And so we begin 40 REAL Days with God! Thank you, so much, for joining me! My prayer is that God would speak directly to your heart as you read these posts. I have handed over this time, and these words, to Him to do with them what He will…for His glory.
As I described in my last post, we often only see the result of a process or journey. When we watch an athlete in the Olympics, we see the result of years of consistent training. When we consult a lawyer or doctor, we see the result of years of consistent study. As Christians, when we hear from a brother or sister in Christ who just seems to have the ability to say the very thing we needed to hear in that moment, we are seeing the result of consistent, daily time spent in the presence of the Lord. This, in christian-ese, is sometimes referred to as a “quiet time.” Quiet time is simply setting aside some time in your day to spend with God…through worship, prayer and meditating on Scripture.
If you have Christian friends on social media, you may see them post pictures of their Bible, prayer journal, Scripture, etc…and wonder why on earth they think you would want to see this?! This is a snapshot of their quiet time. Different people share for different reasons, but please know that they are usually sharing a snapshot of a time that is dear to them. For your viewing pleasure, I will show you a picture from my time, this morning.
I tidied up a bit in order to get it all in one picture. I usually have books strewn about all over the loveseat – or the outdoor furniture when it’s warmer. Sometimes there is even a cat perched on top.
If you zoom in on the picture, you might be able to see that I was reading something about Hannah. God spoke some amazing things to my spirit through what I read today, but you wouldn’t necessarily understand that from this simple snapshot. It is what is behind the snapshot that I would like to begin to describe, in greater detail, over the next 40 days.
Now, the way I spend time with the Lord is not the ONLY way! He made each of us unique and has given us different interests, talents and passions. This can be beautifully reflected in the way you spend time with your Creator. Discipleship is my passion. And since I can be a bit of a nerd, I like to read and research. I generally have my Bible, 2-3 books, dictionary/concordance and internet handy during my quiet time. If you are a natural worshipper or prayer warrior or artist, etc… your time with God may look completely different. The important thing is to include the important elements that help us to draw closer to Him. Worship gives God the glory, honor and praise that He so deserves…but it also reminds us just how BIG God is! Prayer connects us to God…and should be a dialogue (not just a monologue). Pour out your heart to God in prayer, but remember to be still and listen for His reply. Reading the Word is how we get to know God’s character as we see Him interact with His creation…in BOTH the Old Testament and the New Testament. We also have an example, in Jesus, as to how we are to interact with God, and with others.
As I spend daily time with Him, I see that He reveals things to me in what I call “threads.” I don’t usually get a complete lesson from day to day. He, instead, reveals a greater lesson to me, one revelation at a time. It is only as I look back over the past days, weeks, months that I see the bigger lesson that He was trying to teach me. THIS is why I keep a journal! (I’ll share more on journaling in another post.)
This 40 day blogging journey doesn’t really have a starting point. You are actually joining me on a journey that is already in progress so, let me catch you up…
Since I am more of a “Word” girl, I have to be intentional about not letting my prayer time slide. God has started talking to me (again) about the crucial necessity of prayer. He has lead me to a number of teachings by Pastor Jim Cymbala from the Brooklyn Tabernacle. He has also recently reminded me of one of my absolute favorite images in the Bible, which is the veil being torn (more on that coming in another post), giving us direct access to God because WE are now the temple where God comes to commune with His children. I have also asked Him to continue showing me what it truly means to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44); cleansed (Ephesians 5:25-27); consecrated (1 Kings 9:3-9).
Interwoven in the teachings on prayer and holiness is a constant reminding of how much He loves me. I have a history of rejection and abandonment, so sometimes I forget that, while people may let me down – God NEVER will. Over the past month, He has sent encouragement my way, primarily through the words of friends (for whom I am tremendously grateful!).
I know that all of these things are linked together for a specific lesson, but I cannot – yet – say just how. I am looking forward to watching Him unfold the fullness of what He is trying to show me. That lesson may unfold, here!
This morning was primarily spent in a book called “Transcending Mysteries” by Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens. The section of the book I was in had me in 1 Samuel 1:9-18. Here, we find Hannah utterly broken before the Lord, pouring out the pain in her soul. She is one of two wives to her husband. While he absolutely adores her, she has been unable to have any children. His other wife, Peninnah, who has been able to provide offspring, provokes and irritates Hannah to the point that she can no longer eat. At the very end of herself, Hannah goes before the Lord.
“She begins by acknowledging to God and to herself His ability to change her circumstances and confesses her heart’s desire: ‘Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies, if only You will look down at the misery of Your servant and remember me…and give Your servant a son’ (v.11)
After asking the Eternal for a son, Hannah makes an unthinkable promise to the Lord: ‘I promise I will devote the boy to Your service as a Nazirite all the days of his life’ (v.11)” -Owens, Transcending Mysteries
This means that Hannah would have little time with her precious son before having to surrender him back over for God’s service. Think about something that you have wanted more than anything in the world. Can you imagine asking God for it, and then willingly surrendering it back to Him?
The other thing that stood out was this: “What has happened during this short prayer? I can’t help but think that as Hannah has poured out her heart to the Eternal, He has poured out His heart to her. Is it possible that God also has unfulfilled longing? A longing to commune with His people? Is that desire somehow reflected in Hannah’s desperation?
Scripture records that He closed her womb (v. 5 NKJV). Did He close her womb so that they would have this moment of communion? So that she would pour out her heart and catch a glimpse of His? As she discovered who the Eternal is, was she compelled to surrender to Him the thing that she longed most for; engaging herself in a much greater story that satisfied much greater longings than her current request?” -Owens, Transcending Mysteries
I have recently had to lay on the altar a dream that I have been chasing for almost ten years. It wasn’t until I lifted it back up to God that I was able to not only find peace, but I have been able to connect with God on a deeper level. Perhaps because I have switched my focus from the dream to the dream Giver, the longings of my heart can truly be satisfied.
Well, if you’ve read this far…then you must really love to read!! I promise, the posts to follow will not be as long as this one! I just needed to lay some groundwork for those who may not understand what is meant by a “quiet time.”
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them!
See you tomorrow. Be blessed!
Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens, Transcending Mysteries, (Nashville, TN:Thomas Nelson, 2015).