Today I started doing my alone time with the Lord differently. This is my time to read my Bible and pray. I call my alone time with the Lord my quiet time (QT). I started calling it that because I heard others call it that. It's really kind of an odd thing to call my alone time with the Lord. It's not really quiet. I pray about loud. Sometimes I sing to the Lord. I desire for God to speak to me. A quiet time almost sounds like punishment; a "stand in the corner" kind of thing. I actually have a friend that calls his alone time with the Lord his loud time. He sings, shouts, and prays with some volume. He said when he started at a new church one time it sort of scared his secretary when she heard him loudly praising God in the other office. Maybe I should have a loud time with Jesus. Or, how about a large time with Jesus? A meaningful time? An awesome time? A profound time? OK, enough with the terminology though I'm open to a new term for this.
The idea is that to grow in a relationship with someone you need to spend time with them. So, I try to start most days by reading my Bible and asking God to speak to me. He's never done that out loud, but I do see things in the Bible that I believe God wants me to know and obey. I think I want Him to speak out loud though it would probably freak me out big-time. I also spend time praying. I pray by praising God, confessing sin, praying for others, and myself. It's often in that order but not always.
For the past year or two, I've been reading a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament. These are picked out by someone other than me which I like. It prevents me from reading my favorite Scriptures all the time or manipulating certain Scriptures on certain days so that I will "feel" like God is saying what I want Him to say. However, I have felt lately that maybe I'm a bit too comfortable in this format and it's time to change.
So, today I started on a Bible study workbook that I've had in mind for a while. So, I've done these kinds of workbooks before, but I've never done this one. So, that's my "first" for today. I've put this one off for a while. Sometimes a relationship can profit by some change. I don't talk to Laura about the same things every day. That'd be weird to have the same conversation every day. That means I should have some variety in my prayer times. Laura and I talk about different things, go different places, and have different experiences. It's helpful for growth. I want to have a relationship with Jesus that really grows.
The real challenge on this one is that this Bible study (and the study books are ways to get God's word in me; not replace Bible study) is pretty strong and it's really designed to do with a small group. I'll probably do a week or two and see if it is helping me connect deeper with the Lord. If so, I may try to find another guy or two that wants to do it with me. If that goes well, I may use it in some small group settings. It's stronger than most I've done before. For starters, it's about 24 weeks. The exciting thing is that usually means more growth. It also means that it is usually harder to find people that want to journey along with you.
Hopefully, this variety will lead to more and deeper growth in Christ. Feel free to ask the Lord if it is time for you to have some variety in your relationship with God.
Looking to grow in the abundant life
3 things I thank God for
1. Past small groups that I've been a part of
2. Henry Blackaby who has written a number of helpful studies I've done (he's not the author of the one I'm starting now)
3. Glasses that help me see