Each week I have been giving us homework like: Finding out what surrendering the next 10% of your life would look like and do it, writing out all the things that make you anxious and what you are so afraid of and then giving those to Jesus, and then this past Sunday I gave everyone a diagram to plot the influences in our lives from green light (let it into your heart) to red (cut it out of your life).
See, I am convinced that just sitting and listening to a message doesn't change anyone. God might use it to convict, correct, challenge, or encourage us but that doesn't do anything for us unless we take a next step and apply it! YOU and ONLY YOU can take responsibility for your spiritual growth.
So, as I was thinking about this series and all the practical things we have been talking about to increase our joy one more thing came to mind. I need to blog about how to have a quiet time. No, that is not like a punishment from when you were a kid. This is a regular time where you get still, and get alone, and learn how to surrender your life to our Heavenly Father.
Here are some quick basics from my own quiet time:
- I start off by reading a chapter OR LESS of the Bible, God's Word, His love letter to you and me. If you don't have any idea where to start choose a reading plane from HERE. This will take you to our next steps page on our church website. Look about 1/2 way down the page for "Reading Your Bible".
- Have a pen and highlighter with you as you read and mark up your Bible (yes that is OK) with anything that jumps out at you or a thought or prayer you might have.
- Then go back and pick one of those things you marked (a verse or line) as something to journal. Get a journal and ask 3 questions of what you read and marked: (1) What is the main thought, (2) What is God saying to me, (3) How can I apply this?
- Now it is time to spend a few minutes praying. You want to make sure you have a balanced prayer life so use a tool like this: Praise (thank God for who He is and what He has done) Purpose (pray that His will be done) Pardon (confess your sins and thank Him for His forgiveness) People (pray for others, friends, family, leaders in your life) Petition (here is where you bring your list of things you want and need).
- AND MOST IMPORTANT... stop long enough now to let Him speak to you. God wants to speak to us if we are willing to be still and wait on Him.
So, if you want more joy in your life then it means you will have to surrender more of your life to God. A daily quiet time is the best way I know how to do that!
I would love to hear your stories... e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org