Tag Archives: time with God

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.

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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.

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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.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

 

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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.”

© 2016 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Archived Devotions, Spring 2016