"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just a Closer Walk with Thee- The Daily Quiet Time

** Pardon the pictures which will have nothing to do with this post**

I've been asked a couple times here lately how I 'find the time' to have daily time with the Lord, etc. It's actually not that hard.   I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if I can manage this, you can too.  My job is crazy busy.  It can be crazy stressful.  I have a 3 year old.  I take care of him by myself.  I don't think you can be much busier than me.  So it can be done.  You just have to literally make it happen.

My 'recipe' for spending good, quality time in God's Presence:

1. Wanting to actually do it.  That seems kind of simple, I suppose, but the reality is, that's the hardest part.  I am desperate for more of God's Presence.  I crave that part of my morning.  And on the rare occasion I miss it in the morning, I cringe because I don't like doing my day without throwing myself all in to God's Presence.  And the reality is, listening to Christian music and praying on the drive in are just NOT the same as reading God's Word and letting Him meet you and fill you.  So if you struggle with the desperate need for God's Presence, start by praying that God would make himself so desired to you, that you literally just don't want to do a second, a day without more of Him.  There is an old hymn that goes something like this "I need thee every hour, oh precious lord.. I need thee oh I need thee.  Every hour I need thee."  Until that is truly your hearts desire, a consistent quiet time will never stick.  Now please don't think I'm oh so awesome for desiring this.  I am only like this because by myself I am just not the person I want to be.  Praise God for the darkness of my own heart though, because it makes it very clear how I need Him.  Every second.

2. A specified time.  I set my alarm at 4:00 and am up by 4:30.  I have myself and Jude's lunches packed between 5:00 and 5:15.  Then I sit down with my breakfast and coffee and spend 45 min give or take reading the Bible.  I leave my house around 6:30.  I'm literally up an hour earlier than I need to be almost just so I can make the time to spend with God.  I make it happen.  Because the reality is, by the time I get home from work, spend time with Jude, get dinner cooked, do something that needs to be done, a quiet time ain't happening.  It's just not.  I think that's the reality for a lot of people.  I know most of us aren't morning people.  I'm not either.  But I know that starting my day off right makes a huge difference in the way I'm meditating on God's Word from the get go.  I haven't slept it off overnight.  I actually became convinced this was the way to go years ago when I studied Genesis.  Cain brought a sacrifice.  It was rejected because it wasn't the FIRST fruits of his harvest.  Abel was bringing the BEST part of his life.  The question becomes what's really the best part of your day?  And this is supposed to be a sacrifice of praise and time.  Sacrifice doesn't imply convenience.  It implies work.  The first fruits of my day are at 5:15.  And I can tell a difference in the continual gift of His Presence that I find.  Tommy Nelson once said this "You don't have enough time to read the Bible?  Don't eat!  You can live without a meal- might even be good for you.  You can't live without God's Word."  I just do both at the same time ;)

3. A plan.  I currently am reading through the Bible.  I read 3 chapters a day, one chapter from each book.  I started in Genesis, Job, and Matthew.  So it's OT, Poetry/Prophet, NT.  Right now I am at the end of Deuteronomy, Psalms (still!) and Colossians.  There are a lot of plans to study the Bible.  But I'm telling you reading through the Bible has been the most life changing one I've ever done.  First of all, it forces you to read the 'boring' books, which incidentally I really think are life changing.  Second, you realize how the verses you were taught to memorize actually fit into all of scripture.  For example, who doesn't know Philippians 4:13.  No Christian I know.  How many of those Christians realize that Paul was actually talking about doing all things pertaining to being content and rejoicing through having little?  Not enough of them!  We act as though that verse means we can almost pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and call it Christ.  It's really about doing nothing, relying on Christ to do everything, and being JOYFUL during it all.  Contentment- something that's pretty far from most American's in our gimme culture.  Considering all the Lord's been teaching me about contentment, that verse has taken on actual significance.  Read through the Bible.  I challenge you.  It will actually change your life.

4. A way to focus.  I say this because it would be really easy to just sit and read my 3 chapters and think man that was great, and move on.  However, that is not what we are supposed to do.  Yes, read.  But then meditate.  I don't know what that looks like for you.  Here's what I do- I write out my prayers. Some famous Christian I can't remember said something about pens having eyes to your soul.  Something like that.  There is just something about writing it out that focuses you down deep in to your soul and pulls the depths out.  Personally, I write all my reflections on the chapter I read.  I basically highlight and stop to reflect over each section.  I write my reflections out in prayer form.  And the amazing thing is that as I write my questions become answered or my confused thoughts become clearer.  And that's the amazing part, because that is the Lord meeting me there in my quiet place and speaking to me in whispers to my soul.  Honestly, once you experience that #1 pretty much takes care of itself.  Christ's Presence is just addicting in all the right ways.

5.  Just keep doing it.  Make it happen.  Daily.  At your specified time.  Don't expect it to happen easily, because it's a discipline, it's work, and it's a sacrifice.  But keep your eyes on God knowing He is the author and perfector of your faith.  He will give you the grace the meet with Him if you honestly desire that (see#1).  God wants to meet with you daily, hourly...  The question is do you truly want to meet with Him.  Try it.  It's just worth it.  If you seek Him, you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart.

Go find Him friends :)

Do you have an awesome quiet time already?  What are your secrets?


Joe Fontenot said...

Hey Ash, this is a great post! And I can't agree with you more, for discipline like that, you have to WANT it. And that's all there is to it.

P.S. I had lost your blog, but I have in my reader now. Looking forward to more!

ThistleAshD said...

Thanks :) I will try to keep up with this more. I tend to be so sporadic.

Here's to WANTing it