Every morning when I get up, I try to have 15-20 minutes of quiet time with the Lord. Some times I can get in a little more and some times, I'm lucky if I get 5. My oldest son tends to get up early with me and he loves to talk, and talk, and talk. I have tried to teach him that this is my personal time with God. Some times he's then quiet, but most of the time he's not. Today, though, I was blessed with one of those mornings where the environment was just right so I can get my time with the Lord.
Slightly off topic, but here's the background of what I use for quiet time:
If I have time, I have three Bible studies I follow. I normally follow one of the Bible studies offered by A Virtuous Woman (reviewed earlier). I have finished "From Chaos to Calm" and now am on one called "Spring Cleaning Challenge." It's similar to "From Chaos..." but focuses on how to have the right attitude when it comes to taking care of the home and then gives insight on better ways to get it down efficiently. The second one I follow is a new one by another website that focuses on the Proverbs 31 wife (my hero!) called Proverbs 31 Ministries. I have recently signed up for their daily devotions to be emailed to me. It normally includes scripture, a story, personal applications, and additional verses for memory and encouragement. The third one I follow is a changing one. If you follow me on Facebook, you will see most mornings I post a "31 Days of Praying for Your ______". This month I am praying for my children (in the past I have posted Praying for Your Husband and Praying for Your Pastor). I get these prayers from www.reviveourhearts.com. These are great quick reminders to pray for those I love. On good days, I can read and study all of these before my day begins. Other days I have to get a little bit here and there. Today I was able to get all 3 by 7:15! Super blessed today!
Back on topic
It's amazing when God wants to speak to you, how clearly He makes His voice. All of my Bible studies and last night's sermon from Exodus seem to be saying the same thing to me: Spiritual and Physical maintenance is important. At church, we have been going through, verse by verse, Exodus. It's been a long walk (2 years and almost 5 months), but Joe said it best last night in that it took the Israelites 40 years, so our pace has been decent. Last night's sermon focused on the importance of keeping the Sabbath, and setting it aside for God. Pastor Frank said it best, "When the rest of the world is still running that rat race, God has given us a day to put aside all that work and stress and rest in Him." Sunday isn't just about going to church, eating a big Sunday dinner, and then watching a football game, it's about refreshing our souls and minds. It's a day where we can take a deep breath, bask in His glory, and get prepared to serve Him through the following week. Sunday is our day that God gave us to get some Spiritual Maintenance. I don't even tune up my car that much! How important we are to God that he gives us a day of rest once a week!
This morning's Bible studies were all short, but all had the same idea as the Exodus study: spiritual and physical maintenance. In the "Spring Cleaning Challenge," Melissa stresses how important it is to take the time to go through my house, make a list of all the little things that could use some cleaning, and then start working on them. Through her website, my house is "guest-friendly" most of the time now. I was simply amazed at how clean my sons' room was this morning when I woke J up for school. I continued to be amazed when I walked through the house and noted that there wasn't really anything that needed some super cleaning this morning. As I was prepared to just have a "chill day", her Bible study reminded me that if I let this day go without doing some basic cleaning maintenance, it was all going creep up on me later this week, and I'll be stuck with a messy room/house. I have guests coming over for dinner tonight! Taking a look around the house gave me an opportunity to see that if I can do a little bit of this and that today, my clean house will be completely presentable for guests this evening.
This morning's Proverb's 31 study was perfect. It focused on how good athletes train in the off-season in order to be better than those who didn't when the time came. She compared that to our Spiritual selves. It's easy to be a Christian when things are going well, but not so much when we are faced with challenges (children who don't do what they were raised to do, illness, death, financial problems, etc). She stressed that if we continue to work on our spiritual maintenance in the "off-season" (times when things are going well), we will remember to put our trust in God during our "on-season". How true that is! Those tough times are so much easier to handle when we've been keeping the Lord right by our side during all the times.
And finally, today's prayer for my children was: "Courage -- 'May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions.' (Deut. 31:6)". I know this doesn't seem like a maintenance theme at first, but when this was the last one I read this morning, God made it clear that not only do I need to teach my children about God and how wonderful a relationship with Him can be, but to teach them to keep up with their own Spiritual Maintenance. I pray they will discover the joy of being with Him in the easy times and in the hard times.
So when God speaks, and you are trained to listen, it is amazing how He can provide the right words for the right person at the right times. I'm not sure if he is preparing me for some rough times ahead, but I know that if I can work on maintaining my relationship with Him, those rough times will be a blessing in the end. AND what a reminder to not "take a day off" of cleaning today, but reserve that for the Sabbath. This morning I have been blessed. I hope you will see how He has blessed you too!