Once again, I hear God telling me to be quiet and enjoy time with Him from so many sources. Our pastor begins his Lent series on Come and Rest Sunday, February 18 (a worship service I co-planned this week). I created banners for church for this series – Be Still and Know that I am God, from Psalm 46:10. My First15 devotional has been focusing this week on hearing God. Continuing reading from Brennan Manning’s The Furious Longing of God had me reviewing John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in You.
So you’d THINK I’d get it that God was encouraging me to spend time with Him, just being in His presence. BUT NO! I enjoyed binge-watching Downton Abbey, read a murder mystery, worked on several good and creative outlets, played games and crafted with my granddaughter …
… However, I didn’t just spend time being WITH God. I didn’t stop and rest in His presence. I kept busy with so many other things, that I kept ignoring His promptings. Yet God is patient. He continues to love me. He won’t leave me. He desires time with me, but He won’t pressure or walk away from me. He gently and lovingly reminds me to spend time with Him. I don’t mean just in devotions, reading a snip-it from God’s word and then someone else’s take on what He is saying (like this blog), but intentionally spending time WITH God.
Recently my husband and I enjoyed time with friends and new acquaintances for an evening. We talked and ate, and ate and talked for 4-5 hours. We got to know each other a little more during that time. If we had spent 15 minutes together, we’d have barely touched the surface. How much more important is God’s time with us?
The world can KEEP us busy. There are always plenty of things to do, many are very good things. But what is better? Spending quality time WITH God. I will be working this week. I will be watching the Olympics. I will spend time with my granddaughter. I will be busy with worship planning, work, and “maybe helping” Rich shovel snow. However, I know God has been encouraging me to find time this week to turn off all the distracts and just enjoy BEING WITH HIM!
Praying you are able to find time to BE WITH GOD this week as well ~ Faye
WEATHER: I don’t have to tell most of you that this country is in an extreme heat and drought situation. Living in farm country, every day the news tells us how much damage the crops are suffering because of the lack of rain. It’s easy for the untrained eye to see it as the corn stalks wither and brown in the heat. Farmers struggle to keep their hogs cooled. Gardeners usually fight Japanese Beetles this time of year are also struggling to keep their gardens watered sufficiently. It’s not “fun” to be outside, especially in the sun. And at night we can’t even enjoy a fire either because of the heat or the burn ban restrictions. When a cloud appears in the sky or there is the slightest breeze or drop in temperature our hopes soar that rain and cooler weather are coming.
NEWS: It’s very discouraging to listen to the news these days from two innocent girls missing in Iowa to the inexplicable shootings in Colorado, suicide bombers, robberies, life-altering illnesses – the list continues. We look for any glimmer of hope in the tragedies.
David was in a similar situation when he as in the wilderness of Judah. He was feeling totally drained and L-O-N-G-E-D for God’s presence. David lived a life being hunted by the king, hiding in the desert and not being able to go to the Temple to worship God. Psalm 63 describes some of that longing. David remembers that he has seen God in the sanctuary and gazed upon God’s power and glory. He praises God for His unfailing love and care.
Have you ever been in a spiritual wasteland where you are struggling for nourishment? I have. Following my husband’s heart procedure and other issues, I felt drained. I KNEW God was there caring for me and even carrying me through the tough times, but I couldn’t FEEL Him. Somehow the inner assurance seemed to have evaporated in the heat of trials. After I wrote Practice! Practice! Practice! a dear friend reminded me of a simple book that I hadn’t looked at for a while – Invitation to Solitude and Silence, by Ruth Haley Barton. I picked it up again and have been enjoying my morning time with God just BEING in His presence.
There is such a blessing that occurs from spending time with God – not on the fly as our guest pastor said Sunday; praying on the go, listening to Christian music, quickly reading a 2 minute devotional – all of which are good. But there is an importance of being thoroughly drenched and refreshed by BEING in God’s presence. Whether it is simply picking up His word and reading a verse or a portion of scripture and then just sitting there, thinking about it, thanking God for His word, listening to what He might have to say.
As much as we are physically craving rain to water the earth these days, how much more should we be thirsting, longing, craving for God to fill us spiritually?
I want to encourage you – and myself – to spend that much needed time IN God’s word, WITH Him – just BEING in His presence and letting Him minister to your needs. It’s not easy and it’s not just sitting there. It is actively waiting and listening for what God will place on your heart. Watch, pray. It’s incredible how God blesses, not only in those moments, but continues to shower you with His love, grace and care in the hours and days following your time with Him.
I thought I’d share a song from one of my favorite musicians is Fernando Ortega. He has captured Psalm 63 beautifully in O God, You are My God. I pray that you will be blessed with some time this week just BEING in God’s presence and letting the Holy Spirit fill you to overflowing so that you are spiritually refreshed and nourished ~ Faye