The Privilege of an Inclined Ear

I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2 (ESV)

7.5 Billion people on planet earth, and the Lord, who created and sustains it all, inclines His ear to hear me when I pray.  When I pray, it is as if the God of all Creation leans forward and whispers, “Come on in, let’s talk for a while.”

When we recognize the magnitude of such a privilege that has been given to us as a gift, (we certainly haven’t earned it) it should stir us to say with the Psalmist, “I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications.”

Pray today! Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer.  It is the greatest privilege afforded to man, and we so often neglect it.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Draw the Circle – Day 8 – One God-Idea

If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will do the heavy lifting.  If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will reveal things that can only be discovered in the presence of God.  If we hit our knees, the Holy Spirit will give us God-ideas for our ministry, family, business — for our lives.

Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle

God has been doing a work in my life recently in the area of prayer.  The point of today’s reading in Draw the Circle was focused on the importance of “getting into the presence of the Lord.”  As Christians, most would probably agree that spending time alone with God is one of the most important disciplines of the Christian life.  However, the longer I have walked with Jesus, the more I understand how much I have to learn and how much growth I need in the area of time alone with God.

Bob Warren, one of the two men who originally discipled me as a new Christian, had a saying that I can still hear ringing in my ears.  “You must be willing to give God time enough, that He might teach you enough, that you might know enough, that you might trust Him enough to let Him live His life through you.”  That whole process begins with giving God time.  Time is in short supply for many of us due to our busy lives and schedules.  If we are not intentional, we can look up and find that busyness has prevented us from truly spending time with God, the author of life.

Several years ago I began the practice of reading through the entire Bible each year by reading a designated passage of scripture each day.  One Year Bibles and other reading plans provide a great plan for you to read the entirety of God’s word.  There is tremendous value to reading God’s Word.  However, if we are not careful, this practice can quickly become a “box checking” discipline.  I have found that many times I have spent the 15-20 minutes necessary to read the designated passage for the day and walked away having never really spent time with my Heavenly Father.

God in His gracious patience with me, has been revealing to me the importance of coming into His presence with no agenda.  Reading plans are great, and devotionals can be used of God to greatly impact our lives.  However, if you have never set time aside to just be with Him in prayer and worship, you are missing the greatest blessing available to us as followers of Christ.  It is in these moments where we truly meet with Him, hear from Him, and rest.

My charge today is not intended to drive you to abandon your Bible reading plan or favorite devotional.  My charge is to hopefully draw you heart and mind to a place of desiring time with Jesus.  I truly believe when we spend time alone with Jesus, our lives will be radically different and empowered to fulfill all of His perfect will that He reveals.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Spiritual Hearing

John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (ESV)

Romans 10:17 – So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (ESV)

What is your faith built upon? Your pastor’s preaching? What your parents taught you? BSU, FCA or some other Christian organization?  Certainly, all of these are great sources of truth, but none of these  serve as the ultimate source of your faith.  All of these have simply been the conduit through which the “word of Christ” was proclaimed to you.  For through the word of Christ comes faith. Continue reading

The Most Deceptive Question

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty that any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Quite possibly the most deceptive question a person can entertain is the first question the serpent asked Eve. “Did God really say…?” has the potential to completely derail a person’s faith. For if a person can be led to question the truth of what God has said in His word, then they will be forced to ask if there is such a thing as absolute truth. When they question the reality of absolute truth, they begin the downward spiral into a world of relativity where what is true is determined by the person asking. In a world of relativity, the truth is whatever you want it to be. Continue reading

A New Chronological Plan for this Year

This year marks my 9th time reading through the Bible for the year, and I can think of nothing that has been more beneficial to my walk with Christ than reading the entire Word of God. This marks the third year in a row that I have read the Bible in Chronological order.

This year I am using a different plan from the years past. George Guthrie of Union University has developed a Chronological plan that varies slightly from the plan I have used the last two years. Dr. Guthrie has developed an entire curriculum associated with this reading plan titled Read the Bible for Life It emphasizes the importance of allowing the Word of God to affect your life and guide you in your walk with Christ. I have not yet read the book, but am working through it as I work through the Bible reading plan.

This approach and curriculum comes highly recommended from some of todays great Christian leaders. It is produced by Broadman & Holman publishers and is available on-line or at Lifeway stores. You can learn more through their website by clicking here.

If you do not use this Bible reading plan, I hope you will choose from the many different options that are available. There is no greater time investment you can make than spending time in God’s Word and Prayer.

Let me know what your plans are for this year by commenting below.

Rest in Jesus!

Learning from Laurel!

As I was getting dressed this morning, I saw a picture on my dresser of my daughter Laurel and I on a bicycle when she was a baby.  She is laughing, and at that moment I felt such a weight of love in my heart that i wanted to go find her, give her a big hug and kiss, and express my deep love for her.  I did just that!  I didn’t realize that I was about to learn something!

We enjoyed a sweet time of having breakfast together and taking her to school.  Later this morning as I was spending some time praying through a set of prayer cards I created, and came to the card for my children.  The same feelings I had experienced this morning came rushing back, but this time God spoke to my heart and said, “That’s how I feel when I look at you.”  Can you believe that!!?!  But then the thought came to my mind…”how would I have felt if after having seen Laurel’s picture I was stirred to find her to express my love, and she was “too busy” or simply “didn’t care”.  My heart would have been broken, and yet how often is this my response toward my Heavenly Father?  I am guilty of breaking His heart over and over again as I allow the busyness of life and distractions to pull me from Him.  And yet, He continues to love and pursue me.

God allowed me to learn something today through Laurel.  I learned the way I should respond to the love God has for me.  She was excited to hug her daddy’s neck, color a picture, eat a bowl of cereal, and some cinnamon toast and then ride to school.  Not once did she say, “I don’t have time for this daddy.”  She simply wanted to be with me.

Oh God, create in me an understanding of how to enjoy relationship with you through intimate times of prayer and the reading of your Word.  Teach me how to simply “be with you”.

 

Powerful Prayer

Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (ESV)

Almost all of us would admit that our prayer lives are not where they should be.  At times it appears that there is no power in our prayer.  So, how do we understand verses like this one and determine how they apply to our lives? Continue reading

“For His Name’s Sake”

Psalm 106:8 – Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (ESV)

Most of us have a warped view of God’s ulitmate mission and purpose for our lives.  God’s purpose even in creation itself is not me or us.  Creation doesn’t find its center in me.  The clear teaching of the full counsel of God’s Word is that God is about God!  In the culture we find ourselves, self-centeredness is not a quality we are looking for in others.  In fact Scripture teaches that we should be servants who always put others before ourselves.  So, with a Creator that seems to do everything for His glory, we feel the “rub” that leads many to questions.  “Is God operating on a double-standard?” Continue reading

A Great Way to Begin Journaling!

One of the greatest supplements to my quiet time has been the practice of journaling what God shows me each morning as I spend time with Him.  In fact, many of the posts that I write on this website are simply taken from the pages of my journal.  I began the process of recording my thoughts in a journal to serve as a legacy to leave for my wife and children.  My prayer is that long after I am gone, the words found on the pages of these journals will serve as encouragement and direction for my children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  There is no doubt that this is possible, but what I have discovered through the practice of journaling, is that I am receiving a tremendous blessing.  Taking the time to focus on what God has spoken to me each morning and attempting to capture these truths in words has created tremendous times of meditation and reflection.   Continue reading