Saturday, September 28, 2013

Need to Escape?

Why? When? Now what?

The last post in this series: Where do you go to escape?

Not many of us walk outside to be surrounded by stunning scenery. I don’t have a backyard full of beautiful blooms, unless a couple struggling rosebushes and a bunch of thriving weeds counts.

But there needs to be some place we go, or something we do to allow our minds to focus on God. A habit, if you will, that helps us to escape the distractions and to be with Him.

One of my good friends hid in the bathroom to escape the kids for so long, that she still goes in there.  

Another friend keeps a folding chair in the closet.

I don’t get a thrill out of sitting in the bathroom and I’m a little too claustrophobic for a closet.

I sit in my bentwood rocker and watch the birds at the feeders outside the window. I don’t usually sit there during the day so it’s become the place I meet God.

It doesn’t have to be a place. When you hold a hot cup of tea and close your eyes, do you feel the distractions of the day begin to fade away? Or it can be a brief devotional that brings your thoughts to God.
The process doesn’t matter, it’s the time with God that matters. Time to tell Him your problems, even yell and scream if you need to. Time to listen to Him tell you He loves you. Time to ask for guidance and to learn from Him.

He is waiting for you, draw aside with Him.

Is there a place you go consistently that’s your quiet place?

Is there something you do that brings your thoughts to Him?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Now What?

Ok, you know you need time with God to make it through the day. You’ve figured out a time, maybe, when you can grab a few minutes.

Now what?

Some of us sit quietly and feel God’s presence.  Some of us need a plan.

I’m a plan kinda girl. I don’t have the discipline to sit with my eyes closed and focus on God. My mind wanders to laundry or to what’s for dinner or a hundred other things.

So, if you only have 10 minutes, how can you focus your prayers? Perhaps a book of brief devotions guides you. Maybe praying a Psalm helps you express what’s on your heart. If you love music, you can speak to Him by singing praise songs. Chose the most meaningful way to connect with God in the few minutes you have.

Maybe, you have more time than most of us. Because I stay home, I have precious time I can spend with God. I’m a detail-oriented person, so He usually speaks to me through Scripture. 
There are so many ways to study Scripture:  
  • Read through the Bible in a year. This is a very structured way to study and it and teaches the discipline of reading every day and draws from the various areas of Scripture every day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well for me because I can't stay on track. If I read a passage that reminds me of a verse somewhere else, off I go. 
  • Word study. With a good concordance, you can search for one word. That’s a good way to meet a specific need. I did a word study on fear during a time of suffering. By the time I’d read, “Be not afraid,” a few dozen times, my faith was stronger. Once, I did one on “but.” That was a strange one. I did learn a lot about myself and my relationship to God.
  • Topical study. This is one of my favorites. I have a Nave’s Topical Bible and I can’t live without it! Choose a characteristic of God that ministers to you in your situation, or a specific need you have, like peace or joy. As you work through this topic, God will pull you closer to Him and assure you of His love.
  • Just start reading. Choose a book you love – Psalms, one of the gospels, one of Paul’s letters – and read it through, applying its truths to your life. Once, when I was particularly doubting my ability as an author, I studied Paul’s letters to Timothy. The encouragement Paul gave to Timothy gave me the courage to keep going. 
There are as many ways to hear from God as there are ears to hear. The most important thing, whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, is to meet with God. He’s waiting for you, eager to surround you with His love. 

What’s your favorite way to meet with God?
How has the way He speaks to you changed in specific situations?
How has the way you relate to Him changed over the years? 

Monday, September 23, 2013


This is the second post on ways to have an effective quiet time. I hate that term because some of us never have any "quiet" time. But it's the only thing I can think of to call it.

If you read Friday's post, I discussed  why it's worth the time and effort to have time with God. You can scan down if you'd like to read that earlier post.

But today we'll look at the question, WHEN?

All the time, I've hear: "You need to have your time with God first thing in the morning." "You need to start your day with God." "You should spend enough time to build a relationship with Him."

I have a good, old-fashioned Christian term for that: Poppycock!

If you have a perfect, consistent schedule, you can do that. Otherwise, sometimes it's catch-as-catch-can.

Is the house already hectic when your feet hit the floor? Toddlers on the go, school kids to haul out of bed and get on their way to school. First thing in the morning - impossible!

A wise woman advised me to use the kid's naptime for myself, rather than to do housework. I stuck to it and used that time for my quiet time. It was the only time of the day I could focus - even for a few minutes.

If you work fulltime, early morning might work, it might not. Some of us can have it in the evening; I fall asleep.

So what's left? Maybe we could carve out a bit of time at lunch. Perhaps a few minutes before we head home?

The point is, your quiet time should be when it's quiet. No formulas, no must-do legalizing.

God wants meaningful time, not duty. A friend, Linda, posted this today and it's so true. "According to Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) even 5 minutes in God's Word will enrich the soul."

Do you have an hour? Fantastic! Do you schedule it at the same time every day? Great! Do you try to focus on Him for 5 minutes, whenever you can grab it? Wonderful!

Give Him what you have, when you have it, and He'll bless you.

Is it hard to find time to visit with God? How have you fit it in?

Do you have a system that works for you? Share it and it might help the rest  of us.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feed the Fire!

Ps 119:105 says God’s Word is a light for our paths. I made the mistake of assuming the light was something God provided—I just walked along, taking advantage of it.

I missed the “God’s Word” part.

God’s Word can’t light my path by osmosis. What happens to a campfire if no one adds a log or some twigs to it? What happens to your gas stove if the gas is shut off? What happens to God’s light in our lives if it’s never fed?

We have to read it, learn it, and apply it. Spend time in it.

That’s the problem, isn’t it? Time: We all run out of it. We all need more of it

I’ve always struggled to have a consistent time set aside for God. I’ve struggled having any time at all!

 My days are so random, how can I ever have a set time?

        I only managed to sit with God three times this week. Why can’t I do better?

Every year I say, “I’m going to read through the Bible this year.” So I start in Genesis—I’ve read Genesis so many times I can quote it. I get bogged down and bored and quit. Do I always have to start at the beginning?

         How can I get my mind to slow down and to be still so I can hear God’s small, still voice?

Over the years, I’ve learned lots of lessons about how to build the discipline of a quiet time. Most important, I’ve learned that this time is so much more than discipline. It’s building a friendship with my Father. It’s finding joy and resting in Him.

Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of the lessons God’s taught me along the way. I pray they will light a spark within you to get to know your Father.

But first, I need some input from you...

Do you desire to spend time with God? What obstacles stand in your way?

When you do spend time with Him, what blessings do you receive?

Monday, September 16, 2013




Wasn’t that a song? Oh. I remember. It was a song from Fiddler on the Roof. How many of you are too young to remember that movie?

 Sunrise: the start of a new day. Light floods the earth almost instantly. One minute, it’s diffuse and grey, the next it’s bright and the air’s charged with energy.

 Sunset: the end of the day. Light seems to slowly soften. The sky fills with purple and orange and silver. You can almost hear the world sigh as it winds down. 

I’m a sunrise kinda girl. When my feet hit the floor in the morning, my mind's already swirling with things I need to do. After the necessary pit-stop, I set to unloading the dishwasher, tidying up the house, starting laundry…

Jann, my sister and our famous Giggles author (check out the Giggles link above if you don’t know what I’m talking about), is just the opposite. She’s a night person. Sunrise comes and she groans. She’d rather bury under the covers. But, at sunset, she perks up and she’s ready to hit the day. About the time I’m collapsing, she’s charging up.

What about God? Well, He’s a sunrise to sunset, and all the hours in between, kinda God. Always awake, always alert. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, He’s on the go. Keeping the universe in order, maintaining the earth’s orbit, giving rain over here and sunshine over there, performing a miracle here and there, and answering a few billion prayers. No naps, no vacations.

But, back to me and Jann. We both want to spend time with God. We both like to start our days with Him. But there’s a little problem: I can’t sit still; she can’t stay awake.

My mind’s a-flittering—I’ll put my Bible down, it will only take a minute to water the plants, or feed the dog, or mail that bill. Then I'll come back.

Jann’s stifling a yawn and fluffing her pillow. She’ll just close her eyes for a minute and “pray.”

The truth is, whether we have time with our Father at sunrise, at sunset, or any time in between, our problem is discipline. We have God’s full attention, we struggle to give Him ours.

Does God care if we meet with Him at sunrise or at sunset? No, He’s always there. For us, it’s always hard, always a sacrifice.

Am I willing to set aside the busyness for a few minutes and focus on Him?
Is Jann willing to set aside her desire for a little more sleep and be alert to His voice?

What about you? Sunrise…Sunset. Whenever time it is, if we sacrifice our wants and chose to spend time with Him, He’ll flood our lives with His light—a light that doesn’t rise or set, it’s 24/7.

What are your struggles as you try to spend time with God?
Encourage us by letting us know how you are able to focus on Him.