Monday, September 08, 2008

Bible Study

Our moms group has started up again and our 1st speaker of the year challenged us ladies to have a daily devotional time with God. And the book we are reading, Small Changes For A Better Life, talks on the importance of doing just this. Quiet time with my Lord is something I feel very passionately about today. I thought I would share what I do and how I got to this point.

I didn't just get convicted one day. I like everyone else, had heard how important it was to have a daily quiet time...many times over. Christmas morning 1983, my dad gave me the Thompson Chain reference Bible (I was 12 years old.) I started going through the concordance, looking up the verses in order of the topics A-Z. I wasn't so much interested in learning in depth as just the goal of studying through the Bible, highlighting as I went according to the suggested color codes. This is still my main bible & it is quite colorful.

Over the years I was hit and miss on my consistency depending on where my walk was at the time. When our first child was born I became a stay home mom. I made the decision that I was going to read through the Bible in a year. I would quickly read through my assigned chapters, daydreaming about all I had to do, justifying it that at least I was reading.

Then in 2001 I heard a lady say she had a "Power Hour" with God every morning and it changed her life. An hour??! What in the world was she doing? And honestly I thought I would fall asleep out of boredom! But I couldn't get it out of my head. I wanted growth. True, deep, understanding. A RELATIONSHIP, I wanted more of Him and less of me. So I prayed. And felt like God was prompting me to do that. At first, I would set the timer for 10 minutes just to make sure I hung in there, it was like taking medicine, it had to be done. Then each week I increased the time 10 minutes. It was growing to become a habit, and one that enjoyed. Then once I got up to 1 hour, it was something I needed. Like sweet honey to my soul.

I studied and prayed and listened every morning for an hour. For 3 years. Rarely missing a day. And the days I did miss, I longed for that time. It did mean I had to get up early. For a while it meant that I got up when Allen left for work at 4:30am and then went back to sleep til the kids awoke. It was a path for me and for my heart and God led. I didn't think or feel better or wiser than anyone else. But I did think and feel better and closer to the Lord than I was prior to starting this journey.

I often found myself feeling as if I needed to apologize for my time and consistency to other ladies. honestly felt at times embarrassed when I was used as an example somewhere when others found out I did this. I could feel the stares and felt the tension of me being that stinkin kid that got the A on the test and took away the excuses from everyone with C's. Which was never my intention. I only share this now as an encouragement that when we commit to follow God's plan, He'll meet us.

In 2006 I felt ok with going to 30 minutes every morning and that is what has stuck. At that same time is when our marriage and lives were under such a heavy burden. You would have thought I would have bumped up that time. However, many mornings all I could do was just sit and cry. I believe it was the years prior, the time of sowing that allowed me to continue to harvest and find comfort in a close friend as He carried me.

I thought I would share what I do so that if any of you are like me and just don't know where to start this would give you something to begin with until you find your own direction.

1. Sit quiet in His presence.
2. Pray for the scripture I'm about to read that He will show me what He wants me to take away from it.
3. Read 1 Chapter. What do I read? I have a list. Of course. 2 Old Testament, 1 New Testament, 5 Psalms, 1 Proverb, 1 Gospel. So I work my way through. If you do want to read through the Bible in a year by reading one of each of these a day you can read through the entire bible in a year, Psalms and Proverbs in a month, and the Gospels once every 3 months. I go in order unless I'm needing to finish a certain study or feel convicted to study something specific. It works for me.
4. Study the Chapter, concordance, commentaries, history, Strongs concordance in Greek or Jewish. Ask Why? Who? Where? Parallels? I journal all I'm learning in my private journal and sometimes put the notes on my blog and pray His words will reach out to others.
5. Read the Chapter again.
6. Spend time in prayer. I posted on praying a while back.
7. Contact for prayer follow up. I have prayer card for M-S. If I know of a prayer need I add them to the day of card I found out about the need. Then I pray on that day for the needs on that card. I contact with just a quick email or ecard or somethings a snail mail yet beautifully made card:) to follow up on them.
8. Read a devotional.

Do I complete 1-8 every day? No. If I make it 1-3 one day the next morning I repeat steps 1-2 and then move to 5. This sounds so rigid, but it's what works for me. I have yet to read and study and not learn something from each and every chapter. I'm not even sure who decided the Bible needed to be read in completion every year when it took thousands to write. I personally feel I'm gaining more when I'm understanding what is being said.

I also have sermons and scriptures on tapes. And I put them on in the kitchen to listen to throughout the day when I'm doing dishes for the 5th time. The computer has endless sermons and music for support on those days when nothing goes right. I also use these tools when I have have a newborn or have been up most of the night with a sick child and need that extra sleep in the mornings.

God will use whatever you give Him. Your time will not return void. So I urge you that even if it is just 10 minutes that you have to get up earlier (I say early because of all the times I see of great men and women spending time with God it is in the early morning hours-first fruits) that you will not miss out, but gain greatly.

1 comment:

Griffith Family of Texas said...

Very inspiring. Sometimes I just don't know where to start. I read a lot but I do miss out on the quiet being with Him and losing myself in the time. Thank you for posting this.

Ann

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