This has been a rough week for quiet times…but I must admit that it was all me. Was I busy? Yes, more than most weeks. Did I have downtime where I could have done some alone time with the Lord? Yep, sat on my duff and even thought about the fact that I had not done a quiet time in days. There were great excuses for me to miss quiet times as well but none of them was an acceptable excuse. However, there was one common denominator…I got to each evening (not having started my day in God’s Word) and there was always something that got in the way of spending that precious time.
It all came to a head on Friday mid-day when I had a phone call with a peer of mine who I don’t see eye to eye with professionally…let me cut to the chase -> on the phone I yelled at this person and then hung up on them. The moment my simmering ceded I felt immediately guilty and convicted of my sin. Within 15 minutes I had texted this person and apologized profusely for my behavior; stating that it was out of character for me to behave this way and even though I had been angry over being protective of one of my employees, the way I acted was unacceptable. This elicited an apology back from the person (who never apologizes directly but I knew it was an apology) which I had not expected.
All it took was for me to be out of God’s Word for 4 days to be utterly destroyed by my flesh…but God, in His loving way guided me back to the safety of HIS Character and reminded me that my freedom resides in Him alone. With the exception of Sunday morning (was busy all 4 church services), I spent every waking moment with my family and serving friends in need. I am back in God’s Word and will pick back up my posting of Quiet Times tomorrow.
Remember that common denominator above? Well, I am getting up early to do my Quiet Times first thing so there is never an opportunity for the day to waste away before I get my time with HIM.
“I warn everyone who listens to the statements of the prophecy in this book: If anyone shall add anything to them, God will add and lay upon him the plagues that are recorded and described in this book. And if anyone cancels or takes away from the statements of the book of this prophecy, God will cancel and take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the city of holiness (purity and hallowedness), which are described and promised in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19 ->me: Having now read through the entire book of Revelation before reading these 2 verses I get a good understanding of why God has put them there through John. There are many other places in the bible that say ‘don’t take away or add to’ the things written, but none of them go on to outline the consequences of doing so. One might think that this message to those who copy and distribute the bible but it to anyone ‘who hears these words’. The other stand out is that what you cannot add to or take away from is “the prophesy”. This is a good indication that its not just John’s book of Revelation that is covered otherwise it would say ‘this prophesy’. Finally, God makes it clear that the consequences of changing His word is proportional – ‘cancel or take away’ their appropriate share. Through these words I have even more confidence that God’s word is what we read in the bible…cover to cover.
“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; we also lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 ->me: Today, folks, is epiphany day. As I was thinking through our time last night (going over our commitments to purity) and the amazing retreat with the guys from church on the same topic, it dawned on me. Why can’t I use the same strategies I have for dealing with temptations around sexual purity when I deal with my obsession over things (gadgets, widgets, shoes, etc)? The big one is seize the first 5 seconds. When my mind starts to go down the wrong path with something I see, I seize the first 5 seconds and go to prayer, scripture, and sometimes escape to do away with the temptation to mindfully entertain dwelling on what I have seen. Why didn’t I think to apply the same logic to temptations around purchasing things I don’t need? Well I put it to the test today and the Lord gave me strength in my weakness to turn away my thought of buying and to a thought of how I could use that money for His work. Whoa….this has legs!
…God never gives a thorn (a death of a loved one, a terminal illness, etc) without this added grace, He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
From a poem by Martha Snell Nicholson (a “mendicant” is a beggar)
Today I spent time dwelling on and consuming the analogy that God had laid on my heart last night when reading some of the commentaries on 1 John 3:1-3. This picture of a Target being our ultimate goal of being like Christ (doing what He did and operating in our mind and action as He did here on earth). There are the winds of the world that try to blow our arrows off target (anything missing the mark is sin). The elements of satan like rain blurring our vision and frightening us. The distraction of media and things as well as our own pursuits constantly draw our aim away from the Target. But! We have the straight ruler of God’s Word to set our aim down range; we have the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit spotting scope to give us direction and changes based on the Winds of the World and this flesh that loves to receive the signals (elements) of satan that threaten to get in our way. With the Holy Spirit spotting scope our trajectory can still be true.
As a Christian my ultimate enemy is Sin. I must become a sin killing machine. If I am not killing sin then sin is killing me. Before I was saved I had a gun (my will) but it had no bullets so any sin I pointed my gun at and shot was not affected. I could bludgeon my sin with the gun but the sin would ultimately prevail; bullets are the only thing that can mortally kill the sin. When I became saved, the Lord put His power into my gun (bullets) -> now I can kill sin! But, I still must pull the trigger. Now that I have my gun with sin killing bullets, I need sights that help me zero in on the sin – I better my sights by reading the word of God, the truth that calls out the sin in my life.
Today the Lord gave me a good one – We are not commanded to “don’t do what Jesus would not do” but “do what Jesus did”. I have gotten so hung up on thinking living righteously is just keeping a clean nose…nope, it’s proactively doing what Jesus did or would do. So if you are going through every day just avoiding sin then you are not truly FOLLOWING Jesus.