Tag Archives: quiet time

How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014 | Develop an Intentional Devotional Plan

30 Dec

bible

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” Matthew 4:4

Feast on the Word of God and intentionally satisfy a soul craving spiritual sustenance. Make and keep a daily appointment with the Lord and experience the kind of fulfillment only He can provide. Pray before you begin that the eyes of your heart will be open (Ephesians 1:18) in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the Word. Incorporate the spiritual discipline of journaling into your plan and write down passages to pray through. Keep track of how God is working in your life throughout the year. Seek encouragement and share with others in your church family or life group. Fill up on the Word to quell the hunger and quench the thirst of a soul crying out for the Lord. 

How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014 by Justin Taylor

Do you want to read the whole Bible? The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.For those who like details, there’s a webpage devoted to how long it takes to read each book of the Bible. And if you want a simple handout that has every Bible book with a place to put a check next to every chapter, go here. Audio Bibles are usually about 75 hours long, so you can listen to it in just over 12 minutes a day.

The remainder of the article, which includes great resources and tips can be viewed here: How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014 – Justin Taylor

Additional resources:

Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Read the Bible in a Year

A Bible Reading Plan for Readers – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Want to Read the Bible through in 2014? – Mentoring Moments

Bible Reading Plans for 2014 by Nathan W. Bingham | Ligonier Ministries Blog

A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush

23 Dec
luke

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.“ Luke 10:41-42

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the eve of Christmas Eve—arguably, one of the most pressure-laden, detail-heavy, preparation-peaking, relationship-stressing, and traffic-snarly days of the year. We are so thankful that you are the Prince of Peace, and that you’ve come to make peace, in the chaos of our world and hearts.

As this day unfolds, grant us wisdom to discern the difference between the many Martha-like-details that really don’t matter; and the “one good thing” you commended in Mary. Jesus, be our treasure and pleasure; the focus of our gaze and the joy of our hearts; not just, the “reason-for-the-season”, but, the very center of our existence.

May your welcoming, kind, gracious heart be the most notable reality in our homes this Christmas. Bring your centering peace to bear in profound and sensate ways. Grant us copious amounts of your mercy for our prodigals; your grace for our brokenness; and your compassion, for one and all alike.

To the degree our traditions have become idols; our expectations have grown unrealistic, our busyness reveals our barrenness, and our gift giving is more about face saving, forgive us and free us, Jesus.

May the silent night of your birth bring its gentling presence in our homes. May the “good news of great joy,” the angel’s declared, trump any other storyline we would write for this week. May your peace, that passes all understanding, reign in our hearts like an irresistible force. May the hope of the Day when “all will be put right,” free us to wait patiently and love boldly in this day.

Lord Jesus, as you have come to serve us—from your manger to the cross, so may we find our greatest joy this week in serving one another. Free us from any need for anybody to be any different than they are. So very Amen we pray, in your tender and triumphant name.

Reprinted from: A Prayer for More Christmas Hush, Less Christmas Rush – Heavenward by Scotty Smith.

Additionally, click here to view a related post: Taft Avenue Community Church: Orange, CA > Harried, Hurried? | Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon

Give Me a Quiet Mind and A Gentle Spirit

19 Sep

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” –1 Peter 3:3-4

“Some people mistakenly think that a gentle and quiet spirit is displayed when a woman never speaks. This has concerned some of the outgoing personalities because they don’t know how to be a silent lump. This is merely looking at externals. Certainly sometimes a quiet spirit will be exhibited by silence, but not always. And a quiet person can be all worked up on the inside. This is missing the point. A heart that is resting in the faithfulness of God is gentle and quiet; it is not stirred up with worry and anxiety. This gentle and quiet spirit is a calm, peaceful spirit. It is a tame spirit, a gentled spirit. I have often compared this kind of spirit to a glassy lake, not turbulent or troubled, but hardly showing a ripple. In contrast, the anxious spirit is like a stormy sea with whitecaps whipping along the shore. This of course brings to mind our Lord calming the troubled Sea of Galilee. Likewise, He can calm our troubled spirits when we look to Him.” –Nancy Wilson

Spend time in the Word and get to know and love the Lord. Trust in Him and let the inner beauty of your heart shine.

GIVE ME A QUIET MIND

When winds are blowing, waves are rising, falling
And all the air is full of dust and spray;
When voices, like to sea birds’ plaintive calling,
Confuse my day;

Then, then I know Thee, Lord of highest heaven
In newborn need discover Thee, and find
Nought can discomfort him to whom is given
A quiet mind.

When hopes have failed, and heavy sadness crusheth,
And doubt and fear would weave their deadly spell,
Then thought of Thee my troubled spirit husheth;
And all is well.

In midnight hours when weariness ignoreth
Heaven’s starry host, and battle wounds are mine,
Then Thy right hand uplifteth and outpoureth
Love’s oil and wine.

O Blessed Lord, beyond the moment’s sorrow
I see above, beaneath, before, behind–
Eternal Love. Give me today, tomorrow,
A quiet mind.

(From the collected poems of Amy Carmichael)

Adapted From: Give Me a Quiet Mind : Girls Gone Wise.

Superwoman to Kingdom Woman|Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

10 Sep

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”

–Colossians 2:6-7

 super

This world we live in emphasizes some unattainable standard that moms should aspire to achieve in order to earn their superwoman cape. It is an ideal comprised of distractions designed to keep women rooted in the world rather than in Christ.

Refocus on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy…” (Philippians 4:8) instead of the world’s yardstick. Clothe yourself with Jesus (Romans 13:14and immerse yourself in the Word.

The following article provides realistic suggestions for busy women (not only moms) desiring to spend time with the Lord.

Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word

by Courtney Joseph

Fall is almost here, and for most moms this is the beginning of the busiest season of the year. Back-to-school to-do lists lead right into Thanksgiving and Christmas to-do lists, and we will not find rest again until January 2nd. And while God’s word sits on our shelves waiting for us to get a slow moment, the world bids us to keep busy. Get those kids signed up for soccer, piano, gymnastics, basketball, football, and the list keeps going. You just name it, everybody else is doing it.

The world tells us to get our calendars full and stay on the move. If you don’t, your kids might miss out, or they won’t be cool, or they won’t learn important life lessons, or they won’t be socialized, or they won’t, won’t, won’t. “Get busy and keep busy” is how the unspoken mantra goes.

The world says this chaotic running around is what the good moms do.

But the truth is that we need slow moments.

It’s in the slow moments that God speaks to us through his word and we speak to him in prayer. This is when we step away from all the busyness in order to fellowship with our heavenly Father. This is when we come to his word for the precious purpose of drinking from the living well — Jesus Christ.

Here is a simple guide for busy moms who want to build more of these slow moments into their everyday — moments to stop and drink deeply from the living well.

1. Choose one passage of Scripture for the week. My favorite passages for meditating on come from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles.

2. Write the passage on a note card, and slip it in your pocket or beside your computer. Pull it out periodically, and read over it. Keep it in your purse all week long, and pull it out at convenient times and read through it.

3. Read the passage first thing in the morning. Read the passage as soon as you get out of bed, so it’s the first thing on your mind that morning.

4. Open your Bible to that passage, and place it on the kitchen counter. All day long, when you walk through the kitchen, pause, read the passage, and then move on.

5. Read the passage out loud. Read it to yourself, and read it to your children during mealtime and at bedtime.

6. Reread the passage before you go to bed at night. Bookend your days with the reading of this passage of Scripture.

7. Write the passage at the top of your to-do list. This way, every time you look over your to-do list, you can review the Scripture passage.

via Seven Ways for Busy Moms to Get in the Word – Desiring God.

Hearing Gods Voice 101 | Are YOU listening?

3 Aug

listen“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” –John 10:27

In what ways does God speak to you? Because we are all unique the way you hear God speak is also unique. Obedience to His will occurs when we hear and act with an open heart prepared to follow Him. Seek Him, spend time with Him, He is jealous for your time.

Hearing Gods Voice 101

Back to the basics: 5 reasons why you should engross yourself in Gods Word

I wish that I could give you a syllabus, prepare lectures, and let you complete a test so that you could drink it in—it being the ability to hear Gods voice. But its not that easy. Sometimes God invites us, like he invited Moses, into the “thick darkness” and communicates with us there. That’s what this is all about—going into the darkness and meeting God there. But before we head to those dark places, lets lay down some general rules about how God communicates with us.

  1. God most often does not communicate with us audibly. (Romans 10:17)
  2. God most often communicates with us through his word, the Bible. (Hebrews 4:12)
  3. You Must Read the Bible in Order to Hear God Speak (Matthew 4:4)
  4. Obey God’s Word If You Want to Hear His Voice (James 1:23)
  5. God Communicates With Us Through Other People (2 Timothy 2:21)

 

An in depth look at the above list can be read here: Hearing Gods Voice 101 | Todays Christian Woman

LifeWay Women All Access — 5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life

26 Jul

rest“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD –Psalm 104:34

Connect with God on the inside by disconnecting from noisy distractions on the outside. Spending quiet time with the Lord in intimate fellowship enables His voice to be heard more clearly; focusing our undivided attention and growing our relationship with Him.

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.” –Corrie Ten Boom

5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life

By Mary Margaret Collingsworth

Does your life ever feel noisy? Mine sure does. My phone is constantly making crazy noises, I listen to music in my car and at my desk, I turn the TV on when I get home, and I can often be found talking to myself when I’m alone (true confessions are good for the soul, right?). Maybe you don’t have that much actual noise in your life, but the fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of noise in our lives. Maybe it’s your kids, your calendar, your husband, or the little voice inside your head that continues to tell you that you don’t quite measure up. It looks a little bit different for each of us, but most of us have nearly constant noise in our daily lives.

Over the 4th of July, I spent the weekend in a cabin in North Carolina with some of my family. There was no cell phone reception, no Internet, and no TV. For the first few hours, it’s like I had no clue what to do. I went on several walks, fished (and caught 3 trout!), finished a puzzle with my cousin, and read a whole book.

It was SO refreshing.

I can’t help but look back on those few days and see how the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart in the solitude. As I was praying through a few things, the Lord brought to mind so many scriptures that were relevant, and I could hear them because I stopped talking, and I wasn’t distracted by all of the noise. I could hear God’s voice so much more clearly because there was nothing to compete with.

“One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying on words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust.” -Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline.

Silence and solitude are two things that we just don’t get a lot of in our day and age. Our lives are constantly busy, and even when we sit down and read the Bible, we’re easily interrupted or distracted. We lack the margin in our lives that we so desperately need. Scripture tells us that silence and solitude are a critical part of spiritual disciplines that we should be engaging in on a regular basis. Jesus even modeled it for us on many occasions when he went away by himself to pray (Luke 5:15-16; Matthew 14:23; Mark 14:32-42).

Here are five ways to cut the noise out of your life…

The remaining article can be viewed here: LifeWay Women All Access — 5 Ways to Cut the Noise Out of Your Life.

 

Praying for my husband – from head to toe

15 Jun

father day2“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, a day traditionally set aside to reflect on and celebrate fathers, husbands, uncles, sons, and grandpas. It is often a day when we who are wives go all out showering our spouse with gifts, affirmation, and affection. What if in addition we took the time to quietly and meaningfully lift them up everyday through prayer?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16

Dr. Don Whitney author of “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” suggests, “Pray through scripture and let it suggest, inform, and shape your prayer.” Praying scripture can help our minds to stay focused and encourage scripture meditation.

The following excerpt provides “head to toe” prayer framework with accompanying scripture:

I know marriage can be hard, and trusting someone to lead when there are things you struggle with together is really, really hard. But I also know God uses us in powerful ways to love our men like He does – unconditionally.

One of the best ways we can love our husbands is to pray for them.

Years ago I heard a concept about praying for our husbands – from head to toe.  So, today I wanted to share some verses and prayers that fit with that concept:

Head

“Father, I ask that You would continually renew my husband’s mind, resulting in a transformed life. Help him bring every thought into captivity to Christ to make it obedient to You. Give him a greater understanding of Your Word. Help him to think on things that are pure and right and worthy of praise.” (Psalm 119:15, Rom 12:2, 2 Cor.10:5)

Eyes

“Lord, keep opening my husband’s eyes to deep spiritual truths. Help him to see things as You see them. Please guard his eyes from looking at worthless things. ” (Psalm 119:18, Psalm 119:37)

Ears

“Father, let my husband hear Your voice clearly. Help him to recognize your voice with certainty. Protect him from listening to anyone who is not seeking and walking with You. Help him not to be affected negatively by what others say and to discern between good and evil. Give him the ability to determine what is of You and what is not.” (Is 30:21, 1 Kings 3:9, 1 John 4:1)

Mouth

“Help my husband to speak the truth in love. Help him to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Give him the couraage to lovingly confront when necessary. Let the words he speaks be Yours, not his own. Help him speak words that bring grace and truth to the hearers. I also pray that you will help him to grow in his ability and desire to communicate with you and others.” (Psalm 19:14, 119:13, 41:3; Eph 4:15, 4:29; James 1:19)

Heart

“Give my husband a heart that seeks passionately after You. Teach him to guard his heart with diligence. Help him deal with anything in his heart that is not pleasing to You. Create in him a pure heart. Enable him to lead our family with integrity.” (Psalm 78:72, 119:10-11; Prov 4:23; 1  3:13)

Hands

“Lord, I pray that everything my husband does would be done with his whole heart, serving You rather than man. I pray that You will also help him to increase his skills and his abilities. Bless everything he puts his hands to.” (Psalm 24:3-4, Col 3:23)

Feet

I pray my husband would love Your Words and walk in Your ways. I pray He would be to walk in a manner that is worthy of You, bearing fruit in every good work. Jesus show him how to creatively share your truth with our kids as he does life with them each day. Father, when he walks through the valley of the shadow of doubt and difficulties, I pray he would fear no evil because He knows that you are with him. (Deut 6:7, 8:6, Col 1:10, Psalm 23:4)

Let’s look for ways to build our husbands up – by giving them encouraging words and the gift of prayer – covering them from head to toe!

The article in its entirety can be viewed here: Praying for my husband – from head to toe.

 

Seeds of the Miraculous

5 Nov

God is purposeful and all-powerful. He has a plan for the history of the universe, and in executing it he governs and controls all created realities. Without violating the nature of things, and without at any stage infringing upon human free will, God acts in, with, and through his creatures to do everything that he wishes to do exactly as he wishes to do it. By this sovereign, overruling action he achieves his goals.

– J.I.Packer – Great Power

Click here to read “Seeds of the Miraculous”, a devotional post by Diane M. Hale at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women

Get on the Same Spiritual Page as Your Spouse

10 Oct

Get on the Same Spiritual Page as Your Spouse

Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, America’s Family Coach
Thursday, October 06, 2011

It’s a bond that can seem mysterious and elusive – but it’s one that is essential to have the marriage that God intended for you. So today we have a question for you: Are you and your mate on the same page spiritually?

It’s relatively easy to understand the emotional intimacy that creates a heart-to-heart bond as well as the physical intimacy that brings a couple together body-to-body. But every couple also needs soul-to-soul closeness. If you want to enjoy the deepest level of connection, you need to develop spiritual intimacy in your relationship.

Bonding spiritually can be a puzzling area for husbands and wives. Even if you both set a goal to grow together spiritually, you may have difficulty deciding how to get there. And if only one of you wants to pursue spiritual depth in your relationship, you will face additional struggles.

But here’s what you need to know: Spiritual intimacy occurs when you as husband and wife surrender your lives and relationship to the Lord. You grow together spiritually when you live out your marriage relationship according to God’s ways and aim to please him in all things.

The sad truth is, most of our world doesn’t understand spiritual intimacy in marriage. And sadly, many Christian couples haven’t grasped this profound truth either. But when husbands and wives truly begin to understand the significance of a marriage of three, their relationships begin to flourish.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

Cultivating a Heart to Hear God’s Voice, Christian Women, Faith, Spiritual Life

7 Oct

Cultivating a Heart to Hear God’s Voice

Editor’s Note: Read Part I of this series, God Is Not the Silent Type.

How many times have you sensed a voice telling you to do something but you considered it a distraction? Maybe other times you’ve felt the inkling to do something, but brushed it off as silly or too elemental to be the voice of God.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve had many people, especially young women I’ve been discipling, ask me about how to actually hear or discern the voice of God. We can sometimes think our own hopeful thoughts or our doubtful, misleading thoughts are God’s voice. And there are other times we mistakenly pass off God’s genuine voice as merely our own thoughts.

Some women sit down to read their Bibles and have a myriad of distracting thoughts: I should do the dishes first. I’ve got to remember to call Mom. I wonder what that ache in my shoulder is really about? It’s safe to say these are clearly thoughts from our own human nature that distract us from spending time in God’s Word. Other people I know have frightening thoughts they believe are from God, such as visions that they or loved ones will be injured or killed. But 2 Timothy 1:7 says God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. We also know that the Spirit of God is a Comforter, not one who instills fear. Therefore, we should ask ourselves: Is this thought in the nature of God? Does it sound like something He would say?

Not every “distracting thought” is God’s voice. You would need to ask yourself:

  • Does the thought have anything to do with what I’ve been praying about?
  • Does it sound more like human reasoning or spiritual direction?
  • Is it consistent with the nature of God?
  • Does this thought strengthen me spiritually?
  • Does this thought prevent me from pursuing God’s ways?
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