Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Real Quiet Time- Part 2

Would you rather your wife or husband spend time with you because they want to or because they have to?  That's easy; because they want to, right?  Think about this. Does Jesus want you to spend time with Him out of duty or desire?

In "A Real Quiet Time- Part 1", we began looking at what a real quiet time is and what one looks like.  We concluded that a real quiet time produces real results.  Today we want to look at those results a little closer. How do we know real results are being produced?

The "results test" will help you define your time with God as delight or drudgery?  We determined that if our quiet time is ritualistic or out of duty, then drudgery is being produced. Guilt and defeat can then take root and the result can be tragic- not having a quiet time at all. But if our quiet time is sincere and desired, then delight is the result. 

What do you experience when you miss a scheduled time alone with God?  If you experience defeat, then you need to reexamine the quiet time's purpose.  Are you spending this time with God because you have to or because you want to?  Defeat results from "have to".  Disappointment results from "want to".  There is a distinct difference.  It's a matter of the heart.  A quiet time out of guilt is drudgery.  A quiet time out of desire is delight.  What type of quiet time are you experiencing?

Psalm 1:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night."  NIV

Did you notice that the meditating on the law of the Lord was not assigned a specific amount of time?  It says, "he meditates day and night".  A quiet time doesn't have to have a beginning and end time!  It can last the whole day and into the night! As we live our lives with Christ and His Word at the center, our focus will be on Him all of the time. 

God's holy Word is His love letter to us.  This should be what we delight in!  If reading God's love letter produces drudgery and defeat, then we need to get on our knees and ask God to renew our spirits and refresh our souls to desire Him more than the things of the world.  We need to ask Him to search our hearts and bring to the surface the sin that is keeping our delight in Him supressed.  Pray through Psalm 51.

REAL RESULTS = Living out, and responding with, the Truth that we're meditating on each and every day! 

Hopefully, as you examine your quiet time with the Lord, you will come to the conclusion that desire and delight are what you experience.  If not, continue to pray and ask God to give you a sincere desire for Him and His Word.  Your quiet times will never be the same as you begin looking forward to them instead of dreading them.  Take some time today to "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)  You'll be delighted!

My Pleasure,

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Real Quiet Time- Part 1

Most Christians I know think of a quiet time as time spent with the Bible in hand, reading some specific passage, praising the Lord, praying through prayer requests, praying for others and themselves.  All of these things are good.  A quiet time is considered a mark of a mature Christian.  But when this quiet time doesn't appear to be a priority or is missed several days in a row, guilt comes barreling in and our joy can become suppressed.  The result?  We succumb to defeat. Defeat can lead to giving up on having a quiet time all together. 

A real quiet time with the Lord doesn't always look the same for every Christian.  Some may follow a rigid schedule; same time every day.  Others may change up their quiet times because of schedules, or demanding family needs-LIFE.  There are also those who skip days at a time before they sit down with the Word in hand again.  Who's to say who's the more mature Christian?  God and God alone.

A real quiet time for me looks different from all of the above because my quiet times consist of all of the above. Sometimes I am so intentional as to what I'm reading, meditating on, listening to, praying about, writing about, etc., that I am gulping down truth as fast as the Holy Spirit is pouring it into me.  Other days I'm just living off of the vast amount of truth that I've already swallowed. I can't hold any more. This is when I just need to soak in what I've learned and allow the Holy Spirit to absorb it into my soul.

Am I any less spiritual because I'm not rigid?  No.  Am I still in tune with the Spirit even when I'm not following a specific schedule of reading the Word? Yes.  When a quiet time becomes just an item on a "to-do" list, then it becomes a ritual instead of transformational. The truth of God's Word is designed to transform lives and refresh spirits.

As you ponder "A Real Quiet Time- Part 1", ask yourself if you desire refreshment or ritual?  Jesus doesn't want us to come to Him out of duty.  He wants us to come to Him out of love because we want to spend time with Him.  He wants to refresh us, teach us, love us, fill us, and grow us.  Yes, it does take effort on our part, but it's always worth it.  Take some time to examine your quiet time.  Why do you have one?  What are you learning?  How are you applying what you learn?  Do you feel defeated if you miss?

Start fresh today!  Read God's Word, pray and listen. Soak in His truth and then live it out!  That's how the refreshment is manifested; live out what you learn.  A real quiet time produces real results. Don't just read it and check it; soak it and live it! That's the real mark of a mature Christian.

"Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV)

Come back and we'll look at "A Real Quiet Time- Part 2".

Lord Jesus, help me to have quiet times with You that are real and refreshing.  Teach me, mold me, grow me up!  Help me to not walk in defeat because I missed a day reading Your Word.  Instead, as I read, show me how you want to change my heart to look more like Yours.  Give me the strength to allow You to do what is necessary to change me so I can live out the truth You've taught me.  The more I grow, the more I want to spend time with You.  May the quiet times that I spend with You produce real results.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

My Pleasure,