Posts filed under ‘Bible Study’
What does it mean to have devotions or a quiet time with God? It simply means putting aside time to engage in prayer and reading (the Bible or other spiritual literature).
The prayer time is more than talking to God. It is also listening to Him. I find that I “hear” most of His responses when I read the Bible.
My reading is usually purposeful. I.e. I spend time (daily) reading the verses, chapter, or book of the Bible that my Wednesday night study group is studying. I read to understand. And I read to see what application can be made to my life. In other words, I don’t read just to read.
Having devotions in the mornings has become a habit again. I prefer morning devotions because then I know it will happen before the rest of the day’s agenda interferes. And at this time of day I can give my undivided attention to praying and reading. But like all habits (with me any way) I know that it can be easily broken if I don’t watch my environment and my motives.
I need to periodically go over my motives for having a regular quiet time. Knowing these reasons helps increase my stick-to-it-ness. In fact this step is helpful for maintaining any habit. And there are definite reasons I want to spend some extended time with God each morning. Here are 3 reasons.
Reason 1: Transformed Mind. It is easy for me to think mainly of myself and to think badly of people, situations, God, and even myself. The media and culture I live in support this kind of narcissistic, distorted thinking.
However, when I spend purposeful time in the the Bible, the WORD of Truth, my thinking becomes transformed. It goes from thinking according to the world and my natural reasoning to thinking thoughts aligned with God’s Word.
- Selfishness versus Servanthood
- Unforgiveness versus Forgiveness
- Enttlement versus Love
- Me-centered versus God-centered
Reason 2: Transformed Actions. How and what I think upon radically affects what I do. How I behave shows what I think/believe in. I want my actions to reflect well on God. I want my behaviour to be consistent with Biblical mandates because being in alignment will bring me peace and wisdom. And mainly I want to be transformed to show that Christ indeed lives within me.
Reason 3: Transformed Relationship. In order to go from strangers to intimate friends, steps need to be taken in order to transform the relationship. To deepen any relationship there needs to be time and energy spent on that relationship. This is also true of a relationship with God. Engaging in spiritual disciplines like praying and reading the Bible help us know God better and thus deepen our relationship with Him.
As my relationship with God grows, I’ve noticed the following . . .
- I grow to love Him more.
- I become more in awe of who He is and what He does.
- My desire to obey increases because of the thinking transformation that is taking place.
I don’t always understand God’s ways and thoughts. But I have increasingly more trust in how He governs. I think this is true because I am knowing Him better and better (mainly through my devotions) as the years advance.
These are only 3 reasons for having regular quiet times. These are my top 3 for this stage in my life.
Your Turn . . . What are some reasons you have devotions?
Related Posts . . .
- 6 Tips to Consistent Bible Reading
- 11 Ways to Increase Intimacy with God
- Finding Obadiah and Philemon Easily
- Observation – First Part of In-Depth Bible Study
- Rev Up Your Personal Bible Study:7 Ideas to Combat B-o-r-i-n-g
- Using Your Learning Style to Feel Close to God
- What to do With a Tattered BIBLE
NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.
During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.
Today’s letter is R. The topic is REASONS to have a quiet time.
Bible study isn’t about how long you study each day. It doesn’t matter if you use world-renowned resources or read top-selling Biblical writers. It isn’t an item to check off on your to-do list. Also, it isn’t helpful if you study the original languages and you aren’t getting closer to God. It’s about cultivating a relationship…a relationship with God, the Creator of Everything.
In the coming weeks, I’ll share ideas that can jumpstart your Bible study. You won’t use each of the ideas. But making even one or two changes will affect the way you approach and feel about your quiet time. It will also help you enjoy the process of knowing God better.
Read on and let yourself be motivated by one of the below ideas.
Bored No More. When we do the same thing over and over and over, it can become b-o-r-i-n-g! This applies to activites as well as to relationships. If your Bible study is boring you, stop! Change something now. There are many ways to learn. Find the way that best fits you. Go to a Bible bookstore and browse. Pick something from one of the following categories:
- CD – Auditory learners will thrive on this type of study. I listen to teaching CD’s when I am in the car or when my eyes are too tired from extended computer use. I’ve listened to books (5 Love Languages of Children) and sermons from current teacher/ preachers (Joyce Meyer and Charles Swindoll) , my pastor (Mike Mitchum) and those long dead (CH Spurgeon).
- Children’s curriculum – I often go this route when I am learning anything new. The study sticks to the main points, is short, and is visually pleasing. Your local Bible bookstore will have many options. I recently picked one up on Missions. Go the extra mile and then teach the study to a child (yours or a borrowed one).
- Books – Many Christian books have a study guide at the back of the book or at the end of each chapter. You can go through it on your own or with others. It’s nice that you don’t have to pay extra money for these questions. Some example of books that include questions . . . The Five Love Languages for Singles, Facing Your Giants, and Power of Prayer.
- DVD – If you are a visual learner this is a great choice. The topics are many and the study is usually well done. Get a DVD study and invite neighbors or friends to join you. Typically DVD studies are more costly. If cost is an issue check what’s available at your local library or church. Over the past year I’ve gone through Boundaries and The Power of a Praying Woman.
- Topical studies – The choices here are numerous. Some have few chapters and some many. Some are in-depth and some give an over view. I’ve gone through Lessons on Christian Living with several ladies and it always impacts them and me. I’ve gone through The Treasure Principle twice. Grieving God’s Way is one I hope to lead in the fall .
- Magazines – Use a magazine as a jumping off point for study in the Bible.
Magazines cover a range of topics and purposes. These include . . .
- Devotionals (Journey, Walk Through The Bible)
- Inspiration (Guideposts , Charisma)
- Up-to-date news (Christianity Today, World)
- Cover current culture for 20 somethings (Relevant)
- Teach (Biblical Archeological Review, Leadership Journal ). Lastly some give info related to certain . . .
- Professions (Journal of Christian Nursing, Christian Business Daily).
Lastly, try incorporating devotionals into your Bible study time.
7. Devotionals – These are typically a few pages long, expound on one passage (point or person), clearly define the main point and end with an application. Though this type of study requires few minutes, the depth of the material is apparent and the impact it has is real.
I’ve read many types of devotionals. Some . . .
- Encourage me as a mom (The Official Soccer Mom Devotional)
- Are free (My Daily Bread – I pick mine up from church every three months)
- Are classics (My Utmost for His Highest)
- Inject humor (anything by Pastsy Clairmont)
- Give daily snippets about a topic I want to know more about (50 Days of Heaven: Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light).
- Bring family members closer: Each Christmas a friend buys multiple copies of the same devotional. She keeps one and gives the others to her family members. Sometimes they share their thoughts in-person, through email and on the phone. They use the devotional as a springboard for praying for one another. Reading the devo increases their intimacy with God, and reading the same thing each day as a group increases the feeling of community.
Stay Tuned for Idea 2 on Revving Up Your Bible Study: Small Groups.
Your Turn . . .
- Have you even been bored with your Bible study time?
- What do you do when you are bored?
- What do you think it means if you are bored?
- What resources would you recommend from the above categories? What would you add?
- Please leave a comment if you try one of these ideas.
Looking for a good commentary on Genesis?
Our pastor recommends this one by Derek Kidner. Pastor Mike said its the kind of book where every sentence is loaded. You can get a commentary for as low as $1.48 + $3.99 shipping.
Yes, of course I ordered one!
If you order one too, let me know. Maybe we can talk about what we read.
Question: What one thing is experienced by 100% of all people?
Conflict is something that everyone has in common. We all get stressed from it. We all, at times, handle it badly. Sometimes we are the receivers. Sometimes we are the initiators. What can we do about the conflicts we all experience?
Pastor Mike has an answer. Starting September 23rd he is guiding the church through a new series on peacemaking. This eight week series will present the tools needed to handle conflict in a way that is satisfying, helpful and biblical.
Small Groups will also be going through the same information. That way we can practice using these tools. “We grow through copying deeds, not just listening to words, through examples as well as precept, through habit and not just insight and information” (Os Guinness).
Watch the bulletin for details on the small groups. Sign up in the foyer. Contact me if you are interested in becoming a small group leader.
- Spending time with Nasim, a 20 year old woman who is desparate to improve her English. She struggles with self-doubt regarding her scholastic future. Nasim wanted extra help so I asked her (yesterday) to write an essay about one of her dreams and how to accomplish it. It is evident that she worked hard on it. It is also evident that she’ll become fluent in englsih (which she speaks with an english accent). My hope and prayer is that I’ll be able to pass along some encouragment to Nasim.
- Nezam brought the hummous, etc. Very tastey. And more importantly we are buidling a freindship bridge. Nezam is a gentle, caring woman who wants to make us feel welcome here. We do!
- I was able to spend a few minutes praying with two Believers. I prayed in English and they prayed in Arabic. I’ll get to see both of them at church on Sunday. I am anxious to hear how God answered our prayers of supplication.
- Playing ping pong and “little football” with some of our teen students. I believe that Bryce has some footage on his video blog. Spoiler alert – Shula and Yanzan won all 3 games. We don’t call it foose ball because here foose means fart. 🙂
- Shula and I were invited to visit Awatif. Hopefully we will be able to schedule a time for next week.
- Jessica and I had a long talk about this land, the work going on here and politics. She is such an informed, but gentle speaker, it was a joy to listen, learn and “debate” with her.
I feel so privileged to be able to be here teaching english, listening and learning. Thank you for your prayers. I still make cultural mistakes, but so far nothing too drastic.
I’m going on a Mark hunt. I’m on Step one.
Are you game?