Quiet Time

I’ve never cared for the phrase “quiet time” in reference to my time spent with God. It seemed, somehow, to cheapen that time, to make it less than it really is.

I’ve changed my mind. No real surprise there; it happens.

“Quiet Time” is, actually, the perfect phrase for what I need the most. When I come to meet with God, it is imperative that I shut out the world and, more importantly, shut out the intrusive thoughts that try to interfere with our meeting. This recent revelation is very much like the one I had before writing “Sacrifice of Praise.” God wants my complete attention, and for Him to have it I need quiet. Yes, literal quiet is bliss, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here.

I can’t simply snatch a few moments out of my day and say, “Here, God, these are yours!” True, He and I are talking all day long, but that’s not the same thing. Just like it’s unhealthy (emotionally as well as physically) to eat every meal on the run, it’s spiritually unhealthy to try to develop my relationship with God constantly on the run. We need to sit down together, really dig into the conversations He wants to have while my eyes and heart are focused totally on Him.

So I set aside time. I reserve time for Him and do my best to let nothing interfere with it. In my case, it really is best when I do this first thing in the morning because the “noise” gets so loud later in the day that it grows increasingly difficult to stop what I’m doing, drop all my cares to the floor, and meet Him with a quiet spirit. When I meet with Him first thing in the morning, it also sets the stage for a totally different day. I can literally feel the difference as I drive to work on those days I fail to truly sit down and spend time with Him.

What triggered these thoughts? It’s something Priscilla Shirer says in her devotional, Awaken (which I reviewed here). On Day 27, she shares about what she calls “Sabbath margin.”

“It is the Spirit-empowered choice to cease striving and enjoy our God. It is the margin that reminds us He is in full control. It is the peace that comes in the midst of all that whirlwind and flurry of activity. Sabbath is what beats our lives into submission, giving us the breathing room for getting our sanity back. We cannot afford to neglect the Sabbath principle.”

Priscilla Shirer, Awaken, 2017

Sabbath is about rest. It is about getting quiet and focusing on the eternally important rather than the temporarily pressing. So… Quiet spirit, quiet atmosphere (Thank God I actually have that now!), quiet thoughts… Quiet Time. I get it.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

What Do You Have in the House?

In II Kings 4, a widow approached Elisha for help and he asked her an odd question, “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” All she had was a jar of oil, but God used that jar of oil to work a mighty miracle. We humans tend to overlook what God has already given us, considering it to be “not enough.” Her oil was definitely not enough – until God touched it.

If you read yesterday’s review of Priscilla Shirer’s devotional, Awaken, it shouldn’t surprise you that the following thoughts were triggered by Day 2. And of course I had to apply them to me.

Experiencing the Bible is my jar. The oil is the gift of words and my joy in them (especially my joy in THE Word).

I’d begun a much simpler version of the book years ago. I kept putting it down, and God kept bringing me back to it. This year, I finally finished and published it. I asked God about marketing, but He told me not to worry about it. The point, at that time, truly was obedience.

Then, on October 1st, my husband passed away, taking his income with him, and suddenly I was the widow going to God saying, “I can’t do this on my own. I have to have Your help!” He pointed to the “jar on the shelf” and told me to get started. He has truly been my ever-present help in recent months, supplying my needs in consistently miraculous ways, but He’s also kept me moving forward with a vision that has grown far beyond anything I’d imagined.

In the midst of this my son, who owns Pixel Drip Studio, offered to create a full website to replace this simple blog. That started a conversation, and plans, and ideas that triggered a lot of action. So here I am, pouring out the oil. To the print book, I added first an ebook and then a journal. I’m already looking to the next book…actually, the next two. I’m also studying marketing, newsletters, social media and more.

God gives us all gifts, talents, and abilities, providing us with “jars of oil.” Then it’s up to us to pour out the oil and sell it for a profit. It took the widow time, effort, and humility to go borrow all those vessels from her neighbors and then fill them. Too, it generally requires the help of others, both her neighbors and her son in her case, and my son…both of them actually…in mine.

It can also take walking in obedience in advance. Had I not finished Experiencing the Bible when God told me to, it wouldn’t have been sitting on the shelf when I needed it.

So I’ll repeat Priscilla’s question from Day 2. What are some of the “jars of oil” you might be overlooking right now that He’s already provided?

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Awaken by Priscilla Shirer

I’ve done a few of Priscilla Shirer’s Bible studies through the years, so when I received this book as a gift I knew I’d been given gold. When I saw it was a 90-day devotional, I dug right in, and after only two days I knew I had to share.

Who is Priscilla Shirer? Well, the bit of information that caught my attention when we began that first Bible study was that she is Tony Evans’ daughter. She is much more, but having known of his ministry for years I felt confident I could trust her and was pretty sure I would enjoy her teaching. I was right.

As well as being a focused wife and mother, Shirer has been in full-time ministry for decades. She’s written books and Bible studies, speaks all over the place, and runs Going Beyond Ministries with her husband. She’s got the spiritual goods.

So… Awaken

The book starts with a two-page introduction. I realize most readers skip the introduction. Don’t. It’ll only take a few minutes to read, and will help prepare you for what’s coming. One of my favorite sentences in this section is, “The majority of what you’ll encounter here are personal whispers from God’s Spirit to my own over the last decade.” This is one of the things I value most about her in all of her works. She speaks to us what He has spoken to her. The adventure, the journey, is real.

After the introduction, you head straight into Day 1, which hits you right in the heart in a good way. She likens our need for God, for all He has to offer, to the Israelites’ need to gather manna first thing in the morning before the sun came along to burn it all off.

It took even less time to read this devotion than it did the intro, but I’m still thinking about it. This is a parallel I’d never considered, and there’s a lot to unpack. In other words, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. It made me think and keep thinking.

After each devotion, you’ll find two more pages set aside just for you. Entitled “He Speaks to Me,” this section gives you the chance to answer a question, to see how what she has shared applies to your life. I encourage you to really think about your answer and take the time to write it down in the journal space she’s provided. You may not be comfortable recording your thoughts in this way, but I’d like you to remember two things.

  1. This is your book. No one else needs to see it, so it’s a safe place.
  2. There are probably many times in the past that God has shown you exciting, even astounding, things but you forgot them. (Or is that only me?) Recording triggers remembering.

The book is a 90-day devotional. That’s only a 3-month commitment if you do it every day. And if you choose not to do it daily? Well, I certainly won’t judge you. I will say, however, that I’m sure you’ll gain something every time you choose to dive in. I have, and I’ve only just finished Day 2.

So why didn’t I wait until I’ve done more before writing this review? Two reasons. I “know” Priscilla Shirer, and am confident in her consistency. Also, it’s December 29th, which gives you time to grab a copy for yourself and start on January 1. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year than to focus on getting ever closer to God.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C