EVENING REFLECTION – FEB. 24, 2017

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Silence and Centering    

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10

CONFESSION Prayers

Father of lights, you delight in your children. You sing over us with songs of redemption and grace. But we close our ears, hoping to find freedom by our own means. We are anxious; and in our anxiety, we do things that hurt ourselves and others. Help us to repent back to love; back to your songs of redemption and grace. Forgive us and renew our faith, through the work of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:1-2

Angela was exhausted as she opened her front door. She hesitated for a moment as she surveyed the aftermath of that morning s frenzy.

What had her life come to? Each day consisted of a frenzied rush as she struggled to fulfill family, work, home and volunteer obligations. There was no margin in her schedule. She realized that things had really got out of control when she stopped spending time on those things she valued most. It was her time alone that had been the first to get pushed aside. Then as she got busier, she sacrificed her quiet time with God and before she knew it, she was living a chaotic lifestyle where fun and stillness were just memories.

Many of us live like Angela–constantly on the move, stretched beyond our maximum by the demands of our lives. We know that we need to stop and seek opportunities to rest, plan and regroup, and draw closer to God. The truth is that the door to stillness is waiting for us to open it and go through. But it won t open by itself. We need to choose to make stillness part of our lives.

If we are to live wisely, we must learn to balance the time we spend in quiet and calm with the time we spend in the fray of everyday life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, There is a time for everything. This includes a time and place to cultivate stillness in the midst of your busy, productive life.

Creating balance

It is imperative for us to get away from everything and everybody on a regular basis for thought, prayer and rest. Stillness is the key to keeping ourselves from becoming frazzled and out-of-control. It is as necessary as sleep, exercise and nutritious food. Perspective is lost when these are out of balance.

Making time – who has time?

People who make time for stillness are the people who have the energy and perspective to stay on top of their hectic lives. As we seek God for direction, He will open the door to discovering ways to implement our needed quiet times.

Scheduling quiet time

An appointment in our day-timer is a commitment most of us are able to keep. For those with preschoolers, there are ways to nurture stillness even in the midst of the lovable chaos these little ones can put into your life. Stillness can be captured in short moments of solitude. Write out Scripture verses on index cards and meditate on them while doing dishes. Keep a Bible in your car, leave early for an appointment and spend a few moments with the Lord. Try turning your radio off and praying while you travel. You may need to be exceptionally creative, but you will find the rewards worth all your attempts towards locating stillness in a busy household.

There are things that can only be accomplished as we meet the Lord in quiet. It is in our quiet times that we get a handle on so many challenging aspects of our lives. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life& so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:11,12).

Finding a quiet place

Retreating to a quiet place helps us to discover stillness. For some it may need to be outdoors and for others it may be indoors. Quiet corners can serve as invitations to enjoy a moment of quiet. To people who are over-stimulated and worn down by the constant barrage of life, the spirit of stillness and time alone with God are lifesavers.

Steps to a quiet time with God

1. Stay in tune with God – God’s Word is the foundation of my security and strength. It is through daily Scripture reading, prayer and meditation that I can tap into God’s strength and love and get a handle on what He wants for my life.

Personally, I have discovered it to be helpful to keep my Bible and other helpful materials in a basket. This basket is often an invitation to times of prayer and a reminder when I haven t taken the time to pray.

Suggested items for a devotional basket:

  • a Bible to prepare your mind and heart to communicate with God
  • a daily devotional or other inspirational reading
  • a prayer planner
  • a pen for journaling prayers
  • note cards for when you feel moved to communicate God’s love to someone you are praying for.

2. A suggested devotional time

  • Devotional – The actual content of devotional times varies according to how much time you have available. Start by reading a brief devotional or prayer and then read the Bible for a while.
  • Prayer – A prayer planner is a helpful tool where you can record your requests and answers. It is also helpful to divide all the people and projects you want to pray for– family, friends, church, finances, etc. into seven sections so you have a list for each day of the week. Adding photos and information can also be helpful.
  • Journaling – This is an effective way to write your praise, confession, thanks and requests. A journal is a place where you can verbalize the things that are in your heart and be honest with the Lord. When you look back at what ve you ve written, you can also see evidence of spiritual growth, which results in growth of your faith. Our obedience is strengthened as we write out the promises God gives us. At times during your Scripture reading, a certain verse will hold special meaning for you. Please take a moment and write it down as this is a way God communicates His promises to us. You will also discover that by writing it out the verses can encourage you each time you reflect on your writing.
  • Note cards – When God brings someone to mind, take that moment in prayer and write an encouraging note assuring her of God’s love and your prayers.

3. Connecting with other believers

Spiritual growth takes place as we listen to God’s Word through Scripture, prayer and fellow believers and then act in obedience to that word. One-on-one times with God are essential to our growth, but alone they are not enough. We cannot live the Christian life in a vacuum. To grow we need to share love, support and prayers with other believers.

God is our shepherd and He will guide us as we seek Him. He will provide every resource we need to walk with Him. If you plan ahead and make time for those things you truly value, including times of stillness, you can be sure that God’s strength will carry you through the many demands you find on your life.

PRAYER

May we increasingly be those who trust in You, and do what is good – overcoming evil with loving good deeds. May Jesus be lived-out through us in this way I pray! (Psalm 37:1, 3; Romans 12:21) I lift up those among us who are struggling with doubt, unbelief or depression, and ask that You would keep the light of the Holy Spirit burning in their hearts – turn their darkness into light, I pray! (Psalm 18:28) (Pray for those you know, by name.) As we come together to worship You, may we truly praise You with all our hearts among the nations, and sing of You among the people! For great is Your love and faithfulness. You are worthy of all our praise! (Psalm 57:9-10)

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

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