Quiet time. Devotion time. Time with the Lord. Bible study time. Regardless what you call it, my hope is that you are doing it. I did not surrender my life to the Lord until November of 2000. Until that year, I had never actually opened a Bible. I had never notably heard of Noah and the ark and I thought Moses was just the guy Charlton Heston played in a movie.
When a co-worker, whom I respected, put a Bible in my young, rebellious hands all I knew to do was read it. And so I did. Right from page one. I mean that’s where you start with any book, right?
Right there in the pages of Genesis is where the Lord opened my eyes to my realization that I am a sinner who has offended the Holy God Creator. There was no hope for me, lest I turn to Him and His completed work on the cross. I realized through the chapters in Genesis that these people it spoke of were dysfunctional, just like me! And if God, in His great mercy could save them, He could save me. So I trusted in Jesus for salvation and surrendered my life to follow Him.
Shortly after my conversion, I began the practice of a daily quiet time. I had a four month old baby and a busy husband, so I certainly had to be intentional to make time for reading the Scriptures and praying. But after 23 years of atheism and living my life on my own accord, I knew I had to press in to this God who knew me more than anyone I had ever known and yet loved me far more deeply.
My practice of time in the word was often started by time in a short devotional book. Even now, twenty years later, I still often open my time this way to focus my wandering thoughts and sleepy mind.
My three (well 4) favorite devotionals are…
- Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It opens with a verse or portion of a verse and gives a short one page essay on the application or depth found there. It never ceases to challenge and convict me.
- Streams in the Desert. This is a sweet devotional which also opens each essay with a verse. This is particularly precious in seasons of spiritual dryness or painful trials. It is where I landed my heart during a painful season in my marriage and again during my Dad’s cancer and passing. It offers realistic hope and encouragement.
- Life-Changing Moments with God. This is my favorite and most unique devotional. I am currently using this one and likely will for a while. This book uses the passages from the morning reading of Daily Light (see #4) turned into prayer to God. It does not add or take away from the Scripture except to turn it into a prayer form. I am not a fan of devotions that are actually the author’s words of prayer. This book is actual Bible words only but in prayer to the Lord. It is such a great way to open my quiet time as I usually read it aloud to the Lord in prayer, sometimes multiple times.
- Daily Light. This is a daily devotional with a morning and evening reading format that each carry a theme. Verses are pulled together under that particular theme and what is on the page is strictly Scripture. It is such a good place to land my mind, especially in the evening. I keep this well worn devotional by my bed and often read it before falling asleep to give my overactive mind something of value to chew on as I go to sleep.
How about you? Do you have a favorite devotional you often return to for refining, sharpening or encouragement? If so, please share in the comments. I am always on the hunt for good, truth-filled devotions to read through.
After my devotional, I then spend time tending the word to my day. If you would like a copy of this simple method for digging into your Bible each day, I am happy to send it directly to your inbox.