I am continually reminded of the importance of spending daily quiet time with the Lord.  I am so thankful for God’s Word and for the ability to communicate with Him directly in prayer!  With that being said, however, I have a confession to make.  If I’m not in the middle of a trial, I have to proactively plan to schedule that daily quiet time.  You would think by God calling me into ministry that this would be a natural desire for me, but I have to admit it isn’t.  I have found that at times in my life when things are going smoothly, it is easy to think that things are well under control.  In other words, I’m thinking I’ve got this life handled on my own.  God has allowed challenging times in my life to draw me to Himself.  It has been at those times of confusion and desperation where I feel the urgency to plead for wisdom, help, and comfort from the Lord.  It is at those moments where I’m broken when He gets my utmost attention and I am reminded of the necessity to surrender my life and will to His.  Those times have highlighted the need to spend consistent time with the Lord during both the storms of life and the calm.
Why is quiet time so important?                               
1. God guides us through His Word!                            
Psalm 119:105 (ESV): “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
2. If we will obey His Word, it will help us in our battle against sin!                                                  
Psalm 119:11 (ESV): “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
3. Communication with the Savior brings peace!                                                                               
John 14:27 (ESV): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
4. Consistent communication is vital in every healthy, growing relationship!
If you are struggling in this area, I would like to encourage you to make a plan and then act on it!  I know for most of us that life is extremely busy year-round.  I also know that summer is an easy time to fall out of this important practice.  With the distraction of baseball games, beaches, family picnics, vacations, etc., it is easy to lose focus.  None of those things in and of themselves are bad (or sinful), but they can take our focus off the Lord if we allow them to.
If finding that time seems to be a struggle for you, I would like to offer some suggestions.          
1. Commit to consistent, daily quiet time for at least the next 30 days.                                                  
2. Select a time of day and location that works best for you.                                                                   
3. Pick up a quiet time resource at the church, online, or at a local bookstore.                                 
4. Enjoy reading and being challenged and changed by the Word.                                                
5. Pray.                                                                                                                                                              
6. Assess how your relationship has grown with the Lord during those 30 days & repeat steps.
I also would like to share more specifically on materials that I use and lessons I have learned along the way.  
  • I have a couple of devotions that I alternate between that take me to a specific passage that I will focus on for the day.  One of them is Our Daily Bread, which is available at the Welcome Center here at the church.  The other is Life On Purpose For Men, which I received as a gift several years ago and has been of great benefit to me (there is another version of that devotional specifically for women that you ladies may want to check out).  
  • I would also like to encourage you to pray with your spouse and your children and discuss ways in which the Lord is stretching or challenging you.  
  • If you are a fellow perfectionist, don’t wait to start your plan until you have a significant chunk of time to commit each day.  Just get started, even if you can only commit to a shorter period of time initially.
If you are a parent, I recently ordered a 30-day sample edition of Our Daily Bread for Kids, which you can pick up for them at the Welcome Center.  If your kids end up using this resource, please be sure to give me your/their feedback.
In closing, I wanted to share the following passage which I love!  It reminds us of who we are fighting against and how we can prepare for battle!
Ephesians 6:11-18a (ESV): “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
I love sharing in this spiritual battle with you!                                                                                    
Mr. D