Monday, April 21, 2008

Making your home a Haven: Chapter 1 Finding a Quiet Place

The Bible is so clear about the importance of prayer and spending time with the Lord. It is vitally important that we approach everything in our lives from that perspective. Home management is a big job and I could not complete it without the Lords help and intervention!

1. Share a time when you experienced the power of prayer in your life or another person's life? A friend (not Kim Maass) and I were praying about a woman at her husband's job who my friend perceived as flirting with the husband. We fervently prayed together and apart about the woman and her relationship with my friends husband. The woman was fired within 2 weeks! NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!

2. What obstacles have you faced when trying to establish and keep a regular quiet time with God? What could you do to overcome these obstacles? The biggest obstacle for me is the children! My youngest is 2 and she is just now able to sit beside me and play quietly while I finish my Quiet time . But once the kids are up the day is on and they do not let me sit and get deep into the word or prayer! What I had to do was get out of bed earlier and sacrifice sleep! In 2 Samuel 24:24 the Lord reveals to us that we are not sacrificing to the Lord if it costs us nothing, sleep is very important to me and to give it up it has to be important! I have been getting up at 6:30and I am moving it back to 6:15 and my goal is to get up by 6:00 a.m. that is about 1 1/2-2 hours earlier then the kids (see proverbs 31:15) and just before my husband.

3. Read Matthew 6:33.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these
things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33
Why should we seek God first? What benefits are derived from obedience to this command? Show God love, we'll be treasured possessions (Exodus 19:5), looked up with favor (Leviticus 26:9) and earn a lasting crown! This is the thing if I want to give you something to make you happy, but I do not really know you (I just see you on Sundays), never talk to you (More than just to say Hi!)& don't ask you what you like (Don't call you on the phone or have you to dinner), what are chances I am going to pick the right thing for you?? IF we only see God on Sunday and during the week we never say more then "Hi" and we do not pick up His word how can we possibly know how to make him Happy?
How can we specifically & practically make this a habit in our everyday lives? I think by reading and memorizing scripture we will a)know what he wants b) be able to communicate clearly to our children what he wants c) take off what he does not want and put on what he wants us to wear (for example take off worry and put on thanksgiving)

4 Read John 15:5
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
What is Jesus saying to believers with this verse? How does this apply to our ministry at home?
To me this means that in order to have a fruitful ministry at home we have to be in the Him. In church, the word, prayer...just walking daily with Him and seeking his instructions in everything we do. Between this book group and Her Hands I am look closely at what I do as a wife, mom & sister in Christ. Sometimes its so smooth and other times I wonder how could I have been so foolish. I can frankly track it down to time I spent with Him. If I wake up late a couple days in a row or have a short or truncated quiet time I can see a difference and I can feel the separation. It's amazing.

5. How do you develop intimacy with another person? How do you develop intimacy with God? I love this question because it is so simple yet so shocking. If I only spoke to Kim Maass 1X week we would not be best friends, I would not know her favorite color is blue, but she hates country blue, that she loves to take beautiful photographs of her yard (okay it's 100 acres of farmland, cattle, barns & cowboys!), that she collects country crocks (tan nothing cutesy on them) , she's taken my kids to the doctors and been able to fill out all that new doctor paperwork without batting an eye on my kids and also that she never reads my blog.... We spend TIME together in person (they come to our house every Sunday because its much closer then going 1 hour back to their house), on the phone (we have to limit our conversations so as not to interfere with our families!), over e-mail (quick notes so we don't forget to tell the little details but can't risk a 15 minute phone call....lols) etc... We need to do the same thing with God to develop intimacy with Him. (I decided to write about Kim instead of Wayne so I could keep it G rated for the singles...lols)

6. Have you used a journal to pray? Yes. If so, would you share your experience? I am able to keep track of what I want to pray for, what I am praying for and the verses I have been using. But you must avoid "formula" prayers but it keeps my prayer life organized. How might journaling facilitate concentrated prayer? When I am having rough quiet times I do write to keep me focused, I have enjoyed going back to review the prayers and seeing what has happened in the meantime!

The balance of this post is generally covering questions 7-10

Now on Heather had a post on her blog about quiet time and I am going to post the comments that she got regarding how folks do their quiet times. But just quickly let tell you how the Bible says we should do our quiet times.....nope no such look this is a relationship thing just like a marriage they all look a little different!

Hendrick Family said...
Great questions.I've asked a few others to respond as they get a chance.For me...I grab my coffee, sit down and start reading.Sometimes, I just like to read entire books of the Bible in large lumps. I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour reading in the morning, which means, can cover huge sections of individual books in that amount of time.Other times, I will come up to a particular passage...and I will see how I need to grow in that area to be more like Jesus...or sometimes, ANYTHING like Jesus! So, I'll take that passage and circle key words. For instance...Colossians 3:12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.I'll take that passage and look up all the main words. Chosen. What does that mean? Where else is that word used in the Bible?What does holy mean?Where else is it used?What about compassion? I go on and on. This passage took me about a month to get through looking up all the main words.I don't have a "stop and pray time" at the end...but man, I feel like, through out the Bible Study time, I have to stop and ask God for more grace...confessing that my life does not look like scripture says God wants it to look.We pray together as a family during Bible Study every day with the that's more of the time when I'm asking God for things that have nothing really to do with me...mainly intercession for others.I used to do Bible Studies a lot, but now, I just read the Bible most of the time.I find, when I come to scripture with a heart that says, "Search me the areas that need me..." I don't get far before something hits me hard, or even encourages me tremendously, because I can see what God has done to change me.I love using Biblegateway to look up verses and words in other translations.I also use it to help me take one word and do a study, looking up that word everywhere it appears in the Bible.For those of you who have taken Living by the Book...what Bible Dictionary do they recommend? Is there an online one that is best?Heather
1:12 PM
texasmcvays said...
Great Post...God layed this same topic on my heart the other night after several surprising conversations with friends. So I am a little long winded on this matter...The following information is a response to Heather's e-mail requesting we discuss what we do for our quiet time so here it goes. First, of all this has not always been but God willing it will always be. This has been an outgrowth of my desire to know Him, not to know there's a God. But to know Him in my heart, personally through his word and to hear, see and know his voice.I have to get up by 6:45 a.m. (I am not that kind of a morning person!) to complete my quiet time before my people wake up and need me....1. Read through the Bible Yearly: I read through the Bible each year (I keep track of the chapters I've already read) so that's about 15 minutes (I read whatever chapter God leads me to. Right now that's Judges before that I was in Psalms). In Judges God has been showing me the importance of driving out all sin. Using the Israelites as an example when they were told to conquer a kingdom and get rid of everyone there, they didn't. They let some of the folks stay and the Israelites quickly started worshiping those peoples false Gods! Basically, sin is like yeast in bread it only takes a little bit to infect all of the dough!2. Study & Read: I read a chapter or two elsewhere, also where ever God leads me. Sometimes I need to read about pride, anger, compassion etc...Right now I'm in Proverbs; God knows where I'll be tomorrow. Too much in Proverbs for me to write a quick synopsis. Let’s just say Proverbs lets you know it's important to stay on His path and to know what & where that path is. During this time I spend time studying the word in depth looking for connections etc... TAKE LIVING BY THE BOOK FOR DETAILS!3. Write&Meditate: I write down a verse or two from what I've read that I feel God wants me to think about all day (this goes in my prayer journal). I figure by the end of the year I will have copied at least 365 verses! I keep index cards in my Bible because some of those verses become memory verses. If you've been to my casa you'll find them taped to the kitchen window, bathroom mirrors, inside of kitchen doors (I need a lot of help with I've also taken to collecting scripture art because it helps me to meditate on the word!4. Prayer Journal: I keep a prayer journal. I have specific prayers for my family. I usually try to pray specific verses for them like "don’t let their feet rush into sin...." that address their specific issues. I pray for my family every day. I pray for other things on specific days basically Mon/Wd/Fri- HOPE GROUP/Deacon Families, Salvation list or Tu-Th missionaries, America, friends (this is why you may see me scribbling things down in the hallway I do not want to forget I want to be faithful to pray for you, to stand in the gap, often I will pray for you/with you right then), illness (my days may be off but this is how I do it). I had to break it up and write it down due to the number of folks I want to pray for consistently. Now in looking at this I realize I do not pray for LHBC staff so that will be added for Sat/Sun. I also write down specifically what God is saying to me that day in what I've read. I review these periodically at night to see if I am being hard headed and he has to repeat himself. I am trying to avoid Him having to hit me upside the head with a 2X4! 5. Memorize Scripture: I am still working on this discipline! I try to take 2-3 verses a week and hide them in my heart.My favorite story about prayer in the Bible is when Daniel (9:20-...) was praying to God and he had not even finished his prayer and an angel appeared to him and said "I have come to give you insight and understanding..." here is the answer to your prayer...WOW... WOW...I'm crying right now because I want that kind of prayer life! I want the kind of prayer life in which God sends his angels to answer the prayers that I am in the process of praying. I'm not special I'm just Wayne's wife and my girls mom. But I am a woman who like Samson wants "the Spirit of the Lord to come upon [her] in power". The same power that resurrected Jesus! In Henry Blackaby's book ‘Holiness’ he said:” To have a renewed prayer life requires a simple matter of personal choice. Your life is a product of choices you have made."I’m really looking forward to seeing what ever one else does in their quiet time.By the way Heather you rock, like Anna on the steps girlfriend!
2:04 PM
Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...
I am also responding to Heather's email about my quiet time.I love to read through books of the Bible and write down key scriptures that speak to me and reading through the whole book helps you to remember where they are.I also love to pick out certain words and study all the places they are in the Bible. Right now I am on the heart (hence my Psalm 119 post) I will also look through words like honor, loyal, compassion. It is so fascinating to look up all these passages (either while I am reading or on Biblegateway) and see how God uses the same phrases over and over...He does not change!!I usually end my time in the morning with prayer over what God has shown me for myself or others.I journal a lot. It is so great to go back and look over what I have learned and where God has taken me.I also have scripture posted throughout the house. It is for myself and for the boys.Scripture memorization is usually the verses that I am reading through in particular books of the Bible. Honestly, I have memorized a lot scriptures through the boys AWANA books. I use those for their devotionals in the morning. It is great now that Michael is in Truth and Training because each section is on a particular subject.I hope this helps. I love weveryone sharing.>2:44 PM
The Mosiers said...
God has really grown/been growing me in this area over the past several months or so. This is still sometimes a struggle for me so I would love any encouragement and accountability in this area. Since being married I've really seen how me having or not having a quiet time in the morning affects someone other than just myself. Just ask Matt and I'm sure he can tell you the difference in my attitude. The days I wake up and spend time with the Lord first, I am a much more joyful and loving person/wife the rest of they day. For me I grab coffee then start reading. I always start with prayer to clear my mind and prepare. I read through/study different books at a time and sometimes will read several chapters and other times will read and study only a few verses because God really laid them on my heart as areas I really need help in. This looks different every day and depending on what I am learning at that time in my life. I recently started journaling again and that has been great also. However I do not journal every single day just mainly when I am doing word studies and such.I use Biblegateway to do word studies and look at different versions. I also like to take passages of scripture (especially psalms), read them then paraphrase the passage in my own words. This has really been great because in doing this I truly study the passage by searching for definitions and figuring out what God is trying to say to me.I don't really have a specific prayer time at the end, like Heather I stop and pray several times during my reading. My husband and I have a specific prayer time in the evenings where it is not about me, but intercession for others. Sleep can definitely still be an idol for me some days, but God is growing me so much. Most days I look forward to getting up and spending time with Him. I have come so far this past year and I know God's not done. I've been feeling that the past couple of weeks that I've needed/wanted to go longer in my time but couldn't because of needing to get ready. So I feel that maybe soon God may ask me to get up even earlier, which is tough but I can't wait to see how God will use this. In 1 John it talks about how in obeying God we love God. So by my obedience to Him in getting up every morning I am showing Him that I love Him. Honestly I just like to think of it as getting up and having coffee with my best friend.
3:32 PM
Anonymous said...
Responding to Heather's request:I can't believe how similar mine and Heather's are! I've never even talked to her about this as far as I remember.I have been through many different seasons of my life now, pregnant, having newborns, having toddlers and newborns, having four kids under the age of six, a 6 year break between the birth of one and the arrival of our first foster baby, the arrival of that baby's 2 year old sister, and the arrival of the latest newborn 9 months ago. That particular newborn didn't sleep through the night until about 3 weeks ago! Bible study time and the way it looks has changed about that many times. Currently, I get up around 7 a.m. and I have a Coke Zero - no coffee - and read. I most often read huge chunks of one book of the Bible at a time, until I finish that book. Typically, I go on to the next book, unless God has shown me something in particular that I need to study elsewhere. I just finished reading Joshua again and have moved on to Judges. I've read them before, but there is always something new to learn. When I have a semester of Excellent Wife going on, I read a portion of our chapter each day and either study in depth the verses it refers to or God shows me something totally new and I take off on that tangent. I also use Bible Gateway online so that I can look up key words and look in various translations. I don't own a copy of The Message, but I can look it up on Bible Gateway, which I often do. I use a Holman Bible Dictionary that we bought years ago and I love it. It shows photos of many of the entries, which is perfect for me, and gives me all the background info that I love. I can look up specific words, people, places, etc. The Bible Dictionaries are expensive, but worth it if you can possibly start saving to buy one. I credit the course Living by the Book with opening my eyes to the amazing depth of the Word. If you take that class - and if you are a member of LH, you are supposed to -don't expect a class full of laughter and fun. Expect to work hard and learn more than you could ever imagine. You will get out of it what you put into it. Also, I don't know if I am ADD or what, but when I sit down for prayer, I am much more focused if I physically write out my prayer. I know that may sound crazy, but I found that it works for me and I am amazed how much time has gone by when I stop and look up. I don't worry about handwriting. I write as fast as I can to keep up with my thoughts. When the notebook is full, I throw it away. Otherwise, I would have stacks upon stacks. The amount of time I have each day depends on which child rises first and at what time. The older kids can tend to themselves for a bit, but if it's the little ones, my time is over for that moment. I read at night as well. I used to use a read-through-the-Bible in a year schedule, found online. Those are great, because you read just a little Old Testament, a little New Testament, and a little out of either Psalms or Proverbs each day. That helps when you hit those books like NUMBERS, where you think you're going to go insane reading those lists of people AND it helps you see the correlation of events in the Old and New Testaments.Melodi
8:51 PM
The Kramer Family said...
The Lord is growing me in the area so much right now. As in.....these passed few weeks. I'm a perfectionist by nature. My tendency is to want to know everything there is to know about something immediately. The Lord was quick to show me that this was my view of bible study and relating to Him. At first the bible seemed so overwhelming to me. I wanted to know everything about Him immediately. But, really. How ridiculous is that thinking? Do I view other relationships with people that way? No. Learning about my husband was/is a process. Learning about my children....same thing- a process. Friends......same thing. Every relationship is a process.The Lord sweetly showed this to me. If I am faithful in reading His word, He is faithful to reveal another glimpse of who He is to me. It just works that way. He WANTS us to know Him. He is not hiding from us. He is right there waiting for us to pick up His word or talk to Him. We are the ones who try and hide our face from Him. When I wake up- coffee and then straight to my bible. I find that if I do anything else, it is easy for me to be distracted and then I might miss this time with Him. I spend about 30 minutes to an hour reading His word. My time with Him is very similar to what Heather was talking about. I like to read through the bible and pray as I go over certain scriptures, or do a word study on a certain word or sin that I'm struggling with, or camp out in a certain book or chapter that I need clarity on. I wish I could say that I know more about the historical things going on in the different chapters of the bible, but I don't. Side note: where do you even learn that stuff anyways? I don't think I'm called to go to bible college, so really, where?Living By the Book is an excellent tool that will show you how to study God's word. It changed the way I studied and looked at scripture.But, in all honesty. I don't think there is an exact way that everyone studies scripture other than letting the Holy Spirit be your tour guide. If you rely on that instead of your own intellect, you will always walk away gaining wisdom, insight, and understanding.I do like what Kyle said about having a prayer journal. I think we sometimes throw the "I'll be praying for you" phrase around so flippantly. If we could just jot it down, or even better, do it right there on the spot, we would not forget! Throughout the day, I find that when I am beginning the day with focused time with the Lord, I am more in tune with hearing His voice throughout the day in regards to prayer. He will bring a person to mind and instead of thinking 'Wow, that is random. Why am I thinking of them or that?' I will instead pray for them as viewing that as a prompt by the Holy Spirit. Some scripture that I use to remind me of His promises are,"Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:8"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5Lyns
9:39 PM
lisasmith said...
I wanted to add to some of the great comments here. My quiet time, NOW, looks much like what Heather's and others describe. When I first started a daily time in the Word, I used many studies and books to guide me. Now I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation stopping where God leads me to stop, meditate and go into deeper study. When I was in college and even high school, I would cry out to the Lord to help me understand The Bible and love to read it. I certainly could read out of obedience but I wanted to love it, feel it, need it with passion! For many, many years, my main goal of the day to open The Bible and read something, anything, for any amount of time.After many years of praying this prayer and reading out of obedience, I noticed I was spending more and more time in the Word. It was a process of cultivating and happened over many, many years.The biggest turning point in this process was when I went to a ladies retreat and heard a woman speak who really, really, really loved God's Word. As she spoke, her words were filled with so much Scripture, passion and emotion, I wept. This woman was literally saved and entered into a saving relationship with Jesus by reading The Bible beginning to end by herself as God drew her. After she spoke I literally ran to her and asked her to pray for me. I asked her to lay hands on me and ask God to give me that kind of love and desire for His Word. Shortly after this prayer time the Lord showed me I needed to repent for not loving His Word passionately like I desired to. Somehow, in a way I still can't fully explain, He showed me this was sin. I believed I didn't love His Word when Jesus IS The Word and I certainly love Jesus...strange how the enemy can get us to believe silly lies. Anyway, after this God opened my eyes to the beautiful treasures in His Word. I have become intimately acquainted with the people, stories and teaching and my life has been radically and obviously transformed.Practically speaking, I carry a Bible everywhere. There is always one on my kitchen counter, bedside table, the bathroom, by my chair in the play room and in my car. I carry one to doctor's appointments to read instead of magazines in the waiting room and carry one to read in lines at car pool and drive throughs. I write out every verse that resonates in my soul in my journal so I can go back and find it quickly and this also helps with memorization. Bible Gateway is always open on my computer.So, all that to say, let's pray for one another that God would bless our obedience with passion for and revelation of Scripture as we read! I just wanted to encourage anyone who read this and thought they would never be able to sit and read The Bible and love doing it more than anything else they do...God will give us the desires of our heart!

Finally I am going to direct you to Heather's blog post on quiet times that if you have not read yet, I really encourage you to read now.

I will try to get the next post up within two weeks I am so sorry this 2nd edition of MHH took so long to post..geesh.

So please let me know....Do you use a journal, do you have a regular quiet time, how is your quiet time and what do you do to pursue a relationship with the Lord?

The Mrs...


Lisa Smith said...

Random ? How do you link to a post?
I was just thinking the other day how much I enjoyed this Bible Study...maybe I'll have to dig it out for review! Thanks.
Second, I love the post about the wall. You're so cool and I miss you!

Kathryn, Michael and Alex said...

Such good stuff.

I am also putting myself out there for your practicing hospitality this summer. We really want to spend a day in the country!!

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