A “quiet time” is simply being intentional about having a conversation with God. This usually means listening for God’s voice by reading the Bible or devotions, and speaking to God through prayer. Jesus did this numerous times in the Gospels, sometimes slipping away all night or in the early morning, to spend time with his Father.
Here are some well respected reading plans that can help you plan this time, they all come with mobile optimised options so you can even take them with you as you travel to work.
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It was Easter just two weeks ago. Reflect on one aspect of Christ’s death and resurrection which struck you afresh or for the first time.
28 When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."
29 "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."
33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."
34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"
45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, and he put the Philistine's weapons in his own tent.
Goliath’s reputation which had given faith to the Philistines and instilled fear in the Israelites was reversed in a matter of seconds. David’s defiant words and rejection of weaponry had no effect. The soldiers’ hearts on both sides were only changed when David’s pebble struck down the giant.
The Israelites may have praised David as they chased after their enemies but they didn’t praise God. Only David acknowledged God’s activity (v 46). Even Saul, who appears not to have recognised David, was impressed by his courage, but there is no evidence that he attributed this victory to the Almighty God.
Yesterday we focused upon the fear of the Israelite soldiers. Fear can only be transformed to faith when the one to be trusted is recognised as being totally reliable. Without God, David was powerless.
Over Easter the disciples ‘locked [the door] for fear of the Jewish leaders’ (John 20:19). Their fear was forever transformed into faith when they saw Christ. His unexpected resurrection was utterly convincing. Putting our trust in the risen Christ, the ultimate victor over sin and death, enables us to discover more deeply what freedom from fear really means.
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Focus on this as you pray about your own fears or the fears of Christians around the world.
Help us, O God, to read these old stories afresh, through eyes more spiritually mature, more able to understand and apply them.
The imagery of this famous Bible story has been appropriated by artists, musicians, poets and even TV football commentators. For the author of 1 Samuel, the David and Goliath narrative portrayed David not just as a folk hero but as the man fit to be God’s king. He believes in the one true God, not the nameless god of the Philistines. By contrast with Israel and Saul, he is a man of faith.
David was my boyhood hero, swinging his sling in my Illustrated Children’s Bible and then raising the severed head of Goliath. We sang of him in Sunday School: ‘Only a boy called David’. He was presented as a life model, like Daniel, Joshua and Gideon: we had to be brave like them. Herein lies a problem for my older Sunday-School-attending generation: I grew up a Christian, but I meet people whose Christian experience ended with Sunday School. They took into adult life only the memories of the God of dramatic Old Testament stories. They think the church believes only in the violence-condoning God of Noah, David, Daniel and the tumbling walls of Jericho, the God of violent events which stuck in young minds better than the deeper understanding of God revealed in Jesus.
Today’s generation is biblically illiterate. Sunday Schools, though small, still exist. There are children of Christian families and even opportunities for Christian education in schools. The difficult question still remains: how to teach the Bible’s difficult sections to children. In a world of increasing religious violence, some question whether much biblical violence is a suitable subject for children at all. Mature Christians only negotiate with difficulty the God of the Old Testament, seeming to call his people to kill in his name. How can we expect children to deal with it?
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