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Archive for the ‘Quiet time’ Category

NRBVResource: This is a short, easy read by By Gregory Koukl that explains the value of reading more than one verse during quiet time. According to Greg, it is “the most important thing I could ever teach you.”

He goes on: “If there was one bit of wisdom, one rule of thumb, one single skill I could impart, one useful tip I could leave that would serve you well the rest of your life, what would it be?  What is the single most important practical skill I’ve ever learned as a Christian?  Never read a Bible verse.  That’s right, never read a Bible verse.  Instead, always read a paragraph (at least) if you want to unlock the meaning of a passage.”

Click to download the resource

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953848_77795108Have I turned the Bible into a glorified newspaper, approaching it with a heart attitude that has sucked the life out of my quiet time? I was reading THIS last night, and it occurred to me that when I approach God’s word, often I am coming to read instead of commune. Psalm 119, as the rest of the Psalms, reveal David’s heart to know, love, and commune with God. In the Psalm, David is not focused on the Law, David is focused on the Law Giver. The word of God serves to facilitate the drawing near to God himself, but is not the object of our longing. Even when David says “Oh how I love Your law!” (v97), David is speaking directly to God in communion with Him. The book itself is loved when in communion with God.

That has not been how I approached God’s Word. I’ve approached God’s Word as if it was something to read that would just tell me about God. It was about knowledge, not communion. It was about reading, not hearing God speak. This approach sucks the life out of my quiet time and leaves it feeling like a mechanical action to fulfill an obligation.

The positive side to this indictment is that there is a way to aid my often lifeless quiet time. If yours is lifeless, join me. God bids us come into His presence and hear His voice speak to our hearts. I can hear not just random words I think I heard from a vague voice in my head, but His exact words spoken as clearly as if they are the words ringing in our head after a conversation with a friend. That is what the Bible is.

God, speak to me! I come before You to commune, to listen to Your voice speak directly to my heart. These words are said to me, they are not just text to read. Holy One, I want to commune with You.

“SPEAK, O LORD, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.”

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1154835_6061744510 questions to ask yourself

Donald Whitney, in his book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, poses 10 questions.
1.    Do you thirst for God?
2.    Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
3.    Are you more loving?
4.    Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
5.    Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
6.    Do you delight in the Bride of Christ?
7.    Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
8.    Do you still grieve over sin?
9.    Are you a quicker forgiver?
10.     Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?

I’m convicted.
The “increasing” and “more” facet of these questions is conspicuous. Though I might could get away with claiming the presence of spiritual qualities in my life, I am convicted in knowing I often lack progress. There’s a stinging difference that pierces the self-righteousness in my heart.

Time to plan.
Because a convicted heart is practically worthless if it doesn’t motivate us to draw upon the grace and strength of Christ Jesus to live differently, now is the finest opportunity available to implement a change. Start with prayer, and then get specific. What’s the best way to grow in one of these areas? The hungry heart seeks an answer.

What do you think?
Do any of these questions prick your heart, making you evaluate anything on a deeper level? Do you have another question you use to diagnose your heart that is not on the list?

(This book isn’t part of the free resources Weekend Resource, but it is inexpensive and concise read. Worth every penny and minute you’ll invest.)

Here is a link to a fellow blogger and a related post of his: http://www.fallenandflawed.com/true-salvation-test/

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1135208_19357079Resource:
The following 3 Bible reading plans, from the Navigators, are great tools to help the reader stay on track progressing through the Bible. The highlight of these plans, from my experience, is that the reader is NOT required to read every single day of the month.  Writing a Bible reading plan with grace in mind makes these plans all the more effective. For those that never skip a day, the pauses allow for time to meditate and return to selected passages of your choice.

1. Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan
“The book-at-a-time Bible reading plan provides two readings for each day. The first reading alternates between Old and New Testament books, giving you three or four chapters a day. The Gospels are spread throughout the year. The second reading takes you through a chapter or so of the wisdom literature and Isaiah. Combined, these readings will take you through the entire Bible in one year. To prevent frustration of falling behind and so provide some reflection time, each month consists of only 20 readings. You’ll have several days each month to meditate more deeply on something that was significant to you in the past week, to catch up on missed readings, or to revisit favorite passages.”

2. 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan
“Through the New Testament in 5 days a week, 5 minutes a day.
– 5 MINUTES A DAY. If you’re not currently reading the Bible, start with 5 minutes a day. This reading plan will take you through all 260 chapters of the New Testament, one chapter per day. The gospels are read throughout the year to keep the story of Jesus fresh.
– 5 DAYS A WEEK. Determine a time and location to spend 5 minutes a day for 5 days a week. It is best to have a consistent time and a quiet place where you can regularly meet with the Lord.
– 5 WAYS TO DIG DEEPER. We must pause in our reading to dig into the Bible. Below are 5 different ways to dig deeper each day. We recommend trying a single idea for a week to find that work best for you. Remember to keep a pen and paper ready to capture God’s insights.
1.    Underline or highlight key words or phrases in the Bible passage. Use a pen or highlighter to mark new discoveries from the text. Periodically review your markings to see what God is teaching you.
2.    Put it into your own words. Read the passage or verse slowly, then rewrite each phrase or sentence using your own words.
3.    Ask and answer some questions. Questions unlock new discoveries and meanings. Ask questions about the passage using these words: who, what, why, when, where, or how. Jot down some thoughts on how you would answer these questions.
4.    Capture the big idea. God’s Word communicates big ideas. Periodically ask, “What’s the big idea in this sentence, paragraph or chapter?”
5.    Personalize the meaning. When God speaks to us through the Scriptures, we must respond. A helpful habit is personalizing the BIble through application. Ask: “How can my life be different today as I respond to what I’m reading?”

3. Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
This reading plan takes you though 4 passages a day, 2 from the New Testament and 2 from the Old Testament. Just as the first reading plan, you are only given readings for 25 days, allowing for catch-up, meditation, etc on the last few days of each month.

Download the reading plans here:
www.navpress.com/images/pdfs/9781576839768.pdf
www.navpress.com/uploadedFiles/15074%20BRP.dj.pdf
www.navpress.com/uploadedFiles/BRP2.pdf

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711909_31727756Resource: 18 Tricks to Memorize More Scripture, by Demian Farnworth. Farnworth gives not only the reasoning behind the importance of Bible memory, but also goes further and gives 18 highly practical tricks for making Bible memory easier and more effective. Recently, I have spent time writing about the importance of the Word in our fight against sin as we seek to taste and see that the Lord is good. Farnworth gives us 18 ways to go further in this area. He also mentions the fact that busyness is often the culprit of memory trouble in all of life, which is interesting to ponder.

Excerpt: “But one of the most compelling reasons for memorizing Scripture I found in John Piper’s sermon If My Words Abide in You: memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming to God’s viewpoint.”

Read the full version here

Here is another interesting idea to aid Bible memory.

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775521_62340988Resource: 7 Minutes with God: How to plan a daily quiet time, by Robert D. Foster (Navigators)

Take a moment and think of someone you know who only been told why to have a quiet time, not how. This pamphlet is concise and effective in explaining the why’s and how’s of a quiet time. In re-reading it for this review, I was challenged yet again by it. The man who gave away part of his life to disciple me put this pamphlet before me early on, and God used to to completely change how I approached my quiet times, and instilled in me the importance of daily going to the Lord. It is a great resource for discipling a new believer, and a great reminder for anyone.

Excerpt: “They sought an answer and came up with a scheme they called the morning watch — a plan to spend the first minutes of a new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible. The morning watch sealed the crack. It enshrined a truth so often obscured by the pressure of ceaseless activity that it needs daily rediscovery: To know God, it is necessary to spend consistent time with Him…The intimacy of communion with Christ must be recaptured in the morning quiet time. Call it what you want — the quiet time, personal devotions, the morning watch, or individual worship — these holy minutes at the start of each day explain the inner secret of Christianity. It’s the golden thread that ties every great man of God together — from Moses to David Livingstone, the prophet Amos to Billy Graham — rich and poor, businessmen and military personnel. Every man who ever became somebody for God has this at the core of his priorities: time alone with God!”

Click here to go to 7 Minutes with God

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Father, in Your faithfulness, teach me Your statues. Expand my narrow horizons so that I can filled with the all the fullness of God. Please give me a faith that is deeper, stronger, and battle tested. I ask that you bless me with a mind that constantly has an unanswered question, causing me to seek a deeper understanding when I would have otherwise settled for less.

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