September 16, 2021
Prioritizing Time with Jesus
By: Tiffany Layton
For the past month my schedule has been busier than normal. I’ve had a lot of very good, exciting, but nonetheless stressful, things happening in my life. It is in these moments that I am painfully reminded that ‘good’ doesn’t equal life-giving. Even for someone more seasoned in their quiet time, good activities can often replace the more necessary, replenishing time spent with God. I have been guilty of this many times throughout my Christian walk.
I was praying recently about this sense of being depleted and overwhelmed with all of my ‘good’ responsibilities. It seemed as if the Lord laid on my heart the phrase, “be well-watered”. When a plant is well-watered, it grows and produces life. In the same way as we walk with Jesus through the years we become well-watered and grow to produce fruit. When moments of tension, stress or trial come, how well we are ‘watered in the Word’ makes all the difference. Sadly, we often can push further away from discipling ourselves in the Word when the stresses of life come our way. We take on the mindset of ‘I have to just power through…’ But ultimately, our rest, strength and endurance comes from the Lord and Him alone.
So then, how can we respond rightly when faced with all of life’s temptations we have to overcome? How can we ensure that we are being “well-watered”?
Our Quiet Time should not take a back seat to all of our good deeds.
Everything instructed to us in Scripture came with a very specific purpose. Nothing was by accident or done flippantly. So when we find throughout the Word that we are to spend time with God (John 15:1-5), to let Him refill us until our cup runs over (Psalm 23), and to wait patiently for the Lord (Psalm 27:14), there is a divine purpose at work. No amount of good deeds will ever be able to phone in the benefit and reward of daily quiet time with God. It is in this place that He teaches, comforts, heals, and restores us with His Spirit through His Word. It will never accomplish its purpose when put to the side for other “good” things.
We should approach Quiet Time (Bible study and prayer) as food for our souls.
I am a coffee lover. I could quite literally drink it all day long and be as happy as I could be. However, that would not be good for me. Our bodies need water. If I only drank coffee and never had any water, I would not be taking care of my body well, and eventually it would begin to suffer. The same goes for our soul and spirit. We must be ‘well watered’. We cannot expect to go to church on Sunday’s or attend any of our other extra curricular activities and think that it takes the place of quiet time with God. Eventually our soul and spirit will begin to suffer. When we go to God in our quiet time, we should come as expectantly as we would coming to the dinner table of the family member who always cooks the best meals, knowing we will leave more than satisfied.
Stressful seasons should prompt us to spend more time with God, not less.
As I face the stressful weeks to come, I am reminded to run towards God in quiet time, not away from Him in business and chaos. If I don’t have the time to spend with God, I’m just too busy. In this crazy, busy world we live in, time with God is a place of peace and solace. It may feel impossible to fit it in at times, however, It is possible to walk through life’s stresses while being well watered in the Word of God through His Spirit.
I have been frequently reminded of a particular verse lately:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 9:4-6
Here’s a few practical steps to walk out as you seek to remain ‘well-watered’.
1. Prioritize daily time with God. This likely means setting a specific time and place that you meet with God.
2. Make arrangements to follow through. That may look like going to bed earlier, not procrastinating on other responsibilities, asking for accountability, or separating yourself from your phone or other distractions.
3. Allow the Word of God to truly feed your spirit. Dig into the Bible. Study it as if it’s words will keep you alive. Because they will!
The next time you feel overwhelmed with life, join me in running to the Lord first.
Tiffany was born and raised in central Alabama and earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology while residing in Mobile AL. She then moved back to her hometown and met her husband while working as a barista in a local coffee shop! Tiffany and her husband Lex have now been married for 6 years and have both service in several different church staff positions. She is a proud dog mom and loves coffee, songwriting, art, Japanese/Thai foods, sunsets, and spending the day at the lake/beach! Tiffany is passionate about helping women deepen their understanding of Scripture through Bible study and quiet time, and as a result, creating lasting discipleship!
September 14, 2021
Finding contentment in Christ.
By: Elisabeth Victoria Adams
We all struggle with discontentment. It creeps into our lives when scrolling Instagram, watching TV, or fellowshipping at Church. It begins with comparing, which leads to jealousy and dissatisfaction with the life God has given us. Discontentment begins to develop when we long for something God has not ordained. My pastor once said, “Complaining or grumbling is the overflow of a heart filled with discontentment, and the deeper problem of a discontent heart is that it is filled with habitual self-love and self-worship.” The issue is not our circumstances but our desires. What we desire is an overflow of our hearts. We see in the book of Ecclesiastes that we will never be satisfied with what we have. We will always be left longing for more until we find Christ.
Contentment is rooted in a thankful heart, and a thankful heart is developed by being content. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us that he has learned the secret to being content with much and with little—it is trusting Christ! He says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NASB). We often miss the focus of this verse. Paul is not saying he has superpowers or that Jesus is his “good-luck charm.” No, far greater than that, Paul is proclaiming that he can endure all things because Christ is the one who strengthens him. No matter what is happening, we can always be thankful because of Jesus and what He accomplished for us on the cross. Jesus Christ is the one who sustains us and keeps us going. We can be thankful for trials because they conform us to Christ and teach us to depend on Him.
Paul also says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV). We learn contentment the best through our weakness and suffering because we learn to rely on Christ. His grace is sufficient! Those who are in Christ do not need anything else. Sometimes God strips away everything else so that we will focus on Him.
A Christian can be content in the worst situation because Jesus is worth more than anything in the world. Jesus satisfies the deepest longings of our souls. Ultimately, we will never be fully satisfied until we find our joy and identity in Jesus. We will always be left empty and searching until we come to Jesus. Jesus is more than enough. He satisfies the deepest longings of our soul. Is this not a reason to be thankful?! When discontentment and grumbling start creeping into our thoughts, we need to start thinking about Jesus.
Like joy, thankfulness is not just a feeling; it is a mindset and an attitude of the heart. In order to develop this mindset, we must think about Christ and count our blessings. Like any habit, thankfulness takes time and practice. A great way to start is by writing a thankful list or starting a gratitude journal. I suggest starting a journal to write five things for which you are thankful. Counting your blessings is the perfect way to counter-act discontentment. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” (Psalm 107:1 ESV). Another way to practice contentment is by serving others. Have you ever noticed that your problems begin to fade into the background whenever you start thinking about others? It brings us joy and happiness to help others.
Often, we are discontent because we have the wrong focus. Another practical way to fight discontentment is to stop complaining, drop to your knees, and turn your thoughts to Christ. We must transition from a “me-mindset” to a “God-mindset.” When we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on Christ, our whole perspective changes, and we find joy and satisfaction in Him.
Throughout Scripture, God instructs us to be content and satisfied with the life He has given us (Hebrews 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV). Do not be so consumed longing for the future that you miss the present with all God’s blessings. Contentment comes when we learn to enjoy the little blessings in life and be satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ. So, live in the moment, practice thankfulness, and find your satisfaction in Christ alone!
Elisabeth Adams is pursuing a Biblical studies degree from Liberty University and lives with her family near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She loves the Lord and desires to share her passion for Christ through creativity and writing. She is an artist and displays her artwork through Instagram and Etsy. She longs to grow her walk with the Lord and encourages other women to do the same, all for the glory of God.
September 9, 2021
Why I have my quiet time.
By: Nicole Lisa Schrader
Covid’s delta variant is rampant and claiming lives. Lockdowns, mask-mandates, and vaccinations strike passionate chords in cultural debate. When will it end?
The Taliban has taken over Afghanistan and, amidst the panic to escape the country, there are reports of executions of civilians. America’s allies all over Afghanistan are in grave danger.
Anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts debilitate our youth. Where is hope to be found?
We are truly walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
Does this overwhelm you as it does me? I turn to the news and am tempted to fear for our future. I look around at those suffering without Jesus and long for their salvation. I cry out to the Lord—pouring out my heart to him!
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8 (NIV)
I return to the Lord every morning in my quiet time because I fear, I worry, I tremble, I long for the salvation of my loved ones—I need God!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
I need the peace of God to guard my heart and mind. So, I cry out in prayer and petition to the Lord. I fill my prayers with thanks because I know from experience our God is faithful and compassionate. I claim his promise for peace—beyond my understanding—to set a guard on my heart and mind.
In light of God’s truth, his Spirit calms my fears because perfect love casts out fear. (I John 4:18)
I read my Bible every morning, because I know our God is alive, active, sovereign, good. His words give my heart comfort, joy, hope. I need to remember the truth about God because the world shouts out lies about him. I depend upon his word to strengthen my faith—my resolve.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
God’s word tells us where to focus our minds. The Bible is full true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy things to think about. And the peace of God will be with you.
Paul had his share (plus some) of difficult circumstances. He wrote these words from prison. But he concluded this letter to the Philippians with the following words:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
I can do all things through him who gives me strength. We can too.
We can face the uncertainty of various strains of the COVID virus without fear.
We can pray for our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan with confidence that God hears and answers our prayers.
We can love those struggling with depression and anxiety with the compassion of Christ and remind them of the steadfast and unfailing love of God.
The word of God is powerful, active, living. When we turn to him in our quiet times, we give him our burdens and take his peace.
I have my quiet times because in those moments I feel the embrace of my Father in heaven and am encouraged by his words. His grace is sufficient for my life.
Don’t just take my word for it—seek the Lord!
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Nicolelisa is a retired homeschool mother of three and currently lives in central Florida with her husband, Greg. Nicolelisa loves to read to and with children and actively encourages mothers of young children online, in homeschool groups, churches, and in her community. She gave her life to Christ as a teenager and was discipled in a Japanese-American church in Chicago. Whether writing stories for children or posts for Wholehearted, her goal is to revere Jesus Christ as Lord and share the hope she has with gentleness and respect. For more about Nicolelisa, go to www.nicolelisamaria.com.
September 7, 2021
Sermon Notes and the Quiet Time Companion
By: Erica Hunt
The thing I was most excited about as I anticipated the arrival of my QTC was the sermon note section! This may seem a strange thing to be excited about, but I was! I have doodled, filled in blanks or kept notes during church services since I was a young girl. One of my pastor’s started making note guides to go with his sermons and bought little binders for the congregation to keep all of their notes together. Through this, he encouraged people to keep notes and engage with God’s Word through writing. This cultivated my own love for engaging with sermons in a deeper way.
Note-taking is a learning device that helps us focus on what is being said and synthesize it into our own vocabulary and understanding. Taking notes during sermons helps me to pay attention to what is being said and to ponder the message being preached. Notes are a permanent, written record that can be returned to and pondered over again throughout the week or even for years to come. Interacting with the sermons through note-taking enables us to keep our pastors and churches accountable as we can also test and research for ourselves the truth of the messages we hear. By now, I have filled countless notebooks and papers with sermon notes from church services to conferences. So, the prospect of keeping my sermon notes in company with my quiet time was intriguing to me.
Sermon outlines and fill-in the blank guides are neat and simple ways to follow along during a sermon, but I have found that using a journal or QTC allows more room and freedom for extra notes, thoughts, prayers, or scripture that are discovered during a sermon.
Over the years, I have used several notebooks for journaling and sermon notes but enjoy the convenience of having my thoughts and prayers from my personal quiet time and my sermon notes all in one place. Joining them together helps me to connect the sermons to my own personal life and carry my personal thoughts and communication with the Lord into the congregational setting of the church.
There is an efficiency to having the other resources of the Quiet Time Companion with you at church, as well. There are several places where you can jot down different thoughts and ideas as well as prayer requests and praises or needs that arise within your congregation or community. Then you have easy access to that information during your personal quiet time throughout the week.
Writing down points, thoughts, and ideas during a sermon is how I process the information and learn. However, it is important to remember that notetaking, is definitely not a spiritual discipline, nor is it necessary. In fact, there are seasons in our life when note-taking during a Sunday sermon will not even be a possibility. Wrangling wiggly children and taking notes in church is a skill I’ve seen few mothers master. So, if you are not a note-taker, do not feel pressured to become one! Note-taking is just a way to help our brains comprehend and remember. It’s a helpful tool for our growth, not a badge of spiritual achievement.
Erica grew up on the South Dakota prairie, along the Missouri River. Growing up her parents introduced her to Jesus and taught her to walk in His way. She keeps busy teaching 7th and 8th grade students who keep her laughing and humble. Along with her love of the land she enjoys traveling, learning fun facts and historical information, and is always up for coffee, ice cream and a good conversation with friends. She and her husband, Justin, have been married just over a year and live in eastern South Dakota.
September 2, 2021
Quiet time as a tool.
By: Emily Miller
For the past few months, my family has been house hunting. It’s a seller’s market here in Florida (and most of the US), so every time a house made an appearance on Zillow, we would make an appearance at that house.
One of the first homes we saw had half an acre of beautifully landscaped gardens and lawn. I rarely allow myself to get attached to something until I examine it from all angles, but, at the sight of those gardens, I was very attached. (There was even a gasp and some tears involved.)
After the first love faded a bit, my pragmatic side reasserted itself and I pondered the reality of the time, effort, and tools required to keep such a garden lovely. I didn’t need to imagine much because, on that same property, there was a large shed devoted to a couple mowers, trimmers, edgers, wheelbarrows, shears, and an assortment of other gardening items. I concluded that, if we were to live there, our evenings and weekends would be spent landscaping.
We did not get the house (though we tried) but that garden left an impression on me.
I think my soul is like a garden. It’s a wild thing, constantly growing and changing. When left to itself, it rambles past its proper boundaries, chokes itself with weeds, and becomes littered with treacherous and barren places. When well-tended, it submissively thrives in its place, free of unhealthy growths; a beautiful refuge.
Souls -like gardens- take time, effort, and the proper tools. Thankfully, we don’t tend our souls alone.
When we believed in Christ, we went from being a forsaken wasteland to a new creation, filled with the blood-bought life of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17) He’s the source of our life and the great Gardener: planting us in place, providing what we need, and pruning us to make us more and more life-giving. (John 15:1-8)
He also gives us a role in tending our own soul. He strengthens those who seek Him (2 Chronicles 16:19), He calls us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), and He transforms us as we obediently renew our minds with His word (Romans 12:2). He supplies the life, and we participate in the gardening.
God also provides us with the tools we need to nourish and tame our souls. These tools are as numerous and varying as those in that garden shed: The Bible, Christian community, devotionals, blogs, the Quiet Time Companion, prayer, fasting, worship, giving, memorizing, and a daily quiet time are all available to aid us in this task.
Unfortunately we can easily value the tools for themselves, instead of using them for their intended purpose. Like an enthusiastic collector with an impressive shed and a neglected garden, we amass seminary, books, journals, sermons, and devotionals. We can show off our knowledge and neglect our godliness. We can buy stacks of Bibles that we never read. We can get a degree in theology and never become like Jesus. When we value tools for their own sake, their whole point is lost.
My neighbor is an expert gardener. With discarded sticks he builds glorious trellises, brimming with squash and exotic fruits. He has no shed and few tools, but his backyard overflows with life resulting from the hours of effort he gives to it daily. He is skilled in using what he has and committed to his task, and so his garden flourishes.
Tools are only as good as the time, effort, and consistency with which we use them. This is good news! This means that the Bible is for the illiterate who cherish what they hear, and not just seminary students. This means that the mentally handicapped soul who loves Jesus knows Him better than the apathetic theologian. This means that if you’re applying the little you know of the Gospel to your life, your soul is better tended than those who have memorized scripture and don’t live it out.
The purpose of daily time spent reading the Bible is to weed out our sin, water our souls with life-giving truth, and root ourselves more firmly in the great love of Jesus. When we do this in participation with and reliance upon the Holy Spirit, He transforms our sin-filled desert into a life-giving garden.
A quiet time is a tool, not an achievement to show off. Studying the Bible is not a new year’s resolution that we buy stuff for and then neglect. Devotion to God is the goal; not devotions for devotions sake.
Emily is a mother of two young children and has little time for much else. She began a daily quiet time at age thirteen, and her relationship with Jesus has remained a constant for Emily as she went from being a missionary kid in Mongolia, to working as a barista in Oregon, to marrying and starting a family in Florida. Emily enjoys writing poetry, dancing while doing housework, watching storms, and laughing at her husband, children, and herself.
August 31, 2021
Memories that carry us through the dark.
By: Vanessa Bonilla
Memories are funny things. The memories that stay in the forefront of our minds are the ones we most recount, which are usually the ones we most cherish. But what about the memories that are cloudy? There are many reasons we have cloudy memories, including our emotional state at the time or disappointed expectations of how certain things should have gone.
For the first three years of my marriage, things were hard! It wasn’t until I read a book that helped me see that all the memories I was holding on to were cloudy and emotional. I was only filing away the hurtful comments and painful interactions into my “marriage” memory bank. This pattern lead to each new day being harder than the last. I wasn’t practicing the recounting of good memories, which would then be fresh in my mind. When I began remembering the good, our hurtful situations and interactions were outweighed by the beautiful memories we’d shared. It became easier to love him.
Last month I experienced a miscarriage, which resulted in me questioning my memory of God. Through the lens of this experience, thoughts were becoming clouded. My emotional state was in turmoil and my expected outcome was a living child. During the three weeks I spent at home recovering I literally had to fight for my thought life. All I had was pain and questions. I was left with no answers and insipid cliches like “pain creates passion” and “time heals all wounds” were not helpful.
I didn’t have the strength to meet with God in quiet because there was no quiet in my mind, it was in chaos. How do you fight when all your energy has been depleted? You don’t! God uses the reserves: the times spent with Him, tears cried, and past prayers to remind me of Who He is to me. The time invested prior to this suffering became the boat that carried me through this ocean of despair.
I thank God for the church community He provided who became like Aaron and Hur for me. In Exodus 17 during a battle between the Israelites and Amalekites, the Israelites would win as long as Moses held up his arms. When Moses put his arms down the Amalekites would start winning. This is what the word says:
When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered. Exodus 17:12-14a
He told me like He told Israel: REMEMBER.
Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. Isaiah 46:9
The Holy Spirit came and reminded me of the goodness of God. I didn’t need answers, I needed to trust my Father.
I asked my husband to lead me in communion so I could remember; so that we could remember.
The Quiet Time Companion at the end of every day has a box that says “Remember.” It wasn’t until recently that I valued the importance of that box. As I thumbed through, I read things that brought my heart comfort from past quiet times.
It is the memories of our encounters with God that will carry us through confusion, pain, and dark nights of the soul.
Vanessa is the daughter of a Pastor, baby of six and a homeschooling mom of five. Married to her wonderful husband of eight years, they serve in their local church together. She loves fresh fruit, nights by the fire pit, and time with friends and family. Vanessa has watched God do amazing things in her life. Assaulted at a young age, teen mom and the survivor of an abusive marriage left her life in pieces. Today she stands restored and uses the testimony of brokenness to help build others and encourage women to discover the fullness of a relationship with God.
August 19, 2021
By: Grace McCready
May and June were really hard months for me. I felt incredibly discouraged because I wasn’t able to find a job right after my college graduation in early May. For approximately eight weeks, I was unemployed. And that was hard.
I crammed my resume with as many work experiences, volunteer experiences, and relevant skills as possible. I applied to so many jobs that I lost track. I showed up to interview after interview with bright eyes and an eager smile.
But God kept closing doors.
God values hard work and perseverance, I thought angrily. So why is my hard work and perseverance being punished? When will He finally open a door for me?
I was technically offered a job or two during these months, but I turned them down for different reasons. I knew that they wouldn’t be a good fit for me. But I wondered what job would be a good fit for me.
On July 1st, I got a phone call from a government contractor that wanted to hire me. I was thrilled! The pay and benefits package definitely excited me, and I started within a week of the call.
Just when I had been ready to give up, God worked. I should’ve trusted Him all along.
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’” (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB)
Although you’ve probably heard or read this passage before, I wanted to include it as a reminder. When God is opening and closing doors in your path, it’s crucial to value His will over your own. There are many ways to do that practically, but here are just a few:
If God closed a door that you wanted Him to open, it’s not wise to force the door open so that you can charge through. He doesn’t close doors on a whim; there’s always a reason. I know that the idea of waiting may be daunting, but God will equip you with what you need for the season of waiting ahead of you. Don’t be afraid to wait because waiting may be God’s will for your life right now.
When submitting to God’s will, it’s helpful to gain perspective and insight from other Christians who love you and care about you. While I was searching for a job after I graduated from college, my parents encouraged me to be patient and not to settle for something that I hated. Of course, I knew that getting my dream job right out of college was unrealistic. But because my parents encouraged me to find a relatively enjoyable job, I knew that I could find a job that I still liked. And God provided that after a period of waiting.
As much as you want to give up the fight, please press on. I know you may not feel like continuing to do the right thing. I definitely didn’t feel like continuing to apply for jobs or show up for interviews. But perseverance isn’t about our feelings; it’s about pressing on in spite of our emotions, questions, and doubts.
Living out the prayer “Thy will be done” is challenging for even the most seasoned Christians. Until we go to be with God in heaven, we’ll always struggle to put His will above our own. But His will, though it may be very different from ours, is always better.
Grace McCready is a recent college grad who studied business administration and communications. She enjoys writing, spending time with her family, and hanging out with friends. Her passion is for young women to live transparently and thrive during their single years. She blogs about the Christian life at Tizzie’s Tidbits of Truth.
August 17, 2021
Bible Reading Plans for Quiet Time
By: Marissa Hochstedler
Growing up, I was eager to read my Bible on Sundays. But throughout the week, I struggled with remembering or even understanding how to read the Bible. I did not have a solid community or other forms of guidance pointing me to read the Word. In college, when I fully surrendered my life to Jesus, my campus ministry pastor gave me a reading plan that helped me begin reading my Bible daily; something I had never been able to commit to before.
I felt eager as I began to highlight the chapters I would quickly read through; each moment I spent in the Bible felt like a joy and a delight. I no longer felt confusion when reading the Word, I felt awe and wonder. I was left wanting more and more. But as the weeks progressed, I soon realized I could not keep up with the daily amount the plan required me to read. With college classes, extracurricular activities, and friendships to maintain, it was becoming almost too overwhelming to keep up.
One day during my quiet time, I felt the whisper of the Holy Spirit gently guide me to consider the purpose behind my Bible reading plan: it is NOT to cross something off my list or see how quickly I could read through the Bible. Rather, it is to encourage focus, diligence, and consistency in my approach to God’s Word.
Scripture is simply the best thing we’ll ever have the privilege to read during our time on this earth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The Bible is a book written about God for his people so that we may know Him. Bible reading plans are simply a catalyst that help us get started, stay organized and keep motivated. When we use a plan, it is important to define and remember the role it takes as we read.
A Bible reading plan is not:
A Bible Reading plan is:
Another great thing about using a Bible Reading Plan during our quiet time is that there are many options to choose from! Some plans will guide through a different book of the Bible each day, whereas others will guide through the Bible chronologically. I personally love the Quiet Time Companion’s Bible reading plan, as it encourages reading from an Old Testament, New Testament and Wisdom passage daily.
When I first began reading through the entire Bible in college, one of the most influential verses I studied was from 1 Peter 2:2 “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” As a newborn craves her mother’s milk, may we be children that thirst on the glory and wonder of God’s precious Word. May we approach our quiet time with purpose and intentionality NOT to cross something off our list or see how quickly we can read. Rather, let’s keep our minds focused and our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Creator and Perfecter of our faith. God’s Word is never changing, but it always changes us.
Suggested Bible Reading Plans:
Wholehearted Quiet Time Companion:
52 Week Plan:
Marissa was born and raised in small town Indiana and has grown to love living between cornfields and down country back roads. Marissa gave her life to Jesus while she was in college and has walked with Him ever since. Marissa is newly married to her husband, Cameron, and enjoys baking homemade bread, reading books and drinking coffee. Marissa has a heart for spreading the good news of Jesus through writing.
August 12, 2021
By: Jordan Sparnroft
My mom was a huge reason I bought a Quiet Time Companion.
Seven years ago, when I was 24, she passed away from a long battle with cancer. My mom loved God deeply and her main goal was to display His glory in the midst of her suffering.
In the years following her death, I went through trials of my own and grieved her loss even more without a mother by my side to help me through. One day I called my Oma (my maternal grandmother) to process my grief and, during that call, I expressed my wish to speak with my mom once again and learn how she kept following Christ even through immense suffering. My Oma immediately shared with me that she had an old composition notebook where my mom had journaled some thoughts and prayers.
I jumped on the opportunity to hear my mom’s voice once again through her written word. After flipping through the lined pages of the marble notebook, I discovered that there were only 10 prayers/journal entries recorded throughout the course of 8 years. Those 10 prayers, in my mom’s handwriting, are some of my most treasured possessions. Her prayers reflected the suffering and fear she worked so hard to conceal from her young daughters. Yet they also proclaimed God’s goodness and faithfulness and her desire to continue to follow Him no matter the intensity of her suffering. In addition to the notebook, she had also recorded her sermon notes on the back of countless bulletins and what she was learning through the words and teachings of others. Through her recordings of God’s faithfulness, I felt loved and seen by Him.
It wasn’t long after that, that I stumbled across the Quiet Time Companion on Instagram. I knew quickly that I HAD TO HAVE one. I wanted to give to my daughter (and Lord willing) future grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the gift my mom had given me.
The Bible tells us in numerous places throughout the Old and New Testaments how important it is for us to remember and proclaim God’s faithfulness in our individual journeys of following Him. The Psalms is a prime example of this. Not only does it strengthen our faith to be reminded of who God is and what He has done but it helps those who are watching us to also follow Him.
Have you ever thought about the eyes that will read your words long after you are gone? Does your story reflect God’s glory and faithfulness in the midst of human weakness and struggle? Whether it’s your own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or some random stranger that finds your prayer journals, you never know how your words will encourage and inspire them to seek Christ. Will they look at our lives and see Someone greater at work? A prayer journal is not just a way to edify yourself and love God, it can also be used by Him to love others.
The Quiet Time Companion is a beautiful and organized place to record God’s faithfulness in all that you are learning about Him. Whether it be in a marble composition notebook, a spiral notebook, or something as beautiful as the Quiet Time Companion, I encourage you to record what God is teaching you in your day-to-day struggles and victories, how He is answering your prayers, and what you are learning from others. Whether it be your own eyes that look back on your entries or the eyes of another, God will use your story and your prayers to continue to speak to you and others, years down the road. Our God is timeless and always faithful.
Psalm 89:1-2, 8
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You have established Your faithfulness in Heaven itself. Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You.”
Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.
August 10, 2021
By: Katie Stone
Growing up, my family had devotions together most mornings at breakfast. When us kids were all teens, my dad had the idea for each person to lead devotions once a week, sharing something the Lord had showed us during our own personal quiet time.
Occasionally, one of us would come to breakfast with nothing to share, saying we forgot what stood out to us that week. Dad would respond, “That’s why you need a little black book.”
My Dad’s little black book was just that; a small, black, leather notebook he kept with his Bible. He used it to write down what the Lord spoke to him from the Word. My siblings and I resisted adopting our own “little black books” at first, preferring to trust our memories. However, after several mornings of having nothing to share (and Dad encouraging us to get a little black book), we gave in and each found our own method of note-taking.
Since then, taking notes has become one of my favorite tools for Bible study and general Bible reading. Here are three reasons why:
First, taking notes prepares our minds to receive and hear from the Lord. When I pull out a pen and my Quiet Time Companion along with my Bible, it helps me remember why I’m reading the Bible. I’m not coming to the Word to be entertained or to cross off an item on my to-do list. I’m here to know Jesus and receive from Him. Having a pen and paper ready also reminds me to listen to the Holy Spirit and talk with Him as I read. It reminds me to look for things in the Word that I can meditate on throughout the day.
Second, taking notes helps us remember what we are reading. Many studies agree that the action of handwriting notes causes the brain to remember what we are learning better. I’ve found this to be true when I take notes as I read the Bible. When I write down something the Lord showed me in His word, or copy a verse that stood out to me or write out a response to what I’ve read, I am far more likely to remember it than I am if the thought just crossed my mind and I continued reading.
Third, taking notes prepares us to share what the Lord is teaching us. Just as taking notes for my family devotions prepared me to share something with my family, so it equips us to share God’s Word with co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Because the act of taking notes strengthens your ability to remember what you read, you will find yourself more ready and able to share what you’ve been learning from God’s word with a friend over coffee or a neighbor in the backyard because you wrote it down.
At this point, some of you are excited at the thought of taking notes—you already have your highlighters and pens pulled out! However, others might feel overwhelmed and intimidated.
If you’re overwhelmed, first I want to assure you that taking notes while reading the Bible is not required by God. It is simply a tool to help you grow in your understanding of God’s word and your love for Christ. As I’ve already shared, I believe it’s an effective tool that we should use if we can.
Second, it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be effective. Which is good, because I like to keep things simple.
You don’t need a multi-colored highlighter set or a special gel pen. You don’t need a wide-margin, journaling Bible, or a color-coding system, or a beautiful leather journal. You aren’t required to illustrate Psalm 23 in the margin of your Bible or possess fancy hand-lettering skills.
Thankfully all you need is a regular pen, a notebook, and maybe a basic highlighter. I use my Quiet Time Companion instead of a notebook because I love how it keeps all my notes organized in one place along with my Bible reading plan, sermon notes, and prayer lists, but any regular notebook will work.
(Note: If the thought of bright pens and full-page pictures makes you excited to study the Bible, go for it! You have full permission to use creativity and color.)
Now that we have our tools down, how do we actually go about taking notes while reading?
2. As you read, underline and highlight verses that stand out to you. You can also copy verses into your Quiet Time Companion and make notes in the margin of your Bible.
3. When the Lord speaks to you about His character, sin, or how the verse you are reading shines light on what you read last week, write that down. If He encourages you, or brings direction through what you read, write that down. Let this be a time of conversation between you and Jesus.
As you pull out your notebooks and pens and highlighters, remember that this tool is intended to help us grow in our knowledge and love for Jesus. So however simple or fancy you choose to make it, may your note-taking be a time of fellowship and communion with Christ.
Katie lives in a big city near the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Which means she loves a trendy coffee shop as much as the smell of campfire and pine. She currently works as a graphic designer/social media manager/content creator but is most happy while leading worship and discipling younger girls. At 16, Jesus transformed her quiet time from 10 minutes of duty into her favorite part of the day and ever since, Katie has had a passion to encourage and equip others to get into God’s word for the purpose and joy of knowing Jesus.