Archive for 'Personal Devotional Time'

What next? Ideas on what to ‘do’ during time with God:

Now that you’ve setup a time with God . . . the next logical question is:

What to do during ‘time with God?”

For me this changes — a lot. Why? Because just like any other relationship my time with God is organic, changing, growing and varying.

Copyright by Daniel Paxton

Some of the things I’ve done are as follows (these were discussed in a prior post, so I’m linking to it instead of rewriting all that material):

Some additional items to consider are as follows:

Copyright by Leland Francisco

Incorporate Prayer and Bible Reading:

I used to think about “Prayer Time” and “Bible Reading” as separate items — like Oil and Water, they didn’t mix much in my life. But, when I started to blend the two items, it was very powerful for my growth.

I might start by praying before my Bible Reading to ask God to prepare my heart for whatever message he has for me.

Then, through the reading, I would stop and respond to whatever God was saying to me.

  • If I feel convicted, I pray immediately for forgiveness, cleansing and the power to overcome whatever it is I’m dealing with.
  • If I read about traits in a Bible Hero that I want more of in my life (such as Joseph, Daniel, etc.). I’ll stop and pray to ask God to help grow that fruit in my life.
  • If I read about weaknesses that I also see in myself, I’ll pray about that.
  • If I’m reminded about something I’m grateful to God for, I’ll stop and tell Him about it.
  • If a verse makes me think about something else to pray about, I’ll pray about that too.

You see, it becomes a conversation with God (in the present) — not a long distance relationship. Before it was more like God and I were letter writers — I’d send off a letter of prayer and then read His letters (the Bible) in return.

Reading and Listening to the Bible:

I’ve noticed times in my life where I can’t seem to settle my mind when Bible reading, so I’ve had some success with both listening and reading the Bible. That way multiple senses are focused in on the message.

My two favorites are:

My Husband’s favorite is the old classic: Alexander Scourby Audio Bible (KJV)

There are many others now too, so I’d consider getting a good audio Bible to use or listen to the versions available at YouVersion.

Use a Verse Jar:

This is a little like Bible Roulette or Verse-O-Matic, but I like it — a lot! I make a jar filled with lots and lots of my favorite verses (they are printed business card sized). Then I randomly pick one, read it and  let it speak to me.

Sometimes I’ll:

  • explore that verse and section in the Bible.
  • pick another, then another, then another card and read / reflect on the verses
  • try to work on memorizing the verse and then meditate on how God would like to apply this to my life. I’ll ask Him: “Hey, How do you want to apply this to my life?”
  • journal about whatever comes to mind related to the verse, maybe my paraphrase, maybe an application to my life, maybe random stuff I need to discuss with God, worries or problems brought up by the verse.

(If you don’t want to make your own verse cards, these Beth Moore cards, which I also have would make a great Verse Jar filler: )

Listen to a Sermon Online as a starting place for reflection: 

There are many great pastors that generously put their teaching online for all to benefit from. So, I frequently take advantage of these –> see my prior post Wanna Grow? Listen to Sermons Online for recommended resources that I like. We are so very blessed to have such great teaching freely available.

I’ll listen to a sermon, read the associated verses (and sometimes the included notes / information) and allow the message to penetrate my soul. Often some of the most powerful prayer times / conviction comes after listening to a sermon or series online.

When you are open to what God is trying to say, he’ll find a way to get the message to you.

 

Write out the Bible

 

This is a new addition to my arsenal of different ways to connect with God. I have been an avid journaler for years and have written out random verses, but have never followed a plan or long-term writing project of the scriptures. I recently stumbled upon “journibles” and the concept was intriguing to me, since I do learn better by slowing down and interacting more with the verses. I bought Journibles for Philippians (my favorite Bible book!), Proverbs (my next favorite Bible book!) and Psalm 119. I’ve started with Philippians and have found the process of writing powerful. It slows me down, so I’m seeing and learning things that I’ve never even noticed when just reading the Bible. It’s also proven to be a nice way to pass on my thoughts relative to specific verses to the next generation. If this is something new to you, as it was for me, I’d highly recommend giving it a try. It has made a difference in my time with God and allowed Him to speak to me very clearly and powerfully.
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For me, ‘time with God’ is not a set formula, but more of an ever-evolving relationship. I hope you’ll also consider having an organic ever-changing time with God.

 

 

Establish a “Deliberate Time with God”

©2012 – scottschwertly

The starting place to growing closer to God that we are all told about is: You need to have a daily “quiet time” / “devotional time” /  “time with God”.

We should each begin to have God incorporated more in our day-to-day lives, which is one of the next areas I will be focusing on. So, I’ll instead call this “Deliberate Time with God”. Which is a fancy way of saying, setting aside some extended time for Spiritual Disciplines.

I always understood the need to spend time with God, but what I struggled with is what does the ‘doing’ look-like. Nobody gave me a plan or ideas on how they spend the ‘quiet time’ except read the Bible and Pray. Which, of course is critical, but not enough of an explanation to be helpful to me as a new Christian.

So, let’s start with our motivation for spending deliberate time with God. What will you gain out of it? Since, most of our generation is short on time, asking: “Is there any personal gain to this practice?” is a legitimate question. I say “YES!” If you do it only because in the smallest way you hope that — just maybe — this could positively impact your life; that’s enough of a seed of faith that God can use for miraculous changes. If you give it a shot, I think you’ll be amazed at how God can use this time to make significant changes in your life (from your attitude to understanding of what matters most in life). I’d be *shocked* if it didn’t make some positive impact in about 40 days time (or less).

It seems silly to spend time with ‘someone’ without knowing who “He” is, so start there:

Who is God? Jesus? the “Spirit”?

Get to know who God is:

As I’ve gotten to see God work and move in powerful ways it’s allowed me to personally get to know who He is. I see Him in an extremely holy and reverent way, but also as a friend. It’s a paradox for sure. Over time I’ve gotten to see how his “rules” are truly out of love and create proper boundaries for my life. He’s also a loving Father too: someone whose much older and wiser, who adores me and wants the best path for my life. But, He’s more than a best friend, more than a father, more indescribable, yet more frightening too. I’ve grown at times where I can’t wait to spend time with Him and want to talk about life. Yet, other times I’m avoiding Him, because I’ve let an area or two go adrift in my life — and I know it, but don’t want to face it, yet!

If that sounds like someone you’d like to know better, then here’s some tips to go about it:

For me, I’ve picked first thing in the morning, because it helps set the tone for the rest of my day. But, there are days where I might not have been able to sleep or for whatever reason got up late, on those days I use my lunch hour or right after work (before dinner). Having a back-up plan makes it so I’m less likely to miss the time together.

Create a devotional plan:

Bible Study Pic from the Journey Guy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/

©2011 - The Journey Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/journeyguy/)

Now that you’ve decided on a time and place, you’ll need to put together some thoughts on what you will do during your time with God. Time with God should be some-what organic and constantly change and shift as you grow in your relationship with Him.

Some things to think about:

How to transition into devotional time:

Often going from waking up or the hustle of daily life to quieting ones mind takes a strategy. Below are some things I’ve found helpful to make this transition from a chaotic mind to quiet and ready to hear from God.

Music

This is as simple as picking a favorite praise songs that help to slow you down and begin the transition to quieting the mind, body and spirit.  I create a playlist on my ipod just for devotional songs.

Some of my favorites are:

Chris Rice – Hymn Project or The Living Room Sessions

Ginny Owens – Say Amen or my personal favorite: Be Still My Soul

Bible Reading Plans

A structured Bible reading plan helps with consistency and knowing what to read. I’ve used a variety of different ones over the years, such as:

The One Year Bible (NIV)

A Chronological Daily Bible (NIV):

But, Nowadays I use the YouVersion Bible Reading Plans: Currently for 2012 I’m doing: Project 345 Plus

Devotional Books:

I like using devotional books and have a large assortment that I’ve used at different times in my life. Like music they provide a transition and a spiritual thought to start my devotional time.

An easy option is simply – Our Daily Bread

Other favorites of mine are:

One Year Book of Hymns

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life

The Complete Personalized Promise Bible

Quiet Time Notebook:

Sometimes starting out with a devotional / quiet time is tricky to know what to do — Catherine Martin has a very great quiet time resource: The Quiet Time Notebook

I’ve always developed my own quiet time process, but this year decided to give Catherine Martin’s notebook a try. I bought it many years ago and just never used it. I like the structure of it and she’s like a friend whispering encouragement and helpful thoughts throughout the notebook. I think this is a nice resource for people just starting out in quiet time or someone like me who has had a regular time with God for many years, but wanted to get new ideas and a fresh perspective from someone else.

Journal

I’m a natural journal writer and love how writing slows my mind and allows me to listen to the rhythm of my heart. It also allows me to see what God has been teaching me and be nourished through his continued working in my life. The majority of great men and women of the faith are journal writers, because it is a powerful tool for continued growth in Christ. When I go through a spiritual drought the journals from my journey nourish and refresh me to keep journeying deeper with Christ.

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Original Posted on: January 15, 2011 at 23:49
Edited / Updated on: 1/13/2012 at 22:50 

Create a Devotional Plan for 2011 – #1

So often, we rush through life wanting to change, but are too busy to make plans. Life ends up being a whirlwind of busyness without moving toward the better future that we all hope and dream of living.

The most powerful method (that I’ve found) to produce lasting life change  is being strategic about my devotional life. Creating a strategic plan to grow closer to God and become more Christ-like. Christian’s hate to talk like this, because it seems so ungodly to speak of God like an item on a to-do list. Yet, by not adding God time as a must do item it ends up being a rarely do item. God wants us to actively and passionately pursue Him, which means being strategic about our time together. He wants us to desire to know him more and more . . . while becoming more like him each day.

The best way to actively pursue God is to make sure you are spending regular time with Him.

Tip #1: Decide on the amount of time you will give God daily.

Schedule an appointment with God like you would any other VIP. Decide on how much time you’ll spend with God and where you will meet with Him.

Be Prepared, there are going to be days when you ‘really’ don’t feel like waking up early or taking time away from something else to spend time with God (because it doesn’t ‘feel’ productive). That’s normal, but often these are the times when we need God most — and feel refreshed or more at peace afterwards.

The amazing part about spending time with God is that he slowly changes us to be more like Him in the process. It’s not magic, but you’ll soon begin to notice a change in yourself. This will usually be expressed in how you react or don’t react to stressful situations. Other changes may be in your words, your compassion for others, decreased anger or frustrations and a general greater sense of peace and patience.

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