Sunday, July 7, 2013

Time With The Lord

I think spending time in daily Bible reading and prayer is something many moms struggle with. After all, we don't work a 9 to 5 job- there is always something to do or someone tugging at our affections or needing our attention. When we have little ones that beat us out of bed in the morning, it is easy to excuse spending time with the Lord. "Too busy" becomes our mantra.

And we really are busy, aren't we? And we are busy with very important things. But we really do need to spend time doing this most important work of Bible study and prayer. It is work. We need to schedule it into our busy lives. I think that often we feel just a few minutes will suffice. Christian book stores are filled with "5 minute" devotionals. Its so easy to squeeze God into a few minutes a day and think we are spending time with the Lord. Read a chapter, check. Pray, check. But are we really growing in the Lord and learning to apply His Word? Matthew 5: 6 says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." When we are hungry or thirsty, we don't wait too long to fill our bellies or quench our thirst... we get it done! How much more do we need to satisfy the need of our hungry and thirsty souls? I'm afraid too many of us are satisfied to be weak, sickly Christians.

Susanna Wesley (a very busy mother) said "I never spend more time in mere recreation in one day than I spend in private religious devotions." Ouch! I wonder what Mrs. Wesley would say about the time we spend in recreation today-time spent on the internet, facebook, Pinterest, TV, movies, sports, games, the list goes on and on. I wonder how many Christians spend as much time reading their Bibles as they do on social media. Yet most of us make time for that, don't we? This same woman spent several hours praying each day. What a challenge to all of us...

I recently was talking to another mom who struggles with Bible reading. She says she reads mostly the Psalms and Proverbs, everything else is kind of dull. She also said she prefers to read good Christian books. I can understand how this can become a trap. Substitute a good Christian book for God's Word- its much easier to read what someone else says about God's Word. I've been there, I understand. But if God's Word is our guidebook for life (and it is), we have to read it, search it, and apply it- all of it! And we have to do so on a daily basis. Our pastor once said that just like we can't eat one or two days at the beginning of the month and think that that will carry us through the rest of the month, so we can't just read God's Word here and there and expect to be spiritually fed. It simply doesn't work. You cannot know God apart from reading and studying His Word. There is a relationship between our knowledge of God and how we handle life.

I have often read the Bible, put it away, and left wondering what I learned from reading it. My mind can be so easily distracted and I begin to think of all of the things that I need to accomplish before school starts. I have read through the entire Bible many times over, yet I will re-read something and wonder why I didn't recall reading that before. Does that happen to you? It is also easy to think that we will do better in the future (kind of like exercising), but things just continue to stay the same. Life happens and we fail to grow.

It is for these very reasons that I have found it very helpful to do inductive Bible studies. "Inductive" means we use the Bible as the primary source to study to learn about God and what the Bible teaches. I highly recommend study helps by Kay Arthur. Her book entitled "Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days" is a great book to help you get started. She teaches you to use observation, interpretation and application by color coding words and phrases, using cross references and asking questions and writing down the answers. No room for laziness with this method- it is very engaging. This way of studying God's Word has been so exciting for me. I now look forward to reading and studying everyday- and I have trouble putting my Bible and notebooks away when I am done. I have been able to apply God's Word more and find myself meditating on His Word throughout the day. Keeping notebooks filled with what you observe is also a great tool for reviewing what you have learned.

Think of what would happen in the church if we all disciplined ourselves to be godly through diligent Bible study! In Zephaniah 1:12 it says that the Lord was going to punish those who were complacent or stagnant in spirit. In the next chapter Zephaniah called the nation of Israel to seek the Lord, to seek righteousness and humility. Josiah was one of those who listened and turned back to the Lord. This is the same call God issues to us- to leave our complacency and seek Him with wholehearted devotion. Won't you join me in seeking the Lord?

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the reminder.

    Linda D