Unplug – part 2

Back in December I wrote a post about learning to unplug. In that post I was focused on unplugging from technology, but today, I want to focus more on scheduling quiet time for privately studying the Word, prayer, and worship.

Today, upon reviewing past journal entries during my personal quiet time, I noticed a pattern, and from this pattern, God reminded me of something very important.

First, I realized that every few months I schedule these days—often mornings—of quiet solitude and prayer, out of necessity. I find that I’m forced to schedule such days because I’m exhausted, depressed, and unmotivated. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to go to work, and I don’t want to be around people. I become short-tempered, refuse to answer my phone, and I don’t want to talk to anybody. I’ve finally come to the realization that if I just scheduled these quiet times more often, I wouldn’t have to take an entire day off from work to rest.

I study the Word, I pray, and I attend church and bible studies regularly, but these quiet moments are worth so much more to me because I’m not rushed, there’s no one around to interrupt me, and I’m focused on only one thing—pouring my heart out to God and listening for His voice. My prayers during these times resemble a conversation one would have with an intimate counselor or closest friend. These are the moments in which I confide my deepest fears and struggles, ask clarifying questions, and seek direction. And I hear His voice!

These moments are so precious to me. He comforts me, covers me with peace, reassures and corrects me, and points the way. And so I question, why don’t I schedule these moments every evening, when I come home from work? Why don’t I release everything over to Him and let Him renew and refresh me, every day?

The truth is, life is hectic. It’s busy and stressful and we’re often consumed by the next activity, the next meeting or party, or the next thing on our to-do list. We’re easily distracted and focused on so many other things that we often neglect the most important thing. More important than the relationships with the people around us, more important than our job, more important than whatever we have planned to do, is the relationship we have with our heavenly Father. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do life alone; I need His presence with me wherever I go and in whatever I do. It’s time we stop pretending we can get by without Him! If we think that we can get by on a few crumbs we receive on Sunday mornings, or Wednesday nights, or the scraps we pick up elsewhere, we’re sadly mistaken. It’s what we do in our personal time to deepen our relationship with Christ that satisfies, strengthens, and changes us.

Second, as I realized that this is what I needed to do, God reminded me that it’s what we all need to do. Whether we have a secular job or work in a ministry setting, God desires these quiet moments with each of us to remind us Who He is, to recharge and refresh us, and to change our perspective about our lives in terms of His kingdom. God wants to do amazing things in and through us for the glory of His Name, and if we’re distracted by our desire and plans, we can’t see the bigger picture and what His desires and plans are. If we’re exhausted and stressed out because of our over commitments, traditions, and lifestyle, then when God calls us to do something, are we willing to be used with joyful heart? Or are we too tired? Too grumpy? Too distracted by all the other things on our to-do list?

To conclude, I recommend we all take a good, hard look at what our current commitments and lifestyle looks like, and make a purposeful stance to schedule absolute alone time with our heavenly Father. If this means heading to our car for an hour, hiding in our prayer closet, locking our bedroom or bathroom door, or heading to a secluded spot in a park, so be it. We need this time with God, our Father, as much as we need food or water, and honestly, many of us are slowly dying of hunger and dehydration. Let’s stop making excuses, and give God the very best of our lives, time, and resources, instead of the leftovers.

As Michael Catt says in his study, Refresh: The Road to Revival, “What we bring to God is a reflection of what we think of Him.” What are our lives reflecting?

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for His Name’s sake.

~ Psalm 23:1-3, ESV

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Speaking Truth

I love the term “righteous indignation.” What does it mean? To be angry over some moral injustice. It’s often used to describe Jesus when he went to the temple in Jerusalem and overturned the tables of the men selling sacrificial animals for way more than what they were worth–they were basically robbing those coming to worship God. (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15). It’s also something that I often find welling up within me–due to the Holy Spirit living within me (as with every believer)–when I hear certain comments or see people behaving a certain way. Sometimes it takes a lot of self-control to keep from shouting what’s on my mind.

Today, it just so happened to be a comment about something someone said. A preacher stated something about how if a certain person doesn’t get elected it will only be because of their stance on this and this (yes, I’m being very generic, lol) and he quoted two scripture verses. He never said anything about the person’s character, never said anything judgmental or rude; he only spoke truth. So, of course here comes the reply…an individual complaining about Christians being judgmental and how Jesus taught us that we should just love one another.

So, here is my thought…Say you have a best friend. You go out to dinner, you have an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. And, let’s say before you left the restaurant and headed to the movie theater he/she asked you how they looked, and you told them they looked great. You get to the theater and your friend has to use the restroom. Imagine your friend’s surprise–and anger–when they look in the bathroom mirror to see spinach in their teeth from the appetizer, BBQ sauce from their ribs on their chin, and chocolate frosting on their cheek?! When they come back they ask you why you lied to them. Why did you tell them they looked great, when they looked a hot mess? And you tell them…you didn’t want to be judgmental and you wanted to love them just as they were??

How is lying to someone showing them that you love them? If you really loved them, you would have told them to go to the bathroom at the restaurant and wash up before they walked around, ignorant of the mess on their face.

Therefore, I’m sorry if you feel that Christians are judgmental, even though, we’re only speaking truth. We don’t pass judgment, we just tell you what God’s word says on the matter. It’s your job to decide whether or not to do something about it, once you find out the truth. We’ve all messed up, myself included, and Christians don’t pretend to be perfect or have it all together. However, don’t expect us to lie to you in order to make you feel better about a decision or lifestyle you’ve chosen for yourself. Just as Jesus corrected people when they weren’t living as they should (please read all of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we speak truth because we love you and don’t want to see you walking around in ignorance.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [even] until the end of the age.” Amen (Matthew 28:19-20)