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15 April, 2011

Quiet Time

My favorite story in the entire Bible is a great start for this. In I Kings 19 beginning with vs. 10, Elijah starts complaining to God about all the work he has done for Him and now his life is being threatened. At first Elijah expects, I guess, for God to pamper him, to possibly give him "something" (?). What God does do is tell him to travel, then eat and rest; then to meet Him on a hill. God didn't tell him to go to a high mountain top and give up his life and live waiting for God to speak, He simply told him to go to a hill and wait for The Lord would pass by. First a huge wind comes and tears the place apart; shatters rocks and ripped the mountains apart! However, God was not in the wind. Then an earthquake, then a fire, but again God was not in either one of these! After these a small gentle breeze came through, and THIS is where God was!

God is the creator of all that is. He has the power to do anything He wants! He is the one who taught the lions to roar, gave lightning the ability to strike the earth from a cloud! He made all that is from NOTHING! Yet when He is with us, He does not yell, He does not come with a booming voice; quite the contrary. Instead, He comes to be with us. I am of the impression that is why He didn't come through the earthquake or fire, but chose the still small voice so we would have to choose to place everything else in ours lives down and listen! He isn't one to compete. In all honesty, how would anyone be able to?

In Jeremiah 33:3 we are told : "call unto me and I will answer you; I will tell you great unsearchable things!" In the 147 Psalm we are told He made and named all the stars! We can't even SEE all the stars and He knows each and every one of them by name! In Luke 12 and Matthew 10 we are told He has counted the hairs on our heads! Considering all the people that are born everyday, not to mention all that have come before, that is an unbelievable number, but God does this and has since the beginning of time. It is an every day thing for Him, and if these things are everyday occurrences, then what could God call "great and unsearchable"? If God is looking for us to come to a place that is set aside away from everything else, He chooses to use a voice that is smaller than that of all that is around us, one can only wonder!

A Quiet Time is meant to be just that: Quiet! The reason is so that He can show you the things He calls great and unsearchable.
Does this mean every time we go we will receive a great "eschatological" vision? Not hardly! If anything, especially at first, the time will be more along the lines of learning. Learning what His "voice" is like, how to tell His voice from the world, His voice from ours. I think it is most important to remember that the time is meant to spend with Him, not to solve the worlds problems.

13 April, 2011

Prayer

God is the Creator of all that is. He made everything from nothing (Gen. 1). He has many names; He called Himself "I Am" in Exodus. He also called Himself "Jealous" later in Exodus (34:14). In John 15:15 He called Himself our friend! How do you pray to someone like this?

When I think of all He has done for me, I tremble with absolute fear, and awe! I want to sing, to shout! This is not prayer, though, how do you pray, go before Him and petition for anything? He has the power and authority, but is He approachable?

I heard a story once that tells of a man who had a similar problem for many years. A friend told him that God had promised many times throughout the Bible that He would be with us, all he would have to do is just talk to Him. The friend told him to use a chair. Place the chair in front of him and imagine Jesus sitting in that chair and just talk to Him! The man tried this and found it to be a lot easier than he thought. He liked it so much he continued it for many years. The day he died, his daughter went in to check on him and found he had died, but not until he had laid his head in the chair next to his bed! In the mind of the man, he had lain his head in the lap of his best friend, and passed away there.

I have spoken with others who have read and prayed much. They came to a point in their Christian growth that prayer was stagnant and meant nothing to them; they were doing nothing more than reciting to God. Different things began to happen to them that brought them to their knees in remembrance of just who God really is. This thought caused them to do more than recite, it made them stop and really look at themselves as petitioners rather than talkers( A person who tends to do more talking than listening.). They came to a point in their prayer lives that nothing less than being on their knees was good enough for prayer. They had come to an understanding that God was so great, so awesome; and that prayer was being in His presence so being on ones knees was the only way for them to pray.

Should we pray on our knees? Is it alright to stand and speak to God as though He were a close friend? In Jeremiah 33:3 we are told to call on Him and He will answer. In Luke 11:10 we are told if we seek, we'll find; if we ask, it will be given; and if we knock the door will be opened. In Jeremiah 29 we will be able to find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts! I am convinced that it is not the position of our bodies that is in question, but our hearts! He has always wanted a relationship with us; a personal relationship. This cannot be done without some kind of communication: PRAYER! If you do this on your knees, do so with all your heart! If you choose to use a chair and imagine Him sitting there as a close friend, again, do so with all your heart, but talk to Him! Listen to Him! Seek Him!

Prayer

Bible Reading

Reading the Bible can be reading an instruction book; reading a Love Letter from God. I have heard it said that it can be Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth, but I think my favorite is when reading the Bible, you are reading your own story!

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, means "The Beginning" and in this first book, we find so many beginnings. The beginning of life, the first time man sins against God. The first time man is called out by faith. When Abram was called out, God didn't say a word about where He wanted him to go, nothing about the name of a city, no GPS setting, nothing! God simply said "Go to a place I will show you". That is a really tough way to go! He was simply (Gen. 12: 1- 3) told to pack up his personal belongings,his immediate family and go! As Christians, we are called out from what we know and understand, to become part of a great kingdom. Faith is not easy! It requires leaving what we know, what we already understand and use to make our decisions with. Go to a different kind of learning, basically, a new life! In Exodus we find what the Israelites had to do to learn the same lessons.
The Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians and had been for many years. They had been crying out to God in prayer for help. We do the same, maybe in different ways, but we look for something better than what we have, more of a purpose in life. That is referred to as "salvation", a way out of the life you have and into something more. The Israelites were looking for a way out of the oppression they had become slaves to. The only way out was to rely completely on God's direction. They were more than willing to do so until they got out, and the traveling got a little tougher than they thought it should, it was then they began to have second thoughts about leaving their lives. We tend to do the same thing; we don't like the lives we had before Christ, but we are so lost in this new life and what it takes to live it, that we actually start to look back and wonder "why did we leave?". We already know what we left and why we needed to leave it, we know we didn't like, didn't need it, still don't want it, but that we know how to live in. This life is so new and confusing! Faith is a lot of things, but easy is not one of them. Exodus is a story about us in our early Christian lives learning how to live that kind of life.
The next time you read your Bible, try looking at it as though it were a story written about you! It really is a Love letter written by God to us, but I like reading it with the thought that it's about me and for me! I tend to look a little closer, look more for something that actually applies to where I am in my Christian growth. I have seen some amazing things in God's Word, in Isaiah 55 we are told that God's word will not return void, it will complete what It was given! It has a task to complete just as you and I do! That word has the task of helping us to understand who He is and who we are. I guess that makes It the instruction book to beat all!

13 January, 2011

Personal Views

Psalm 13:3
Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him", and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

Temperature is a funny thing; as a mail carrier I start the day pretty early and during the winter it's usually below freezing when I load my truck to start my route. Somewhere during the day, say about noon, the temp rises to about 32f (0c) ,; at this point I start to change from my parka and put on a jacket! I actually consider it to be rather a pleasant day! Most times you can put a glass of water out and the water would freeze, and yet, I consider this same temperature to be pleasant. To be honest, I don't always consider this a "pleasant" day, If I wake up in the morning and discover that it is just that cold, I will bundle up. Should I decide to ride my motorcycle, freezing is not the temperature I would choose to ride in. What is the difference between the weather I'll ride a bike in and the weather I changed out of my parka? Change. To put it another way, perspective. The way we look at things has a huge impact on how we react to these things. When life seems to pile up and appears to stack everything against us, we have a tendency to react with bitterness, sometimes panic, sometimes we strike out in anger; different people react in different ways, but it still comes down to the same thing: Perspective. In my own life, it seems that when I look at "things" that are overwhelming me, they are usually things that are superficial, unimportant; things that if I let them go and not even think about them, much less worry about them, nothing will happen! They are things that mean absolutely nothing. I find that I am drowning in "stuff"! It is at this point that I must take a page from the Psalmist and ask God for light for my eyes; help me see the difference between the things that matter and the things that don't.

Father, during the many times I feel as if the world is crashing down around me and trying to overwhelm me with the things in my life, I ask You to grant me Your light, so I might see what I need to let go of, what I need to hold on to and work to overcome. Grant me Your wisdom to see that difference.

Trust

Psalm 11:4
The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men, His eyes examine them.

I am not always the most most trusting soul in the world. Not even when it comes to trusting God, that sounds odd considering Faith is based on Trust. I guess that's why I am having such a hard time trusting right now, He's bringing out all the things about trust that I have a hard time with and showing me even proving to me that regardless of all that is so obvious , so insurmountable in my eyes, this verse resounds throughout the trials! He really is in control, and it's okay to trust Him with the things I can't define or control! What a Father! What a Teacher!