I remember the first time I experienced a "quiet time". In Christian circles, a "quiet time" is time alone with God. Most people take this time in the morning, but others use their lunch time or the wee hours of night.
The first time I ever had a quiet time was at a conference for the campus ministry that I now work for. I wasn't a Christian yet, but I remember waking up, having breakfast with my friends from the Christian fellowship, and then everyone scattering to different parts of the conference center to sit by themselves and read the Scripture included in our packets. I remember taking a seat on an old green rocker on the conference center's expansive porch, opening the packet, and not knowing what to do. I read the Scripture passage several times, and was asked a few questions about how this applied to my life and my walk with God. I tried to get it done as quickly as possible, sat there and just stared out at the woods for a few minutes, and then went to find others.
I laugh thinking back at this time, because it's such an evidence of God's work in my heart. My quiet times with the Lord look a lot different now, but I still struggle with the temptation to rush through getting my time in the Word done versus taking time to think about the Lord, talk to Him, and chew on His Word.
I have found devotionals and Bible reading plans to be especially helpful in terms of setting aside this time with God, and making it a priority each morning to be still and listen to what God has to say to my heart and my mind. I'm currently using the She Reads Truth Bible reading plan, and find it encouraging because it comes to my phone every morning. But over the years, I've read a number of great devotionals. I'll share a few with you below, but I wanted to share with you about one in particular. It's a new one called A Spectacle of Glory: God's Light Shining through Me Every Day by Joni Eareckson Tada.
If you're looking for a devotional to remind you of the glory of God, to think about His character, goodness, glory, and beautiful light, this devotional is for you. Joni shares that the purpose of this book is to help people embrace our eternal purpose. As a woman that has been a quadriplegic for fifty years and endured cancer and chronic pain, Joni has a lot to share in terms of choosing to glorify God even in hard life circumstances and suffering.
As I sit down to read this devotional, I am reminded of the glory of God and his purposes as I see others suffer around me and walk through my own suffering, sorrows, and pain. With each day, Jodi gives a Scripture to focus on, a reflection from the passage or verse, and then a prayer to offer up to the Lord. If you're looking for a devotional that helps us to see our purpose in the midst of hard circumstances, this devotional is for you.
Looking for some additional devotional resources? Look no further:
The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Tim Keller
New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp
She Reads Truth
Solid Joys Devotional by John Piper
The Amazon link to the books mentioned above is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and purchase this book, this blog is supported at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting She Laughs Without Fear!
I received Joni's book free for review from Booklookbloggers.com and am happy to share it with you.
March marks three years of writing regularly on this blog, sharing thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and what I'm learning about Jesus. I would be remiss if I did not admit that I wanted to see this blog grow far more than it has. As the blogs of friends around me have grown or as others start new blogs and instantly have a substantial audience, it is easy to fall into the temptation to covet the talents that God has given them and to forget the talent the Lord has entrusted to me. I have fallen into this temptation many times, but repentance has allowed the Lord to show me that there is room at the table.
When I think about a table, I think about meals spent discussing ideas, fellowshipping, and learning from each other. I think of times spent laughing, crying, empathizing, and dreaming together. In many ways this is how I also view a blogging community. It's coming to the table, sharing ideas, learning from each other, and enjoying the fact that we are not alone.
Starting this blog was a mustard seed that was planted in faith, but my hope for it is that it would encourage others, that it would be a place for community and discussion. A way for me to love and care for others through my writing, to write for others, not merely for myself. This is my seat at the table, but my prayer is that there will be more that come to the table, to be a part of the family. (Blogging really is a community thing).
So for the friends around me beginning new blogs and planting mustard seeds of faith, my hope is that you would view your blog as a seat at the table, engage with other bloggers, and share the things that the Lord has given you to offer to the conversation. Don't worry about getting it perfect, saying precisely the right thing, growing a large crowd, making your blog look as attractive as possible, or trying to self-market. You have a welcomed seat at the table. Come, enjoy, and share (and please bring hummus).
If you've ever considered starting a blog or have one already or just enjoy reading about blogging, here are some reads that you might enjoy:
Is Blogging Dead from Lore Ferguson Wilbert at Sayable.net
The HopeWriter's Podcast from a number of bloggers on how to write and blog without losing your soul.
What I Hate About Blogging from Tim Challies. I agree with a lot of what he says in this article. There definitely challenges to blogging.
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