Saturday, January 05, 2013

Slip Away And Pray

In Luke 5, verse 16 talks about how Jesus would often slip away to pray.

It's important to get away from all things that distract us from God - the "hustle and bustle" of life.  In the quiet, it's easier to focus on God and pray.  Sure, our minds can wander during prayer (and I know mine often does), but it's important to refocus, ask for forgiveness for our minds wandering, and resume talking to God.

In the quiet, it's easier to hear from God as well.  If the TV, radio, and computer is off, if people aren't around us talking and making noise, we should be able to focus on God better and hear Him if and when He speaks to us.

Sometimes I find it difficult to pray in the quietness.  I think that is because I am afraid of being alone with God. I think I fear because I'm afraid He might ask me to do something I don't want to do, or He might say, "No" to a specific prayer request. I'm also afraid that it will be at that time when I let my anger, etc., towards God (which makes me feel guilty even admitting that I sometimes get angry at Him) show.  I know it's OK to be angry (God gave us emotions), but when that happens, I need to remember to repent of it and ask forgiveness afterward.

Other than what I've mentioned, I don't know any specific reason that would cause me to "fear" being alone with God.  I know He loves me and he knows what's best for me - yet I still "fear" it.  I have to wonder if it's because during that time God may reveal something about myself that I don't like, or want to hear.  In other words, He will examine my heart and see just how much of a sinner I am (and make me face it), and then I would need to repent (sometimes it seems easier to ignore a sin than to admit it and repent). Or maybe He would tell me that my deepest desire/dream will never become a reality. and I don't know if I could handle that.

It might be that during this quiet time, that God humbles me and brings me to my knees. I like to think that I am humble, but in reality, I am more proud than I would like to admit. And it's that pride that needs to be removed...which, even though I know is a good thing, scares me.

Friday, January 04, 2013

It Is Written

In Luke 4, what spoke to me this morning was when Jesus was in the wilderness and being tempted by the devil. People will say that this is how we know that Jesus can be, and is, sympathetic (and empathetic) to us, and that He completely understands what it is like when the devil tempts us.  I should note here that God does not tempt us to sin - the devil does that. God provides ways for us out of the temptation.

But, while what I just said is true, the part that speaks to me is that Jesus always had an answer when Satan tempted Him.  He was able to "back things up" by saying something that was written in Scripture, and He would begin His reply with, "It is written...".  That is why I need to immerse myself in the Word, learn it, and memorize it.  Elsewhere in the Bible it says we must be prepared to give a reason for our hope..."always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..." (1 Peter 3:15).  If we don't know the Bible, we won't be able to back up our answers and give reasons "why".

I know that not everyone I come into contact with will accept an answer that is backed up with "it says in the Bible...". Those are the people who would most likely say that the Bible is full of fairy tales, or that it was only written by a bunch of men years ago.  I think, for those people, it would take more than that to turn them towards God. That would be whee "practice what you preach" and prayer would come into play.

But, regardless, it is important to get into the Word and not just read it, but memorize it, know it, and live it.  If Jesus knew the Word and used it in battle (and obviously lived it), then it must be important for me as well!

I am not quite awake this morning, so I apologize if this sounds incoherent. Have a Christ-filled day!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

It's A Brand New Year

It's a brand new year, and I want to get back in the habit of reading my Bible daily, and spending more time with the Lord than I have been. So, yesterday I started reading in Luke 1.

The part that stuck out to me was verse 6, which says, "They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord."  The 'they' who are being referred to are Elizabeth and Zacharias, the parents of John the Baptist.  They were old and Elizabeth was barren. Yet, Gabriel appeared to them and brought the news that Elizabeth would have a baby in her old age.

As I read verse six over and over a few more times, it made me wonder if that might be a reason as to why I am not married and have kids - because I'm not righteous in the sight of God and I don't walk blamelessly in all His commandments and requirements.  Do I need to improve my 'walk' and spend more time in the Word and live a more Christ-like life before any of this will happen for me?

I just wish it would happen soon (the marriage and kids). I'm not getting any younger - especially with my birthday looming around the corner in less than three weeks!

Today, in chapter 2, the part that spoke out to me was part of verse 7, "...because there was no room for them in the inn."  This is, of course, referring to the birth of Jesus and the fact that He was found lying in a manger (which is a feeding trough).  Even as He was being born, people didn't have room for Him. It makes me stop and wonder if I have room for Jesus in my life?!

Lately, (or for awhile), it seems like the honest answer would have to be no.  I would like to say how devout I am, how Jesus always comes first and has room in my heart, in my life, but I need to be honest about it.  Most days I am consumed with thoughts of work, work itself, what I want to do or need to do, things I'd like to have, places I'd like to go, and even just relaxing.  I watch TV, I'm on the computer a lot, get together with friends - but for awhile now, I haven't been making time for the Lord in my life.  Yes, He should get first dibs on my time, my day, but often that doesn't happen.  Oh, I'll try to squeeze in a few little prayers during the day, or before I go to bed, and try to claim that as my "time" spent in God's presence. Or, I will simply read a chapter in the Bible and not meditate or pray on it.  But let's face it...that isn't quite time that is spent with Him.

I need to be spending quality time in the Word and in prayer if I want to be able to hear Him or have Him speak to me.  And how can that happen if I don't take the time to be with Him?

A good part of any relationship or in communication involves listening.  If I want to hear from the Lord, then I need to stop all the talking I do to Him, all the business and laziness in my life, and just sit and listen (or prayerfully listen)...or even throughout the day be more conscious of His presence and the fact that He might be speaking through someone else to me.

It all takes effort (and something like 30 days for it to become a habit), and practice to make it a daily part of my life.  And, that is something I need to work on!