Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Place of Quiet Rest

Every afternoon we read together for half an hour. It's a tradition we've kept up ever since my siblings and I were wee things, and we've read everything from Dickens to Montgomery to Stevenson to Milne. We've read swashbucklers, theology, biographies--even Economics in One Lesson. Most of the books were treasures. A few didn't quite hit the mark. But we've enjoyed this time, and guarded it fiercely over the years.

The book we just read would definitely make it to my top ten favorites. It's a non-fiction, actually. And it's a book about how to have a devotional life: A Place of Quiet Rest, by Nancy Leigh Demoss. Whether you're busy and skip devotions half the time, or whether you've done them every day of your life and they've become rather mundane, this book was written with both types in mind.

And it is my great pleasure to share it with all of you today.



The Book
From the back cover:
The God of the universe created us for fellowship with Himself! We realize this and even long for that sweet intimacy with God, but it often seems so out of reach. Yet even in the busyness of daily life, we hear those whispers calling us, drawing us to sit at Jesus' feet.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss demystifies the process of coming to know God intimately. In A Place of Quiet Rest she shares from her heart and life how a daily devotional time can forever change your relationship with Jesus. She addresses the common frustrations and pitfalls most of us encounter in our devotional life, and makes practical suggestions for overcoming them. Nancy gives us the encouragement--and tools--to seek after God for a lifetime.

My Thoughts
Nancy's teachings, whether written or spoken, are always like a drink that quenches soul-thirst. She feeds women spiritually through her ministry, and doesn't offer sugary, watered down teaching. It's true bread and true water, because it comes straight from the Bread and Water of Life, and it reaches to the very hungriest, thirstiest corners of women's souls. This book about true devotional life was no exception. Some of it was challenging--the section about God using devotions to convict concerning sin was hard to face. But the challenging was truthful challenging, and grace and love permeated every section, whether convicting or comforting.

Our family doesn't often sit down and discuss a book with just the girls, and this was a new experience for us, but we loved it. Sometimes it's good just to have a heart-to-heart women's talk, and every day when we answered the study questions we enjoyed looking at them from that perspective. Mother-daughter question and answer times are wonderful for sharing hearts with each other. The structure already in the book made us feel safe, and I would highly recommend reading and discussing this book with a sister, a mom, or someone else in your family.

I've done consistent devotions for the last 13 years. (Don't be overwhelmed. Our family is strongly built on routine and habit.) But the difference between doing devotions and having fellowship with the Lord is huge. I knew there were lots of other people who missed many more days than I did, but who used the time they did manage to get to seek God's heart instead of check another thing off a list. I craved that, and this book helped me to better understand how I could develop that mindset too.

The thing that most awed me in reading A Place of Quiet Rest was that, yes, God wants me to desire fellowship with Him, but He also desires fellowship with me. The thought had never occurred to me before--that He wanted to know my heart as well as to have me seek out His. Devotions had always been about me giving the right things and saying the right words, and I never understood that it's a two-way street, and God wants to give to me during that time as well.

You cannot have intimate fellowship with someone if you don't think they take a concurrent interest in you likewise. For instance, when you meet a CEO of a corporation or a famous ministry leader, and talk with them, very likely you're not having fellowship. You're trying to act smart and carry on a conversation that you hope will impress them. But when you get together with close friends, you're secure in the knowledge that they love and take an interest in you, and you're not so keen about putting on an impressive façade. The same holds true in fellowship with God. We can't have fellowship with Him if we only see Him as a far-removed, Infinite Being, and forget to see Him as our Savior, our Bridegroom, and our Refuge.

The difference between Christianity and other religions is that our God is a personal God. He cares about people individually as well as corporately, and He is our Friend and our Shepherd as well as our Lord and our Ruler. And the beauty and wonder of Christianity is that God's fellowship with frail and sinful humans doesn't diminish His holiness or supremacy one jot.

Once I understood this concept--well, perhaps not understood; I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it--once I heard this concept from Nancy's book, I felt my devotions slowly changing. I wanted to talk to the Lord instead of considering it a duty. I felt my heart seeking Him more throughout the day, just to be with Him. I was more honest with Him, instead of giving carefully worded requests that were pretty basic and generic. And in His Word, day after day, I found fresh verses that said the Lord desired me. Confirmation after confirmation.

Perhaps this sounds incredibly selfish on paper--but I think those who know what it's like to look at our relationship with God mainly as what we can give to Him will get what I'm trying to say. It's the stunning realization that God doesn't just want a percentage increase out of us to make his Son's life worthwhile--but that he thought the investment was good and worthwhile in the first place, and He deeply loves the souls he invested in.

A wonderful and awe-inspiring truth.

If you want to breathe fresh life into your devotional time with the Lord, or if you just want a little bit of soul nourishment, check out A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh Demoss. It will explain, convict, challenge, and encourage, and it's worth owning your own copy. A five star book.

We ladies have been deeply blessed by Nancy Leigh Demoss's Revive Our Hearts ministry. Check out her website where you'll find her newest radio show series called The Wonder of His Name--31 Names of Jesus. Whether you're familiar with her, or new to her teaching, I hope you enjoy these resources.

Blessings,
Lady Bibliophile

6 comments:

  1. I loved this book and I'd have to say it ranks somewhere up in my non-fiction favorites now. :) One of the examples that stood out to me was when she used Song of Songs and tied it in with Jesus being our Heavenly Bridegroom. It reminded me of Hinds Feet on High Places which is a beautiful example of Jesus desiring to conform His bride to His image. You can almost hear Nancy speaking when reading this book, and it reminded me a lot of her radio programs.
    An excellent book, and one that I'd like to read again. :)
    Love,
    Sister

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    1. I remember that from Hinds Feet on High Places. That book had the most beautiful way of tying in Song of Solomon that I have ever seen.

      I love hearing the radio programs in the mornings when you guys are listening to them. :) Yes, you really could hear Nancy's voice through her book! That's a good example of when an author can personally shine through her words without being proud or obtrusive--she's just sharing so deeply from her heart that you can't separate the two, and it's a beautiful thing. :)

      Love,
      Sister

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  2. Here I am at last! :)

    This is such a beautiful, heart-felt review, Schuyler, and I really appreciated reading your thoughts, and just reminded of the importance of fellowshiping with God, and simply pouring my heart out to Him, just to treasure His Presence and the light of His countenance. Oh yes, I understand what you mean - I confess, that sometimes especially lately I have allowed myself to slack about my private devotion time. . . get carried away with schooling, and other things in the morning that are less important, and sometimes, simply finding myself distracted and dry, that whenever I pick up my Bible or pray, I do it in a "something I must do" sort of attitude. How I miss those times of intimate fellowship and blessing in God's Presence. . . this is really challenging to me. As of late, the times I have most been seeking God has been outside of my normal "devotion" time - you know, washing the dishes alone in the kitchen, reflecting and talking to God, going out and staring up at the stars, thanking Him for all that He is and does. But I long that my heart would thirst for His Word and for prayer, like a man in a desert, so that spending specific quiet time alone with Him to seek His face would be the biggest priority of my heart and life and day! I would appreciate your prayers, Schuyler, that the Lord would stir me up to seek His presence more. And yes, how wonderful it is that He Himself desires us to seek Him and abide in Him. Praise the Lord! :)

    The other day I read an article my Dad sent me by George Muller and perhaps I will email it to you. I found it really inspiring and a blessing, and in it he spoke of the importance of receiving nourishment from God's Word, the first thing - food for the soul, to hear His voice before opening our mouths in supplication to Him, because through reading His Word, He opens our hearts and minds to know His heart, His Spirit guides us what we ought to pray for. It was really challenging, and I want to learn that more. By the way, have you read Andrew Murray's 'With Christ in the School of Prayer'? I highly recommend that one!

    I have to look up 'A Place of Quiet Rest' sometime, if I can, as it looks really good! Ah, family reading time. What a special thing this is. When we were all younger we had that as a family, after dinner. We'd sit around, after Bible-devotions and Dad would read books to us (usually wonderful Christian biographies!) - and we covered so many wonderful reads: The Hiding Place, God's Smuggler, Selected To Live, The Happiest People on Earth, George Mueller, biographies on David Brainard, Hudson Taylor, Richard Wumbrand's Tortured for Christ and his wife Sabina's autobiography "The Pastor's Wife", Children of the Storm, Brother Yun, Secret Believers. . . I miss those times so much now that were really don't do this anymore (it is so hard with my two older sisters in uni with constant assignments and Dad working late), so we just keep with the family Bible-devotion time, and we all read separately all those wonderful books. Enjoy and treasure those times!! :)

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    1. I am intrigued by Mueller's quote. I always start with prayer and end with reading the Word, but that is a wonderful way to do it as well--hearing from God first and then talking to Him. "With Christ in the School of Prayer" sounds excellent as well. I have not yet read it, but I would like to. :)

      I like to use the ACTS model when I pray, so that I am remembering Adoration and Confession as well as Thanksgiving and Supplication. I think I've used it for a couple of years now, and for me the structure has been wonderful.

      Ah, yes, dry spells. It is wonderful that you are trying to abide in Christ throughout your work as well as during the devotional times. After all, part of being a branch relying on the life of the Vine means turning to Him throughout the day, and not just for 1/2 an hour or so in the morning. I will definitely pray that the Lord would bless your fellowship with Him and breathe new joy and life into your devotions. :)

      Love,
      Schuyler

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  3. This sounds wonderful. A couple of years ago I read Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book "Brokenness", and I have never been the same since. (In a very good way.) Recently we girls and Mom and Grandma have been doing one of her Bible studies, A 30-Day Walk in the Psalms, and have all been blessed and changed through it. I appreciate the humble, earnest way she points her readers to the Scriptures, and the importance she places on surrender to the Lord, being willing to obey whatever He shows you.
    Thanks for the review!

    ~The Philologist

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    1. We were looking at the series that Nancy's book "Brokenness" is in, and it looked wonderful. We'd like to get it sometime and read it. :) Emi's been telling me about your Bible study, and it sounds really, really good. You would love this book as well; I think her 30 Day Walk in the Psalms was created to be a practical application of some of the things she teaches in this book. :)

      ~Schuyler

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