Saturday, May 27, 2017
   
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A Person, Not a Procedure

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'"? John 14:8-9

Have you ever become bored in your quiet times? Do you open your Bible and find yourself dreaming or immediately getting sleepy? Have you ever switched off your alarm, thinking, "I'd rather sleep than have a quiet time?"

 

How can we recapture our passion for quiet times with God? Let's look at the following passages for some clues:

 

Matt. 7:22—Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

John 14:6—Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It's a Person, not a procedure.

The disciplines of a daily quiet time with God are essential for growth.

It is erroneous, however, to think that quiet times must be done in a certain way or a prescribed length of time, and include certain activities. It is more important to focus on a person (Jesus) than on a process (quiet time).

"The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. We have almost forgotten that God is a person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can."—A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

The disciplines of a daily quiet time are like steps to building a friendship.

It is essential we understand that the steps we might take to build a relationship with a close friend are similar to building a relationship with Jesus.

  • Go with me to work.
  • How about a hike together?
  • Let's walk together.
  • Let's take a drive and talk.
  • It's creative, not confirming. Jesus' quiet times occurred
  • in a garden—Mark 4:32-39
  • on a mountain—Matt. 14:23
  • in a desert—Luke 4:1-2
  • on the cross—Luke 23:34
  • before dawn—Mark 1:35
  • all night—Luke 6:12
  • at a grave side—John 11:41-42
  • at a luncheon for 5,000—Mark 8:6

He fellowshiped with His Father alone, with friends, and in front of multitudes; and during these times He had a whole range of emotions.

  • Anguish—John 17
  • Elation—Luke 10:18-21
  • Sorrow and troubled—Matt. 26:36-38

It's getting to know Him, not impress Him.

If you have a desire to know Him, getting up will not be a chore but an exciting experience in building an eternal friendship. So relax—enjoy the fellowship.

What are some ways we can build a friendship and a relationship?

New ways to worship

  1. Find an empty room, close the curtains, and put a toe-tapping worship tape on the stereo. Then, like King Dave (2 Sam. 6:14), dance before the Lord with all your might.
  2. Use your shower as a place to worship God.
  3. Meditate on God's character by listing His attributes beginning with A (awesome, almighty) and ending with Z (zealous).
  4. Picture your Savior sitting beside you and sing to Him, "What a Friend I Have in Jesus."
  5. Using Romans 1:19-20 as your inspiration, take a day hike with only a journal. Throughout the day, take special "rest and reflection" times where you look at creation and try to observe how "God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature" (James 1) are seen in the creation before you. Write your observations down in the journal. At the end of the journal, put your observations to a psalm of praise to God.

Bible study ideas

  1. Study Psalm 119 and try to locate 119 benefits of reading God's Word.
  2. Go through the Gospel of John and write a 'P' next to every promise you can claim and a 'C' next to every command to obey.
  3. Spend a week studying your favorite Bible character. List the attributes you have in common.
  4. Determine a subject of interest to you (finances, sex, having children) and use a concordance or topical Bible to locate all Scriptures about the topic.

Bringing Scripture to life

  1. Read a parable in Matthew. Rewrite it using current situations and people to see what God might be trying to teach you.
  2. Read the book of James. Draw a line lengthwise down a sheet of paper and write vv. 1-5 in the left column and how you can apply the verses in the right column. Continue until you have completed the book.

Pauses for prayer

  1. Think of someone who needs prayer. For the next week, each time you see a stop sign, stop and pray for that person.
  2. Schedule a weekly prayer time with a friend, your spouse, or your family, e.g., why not use Sunday evenings to pray for activities in your upcoming week?
  3. Go to a lonely place for the purpose of speaking intimately with God.
  4. Fast for one day. When you get the urge to put something in your mouth (food), instead, let prayer come out of your mouth!

Scripture Memory Made Easier

  1. Every week, select a verse for the whole family to memorize. Each night at dinner, work on memorizing the verse together and discuss how the verse helped you during the day. By the end of the year your family will know 52 verses.
  2. To make memorization easier, sing the words of a Scripture passage to a familiar song, like "God Bless America."

Quiet Times for moms

  1. Put Bibles open to the same passage in strategic locations throughout the house: one by the changing table, one by the bathtub, another by the rocking chair or at the kitchen sink. Even on busy days you can read a chapter!
  2. Select a person in the Bible who met Jesus, like the blind man who received his sight, or the woman caught in the act of adultery. Trade places with them and try to picture the sights, sounds, smells and feelings they experienced upon seeing Jesus.

The Write Stuff

  1. Use your quiet time to write a letter to Jesus, thanking Him for taking your place on the cross.
  2. Write Psalm 151 (your own song praising God) and tape it in your Bible after Psalm 150.
  3. Write a letter to God praising Him for the difference He has made in your life.

Seven more quiet time ideas, by Dan Baty.

  1. Listen to a favorite song. Then discuss the lyrics with the Lord. Since lyrics are often very emotional in content, they can inspire heart-level interaction with the Lord.
  2. Listen to a taped sermon. Play a tape of a Sunday message for a spiritual boost during the week. You may even want to take a special weekend retreat alone to listen to a series of messages. Make the time like any other "conference" and include breaks, meal times, and recreation.
  3. Keep a joy box. Based on the principle that every good thing we experience comes from the Lord (Jas. 1:17), use a box to collect things that have brought you joy: a photo of someone special, a ticket stub from a special event, a souvenir from a special friend. Take this box out every few months and go through it, thanking the Lord for the experiences and relationships.
  4. Meet the Lord with someone else—your spouse, a roommate, or a co-worker. The Lord promises His presence in a special way where two or three are gathered in His name (Mt. 18:20).
  5. Discuss the news. When you have a strong reaction to an article from the newspaper, clip it and save it to discuss with the Lord.
  6. Record important moments. During the day, make a quick list of happy incidents, bothersome matters, anxious moments, significant comments, etc., and save them for a time when you can discuss them with God.
  7. Take a hallelujah hike. Observe creation and praise the Lord for His creativity and splendor. Author Ronald B. Allen wrote, "Wherever we may look in the world that He has made, we may declare with profound awe: Here is where He has been. The whorls of divine prints are conspicuous throughout His creation."