Monday, May 25, 2015

WOG Feature: Gretchen Saffles: Quiet Times

Article written by Gretchen S. from LLB:
Early in my high school years when I was learning what "Give Me Jesus" really meant, I made a decision to start having time with Jesus each day. I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school for most of my life. Even with that kind of upbringing, I struggled to see how losing sleep in the mornings to read God’s Word would truly benefit me. I would have had to wake up around 5:45 AM to have time in God’s Word before heading to school at 7:00 (which is crazy early for a high school student!). I remember getting home late one evening from school and realizing that I would only get a few hours of sleep if I woke up at 5:45 to have my quiet time. I prayed and asked God to wake me up and left it at that.
The next morning, at 5:40, I sprang up out of bed. I remember looking at the clock and smiling as the Lord whispered to me that He longs to spend time with me and would give me the extra strength I needed to make it through the day. I don’t remember the exact date of that morning, but it changed me. The Lord used it to show me three things:
  1. He will replace the sleep I miss with His own strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
  2. He desires we meet with Him secretly before we meet with the world.
  3. The way I spend the first moments of the morning affects the rest of my day.
These three truths have proved true in my desire to spend time alone with the Lord daily. He will give me the strength I need (even when it means less sleep), He desires to meet with me and tell me “great and unsearchable things I did not know” (Jeremiah 33:3), and these moments affect there rest of my day. The same is true for you! You must learn this personally and privately as your seek to know God through His Word! The enemy will do everything to distract you from the necessity of being in God’s Word each day, but once we have tasted and seen God’s goodness in His Word, there is no turning back. No other will satisfy the hunger in our hearts.
Each day, my quiet time routine changes, mainly because my schedule changes with each season of life. I say this because there is no secret or exact layout for having a quiet time in Scripture. There is no hour that is better than another. Generally, I rise before dawn when the sun is still hiding and about to wake up the world (my favorite moment of the day!). This is usually between 6:30-7:30. The night before, either my husband or I will set up our coffee pot to turn on about 6:00 so it is ready when we come downstairs. I have loved this in the mornings! Having prepared the night before sets me up for waking up early. I will make a cup of coffee and go sit in my usual spot on our green couch. One rule I have made and God has been gracious to help me implement is not to have my phone with me when I open up His Word. This is a daily choice I have to make and I don’t always succeed. Just the presence of my phone sitting near me is distracting and I want to make sure our time is holy and set apart from the distractions of the world. So I will either leave it in our room or in the kitchen.
I keep my Bible and any devotionals I am reading next to the couch, ready for me to open each morning. I have made it a habit to read from the Bible first before any devotionals so I don’t substitute the Word’s of God for the words of man. Usually, I go through books of the Bible at a time. Later in the series we will go through a breakdown of how ways to study Scripture. This is the main portion of my quiet time - studying, gleaning, praying, asking, seeking, knocking and finding. Some days I feel like I’ve found a pot of gold, others I find a small gem. Nonetheless, all mornings I spend with the Lord are the most valuable times of my day.

TEN MINUTE CHALLENGE

How I spend my mornings affects how I spend the rest of my day. With this, I have learned that I cannot spend time on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or Facebook before spending time in Scripture. This used to be a habit that took a lot of my time and stole a lot of joy. Satan used it to distract my heart and redirect it toward myself and the world rather than Christ. For a while, I had to delete social media from my phone to get rid of the temptation. How I spend the first ten minutes of my day affects the rest of the day. If I hit snooze 5 times, I have already lost precious moments alone in the Word. If I immediately check emails or Instagram, I am usually struck with an urgency to work or even worldly insecurities. If I scroll through Facebook, I waste time and feel distracted. But if I turn the alarm off and walk downstairs, my heart is focused and ready to spend time with Jesus.
Scripture Challenge _LLB
One challenge I have for you is to evaluate the first ten minutes of your day. How we spend our morning moments affects the following hours. There is something precious and important about focusing first on Jesus so our schedules revolve around Him. 
You will never leave hungry after spending time in Scripture with Jesus. You will never be disappointed by His Word. That is a guarantee. A quiet time is more than an Instagram opportunity, it is a holy moment of communing with God. Spend time in the secret with the Lord each day and commit your first ten minutes to Him. He is worthy of the first, worthy of the last, and worthy of every moment in between.
I would love to hear from you! When do you have your quiet times?

2 comments:

  1. Yes i had and i sometimes still have this problem, but for God's mercy im still overcoming this.God bless you Jas for your words.
    Love,
    Ruth N.

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    Replies
    1. I do too, but remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth us! I struggle most with not rushing my time with God. With His help, we WILL overcome! Thank you for commenting, sister Ruthi! Love you!
      (ps the lady from LLB wrote this! I wish I could write something this beautiful!)

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