The year 2011 is underway. It is January 3rd and I haven't exercised yet. Not surprising! Maybe today will be the day. Maybe not. Motivation is clearly my problem.
I have been in God's Word every day of this new year and that is the most important thing I can do. I bet many of you have started off the year with a new commitment to read God's Word. Maybe you have been successful so far or maybe you haven't. Don't ever give up on this most worthy goal. The neat thing with God is that every day is a brand new day to start over with Him. He is waiting.
I thought I would give you some tips about having that daily quiet time. It really is a passion of mine...to have that daily time with God and to encourage others to do the same. It is the only way to grow in our relationship with God and we are CALLED to grow in Him. In every group I have ever taught, I stress this thought...over and over again.
Start your time with the most simple prayer. Ask God to give you a desire to read His Word and then ask Him to help you understand His Word, to open your eyes to a new truth that you can apply to your life. It is a supernatural book and because of that you need supernatural help to understand it. Actually, the Bible says that the lost can NOT understand it, so if you can never make heads or tails of anything you read in the Bible, that might be a sign of bigger issues.
Pick a book of the Bible to read and stay in that book for an entire month. I wish I could tell you what book to start with, but the truth is, I love them all. Some of my favorites are Psalms, Proverbs, John, 1 John, Matthew, Ephesians, Galatians, James, 2 Peter, and Colossians. Read it all the way through several times to get the overarching themes in your mind and then start to study it. (For Psalms and Proverbs, I wouldn't read the book all the way through at first, but rather one chapter each day.) Right now I am reading the book of Colossians. It only has 4 chapters so it is a quick read. I spent the first week just reading through the book and now I am studying through each chapter. You might stay in one chapter an entire week or you might read a chapter a day.
What do I mean by "studying" through each chapter? Good question.
I have a Life Application Study Bible with notes at the bottom that go with each verse. I read all of those. It also gives me scripture references to read additional verses where the same idea is taught throughout the Bible. The cool thing is that those verses lead you to others verses, and so on. I also have a commentary that explains the entire Bible, verse by verse, so I am reading that explanation along with all the notes in my Bible. You can get a good commentary at any Christian book store or online at http://www.christianbooks.com/. You can buy a commentary on the entire Bible or you can buy one for each individual book of the Bible. One for the entire Bible might run $50.00 or more, where the individual ones might run less than $10.00. I can suggest some good ones if you would like. Just message me.
I am praying the entire time that I am reading, stopping in between verses, asking God to help me understand what I am reading and to make application to my life. I am also journaling things I want to remember.....things that resonate with me so clearly that I know God meant them just for me. This happened this week with Colossians 2:6-7. I now have 4 "prayer journal sized" pages of notes for these 2 verses. I'll share some of that next time.
I also save time for prayer....praising God for who He is, thanking Him for all the ways He has blessed me and my family, confessing sin, and then lifting up my personal requests and requests for others.
My quiet time can easily take me an hour, but I love it. It is the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning, and I set my clock early enough so I can have this time with God.
So many will say that they just don't have time to study God's Word, so they settle for a 3-5 minute devotion or they do nothing at all. It really isn't about time, but rather what is a priority to you. We all make time for what is important to us.
When I worked outside the home as a teacher, I would sign up for on-line Bible studies, usually Beth Moore studies, and would get up before 5:00 am to do them. I had to be in the shower by 6:00am, so "early" was the name of the game. I would never fit it in after I got home from work, so those early mornings became a priority for me, and surprisingly, everything else got done in the day.
As a stay at home mom, I still have to do it in the morning, which is the only time my house is still and quiet. Once the girls get up around 7:00, I am busy until bedtime.
I was talking to someone this week about "how to have a quiet time" so I thought someone else out there might have a similar question. I hope this helps.
I will be giving you some more suggestions this week.
Whatever your life looks like right now, whatever season of life you are in....you can do this! Bible study is worth the effort!
Until next time...
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