January 17, 2018

CHRISTLife — A Quiet Time (part four)


This week we continue to look at one of the absolute joys of our relationship with our heavenly Father—our ‘quiet time’ with Him.  Each Saturday we have been looking in-depth at a few of the more important aspects of a dedicated, purposeful, intentional, devoted quiet time.

Over the past few weeks we have considered some of these aspects, such as:

  • reading the Scriptures
  • singing our praises
  • thankfulness

In addition to each of these, I do believe that quietness—actual ‘physical-absence-of-distracting-noise quiet’…and perhaps even more important…quietness in our hearts—is required as a component of a purposeful, intentional devotional time.

Before we go any further, let’s stop for just five minutes and worship our God giving our praise for these times of stillness and quiet alone with Him!

Here In The Stillness  {Singer/Songwriter – Ali Matthews}
Here in the stillness my heart is at rest
Alone in the silence, that’s where I hear You best
In the rush of the river, like a song in the breeze
It’s here in the stillness You speak to me

When I’m lost in Your Presence the world disappears
Taking all of my troubles…my burdens, my fears
Oh how gently You hold me, You are all that I see
It’s here in the stillness You speak to me

I will be still, I will stand in awe
Oh, just to know You are my God; You are my God

Yes it’s here in the stillness You speak to me
You speak to me

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Our Lord recognized His need for quiet and time alone to pray to His Father.  If He, in His perfect sinless life, needed quiet time alone with God then we surely do also…and even more so!  His example speaks clearly to us.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up
and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed.
Mark 1:35

…and great crowds gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their infirmities.
But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Luke 5:15, 16

(Perhaps, when our Lord was alone, He sang words similar to those in that beautiful song we just listened to….)

There is also another type of quietness—a quiet, peaceful heart.  Isn’t this something that each of us yearns for?  Truly I believe it can only be found as we seek Him. There is a incomparable quietness that we are promised as we trust in our Lord.

Be still and rest in the Lord;
wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him;
fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way,
because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
fret not yourself—it tends only to evildoing.
For evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait and hope and look for the Lord
shall inherit the earth.
Psalms 37:7-9

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah.
Psalms 46:10 and 11

And as Jesus Himself said to us,
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened,
and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Matthew 11:28

In closing, think about how the psalmist viewed his quiet time with his God.  As we intentionally pursue having quiet time alone with our God may we ‘pour out our heart before Him; God is a Refuge for us!’

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him..
On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty Rock, my Refuge is God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him;
God is a Refuge for us. Selah
(excerpts from Psalm 62)

CHRISTLife — A Quiet Time (Part Three)


Each Saturday recently we have been looking in-depth at a few of the most important aspects of having a quiet time—or as some folks call it—a devotional time.  Already we have talked about two very foundational aspects of a quiet time—Bible reading and singing praises.  This week we are remembering the importance of being thankful and expressing our gratitude to our Father.

Truly, is there anything else that you can think of that can so change your heart’s attitude more than thankfulness?  I don’t think it presumptuous to say that every one of us has had times of worry, sorrow, despair, grief, anguish, pain in which we turned our hearts to seek God and found ourselves praising and thanking Him for His goodness and kindness towards us.  True?

Before we go any further, let’s stop for just five minutes and worship our God voicing our thanks and our praise!

~  Thank You  – Hillsong / Songwriter – Reuben Morgan  ~
Thank You for Your kindness, thank You for Your mercy
Thank You for the Cross, thank You for the price You paid

Thank You for salvation, thank You for unending grace
Thank You for Your hope, thank You for this life You gave

There is no one like You…There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You, Jesus Jesus

To Your name we give all the glory
To Your name we give all the praise
And You’re alive—Our God everlasting—let Your face shine on us

Thank You for Your promise, thank You for Your favor
Thank You for Your love…everything You’ve done for me

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The Psalmist, writer of many, many songs of thanks and praise, had this in his heart:

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1 and 2 AMP

Who can speak forth enough words to tell all the wonderful, mighty things that God has done?  Or who can utter all the praise that is due Him?  Clearly the simple answer is ‘No one.’  But that doesn’t mean we don’t still thrill to voice our gratitude and thankfulness to our Great God!

I checked out Webster’s definition of thankfulness:

THANK’FUL, adjective.
Grateful; impressed with a sense of kindness received, and ready to acknowledge it.

• The Lord’s supper is to be celebrated with a thankful remembrance of His sufferings and death.
• Be thankful to Him, and bless his name (Psalm 100).

I think Mr. Webster’s definition clearly shows that thankfulness is both thought and action—you ‘sense’ having received <God’s> kindness AND you ‘acknowledge’ it. Here’s a great example:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]!
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
and a thank offering and into His courts with praise!
Be thankful and say so to Him,
bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good;
His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Psalm 100

The Psalmist was confessing—remembering—just a few things he was grateful for, AND voicing his gratitude.  We can—we should—do the same! We have oh-so-very-much to be thankful for, amen?  We definitely ‘sense’ God’s abundant goodness and kindness to us, true?  And we acknowledge it through our words of gratitude and thankfulness.

I will thank Yahweh with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
Psalm 9:1

I cried to You, O Lord, and to the Lord I made supplication.
Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!
To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalms 30:10, 12

So in your quiet time (but not ONLY in your quiet time!) may I encourage you to tell Your Father how very grateful you are for His goodness, for His protection, for His healing, for His deliverance, for His provision, for His calling, for His admonition, for His guidance, for His love, grace and mercy!  And give Him much thanks!  (Perhaps you might share with us something you have thanked Him for just today…?  Leave your comment below; thanks!)

Keep worshipping Him and enjoying your quiet time with your Lord!  As you seek Him, He will be found…He promises!

CHRISTLife — An Intentional Quiet Time (Part 2)


Each Saturday for the next few weeks, we will look in-depth at a few of the most important aspects of having a quiet time—or as some folks call it—a devotional time.  Last week we talked about one aspect of a quiet time—reading the Bible. This week we will focus on recognizing how vital it is to include singing praises to God as part of our quiet time.

If you are like me, you have found that singing and praising through song is so uplifting; don’t you think?  Almighty God is the point…He is the focus…keeping my mind and heart set toward Him is my aim.  He is the reason why I sing praises to Him!

Psalms 147:1, 7
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God,
for He is gracious and lovely; praise is becoming and appropriate.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
sing praises with the harp or the lyre to our God!

There are more reasons to praise our God than we have words enough to do so!  Here are just a few of His attributes:
• He is full of glory (Psalm 138:5)
• He is great (Psalm 145:3)
• He is wise and powerful (Daniel 2:20)
• He is good (Psalm 107:8)
• He is merciful (Psalm 89:1)
• He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)

And just some of His wonderful works:
• He is the One who saves us (Psalm 18:46)
• He keeps His promises (1 Kings 8:56)
• He pardons sin (Psalm 103:1-3)
• He gives us our daily food (Psalm 136:25)

There is a day coming when all will praise God by bowing to Jesus the King!

Philippians 2:10-11
That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Almighty God is oh-so-worthy to be praised!  Psalm 107 would be a great place to look to be encouraged with reminders of what God has done for His children! Throughout this particular psalm are listed proof after proof of God’s goodness.

Psalms 107:8, 15, 21, 31
Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness
and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!

The Book of Psalms has been called the ‘Praise Book’ of the Bible.  In it are literally hundreds of examples of praises and reasons why praise is oh-so-very important. Did you know that every single one of the 150 psalms included in the Book of Psalms is an actual song?  Steve Pearson, a wonderful singer and songwriter, has written and recorded many songs using the words of the Psalms and his own inspired musical accompaniment. To my knowledge, he has now written and recorded a melody to each of the 150 psalms!  Here is a link to his website  www.psalmistry.com  Check it out!  Click on a song you have chosen to listen to…this will give you the particular songs words.  then click on “mp3 or midi” (I usually choose midi and listen to a piano rendition of the song). Also you can choose to view (and print!) the sheet music for the song.  I would love to hear how these wonderful songs and website have been a blessing to you!

As I read the Scriptures, one thing is clear: singing our praises is a good thing!

Join Miss Amy Grant as she sings Sing Your Praise to the Lord!

Psalm 92:1
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High…

Psalm 138:1-5
I will confess and praise You [O God] with my whole heart;
before the gods will I sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name
for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness;
for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word
and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!
In the day when I called, You answered me;
and You strengthened me with strength
(might and inflexibility to temptation) in my inner self.
All the kings of the land shall give You credit and praise You, O Lord,
for they have heard of the promises of Your mouth [which were fulfilled].
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord
and joyfully celebrate His mighty acts, for great is the glory of the Lord.

Keep worshipping Him and enjoying your quiet time with your Lord!  As you seek Him, He will be found…He promises!