Tag Archives: daily quiet times

Revolutionized Quiet Times!

I hate to admit it, but in the past few years the bible study part of my quiet time has become a chore for me. I love spending time in worship and I love writing out my prayers along with the answers I perceive in my heart (many that come straight from the Word), but I have become completely bogged down when it comes to bible study. Maybe it’s because of all my seminary training– I think I have to do a formal exegesis of every passage. Maybe it’s because of some of the intensive discipleship classes I’ve done. One even had us diagraming every sentence like I did in 9th grade English class. Bottom line is that somewhere along the line, my formal time in the Word became too formal, and lost its life. Sure I have found myself completely blessed by passages of scripture in spite of myself. He has continued to use the Word hidden in my heart to speak to me regularly, but recently I realized that I have allowed myself to become legalistic about studying the bible. God forbid! There’s nothing I hate more than legalism. I have to say that lately he has been breathing fresh grace into my life in every area, so I’m so glad that he is shining the light on this area now. Yes, there are times for intensive study, but I do not think that should the basis of our daily quiet time.

Recently, I was introduced to the book Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. It was exactly what I needed. Cordeiro says that rather than trying to analyze every verse its better to ask God to give you just one scripture or one thought that you can carry away for the day. It’s a lesson I’ve been learning in business. When I have team meetings, I realize that if I try to give my folks too much info, they seem overloaded and the meetings are not that productive. A business coach suggested I stick to one main topic, and since I started that things are much better. It makes great sense to approach scripture in a similar fashion, with the heart attitude of “What do you want to teach me today Lord?” Since I have been doing it, he has been faithful to show me something special every day. I always tell people that scripture is God’s love letter to us, and as such we need to seek something from God’s heart for us daily. Again, I am not putting down intensive study! Failing to learn about the background or context of a book can be a dangerous thing. You should study the Bible intensely, but not to the point that you lose your passion. So for me, this approach is a breath of fresh air. I am going to my Heavenly Father seeking fresh bread for the day, and I am no longer getting bogged down. It fits the idea of a quiet time much better, because it’s part of my special time with God. I no longer feel obligated to exegete every passage, but rather I am seeking my Father’s heart. I am taking the exegesis out of my quiet times unless the Lord prompts me otherwise. I can’t tell you what a blessing and a relief doing it this way has become for me.

Cordeiro uses the acronym SOAP– Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer as a guide for this method. He suggests you journal the lesson you get each day. Here is how mine looked today. Note: I had one main thought rather than one verse of scripture, but that happens most days for me. Hopefully, if you’re feeling the same way, this approach will help you revitalize your scripture study too.

Scripture— Genesis 41

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream (41:1)

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. (41:9)

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (41:15-16)

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” (41:41) 

Observation: It seemed as though Joseph’s suffering continued because of people. First, he had been betrayed and sold into slavery because of his brothers’ jealousy, and then he was falsely accused and imprisoned because of Potiphar’s wife. Even after he had proven himself by interpreting the dream of pharaoh’s cupbearer, he continued to be unjustly imprisoned, because the cupbearer got released and forgot him. It seemed as though people were in control of Joseph’s fate. However, what if Joseph had been released 2 years earlier? What if he had not been sold into slavery, and what if he had not been imprisoned? He would not have been available to pharaoh when he had his dreams. God’s timing was perfect, even though it seemed that people were jerking Joseph around. If he had never been sold, his whole family would have perished in the famine. If he had not been in pharaoh’s prison at the time of his dreams, he would not have been able to help save the whole region. The interesting thing is that during his time, he never lost his faith in God. Perhaps the trials even strengthened it. When pharaoh gave him credit for knowing how to interpret dreams, he was quick to turn the credit back to God. He could do nothing, but God would.

Application: Joseph could have easily become bitter and angry with God during this time. After all, many injustices had occurred. He had every right to be upset. His circumstances just weren’t fair, but he continued to entrust himself to God. As it turns out, God’s timing was perfect. Joseph did not get puffed up with pride about the injustices, but he turned to God. This verse comes to mind. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6). God’s due time is rarely when we think it should be. One of my pastors once said, “I have never known God to be early, but I’ve also never known him to be late.” His timing is always perfect, and we must trust that in his time he will use everything for his good intentions (Gen. 50:20). Many times in my life I have questioned why bad things have happened. I have wished I could go back and do something differently so the outcome would be different. I have wished that I could control it all. I have lamented that people were jerking me around, and yet when I look back, I see very clearly how God was using it for good in my life. No, being abused was not good. Being betrayed by loved ones was not good, but as I entrusted myself to God in each situation, he was so faithful to use all the bad for good. I have a relationship with him that I wouldn’t trade for the entire world. He has been completely faithful in it all. When I look back at the worst of times, they were also the best of times spiritually. Jesus held me and spoke to my wounded heart in the most awful circumstances. Those experiences have been amazing tutors that have worked together for good in my life, and in the lives of those God sends my way (Rom. 8:28). I have learned to stop asking why these days, and instead ask, “God, what do you want to teach me in this?” He always shows me, and in due time, he always lifts me back up. What an amazing God we serve!

Prayer: Oh sweet Lord, how I thank you that your ways are higher than mine! I thank you that even when I cannot see any good in a given situation, your plans cannot be thwarted, and you will work it together for good in your perfect timing. I do not have to stress. I do not have to become indignant when people seem to be treating me unfairly, or when circumstances don’t seem fair. I can trust you! You are utterly faithful, and you see the whole picture. Thank you for always being right on time! Amen

Hearing His Voice

Good morning Lord. Once again I come to You with my struggles and cares. Thank You so much for caring for me! I do not understand how anyone makes it through this life without You. I know I am weak, but I also know that your strength is perfected in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). You are a very present help in trouble, so I do not have to live in fear and anxiety (Ps. 46:1-2). I think any claims of strength outside of You are simply counterfeits. Everything in this world is tenuous. Things that seem secure one day can be gone the next. Nothing is sure, except the eternal One. I have been rich and I have been poor. I have been secure in relationships, and I have seen them fall apart. Loved ones have died, and sudden tragedies have happened. Only You have been the constant through it all. How do people make it without that constant? When I look back I remember that I was a fearful mess before I gave my life to You. I am so grateful to have You in my life! What an honor and privilege to be your child! You are my peace, my joy… my everything. I thank and praise You! Thank You that you care so much for me that You even show concern for the little things that concern me. I am so grateful. This morning Lord, I won’t repeat all the cares that are weighing on my heart. You know them all. Instead I am just running to You and dropping them at your feet. I know that You are so much better at handling seemingly impossible situations. I have no hope of changing hearts, but that is your specialty. I surrender my loved ones to You, and ask that You will do the work that needs to be done. I surrender myself, and my tendency to want to jump in and grab the reins. Help me stay centered and focused on You. Only You can do what needs to happen right now. If I need to take action, I ask for wisdom. Show me clearly how to proceed. I have no desire to just start doing things and hoping for a specific outcome. Instead, I need to hear your voice and follow your leading. That is the only way anything good will happen. Show me way to walk in this situation. I am trusting in You, and I will not depend on my own understanding. I acknowledge that all hope comes from You, and I know you will direct my path. (Pr. 3:5-6).

I am the Way, so walk with Me. I am the Truth; so reject anything that exalts itself against Me. I am the Life; so you can thrive even in the midst of turmoil (Jn. 14:6). I am more than willing to carry your burdens. Although they weigh you down, they are nothing for Me. Come child, and let me have them. I hear your prayers for wisdom, and have promised to give it (Jas.1:5). Be sure and get quiet before me so that you will hear it. Listen. I speak in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, I speak through my Word. I also speak in the still small voice you hear when you take time to sit silently before Me. Sometimes I confirm what I put on your heart through a multitude of counselors (Pr.11:14), and sometimes I speak in as you are gathered with fellow Believers for prayer (Mt. 18:20). Wait patiently for my answer. Jumping ahead of me will only complicate matters—like when Abraham took Hagar rather than waiting for the promise to occur in the way I ordained. Impatience, rather than my Spirit, moved Sarah and him. Do not let that happen now. Wait dear child. I have a good plan, and I will make the path clear. Trust in Me with all your heart, and do not depend on human understanding. Acknowledge Me in everything you do, and I will direct you in the course of action you should take. Seek Me rather than solutions, because I am the solution. Remember when Moses held his arms up at the battle with the Amalekites? As long as he kept them up, the Israelites prevailed, but when he put them down, they began to lose (Ex. 17:11). Think of that! Lifted hands indicate praise on your part, and blessing on my part. As he held up his hands and his staff, my power flowed through him. I inhabit the praises of my people (Ps. 22:3), so praise Me. I am your victory; so do not take your eyes off of Me. Keep your heart fixed on Me (Ps. 112:7); then stand back and behold my salvation (Ex. 14:13). Do not be afraid dear child. I am with you. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you” (Is. 43:1-2). This world is filled with trouble, but I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). Hold on to Me now. Fix your eyes on Me. Wait and be ready to move when I command, and not a moment too soon. I have this in my hands. Trust in Me.

 

 

 

Trusting the Shepherd

Lord, today I ask You to give me ears to hear and eyes to see. The world is full of darkness and noise that make hearing and seeing spiritual things difficult. Yet, You have overcome the world, so I ask You to help me walk in your provision for Me. You said your sheep hear your voice, and I know I belong to You. Make me extra sensitive. Help me to be one of the first to come when you call. I have spent too many years with dull senses, and too many years having to be pulled in by your staff. Help me keep one eye on the pasture and the other on You, so that when You move I move too. I long to please You Lord, because You have done so much for me. You are gracious far beyond what I deserve, and your love has sustained me through the most difficult of circumstances. You pursued me even when I insisted on following false gods, and You came to my rescue when they toppled. You are so good! I don’t deserve such love, but I am forever grateful. Today I ask that You would help me reflect your goodness everywhere I go. Help me show people that You are so much more than the image portrayed by so many who call your name. Shine through me today, so that perhaps darkness will be dispelled in someone’s life. Help me make an eternal difference today. Amen

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord (Ps. 150:6). I inhabit the praises of my people so begin with praise (Ps. 22:3). It will open your eyes to see, and your ears to hear. Abide in my love, knowing that nothing in the world can separate you from it (Jn. 15:9, Rom. 8:39). No matter what you go through, I am with you. The waters will not overflow you, and the fire will not scorch you when you walk with Me (Is. 43:2). Nothing on earth has power over you, not even things that seem out of control. I am your shepherd, and it is my job to protect you. You need not walk in fear or confusion. Simply follow my leading. You may not see where the road leads, but I know where we are going. I promise to lead you to still waters, and to restore your soul (Ps. 23:1-3). Sheep do not have to figure everything out, they only need to follow and trust the shepherd. Pursue Me and not the path. Before you realize it, the destination will be just ahead.

Soaring Above the Limits

Father, I give you this day. I give you my ears and my eyes, and ask You to help me hear your voice, and to see through your eyes. You know my limitations, but I ask You to work beyond them. Surprise me with little miracles that would never happen if it depended on Me. You have done that so many times over the course of my life, and I love telling people about how You care about even the small details of our lives. What an amazing privilege You have given your children- to have a personal relationship with You! It is remarkable and wonderful. I am so blessed to be your child. Help me share this great blessing with others. I thank  Father, overcome my tendency towards distraction. Help me to shine your light in this dark, dark world. Amen

Come boldly to my throne daughter. Some days you forget that I understand and sympathize with your weaknesses. Do not let them keep you away from me. Come to me in confidence, and you will find mercy and grace to help in your time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). I see your desire, along with your self-condemnation. I am much more gracious than you are. Come—don’t beat yourself up. I see the desire of your heart, and will honor that. Yes, the world is filled with distractions, but if you will come and rest a while in my presence, the distractions will fade away. I do not condemn you for distraction. I am not measuring our relationship in terms of time. You are time-bound and put so many demands on yourself based on that, but I exist outside of time. I look beyond time limits to the heart. I see the desires of your heart, and they mean so much more to me than your self-imposed demands to make your quiet time look a certain way. Coming to me out of obligation does not please my heart as much as spontaneous moments of praise. It blesses me when you praise me throughout your day, when you are obedient to share with the people I put in your path, and when you stop to read a passage of scripture I have laid on your heart. It blesses me when I am never far from your thoughts. It blesses me when you sing praises as you drive down the road, and as you pray for those I put on your heart. It blesses me that you are so grateful to be my child. So many of my children take it for granted. Just know that I am with you in all your time-bound moments, but I am also with you outside of time. Today take on an eternal perspective. Do not fret over the limits of this world, but rejoice that I have overcome them for you. You are my child, and our relationship is eternal. Never let a time limit cause you to forget that. As you wait on Me, you will rise up on wings like an eagle, and you will soar above these earthly limits (Is. 40:31).

Learning to FOLLOW

Lord, I want every bit of my life to reflect You! The only way for that to happen is for a radical change to occur. The status quo has to go! Polite little quiet times are not enough. I want my entire life to show the world how great You are. I won’t be satisfied with checking off a list of “to do’s;” my only satisfaction will come from abiding in your presence moment by moment. I want to hear your voice. Please take me deeper than my shallow mind can conjure up, and let my spirit stay in communion with You constantly. Paul would not have said pray without ceasing if it were not possible. Strengthen me to do that! But let it be communion with You, not just mindless babbling from me. I need You desperately, and ask You to come and fill me with yourself.

Child, I see your thirst. I am a good Father and never refuse a thirsty child. I have given you my Spirit, and you need only to stir up the gift I have given you (2 Tim. 1:6). Enter into my presence with thanksgiving and praise (Ps. 100:4). That is where you will find refreshing for your thirsty soul. Keep your gaze ever upon me, because I am the author and perfector of your faith (Heb.12: 2). This means you can’t conjure up whatever it is you think you need. You must completely depend on Me. You stay so frustrated with yourself, and that is simply a waste of energy. Walking in the Spirit is a matter of following my lead. Remember those times you went dancing and were told that you were leading? That’s what you do every day. Yes, I am still with you, but I cannot lead you to those places of refreshing until you stop trying to lead! I will hold you. I will rejoice over you with singing (Zep. 3:17), but you must learn to follow if you want Me to lead. Part of your problem is your natural personality bent, and a lot of it comes from your experiences in life. Just remember that I am not like any person you have ever known. I am worthy to lead, and will lead you beside that still water your soul so desires. Come to Me! Hold my hand, and I will do more than you ever dreamed. I love you so my child. Trust me and come.

 
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn. 7:37-39)

Beyond Resolutions to Full Surrender

POSTED ON JANUARY 2, 2014 BY JOY FORREST

Lord, it’s a new year and suddenly my life has changed dramatically. Mom entered glory early morning on 12/28. Oh how I will miss her, yet my joy for her helps remove the grief. Thank you for the last few months—she was stable, pain-free and happy. She kept us laughing. Now she is basking in the joy of your wonderful presence. I’m jealous of that. Today I find myself exhausted in every single way– physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. The last week has not exactly left many opportunities for much quiet time. I sure hope and pray that I will make quiet time with You a priority in this new year. After reading Mom’s journals I see it was a struggle for her too, but by the final years of her life, she was faithful to read your Word daily—for long stretches of time. I will never forget her holding that extremely heavy Bible open as she lay flat on her back reading for at least an hour each night. She did it up until a few weeks ago when she could no longer read, and then asked others to do it for her. Nina said that on the nights she didn’t read to her, she didn’t sleep as well. Lord, thank You so much for my mother! She was such an example to me! Not that she did everything right, and not that she was anywhere near perfect, but she turned to You, and she learned from her mistakes. She taught me to learn from mine as well. What a sweet blessing she was. I am forever grateful.

 

Suddenly I have something I haven’t had in years—free time. I am done with school and caring for Mom. I hope and pray this year I will use my time more wisely. You know my desires for ministry. Help me to be disciplined enough to use my time for eternal purposes.

 

Now as I enter 2014, I surrender my life anew. Fill me with yourself, and use me! I know how ridiculous it is to live apart from You, because I know I can do nothing that way. I am powerless and useless. Please Father, keep me close, and keep me diligent. I am weak, but your strength is made perfect in weakness. Let this new year be one in which I learn to wholly tap into that power and make an eternal difference in this dark world. Amen

 

My precious child, I appreciate your heart for Me. I am willing and ready to meet you as you daily yield to my leading. Do not be afraid of your weakness. I am with you, and my grace is sufficient to empower you daily. Make time with Me a habit, just as brushing your teeth is a habit. It doesn’t just happen, you must take the time. Not every day will be the same. Some days you will have more time that other days, but you should never skip it and move on. With all of your technology, you can listen to my Word as you drive, you can worship Me in song, and you can pray without ceasing. The key is having a mindset that is focused on Me rather than the demands and distractions of life. This does not mean you can’t take care of the business of life in this world, but it means you are to go about your business with Me guiding each step of the way. As you do that, I will direct you, and your days will be much more productive. Rest in Me. Have you not yet learned that walking in your on own strength only leads to frustration and wasted time? Let Me direct your days. I long to set you free from the chaos you call life and give you abundant life! Wake up each day and seek my face as you would seek a treasure. It will not be time wasted. You will find rest for your soul, strength for your day, and power for ministry. I desire to give these things to you, but they must be received actively. Passivity never accomplishes anything good. Seek the good, the better part that won’t be taken away. Seek my face, and expect miracles.