Monday, December 19, 2011

My Personal Key to Transforming Quiet Times

Welcome to Widows Christian Place! Of course, I'm sorry for the reason you're here, but this is a good place to stop in for strength and encouragement on your journey through grief.
Just like your body needs healthy food during grief, so, too, your soul needs the wholesome nourishment found in the Bible. Last week we were talking about choosing a Bible reading plan for the year ahead. I suggested some resources, and I also urged my readers to realize that a plan is just a structure, not a slave driver. Grieving is distracting and chaotic, so expect the unexpected. If (when) you fail to keep up, don't bother trying to catch up on what you missed, just start fresh with the current day.

My 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 notebooks
Today I want to share the one essential tool that has become my key to discovering treasures and refreshment in God's Word---a 7" x 5" notebook. See the picture of the notebooks I've kept since 2008?

I've kept journals, diaries and notebooks all my life and the assorted sizes and bindings are as scattered as my thoughts. But I finally found the 7" x 5" spiral-bound page is just right for me for several reasons.
  • It's not a large sheet of paper daring me to fill it up
  • It's a great size to stack with my Bible and other books
  • I can easily stuff it in a purse or carry-on
  • It only costs around $2.00
  • There are pretty ones out there that don't look like school work (very important!)
  • And if, while I'm reading my Bible I remember I need to buy some milk, light bulbs, socks, etc, I can scribble those down and rip out the page without ruining the whole book---you can't do that with a journal or diary binding.
I also like the front pocket where I keep the tiny calendar from my insurance agent and grocery lists. It comes in handy! And there's an elastic pagehold to keep it from flipping open if I'm out and about.
Here's how I use these notebooks during my Bible-reading time. (This is so easy!)
As you can see, I just jot down the date and the verse,
sometimes more, sometimes less.

1. Pray. I tell God I'm ready to listen to Him, to learn what He wants me to learn, and to do what He tells me to do. If I feel convicted of sin at this point I confess it and seek His forgiveness. I usually feel very welcomed into God's presence.                                                                 
2. Read. Then I read the scheduled verses for the day. I mentally note the ones that impress me the most. Sometimes there are so many I don't have time to finish the reading.                                         3. Write. Then I open the notebook. I select one or two of the verses that impressed me most of all, and I simply copy them word for word into the notebook. Sometimes I have to add why the verse spoke to me--like, sometimes it speaks directly about my circumstances or feelings on that very day. But often it seems rather random. That's cool, too, because very often when I read back through my notebook, those "random" verses set a pattern of what God is telling me over a period of a few days, or a week, or a year!
4. Pray. Ideally, I end the time in prayer, sometimes on my knees, sometimes just relaxed. I thank God for speaking to me through the Bible, and ask Him to help me be mindful of Him throughout the rest of the day.     
I feel kind of "exposed" sharing all this because it is rather personal, but I hope you'll see that developing a personal time with God every day doesn't have to be a mystery reserved for only the super spiritual, saintly types (I sure don't fit that category!)
Are you ready to try this?
You only need three things.
1. A Bible, of course. (Let me know if you don't have one and I'll help get one for you).
2. A Bible reading guide. Find one through your church or look over the plans I suggested last week.
3. A notebook. I buy mine at Discount Drug Mart, closest to my house. I'll bet there's a store like that near you, too. Pick out your notebook when you go there to get a gallon of milk. :) God blesses us in these common places!
ferree

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the helpful advice, Ferree! I will have to try the Smaller size journal. I too, have a collection, only mine look the school books. Interesting that I just shared on my blog, about the way the Lord met with me in my quiet time recently. He has been speaking to me in a very powerful way lately! I love that! He makes Himself so real and personal!

    BTW, I so appreciate that you list others blogs here. I have "gotten to know" some wonderful women thanks to you! I invite your readers to visit. It is always such a blessing when someone new stops by, isn't it? Thanks again for all the ways you inspire us to grow.
    Hugs,
    Renee' www.tandemjourney.blogspot.com
    www.christianwidowswalk.blogspot.com

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  2. This is certainly an excellent daily exercise...I'll do it with the Psalms I'm reading each week!

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  3. Thanks Ferree! Wonderful tips! I love the journal idea too. I find that I use various sizes, but this size looks perfect!

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  4. So good to hear from each of you--we'll have to check up on each other in a couple months and see how the notebooks are working out. When I buy my new one for 2012 in the next couple days, I think I might buy two of them the same color. I've never yet run out of pages, but if I had 2, i wouldn't worry about it. Hugs to each of you, and I hope this Christmas bring some unexpected joy and peace.

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  5. Great advice! I had the best quiet times in the early months of my grief. The emotional pain was awful, but the time with the Lord was awesome. I miss that, but I've got my hands full with Michaela. This season is not one for much "quiet time", but I try to make my commute time prayer time, and I have several daily devotionals emailed to me. It will have to do, for now. :)

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  6. Hi Joannah, the "mom season" does require some adjustments and flexibility. Driving to work can transform your car into a "prayer mobile" --- and the blessings will follow! Peace to you and baby Micaela this Christmas. I enjoy seeing her pics on your blog--she's growing so fast! ((hugs))

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