Tag Archives: time with God

Talk Time

Do you love to talk to God throughout the day as I do? Sometimes it’s a session of intense prayer, other times it’s simply thanking Him for the beauty of His creation. Often I’m just wondering what to do next. No matter the situation, I’m thankful for the quiet confidence that I can talk to God about everything, all the time. But, it wasn’t always like this.

When I was a new believer, the short, but to-the-point admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to, “Pray continually” struck a chord with me. Do you wonder, as I did, how to pray all the time?

Preceding this instruction, we read in verse 16, “Be joyful always,” which directs us in our attitude of how we approach God. Verse 18 concludes with exhorting us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” These straightforward teachings are the key to praying continuously.

As we talk to God we’re to be joyful, giving thanks to Him always. Through prayer we can ask the Lord to change us to reflect these qualities. Adapting this frame of mind, we will find it easier and easier to talk to our Father God throughout the day. Continual prayer will flow more naturally, and

Unlike limited minutes on a cell phone plan, there is no limit to our talk time with God.

Through the years I’ve grown in dependence on God, desiring a heart attitude fully yielded to Him. This awareness of Him can be our way of life as we pray silently in our hearts throughout the day.

I pray you will find reassurance in the lyrics of the first verse of What a Friend We Have in Jesus by Joseph M. Scriven:

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.”

Father God, Thank you that we can take everything to you in prayer. Help me learn to talk to you continually throughout my day with a spirit of joy and thankfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Matthew 7:7 (NIV): “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Colossians 4:2 (NIV): “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes It Takes a Long Time

Due to years of overdoing it at the local gym, my lower back developed occasional low-grade pain. During a bout of independence, because after all, I’m a strong and physically fit woman, I was maneuvering my “at the maximum allowed weight” suitcase during a plane flight to the West coast. No thanks, I didn’t need any help. My back hasn’t been the same since.

For over a year now—a year with some doctor appointments, an MRI, a few medications, and physical therapy—this pain has been my faithful companion. Sadly, I had to give up the gym and put away the golf clubs, but my two-fold exercise instructions include a good deal of walking. I love to walk, and I soon found myself chalking up great distances and feeling some improvement. Conversely, the second treatment portion involved physical therapy, and in my mind, was boring. Plus, I didn’t see it was doing much good. All those stretches and gentle exercises when I’d rather be out and active—so I tapered off from doing them. As you may have guessed, the pain intensified until I finally hunkered down and got serious about the physical therapy routine. Now every morning I faithfully perform the stretches. The progress is snail-like slow and has gone on for a prolonged time, but my pain is currently minimal. I’m learning:

Perseverance and patience work in partnership.

Patience can mean forbearance and long-suffering. Perseverance requires discipline as you work for something despite the difficulties. Unpopular words in a culture which desires instant results. None of us like to suffer, and even more so if it’s for a lengthy period.

God’s Word has much to say about enduring and holding up. Psalm 27:14 (NIV) exhorts us to, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Did you notice this one sentence of scripture admonishes us not once, but twice, to wait for the Lord?

What are you waiting for?

  • A child to accept the Lord
  • A job change
  • A resolution for a financial issue
  • A house to sell
  • An improvement in your health

As I wait, how can I be strong and take heart as scripture instructs me? By doing my spiritual exercises. Just as I have to daily do my stretches and exercises for my back, I need to stay in His Word. Diligently pouring through scripture illuminates my path of waiting. And, I’d much rather proceed in the light than in darkness.

Next, I can pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) simply instructs, “Pray without ceasing.” By daily remaining in a mindset of prayer and communion with my heavenly Father, I am reassured of His care for me as He surrounds me in the “shadow of His wings.” (See Psalm 17:8) As you travel through your journey of prayer, don’t forget to notice the small steps and advances along the way.

And finally, seek fellowship with other believers and be an encouragement to them who may, in turn, encourage you. Be light to a world that desperately needs to see you handling the situation with grace and dignity. Fellow Christians will lighten your load and ease the pain of the process.

Strengthening my back has been a difficult, long process and it continues to be so. I have to be patient and I have to persevere, just as many of you are doing. My prayer for you is you’ll find the answers you’re waiting for, and you will “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, NIV) The answers may not come in our timetable and they may not always be of our choosing, but God’s intentions for us are always perfect.

Father God, I’m waiting for your answers and it seems I’ve been waiting for a long time. I ask you to pick me up when I grow weary. Please sustain me and keep me patient, and strengthen me with perseverance during this season of waiting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Isaiah 30:18 (NIV): “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV): “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Lamentations 3:24 (NIV): “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

Romans 8:25 (NIV): “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2017

It Feels Like a Tightrope Act

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

Viewed by many as overly organized, I like to get matters taken care of. Teaching a Bible study, writing Christian devotions, maintaining a home—all good things I easily become engrossed in. But as I’ve heard it said before,

I don’t want to be so busy working for God that I’m too busy for God.

Today’s featured scripture tells the story of Martha who was so occupied tending to preparations that she was missing what Jesus had to say. Can you envision Martha fluttering around her house tidying up, cooking food, and serving her guests? Meanwhile, Mary is sitting near Jesus soaking up his teachings. Martha was probably disturbed, but she didn’t know what else to do. So many tasks, even though I believe her deep desire was to listen to the Teacher after she readied the meal.

I have struggled with this same issue in my life, and while I don’t have it down perfectly, I’m learning. My goal is to achieve a Martha-Mary balance between doing what it takes to get ministry items done versus spending time with our Lord and other important relationships.

The balance is tricky, but prioritizing will benefit us. As Pastor Andy Stanley plainly states, “We don’t drift in good directions. We discipline and prioritize ourselves there.”

To begin with, we need to make time each day to meet with our Lord in prayer and Bible study. Some days are smoother than others are, but God knows our intentions as we give Him our heart. Soon enough, the remainder of the day will evaporate, so let’s attempt to set aside time. Time at our desks or kitchen tables for regular Bible study. Time for prayer as we remove ourselves to a quiet spot in our homes or go on our morning walks, while remembering we can also talk to our Heavenly Father throughout the day.

Next, take time for relationships. When busyness swallows us up, and what we believe to be urgent is our preoccupation, we run over and forget people. This includes our family, our friends, our neighbors—all vital relationships. Recently I’ve had to scale back on a ministry activity because it wasn’t allowing me the freedom to nurture and sustain some friendships. Do you find yourself in a similar situation?

Finally, I encourage you to run a smooth household, but without tripping up over petty details. It keeps family members happier and in the end, frees you up. Every home is different, and you know whether it involves getting dinners on the table in a timely fashion, or keeping an up-to-date calendar, or clearing away the clutter. My encouragement is to get it done, as over the long-term those action steps will provide additional time for you to abide with your first love—Jesus.

A certain amount of busyness seems a guarantee these days. But if we become absorbed in all the “stuff,” we fail to see Jesus in the midst of our lives. Such a cliché—stop and smell the roses—but how true it is. My prayer for you, and for myself, is for us to slow down and know Jesus.

Father God, Often my Martha-like actions prevent me from being more like Mary. I want to immerse myself in Your presence, but still live in a responsible manner. Please help me to achieve a Martha-Mary balance in my life which glorifies You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 46:10a (NIV): “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV): “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Matthew 6:33 (NIV): “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 11:28 (NIV): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2017

When We Grab the Promise and Run

“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord …. (Jeremiah 29:11-14a, NIV)when-we-grab-the-promise-and-run

Earlier in my marriage and when our children were young, we experienced several moves due to my husband’s corporate career. Even though there was a certain amount of excitement about going to a new place, I was still fearful and apprehensive about what my future would look like. What would my new church home be like? Would I make new friends? Would we find a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood? And, of course, there was the all-important question of where I would shop. During the first time of transition I discovered and applied Jeremiah 29:11 knowing God did have plans for me that would not harm me and they included hope and a future. This verse became my life verse.

Years later, though, I continued reading and wondered why we just claim the promise portion in verse 11 and leave off the next few verses. God instructs us to call upon Him. The promise and the instruction are both intertwined; this is a two-sided interaction with our Lord. Am I doing my part by prevailing upon Him in prayer and seeking Him with my whole heart? Or, am I dining and dashing—when someone enjoys a nice meal at a restaurant and then leaves before paying their tab?

Am I grabbing the promise and running, then neglecting to seek the Promise Giver?

And yet, there’s an even greater blessing when we’re faithful to beseech God. His Word tells us we will find Him. But how do we practically accomplish this? Scripture reveals, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

Throughout the day God waits for me. By committing to connect with Him in prayer and to search the scriptures, and then doing it faithfully, we find God. God speaks to us through His Word and in those quiet times of prayer, reflection, waiting on Him, and praise. As a prospector seeks and searches for gold, I’m to whole-heartedly pursue God and dig for His treasures. This is how we discover Him. And, He will listen to us. During this process He reveals His plans, purposes, and hopes for us in His perfect timing, but we need to seek Him with our time, commitment, and perseverance.

I love the familiar lyrics to the hymn “Standing on the Promises” which encourage us to listen to our Lord and confidently rest in Him, so we may stand on His promises:

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call

Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.

Father God, Thank you for your promises that continue to hold true through time for those who call upon you and seek you. Thank you for providing hope and a future for me. Help me to seek you with my whole heart so I may find you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Bible Truths:

Psalm 9:10 (NIV): “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 145:18-19 (NIV): “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV): “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Fall 2016

Postponing Time with God

Here I sit in my office with the best of intentions to spend some time in the Word and praying.  First, I check my email and think, “Just one game of Spider Solitaire and then I’ll spend my time with you, God.”  watches-1204696_640My computer is not a terrible thing, but it is powerful enough to pull me away from God, my Father, and I wonder why I once again fall into this trap.  It’s painful and I don’t like what I see in myself when I repeatedly take this direction.

Distractions that take us away from God may not, in themselves, be bad things.  But, we’re allowing stuff to fill our God time rather than soaking in His presence, His Word, and prayer with Him.

And none of us seem to have enough time anyway, so why are we squandering the time we do have?

Scripture exhorts us to, “Come near to God,” and in return, “He will come near to you.”  (James 4:8a, NIV)  I desire this nearness with God, but some days it’s a struggle releasing encumbrances so I can run into His arms.

Here are several steps I’ve found that will enable us to pull closer to God:

  1. Pray daily for the Holy Spirit to fill you. I actually ask God to fill me to overflowing; perhaps I’m greedy, but that’s what I do.  Even before getting out of bed in the morning, being empowered by God’s Holy Spirit sets the tone for the day.
  2. Get in a routine. It doesn’t matter when you have your time with the Lord, but allot something which works for you and your schedule.  Then, close up the computer and push the cell phone aside, knowing those devices will still be waiting for you after you’ve abided with the Lord who also waits for you.
  3. For real change, though, I also need to address the deeper heart issues. Proverbs 27:19 (NIV) tells us, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”  My heart needs renewal in order to accomplish what I desire.  Pulling away for a walk in the neighborhood, at a park, or on the beach usually provides the space I need to examine my heart and ask the Lord to reveal which areas need change.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.”  (Psalm 1:1-2, NLT)  I want that joy, and I know meditating on God’s Word and spending time in prayer with Him will provide it.  Desiring His blessings, I must draw near to Him.

Father God, I ask you to enable me through your Holy Spirit to address the areas of my heart which need change so I can experience more of what you have for me.  Please renew my heart and help me not postpone time with you, so I can draw closer to you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 119:11 (NIV):  “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Joshua 1:8 (NIV):  “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016