Episode 8. Making Your Quiet Time Personal. Luke 8:4-15
So, we all know we ought to spend time with God ... but it's hard. We have busy lives. We have people who depend on us. We can barely accomplish all that we are supposed to do as it is. And yet. We have an invitation to meet with the King of the universe. The Shepherd who loves us tenderly. The God who knows all about the day ahead of us. Let's stop. Nicole and Sharon share practically how to find that time from very different perspectives. You can make your Quiet Time a personal and delightful part of your day. And it doesn't have to even take that long.
SHOW NOTES: Do you want to take the 21 Day Challenge? Write us about it below or write Sharon at email@example.com. We'll share the rules with you and pray for you as you start 21 days in a row of a ten minute meeting with God through His Word. We are SO excited for all of you who will attempt this!
Join us for the discussion by commenting below.
Well. Hello, tired one. Are you feeling a bit frazzled and worn out? Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. We hope lessons from God’s word and encouragement from us will lead you to soul rest. Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Hi there. This is Nicole. Welcome back to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. This is episode eight and today Sharon and I are going to be talking about making your quiet time personal as Sharon describes a four R method to us. This is such a simple and effective way to study God’s word. Let’s see what Sharon has to say about it.
Well, I am so excited about this because this particular method of studying God’s word is what finally helped me have a consistent quiet time. I did not have consistency before then. I did it off and on. I knew I should, but I often overloaded myself with too much. I’d be like, I need to read through the Bible in a year. Plus I need to read five devotionals. Plus I need to pray for everyone on the planet, you know? And then what would happen would be, of course I couldn’t do that.
So I would put it aside and try to do it later when I had more time, which I never did. So this is how I learned this method, Nicole. Ironically it occurred when I had those two little babies 15 months apart and Ray was in graduate school and I was basically single parenting. Ray had decided not just to get his master’s but get his PhD as well. So he was out straight and we didn’t see him that often and I had two in cloth diapers. So that was fun. Right? And we were at a new house in a new place. So it was a crazy time in my life. But we had started going to a startup church. Ray was at UMass Amherst at the time and we were living in Greenfield. We had moved from Agawam to Greenfield and there was this new plant.
And so we decided to join the church plant. The pastor’s wife was a wonderful woman, a wonderful mentor of mine, really. And she’s the one that introduced me to what I now call the four R method. She did not call it the four R method. It’s a Navigator’s method, but I invented the four Rs so people could remember the four steps to it and she gave me a challenge. She said if you do this method for 21 days in a row, I will take you out to eat. I know. When you are a young mom stuck at the house, although you love them, with your two children and two big dogs and a husband that was busy and very few friends because we were new to the area. Dinner out was the best, very important to me. Plus you know, I would like to try this method of quiet time cause it’s only a 10 minute a day method.
And that was something that actually sounded doable. So I got my little journal, it involves writing and we’ll talk about that in a little bit and I set out to do it. And so every day I would find that time to do my 10 minutes and write out my little things. And I got up to day 19 and I forgot,
Nicole Oh, no.
Sharon I know. Two days away from escape for that little dinner. So I started over at day one because Lori, that’s the name of the pastor’s wife, was adamant. It’s 21 days in a row to form a habit, right? Minimal. So it really was good because then the second time I got to 21 so I’d been doing it for a long time consistently by then. And we celebrated and it was wonderful.
But now I’m going to talk to you a little bit about the method and you know it because you’re using it too. So let’s talk about the four R’s. And well let’s start with your story. How did you discover it? What have you learned about it? And then we’ll go through each of those four R’s specifically.
I had heard about it first from doing one of your Facebook Bible studies. You had mentioned it, on one of the videos and it was just like when you first heard about it. I was like, Oh, this is simple. I can do this. Sometimes you sit with your Bible and there are so many good passages, like where do I start? Do I read in Psalms, do I read here? Do I read the devotionals? And you just, I felt like I didn’t have a good starting and stopping point either. Like how long do I do it? So this has been huge for my quiet time. I feel like I have a plan going forward, even if I don’t have a specific Bible study or devotional to read, I have the Bible and I have my pen and notebook and my four Rs and I’m ready to dig in.
And that’s all you need, right? And my second book, which just got a name we have a new name for it, is called Give Me Wings. You know how I love wings?
So in two ways, it’s given me wings, given me a wing over me to keep me safe and protected and then given me wings to mount up with wings, like eagles and soar through being equipped to just study the word of God. So basically it’s a devotional book saying you actually don’t need a devotional book. And I teach the four R method, so let’s walk through the four Rs together, so if you’re listening, I’m going to tell you all four and then Nicole and I are going to just share with you what each R stands for. Request is the first one, read, then record and then respond. Those are the four Rs, so now let’s unpack them shall we? The request part is so important that even to this day, if I miss it, my quiet times are not as rich. It’s really weird if you just sit down and say, well gotta do my quiet time and you blip, blip, blip….
Run through your quiet time, you can actually manage, which is so sad or I can actually manage, I won’t say you can. I can actually manage to read, but not really comprehend and never once think of the God that wrote the Bible. But if the very first thing we do when we meet with God is request his help, if we start with that prayer and say, Oh Lord, help me to realize that I am about to open a living word and that you actually still speak through it. Would you teach me please? It changes the whole tenor because I’ve invited God into my time. Right. So any other thing you can think of about request or is that kind of it?
It’s good cause it just kind of puts the ball in God’s court to show us what he wants to show us today. You know, instead of like me trying to find the right passage or find the right thing, it’s like, all right God, what do you want to show me today? You know, so it takes some pressure off of me.
Yeah, and it puts it right there. I want what you want to show me. Because you know the day that’s ahead of me today and I do not.
Exactly, exactly prepare me for what you have for me today and don’t let me try to figure out what I need to do.
And although it doesn’t have to be in the morning, what I found is the earlier I get to it, the better my whole day goes. And if I wait too long and my day starts rolling and I don’t get back to it, we just talked about that. So, okay. So that’s the request. Now the read for the four R method, there’s nothing wrong with reading through the Bible in a year. In fact, that’s a wonderful thing to do. But, for the four R method it is not that; It’s read a short passage, 20 verses maybe you know, more or less. Sometimes the chapter, sometimes just 10 verses depends on how meaty the verses are. You know, with Proverbs, every proverb there’s so much you could camp on.
So you read the passage obviously and what my pastor’s wife told me was to just choose a book of the Bible and read it sequentially so that you are getting it in context. So maybe starting with Philippians or a gospel or the Psalms or whatever, and then choosing just that small portion within it because 20 verses does not take long to read does it? It’s amazing. It’s pretty quick. But if we read less, we can digest it. If we read a lot, we kind of get an overview, but we’re not getting the small details as much.
I think. So read is the second R and we read it twice, right? Because of record. I need to record. And what we’re recording is one verse, one verse. So you’re praying and you’re requesting and you’re saying, Lord, show me my verse for the day or show me that thought. That’s in that verse that I need to walk by. And we look for it. So I usually read the passage twice. The first 20 verses read through of the 20 verses is just to sort of get the gist. And then I read it the second time and I’m like, which is the verse that stands out to me today. And it can be the same passage and you and I could be doing it together, Nicole, although knowing us, we’d probably choose the same verse, but you know, it could be a totally different verse depending on how the Holy spirit moves through his living word.
True. I find a lot of good questions tutoring like not always a verse to go by for the day, but like what does that mean? And I’ll write that down sometimes and God will answer that question for me maybe sometimes not that day. But I’ll look back and go, Oh yeah, now I know why that verse says that. That is so neat to me cause I have, I always have so many questions when I’m reading God’s word. I just want like a Bible scholar next to me? Explain this to me. What does this mean?
Why does it say this? I have no idea. Exactly. Yes. And I agree. It’s not always this, you know, pithy saying to take with me for the day. Sometimes it’s, huh, now why did Jesus put all those demons into pigs? Right? You know, 2000 pigs drowned, what in the world?
Why is this here?
Or whatever the passage is. But it’s the writing down of the verse, that recording, that slows us down and makes us think about this particular part of scripture. Then it becomes deeper than just reading passively. Now we’re starting to meditate on it because as we write it, we’re slowed down and we’re looking at each word as we write it.
Nicole There’s something about writing it down too in your own handwriting. It kind of sticks it a little better.
Sharon It does stick it better. You remember far more. Yeah, you’re right. If you study, you know, college advice, people that take notes at a lecture do far better on the tests because they recall more because they are engaging it, they’re writing it down. So, and the other thing about recording a verse is you can’t read the passage while you’re making your grocery list in your mind, which women are quite capable of doing because we are multitaskers.
And so you could literally read a passage, passively shut your Bible and walk away not having really read it. But if you have to find that verse, if you actually have to engage it to the degree that you’ve got to write out a verse, your mind is more focused on it than it would be otherwise. So.
That’s a really good point.
It really makes a difference.
Because you’re seeking for something specific instead of, Oh, read it, check. Okay, go.
Exactly. Yes. So, okay, so we’ve asked for God’s help. That’s the request. We’ve read it twice. We’ve recorded the verse. And then the last one is the response. And this was such a revelation to me when Lori explained it to me. I had never seen reading the Bible as conversational in a sense. You know, I would read what God wrote and I’d shut my Bible and I’d say, now let me tell you my request for the day. Totally changing the subject.
Okay. Now that’s just not nice. You know, if, I were telling you about life group tonight, we’re having life group tonight, Nicole, and somebody is sick. So I’m actually doing refreshments at the last minute. And so I’m going to Emery Farm and I’m going to get cider donuts, Lala LA. And then you in response to that said, you know my daughter this morning got up and I could not find her socks. I’d be like, excuse me?
You are supposed to respond to what I’m saying at least a little bit. Come on, give me something here. And yet, all the time when we read God’s word, we do that. Don’t we do that. We don’t respond. And yet if it, if we believe this, and I do believe it, I believe that the Bible is not like any other book on the planet.
God breathed it. It is living, it is active. It’s like a sword that can slice into us telling us deep truths. If it’s really that active, then I need to respond to him because he has just spoken to me. So the response is if it’s the verse about the pigs having the demons in them and going into the whatever it might be. Father, I don’t have time right now to look it up. But help me remember that I really want to understand this or, or even Lord, did you choose the pigs because that was an unclean animal? You know, was it to demonstrate how bad those demons were to see them and I’d just write to him about it and ask him questions. Yeah.
That’s gotta be one of my favorite parts now because you do feel like we have permission to talk back to God, well to respond, because you sit there like, okay God teach me. And it does sometimes feel impersonal because you do it and then you go on with your day. But this makes me stop, find a verse and then I have to formulate a response to what he is telling me today. And that draws me in to a relationship with him, to a conversation where I feel free to ask my questions of him or to respond because sometimes you get afraid that you’ll come, I get afraid I’ll come to the wrong conclusion about what I’ve just read. Like, what if this is wrong? Maybe I should check it with, you know, a commentary. I’m not a pastor. But this, it’s given me the freedom to ask God questions and to be okay with him giving me the answers and trusting that, you know, he can work this out in me.
Yeah. It’s wonderful.
It is wonderful. I love this so much.
I do too. It started when Mary was a baby and so I’m in my third decade of doing this every day.
Every day. I love it.
That’s a lot of dinners out.
Too bad, she didn’t do it every 21 days. So it’s the best habit in the world. I’m so grateful for it. And it’s never old because of that conversational part. I sit down on that couch, tired in the morning with the tea to pry my eyes open a little bit, caffeine there, and I open the word of God and I say, teach me. And I’m with my Savior who wants to direct me for the day? That doesn’t get old.
Yeah. You can’t start your day any better than that?
You can’t. It’s a wonderful thing. I’m just so grateful for it and the whole thing can take 10 minutes. And that’s what’s really stunning about it too.
Yeah. It doesn’t seem overwhelming to sit and do that. I can do 10 minutes and if it lingers longer, which it does, sometimes it’s good.
It’s good to linger longer. Exactly. But you almost always have 10 minutes. You know, we spend lots of frittering of 10 minutes here, there and everywhere. So just getting down and doing it is a wonderful thing. And then you’ve also got that record, that journal, and if you do Philippians, let’s say, and it takes you, you know, 10-20 verses at a time, a week or two to get done. You can go back and see sometimes a theme song or a pattern that God has been teaching you through it. That he’s just emphasized something. And I see a rhythm to it sometimes, which is really neat.
So I love it. Plus, you know, I don’t sew a lot. I don’t have a lot of things to leave my children. All those journals are there. So that’s a legacy if they ever want to read them.
I teach my kids to make sure they know how to read cursive cause everything I write is cursive.
That’s right. That’s true. Nowadays.
They’re like, what is this?
Its a secret code. Oh my goodness. Well now, Oh podcast listener. Guess what? We are going to try a four R method by podcast. Now don’t freak out if you’re driving the car. We’re not going to make you actually record and respond in writing today because we do want your hands safely on the wheel. So if you happen to be where you can jot down some things, absolutely do so. But I think just by listening you’ll be able to get most of it.
So I’m going to ask Nicole to start by requesting that you listening and Nicole and I doing it right now, we’ll really hear from God. So Nicole, would you start with request?
Oh God, thank you. Thank you that you’re here with us today. Lord, I pray that you’ll be with our listeners wherever they are, God and still their hearts and open their minds to hear your word. Lord, impress upon our hearts, upon Sharon and mine and our listeners the verse that you want us to meditate on, Lord, the verse that you want to teach us something through. Help us to hear your word. Thank you that you meet us here and that you’re with us. Teach us the truth that you have in the Bible. Thank you Lord, and we love you. In your name we pray. Amen.
Amen. Amen. Well, we’re going to read it twice, so I’ll read the first time. It’s Luke 8:4 through 15. So again, a short little passage. So the first time reader or listener, just listen. And then Nicole is going to read it right after I read it. And you’re going to try to find your verse when you hear the second reading. All right, so here we go. Luke 8:4 through 15. Parable of the farmer scattering seed. One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him. A farmer went out to plant a seed as he scattered it across this field, some seed fell on a foot path where it was stepped on and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants.
Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted. When he had said this, he called out anyone with ears to hear, should listen and understand. His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He replied, you are permitted to understand the secrets of the kingdom of God, but I use parables to teach the others so that the scriptures might be fulfilled. When they look they won’t really see, when they hear, they won’t understand. This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy.
But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for awhile, then they fall away. when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good hearted people who hear God’s word. cling to it and patiently produce a huge harvest. Okay, so now listen to Nicole and you find your verse.
So Luke 8:4 through 15. One day, Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him. A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a foot path where it was stepped on and the birds ate it.
Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plants soon wilted and died for a lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still the other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted. When he had said this, he called out anyone with ears to hear, should listen and understand. His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He replied, you are permitted to understand the secrets of the kingdom of God, but I use parables to teach the others so that the scripture might be fulfilled. When they look they won’t really see, when they hear, they won’t understand. This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the foot path represent those who hear the message only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.
The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy, but since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fall among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and so they never grow into maturity and the seeds that fall on the good soil represent honest, good hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it and patiently produce a huge harvest.
There we go. I am realizing that if you’re driving a car and don’t have your Bible open, you have no idea what was the verse but, but hopefully you have a phrase or a type of seed that particularly interested you. And so I’m going to be quiet for just one minute or actually less than a minute, probably about 20 seconds so that you can say out loud wherever you are in your car or washing your dishes or I always listen to podcasts doing laundry. Folding laundry is so much nicer with a podcast. Say out loud your phrase. Okay, say it.
Okay. I wish I could hear it. You should write on the show notes this time. Anybody that did this, we would love to know. Okay, I’m going to share mine and then Nicole is going to share hers. The verse I chose was Luke 4:12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. And this is my response. Oh dear father, this verse grieves me, some people hear, but it gets snatched away so quickly. Lord, may this not be so for my family members who do not yet know You. Help me to pray that they be protected from the enemy who would snatch the message away before it can sink in. Oh Lord, protect them from the enemy. Enable them to really hear and digest and listen.
Give them those eyes to see, enable them to believe and to be saved. So that’s mine. Yeah. And that really, it really struck me that that’s how I should be praying. If it’s possible that someone can hear the word of God and before they have time to think about it, the devil goes, look, squirrel, you know, moves their attention so that it doesn’t sink in. That’s something, I mean prayer is warfare, right? Part of it, I need to be praying that he is not allowed to do that, that they’re protected from that. So that was what really stirred in my heart. And so my application then for that day and for whenever I think of it, is to remember to pray that way. So that was mine.
That’s good. I like that.
Yeah. How about you?
I chose verse 14 the seed that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly, the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life.
And so they never grow into maturity. So I kind of see this one, this verse as a warning, because some days you start with the word of God and you hear it and you’re like, okay, but as soon as my feet hit the ground or my kid’s feet hit the ground, I feel like it’s taken away. The cares of this life kind of crowd out my message. So my prayer would be, God, guard my heart, guard the seeds that you planted in my heart this morning so that the cares of this world, don’t take it away before it’s able to grow. I don’t want to be immature. It’s not fun.
No. It’s not. And all those weeds, you don’t want them to choke, you know? Wow. Hey, guess what? I was timing this. That took 10 minutes.
And that was both of us doing it. What is that? Okay, listener, that was 10 minutes. I’m not kidding.
You can do this.
Yes, one of the biggest lies of the enemy is you don’t have time for this. Oh yes you do. Oh, you do and it’s so rich when God speaks to you like that. It’s just, it’s wonderful. And because we think this is so important, guess what? We have a 21 day challenge for you. Yes we do. Now we can’t exactly fly places to take you out to eat. Also we’re not rich, so that is not what you’re getting. But if you are willing to try this 21 day challenge, if you will request and then read a passage and then record it and respond and you’re willing to kind of show us your journal by some kind of video or phone pictures or whatever. Just a few pages so that we can see it and either snail mail it to us or email it to us. It’ll be on the show notes. You guys will be able to find a way to do it. If you can do it for 21 days in a row, we’re going to send you a present. Yes we are. It will not be a big one. So don’t get too terribly excited because again, we don’t have a budget for a huge presents, but we want, we seriously want to celebrate with you. There is actually no greater habit on the planet to form than to make it a habit to meet with Living Water every day. To meet with the God that made you, who sees the future and who knows your purpose and his plan for your life. Nothing is more important than this and nothing is harder to do because Satan knows it’s that important. You will get beaten back by him time and again because he does not want you to know God. He’d rather keep you busy, but it’s out of the knowing of God out of the sitting at his feet that we then serve and produce fruit and not just exhaustion. Right?
Yeah. So this is going to be fun, huh? And maybe if people are close by, we could have a party for some of them. We’ll see. I’m not making promises.
We’ll just see. So, okay, well let me close us in prayer and I really hope you do this. You should do this. Try to do this. Okay. The 21 day challenge, and even if you’re actually doing it every day, just start and do 21 days in a row anyways and we’ll still send you a present even if you’ve already been doing it. Okay? All right, let’s pray. Father God, thank you. Thank you for a living and active word from you. Thank you for the awesome reality that you speak through the Bible. You speak, you teach us how to live, you comfort, you admonish, you teach, you help. Lord, I pray that many listeners will say, I want to do this. I want to meet with my God each day. Would you give them the oomph to do it? Lord, would you give them the perseverance? Would you give them that fruit of the spirit of self control?
Would you give them the ability to start over and over if they have to to get to those 21 days. But mostly Lord, what we want is relationship with you. We want to hear from you. We want to, we want to talk with you. We want that closeness that you desire and that gives us so much joy. Thank you. Father. Thank you for your living word in Jesus name. Amen.
Amen. Thank you for joining us today as we talked about making your quiet time personal. We hope you’re excited to go and try out the four R method in your next quiet time with God. Remember, if you take the 21 day challenge, we will send you a surprise at the end. You can find info on the four R challenge and more in our show notes @Sweetselah.org or @wordradio.net You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and share it with your friends. We hope you will join us for episode nine called Be A Tree. This one sounds fun. You won’t want to miss it.
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes, can be found@SweetSelah.org firstname.lastname@example.org thank you for joining us.
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