Quiet Time

It is 4AM on a Monday.  It is a crisp, cool October morning and I am up. I could be snuggled up beside my son and husband in bed.  I could also take advantage of the silence and get some house cleaning done. Or, I could get a head start on my to-do list for the day ( pay bills, pump breast milk, do my hair, grocery shop, etc.).  But this morning, I’m choosing to spend it with God.

What I should say is that God chose me.  Ever since I was in college, I’ve been waking up some mornings between the hours of 3AM and 5AM. At first, I didn’t know why it was happening.  I was angry because either I had gone out the night before and had an early class, or I had just ended an all-nighter trying to finish a paper, or I was too exhausted from the day-to-day extracurriculars that I would appreciate a solid night of sleep.  Then, I don’t know how it happened, but I started to write. I may have been listening to some worship music to help get me through a paper, when the inspiration to write hit me. The only way I can describe it is that I felt as though if I didn’t get these words on the computer or piece of paper that I was going to explode.  The Lord gave me words of encouragement.  I was hesitant to share it with others, but I soon found out that these words are not just meant for myself.  Other people could be inspired by this as well.  God was using me to encourage others through a gift of writing that I didn’t even believe that I had.

On the mornings when I try to ignore this overwhelming feeling, I cannot go back to sleep and end up more tired than when I began. 

When we are too busy, but God wants to speak with us, God will interrupt our routine. Sometimes we are too enthralled in our own lives, that we forget to make time for Him.  But when He has a purpose for your life, there is no getting around it. Yesterday at church, we learned how God used dreams and visions throughout the Bible to speak to people. God desires intimacy with us. Nothing is more intimate than one-on-one, uninterrupted conversation with the Lord.  Sometimes this is done through dreams and visions, and other times it is done in the wee hours of the morning/during the night.

The Word says,

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.”

Psalm 1: 2-3 MSG

And also, “And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” Joshua 1:8-9 MSG

When I am moved by the Holy Spirit and in the presence of God, it is undeniable.  The weight of His glory is so heavy and the urgency of this task is so great.  I have to write then and there.

Today, I desire a good night’s rest even more than I did in college, especially since becoming a mother to an almost 5 month old. But, I have learned to value this time with God.  I actually look forward to our time of intimacy, and I learn something about myself and about the Lord every time.  After it is all done, I have a sense of peace and I feel spiritually full.  Without this one-on-one time, I feel off, like something is missing. I only post these words as instruction from Him. I have always prayed to be privileged enough that the Lord use me.  I can’t be picky. So, when I’m awakened suddenly and the Lord speaks to me, I pop up and get right to work, no matter how tired I am.

How has the Lord been trying to create intimate time with you lately? How willing are you to be used by Him, whatever hour that He decides to call you?

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Creative Survival

“Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.” Luke 16:8-9

The show Survivor forces contestants out of their comfort zone.  It is interesting to witness people who were once plump and well groomed become rail thin after being subjected to the elements.  The lack of food and everyday conveniences push people to desperation. Those determined to survive get creative.

God wants us to do the same.  Life in America gives us plenty of comforts.  Most of us can drive to get food, we have shelter, and a support system.  We read the Bible and have difficulty relating to stories of persecution and martyrdom.  Therefore, it is tempting to water-down the Gospel to “do good things and you will be ok”.  How does God get any glory in that?

When we do face adversity, it is easier to curse God because we fail to recognize His hand in the little things. Our privilege sometime prevents opportunities for God to show Himself strong.

“And then he prayed, “God, I’m asking for two things before I die; don’t refuse me…Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.  If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’ If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God’.” Proverbs 30:8-9

Jesus instructs us to get creative with our survival.  We should stop relying on worldly ideas of security (wealth, education, and employment) and creatively use our gifts to know Him more intimately and bring others to the kingdom.  John the Baptist only had camel skin for clothing and honey and locusts for food while preparing others for the coming of the Messiah (Matt 3:4).

I’m not telling you to quit your job and sell all your belongings (unless you hear God telling you to do so). But, we should anticipate trials (i.e job loss) as opportunities to creatively seek God and use our talents in a manner that doesn’t glorify ourselves.  Just like the corrupt manager in the parable found ways to support himself, we should use our God-given talents to reach others.  None of this life experience is about us.  Our lives, our gifts, and our trials and triumphs should all be used to glorify God.