Three Things Helped My Quiet Time

I wake up with a mental to-do list, but the first thing I always need to do is be still.

Photo Credit by: Maranatha Devotionals

This means having my quiet time…reading my Bible and praying. This might sound boring to some folks. Or, like a chore to others. And I agree that doing something every day can be cumbersome even when I know it’s beneficial. However, stick with me here and I’ll show you how I turned my quiet time—or morning devotions—into something I treasure.

First, I change my attitude. Instead of saying, “I have to read my Bible” or “I should pray,” I remind myself that “I get to meet with God.

Meeting with God is a privilege. Christ paid for that privilege with His own blood. Our time with Him isn’t some “thing” that must be accomplished so I can check it off my laundry list and get on with my day. Or feel good about myself because I made God a priority. God loves us and invites us to meet with Him so we can speak with Him. Cry. Confess. Implore. Rejoice. Listen.

Which brings me to my second point. Notice I said, speak with God. I used to pray nonstop as though I were dictating a letter. Meet my needs. Fix that person. Change my circumstances. Remove that thorn. Resolve that dilemma . . . Can I hear an amen?

I’m learning to cultivate silence to get the most from our meeting time. I ask God to…

Open my eyes and speak to me through His Word.
Open my ears so I can hear His voice.
Show me how to apply what He’s teaching me.

Then, I close my mouth and meditate on a Bible verse or a short passage of scripture. My calendar might be full. My life might feel like it’s on fire. However, when I make the time to be still and listen, I’m able to hear God’s voice more clearly. And doesn’t everyone need/want direction and peace in life?

Thirdly, I ask God to increase my desire for Him instead of striving to be self-disciplined.

Discipline trains me to behave a certain way. The word is often associated with a task I dread doing, but need to do for my own good. Like exercising and eating right, or maybe, having morning devotions.

Desire is a strong longing for something to happen, or wanting someone. When I desire God, I’m eager to read my Bible and pray because I know God will meet me there, speak to me, and satisfy my heart’s desire.

How do you keep morning devotions fresh and something you desire to do?

Seeking God isn’t Fast Food

He stood in front of the open refrigerator. Scanned the shelves of cold food.

Perhaps if he waited long enough, the sandwich meat would read his mind. Then it could squeeze past the slab of bacon, open the deli drawer, and wave, “Here I am!”

Only, he was starving so he hollered, “I thought you bought turkey meat?”

“Did you search in the deli drawer?”

“Ohhhhh, there it is!”

This is not the first time this has happened—particularly when several males were living here—which leads me to believe….

Men bring home the bacon, but they’re often helpless when it comes to finding it—at least in my house.

You’d think our refrigerator was a giant, black hole. Food gets lost. Sometimes it turns green to get our attention. And still the men in my life, stand there, staring into the cold abyss.

No doubt, I have the same blank expression on my face when I open the car hood and look at the thingamabobs. Which leads me to my point—albeit not humorous.

Not everything is in plain view. If we’re not searching, we can’t expect to find it.

God says, “If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

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Seek God.

Once He’s found….continually seek Him.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face alwaysSearch for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.…” (Psalm 105:4)

When I served as a jail chaplain, women inmates learned that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10).

As we searched the scriptures, they’d put their faith in Christ and declare, “I’m a new person since I found Jesus.”

When they left jail, some of them returned to their old habits and landed back in jail—frustrated.

Addictions are difficult to overcome especially when the person’s environment and peers don’t change. However, the inmates admitted they had stopped seeking Jesus.

I’m no different. My life flounders when I stop seeking the Lord and rely, instead, on my own strength, wisdom, and ability to love others.

Seeking God requires effort. We can’t idly wait for God to show Himself. He says, “Seek Me with all your heart.”

Spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, one-on-one discipleship, and corporate worship are the means of seeking the Lord.

But seeking Him is more than a means of meeting our personal needs.

God wants to be wanted. He doesn’t want a passive, fast food relationship.

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Instead of consuming daily devotions as we gulp a cup of coffee and hurry out the door….

We’re invited to “meet with God” in His Word. Pause in the busyness to pray so we can hear His voice and be led by His Spirit.

Christ paid for that privilege when He died on the cross and purchased us with His blood.

Why on earth would anyone settle for less?

 

When Spirits are Bone-dry

This is my yard in the summer.

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And this is my yard.

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Both patches of earth are inches apart, and have access to the same water running beneath the ground. Why the difference?

Part of my yard is tapped into the underground irrigation system; the other is not.

Duh, tell me something, I don’t know, Karen.

Tell me what to do when my spirit is bone-dry.

  • How do I smile and pretend life is great when one dog-day somersaults into the next, and the horizon seems to flat line into nothingness?
  • How do I avoid feeling jaded when I strive to live right while the other guy reaps the rewards?
  • What if this is good as life gets?

Daunting questions when the spirit is dry on an August day.

By 8:00 a.m., the air is already thick as a wool blanket.

I’m parched as the squirrels that guzzle water from my birdbaths. Plants droop despite the drip lines that watered them a few hours earlier. My cat is stretched out on the warm grass, her lids half closed.

My motivation to pull weeds evaporates like the water drops clinging to my ivy. I plop on the bench swing. I need more than a glass of water or the hum of an air conditioner to chill my mood.

Stuck on Self, I need to tap into the Living Water. Lord, please evict the melancholy from the tenant.   

I know, same old Christian song and dance, right? But some things never change.

Meeting with the good Lord is the surest fix for a bone-dry spirit.

  • Not talking about flipping through Bible pages like I’m hunting for coupons.
  • Not talking about randomly pulling a verse out of context to choke down like a vitamin pill; hoping I’ll have a feel-good day.

I’m talking about camping on one passage. Laying down my burdens, and allowing God to to excavate my heart.      

Lord, you want me to become more like you and bring you praise? Then use even this…

Use my melancholy and the dog-days of life to teach me how to smile, and truly be glad in this day.

Rid me of spiritual indifference that blinds me to the Light or makes me lukewarm.

Abide/Vines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift my chin heavenward like the ivy vines that stretch up my pine trees towards the sunlight.

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Jesus told the woman at Jacob’s well, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4)

  • Whenever the spirit is bone-dry: “Come and drink.”
  • Whenever life appears hopeless: “Come and drink.”
  • Whenever we’re sweating the small stuff: “Come and drink.”

Drink until your thirst is quenched, then drink some more.

Drink until the Living Water springs up and bubbles over into the lives around us. 

Have you come to Jesus?

Are you drinking regularly?