Since college I have tried (mostly successfully but not perfectly) having a “Daily Quiet Time” with God. I try to sit quietly, pray, read a little Scripture and journal. It’s not always easy.
Why DQTs are painful:
- It teaches me discipline…daily!
- It forces me to prioritize God first.
- By praying daily I’m confronted with the concerns that are on-going, not easily answered. God rarely, if ever, gives instant results.
But they are a blessing.
Why DQTs are a blessing:
- I get to spend time with the Creator of the universe!
- It makes me feel loved in His presence.
- I learn more about God and myself.
- Sometimes I realize God answer prayers.
- I’m learning patience and perseverance.
- I receive strength for the coming day.
In the midst of suffering or grief I turn to the only place I will find lasting hope and purpose. God wants to meet in that valley and He promises to. I go to Him and recite His words in my heart that I will be transformed.
- God is with me every step of the way (Psalm 23:4).
- Even when I can’t go on, God is my strength (Psalsm 73:26).
- God will bring the healing I need (I Peter 5:10).
- Suffering isn’t meaningless (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- In the pain, Christ is gain (Philippians 3:8).
- In the hardest moments, God is fighting for us (Isaiah 43:2).
- There is a purpose to pain even if we never know what is clearly (Romans 8:28).
- In the end “all sad things are untrue (Tolkien)” (Revelation 21:4).
Isaiah 46:4, “The Lord says, ‘I am He who will sustain you.'”
My grandma Sophie barely finished eighth grade. She never learned how to drive and never worked for a living. Her husband died young. She had poor health a good portion of her life. She lost one baby boy early in his life. She knew heart ache.
More importantly she knew her Lord and God. I vividly remember her retreating to her room to pray (she lived with us). This sacred time revealed her loving, trusting relationship with God. Grandma Sophie spent that time with her best friend not only sharing what was on her mind but quiet time listening with her heart. How many victories did her prayer life win? Too many to count…
My grandmother is a reminder of God’s promise, clearly spoken through the prophet Isaiah. God never abandoned her, nor will He any of us.
Sometimes the Spirit speaks clearer and louder to us than other times. Those times typically correlate with how much time we’ve been spending with Him and depending on Him.
So it’s crucial when we are prompted by the Spirit to talk to someone, help someone, serve somewhere, WHATEVER IT IS, that we do it! When we don’t, we’re not depending on God and that prompting will be a little less clear next time. When we do depend on God we join God’s adventure to see what He’s going to do THROUGH US and it will be clearer next time.
The disciples heard Jesus’ public teaching just as the crowds did. The difference was that the disciples weren’t content with just hearing him teach and seeing his miracles. As awe-inspiring as all that was, when the opportunity came, they said “yes” to the intimate personal relationships with him, relationships that changed the trajectory of their entire lives…and of the world.
John 1:38-39a, “Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’ They said, ‘Rabbi’ (which means ‘Teacher’), ‘where are you staying?’ ‘Come,’ he replied, ‘and you will see.’
Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
The best way to start the day is by talking to God. Before you even leave your house for the day, there are certain things you need to ask God for to help you with your day.
Althought we can’t predict the future we can ask God to prepare us for whatever life will throw at us that day. After all, God knows even the smallest details of our lives before they even happen.
- Pray for strength to turn away from sin. Life will throw many subtle but sinful things at you through out your day. you may not even realize that you’ve stumbled over them! Things like gossip, negative thoughts, jealousy, are easy to fall into without even knowing it. Pray for God to give you a conscious mind to turn away from the things that displease Him.
- Pray for others to see God through you. One of our missions on earth is to witness to other people about God’s redemptive love. If we’re not radiating the love of Christ to the world around us, then we’re not doing our job as followers of Christ! We should be excited to talk to others about the things God is doing for us that He, too, can do for them.
- Pray for energy. We could all use some extra strength to get through our day.
- Pray for resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover readily from adversity. Not every day is filled with hardships, but when that day comes that is filled with adversity, God can empower us to get through it. When we pray for resilience, God will give us the mindset of perseverance, and the ability to approach these situations confidently and courageously. When we change to a mindset of resilience we turn these difficulties into mountains that God can move!
He has loved us with an everlasting love.
Then why does it say he gets angry with a sinner?
Anger is one of the strongest evidences and expressions of God’s love. If you had a child who lied, swore, and stole and you DIDN’T care what he does THAT would be a sign of no love, of indifference. Because I love him, because I want him to grow up with integrity and character, it makes me angry to see him not live up to his potential and take that course. Now how I channel that anger determines whether it is motivated out of love or something sinful in my own spirit.
God loves the sinner that he gets angry with them, with us, when we willfully disobey.
- Lack of Trust…which manifests itself through (1) micromanagement; (2) lack of transparency; (3) lack of risk; (4) lack of creativity/spontaneity.
- The need to be liked…which manifests itself through (1) making popular decisions instead of right ones; (2) surrounding yourself with people who only say yes; (3) over avoidance of conflict; (4) indeciciveness; (5) emotional decision-making.
- Stagnancy…which manifests itself through (1) seldom seeking out constructive improvement; (2) asking for constructive improvement without any intention to act upon suggestions; (3) risk avoidance; (4) fear of the new.
These weaknesses can all be traced back to pride or fear. When pride is in the way we’ll have “greater than” thoughts about ourselves and when fear is manifesting itself we will display “lesser than” thoughts. It’s when we understand the WHY behind our weaknesses and commit to dealing with their root causes that we’ll be able to overcome it by God’s grace.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a really popular verse for Christians to recite to give them hope. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I know a lot of Christians who trot that verse out of memory. It’s a good one. It should be memorized. It’s an encouraging verse.
But a lot of people don’t realize the context of that verse. It’s part of a letter to exiles from Israel who still have 70 years of captivity ahead of them! God isn’t saying those words to happy, comfortable people in their comfortable homes with their comfortable families. God is speaking to people going through some tough stuff–stuff that won’t necessarily get better in this life.
The principle application we get from this verse today is not that everything will work out TODAY. It’s that everything will work out SOME DAY. Ultimately God does have plans to prosper us and give us a hopeful future.
Ephesians 5:15-17, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
That passage teaches us to live wisely making the most of time.
As a child, summer seemed to last forever. But I can still vividly remember a time when my mom looked me in the eye through the rear-view mirror while driving and me sitting idly by during some trip and saying, “Marc, don’t blink. Life will go by faster than you can imagine.” She was most certainly younger at the time than I am now. Since then life seems to have sped up even when I pause to savor the moment at hand.
How do I make the most of my time? By looking for God’s opportunities to show and tell the Gospel. Time is ticking. From now on, I will listen to God and get busy.