it get? Psalm 139 says it all.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

 

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

For a great selection of various Bible Reading Plans, click here.

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Best “Hack” Ever!

July 16, 2016 2 comments

open book on a cloudIf you’ve spent any time at all on any of the social media sites, you’ve come across something called “best hacks” or “unbelievable hacks.” These are usually discoveries people have made to make life easier. Whether it’s simply a description or a full-fledged video, each discovery uses a tagline to get your attention. My favorite is “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Here’s my own “best hack” for having a meaningful, God-glorifying, devotional moment. And yes, “this shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Take almost any Scripture, short or long, random or favorite, and read it through once. Then, go back and emphasize each word, using that word’s meaning to draw your attention to the Lord.

Here’s an example from Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

God–Of course, this is an easy one. Focus on your Creator, the maker of all things.

Is–Focus on God’s state of being; the essence of being the “I Am.”

Our–Focus on belonging to Him

Refuge–Focus on God as a shelter

And–Focus on God being more than

Strength–Focus on the availability of His strength for you

By the time you’ve completed this simple exercise, you will have glorified God and, most assuredly, you will have been blessed yourself.

Lost Your Way?

June 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Finding Your WayIt’s easy to lose your way in the world. Our modern world has a myriad of paths from which to choose, and we can explore them all, saturating ourselves with facts and philosophies and desires and practices and beliefs.

However, like hikers exploring a new trail, there are some precautions we should take before we head off into the unknown. Otherwise, we’re sure to lose our way. These practices should serve us well, whether we’re looking at a belief system, a career choice, a new set of friends or anything requiring our time, money, and effort.

First, FIND a way to have a Daily Quiet Time
Spend at least thirty minutes every day in Bible study and prayer. It doesn’t matter how you do this. There’s a Bible reading plan out there that will match up with anyone’s learning style and preferences. The important thing is to put yourself in a position where your Father in heaven can communicate His love, His plan, and His desires for you, and  in return, you can catch a glimpse of His Glory.

Second, FIND a way to meet with others to worship God
Praising, loving, and serving God with other people will strengthen and enhance an individual’s faith. However, being with others in a faith-based group isn’t always about the individual’s needs. It’s about a people who together desire to give glory, honor and praise to an Almighty Creator who sacrificed His only son to make such a relationship possible.

Third, FIND a way to express your faith
Our belief in God requires an outlet. Otherwise, stagnation sets in. This expression can take many forms, and it may be different according to personality types. For some, it may mean singing, speaking, teaching or preaching. For others, it may mean journaling, writing, serving, or counseling.

Jeremiah 6:16: Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Finding Happiness

May 3, 2016 Leave a comment

stay away 2As I enjoyed an early morning quiet time on my patio recently, I became captivated by the play of light and dark, shadow and sunlight, across the foliage of my backyard. I had just been reading a devotional about mankind’s universal search for happiness. In the article, C. S. Lewis’ classic, Mere Christianity, is referenced, particularly this quote, “All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

After reading this quote, I glanced up from my iPad and saw the patterns the early morning sun was drawing in my garden. Some flowers were in shadow, while others were in sunlight. The flowers highlighted by the sunlight looked “happier” than those flowers residing in the shadows. Why was that? Well, obviously, it was because the “happier” flowers were basking in the sun’s light, while those in the shadow were not receiving the sun’s full benefits.. 

Although I’m quite certain flowers do not experience human emotions, my garden’s shadows and sunlight illustrated the truth of my devotional reading. We all seek happiness, but as long as we remain in the shadows–substituting other people, pleasures, and pursuits for God in our lives–we will never be truly happy.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Turn your face toward the Son. Bask in the warmth of His Light today. 

Come And Dine!

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Thanksgiving table decorationI’ve discovered having a successful Quiet Time is a lot like having a dinner party.  To have a successful dinner party, you’ve got to plan well. I do that by asking myself several questions.  Who will I invite to the party?  What will be the main course?  What will I use for a table decoration? Will I use the good china or my everyday dishes?

It’s the same with having a daily devotional time. I have to plan for a successful outcome by asking some pertinent questions. What version of the Bible will I use?  Will I read the Bible through this year or study one book at a time?  Will I record my thoughts in a journal? What’s the best time for me to be alone with God?

I seldom have a party without something unexpected happening. There might be a quick solution to the problem, like making a fast trip to the grocery store when the ice maker stops working.  Sometimes, however, there is no easy solution, and things just don’t turn out the way you’d hoped, although your guests will probably not notice when things go wrong.

You need to expect the unexpected during your Quiet Time too. There will be days when the telephone rings, the dog needs to go out, or the kids wake up early. At those times, you might be able to resume your appointment with the Lord.  On the other hand, some interruptions don’t have quick solutions, and your daily devotional time may seem like a failure, although I doubt the Lord will ever feel your time with Him is ever a failure.

My most enjoyable dinner parties aren’t necessarily those rare ones where everything turns out beautifully. Instead, it’s the one where I forgot to make the gravy because I was hearing about my friend’s hurt feelings or the one where I decided to stop looking for the wooden salad bowl so I could hear a funny story from someone who never tells funny stories.

Having an enjoyable daily Quiet Time may not always involve high moments of ecstatic wonder or theological insight. A pleasing time with the Lord may be consumed with painful confessions or heartbreaking requests. Yet, in the end, the real reason for having a Quiet Time, like the real reason for the dinner party, is to set aside time in your day for sharing yourself with a friend.

Complimentary words from guests as they leave your home when the party’s over are always nice to hear. But, listen to these complimentary words from the writer of Psalm 119 after spending time with the Lord, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Psalm 119:103)

Having A Dinner Party?

January 10, 2013 2 comments

table settingI’ve discovered having a successful Quiet Time is a lot like having a dinner party.  To have a successful dinner party, you’ve got to plan well.  I do that by asking myself several questions.  Who will I invite to the party?  What will be the main course?  What will I use for a table decoration? Will I use the good china or my everyday dishes?

It’s the same with having a daily devotional time. I have to plan for a successful outcome by asking some pertinent questions. What version of the Bible will I use?  Will I read the Bible through this year or study one book at a time?  Will I record my thoughts in a journal? What’s the best time for me to be alone with God? 

I seldom have a party without something unexpected happening. There might be a quick solution to the problem, like making a fast trip to the grocery store when the ice maker stops working.  Sometimes, however, there is no easy solution, and things just don’t turn out the way you’d hoped, although your guests will probably not notice when things go wrong.

You need to expect the unexpected during your Quiet Time too. There will be days when the telephone rings, the dog needs to go out, or the kids wake up early. At those times, you might be able to resume your appointment with the Lord.  On the other hand, some interruptions don’t have quick solutions, and your daily devotional time may seem like a failure, although I doubt the Lord will ever feel your time with Him is ever a failure.

My most enjoyable dinner parties aren’t necessarily those rare ones where everything turns out beautifully. Instead, it’s the one where I forgot to make the gravy because I was hearing about my friend’s hurt feelings or the one where I decided to stop looking for the wooden salad bowl so I could hear a funny story from someone who never tells funny stories.

Having an enjoyable daily Quiet Time may not always involve high moments of ecstatic wonder or theological insight. A pleasing time with the Lord may be consumed with painful confessions or heartbreaking requests. Yet, in the end, the real reason for having a Quiet Time, like the real reason for the dinner party, is to set aside time in your day for sharing yourself with a friend.

Complimentary words from guests as they leave your home when the party’s over are always nice to hear. But, listen to these complimentary words from the writer of Psalm 119 after spending time with the Lord, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

Make 2013 the year you followed through on your commitment to have a daily Quiet Time.  I think I’ll try to have a few more dinner parties too!

How Much Time Does It Take?

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

On Saturday it took two hours to defrost the freezer chest in my garage.  I had put off this task for the last two years.  And, in reality, I wasn’t “working” on it for those two hours.  I simply took all the food out, put the perishables in portable ice chests, unplugged the freezer and let our 100-degree temperatures in our garage do the rest.  So I might have actually “worked” for 15 minutes.

After feeling a sense of accomplishment,  I wondered why I had procrastinated for so long when it took so little time and effort on my part.  I believe the answer is that very truth.  Some things take so little effort on our part that we know we can do them at any time, so we just don’t do them at all or we put off doing them until the need of doing them reaches a crisis point.

I’ll confess something.  (For those of you who really do know me, you’ll say, “of course she did.”) I’ve timed some of my household tasks I don’t think I have time to do.  It takes me 15 minutes to fold and put away a load of clothes, 20 minutes to dust my furniture and 10 minutes to mop my kitchen floor.  I’ve timed these activities because it helps me realize how little time it actually takes to enjoy the results of doing them.

This train of thought was one of the motivators behind my starting a Quiet Time 35 years.  Oh, I surely believe the Holy Spirit’s guiding and the Lord Jesus’ wooing me was the greater motivator, but the sentence I read in a little booklet on Quiet Time was what got my attention.  It read something like this, “Would you be willing to make an appointment to spend 15 minutes every day with Jesus?”  My very definite “Yes” and the committment I made to try it for seven days led to such joy that I’ve seldom missed a morning with Him since then.  In fact, throughout  these years, whether it necessitated my getting up before sunrise or letting my day’s activities wait, I have found the time to spend an hour with Him and His Word every morning.

I’ve titled this post, “How Much Time Does It Take?”. I phrased it that way to get your attention, so you would take the “time” to read it because it’s a question common to all of us.  But what I really wanted to ask was, “Would you be willing to make an appointment to spend 15 minutes every day with Jesus?”

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