Food for the Journey: Quiet Times

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The following blog post is an extract taken from our Food for the Journey booklet which covers seven disciplines for Christian living. If you would like to download a digital copy of the booklet and work through the daily devotions please click here: FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY

DISCIPLINE 1
THE DISCIPLINE OF QUIET TIMES:

INTIMACY WITH JESUS – ENJOYING THE LORD AND LETTING HIM ENJOY YOU!

Not only are we given salvation by the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ, but we are also given the wonderful gift of Himself, His presence. The Lord declares over and over again in scripture that He will be with us and because of this we can trust that He truly desires to spend time with us, to bless us with Himself and to be blessed by us.

Companionship and friendship are clearly offered to us by God. Like any developing relationship, this requires time,  communication, listening and commitment.

Prayer is simply talking to the Lord and allowing Him to talk to you.

Many have shared that to simply sit still and hear the Lord is difficult, many find they are easily distracted and unsure of themselves in prayer, yet we all sense how important it is to spend time with God.

In the frantic pace we seem to live in, time seems to be the key difficulty, but when we discipline ourselves to give God time, we handle our day so much better and, therefore, the most practical, sensible start to any day is time with Him. A number of people find it easier to set time aside at night, or even midday,  whichever works for you is fine, as long as there is some specific time set aside daily.

We have a marvellous asset to our time with the Lord, and that is the Bible. The Bible teaches us of the Lord, how He thinks, how He sees things, how He relates to people.

When we read the Bible in our quiet times, we are reading it devotionally, in other words, we are reading for the purpose of having our attention focused on Him.

To sum up: The Lord clearly desires to spend time with us; we need this time so that we can stay focused and faithful; the Holy Spirit and the scriptures help us in our time with God; through spending time with Him, we receive direction, guidance and wisdom. Listening, obeying and applying what we hear Him say to us keeps us faithful as disciples.

Nothing teaches better than practice. Therefore, it is important to try to not miss
out on the quiet times and be ready to share with your fellowship group on what
insights you may have gained, what struggles, if any, you had, what excited you, what challenged you, and most important – WHAT YOU LEARNED of the Lord.

“If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways
so I may know You and continue to find favour with You…”
( Exodus 33:13 )

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God’s Faithfulness

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by Graham Mol

Today as I was listening to music in the car I heard a worship song called He’s Always Been Faithful. It was clear from the words and some of the melody line that the song-writer took inspiration from the great classic hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness. In that moment of listening to this song I was once again reminded of God’s incredible faithfulness and what it means for us in the ups and downs of life.

Here are the beautiful lyrics from He’s Always Been Faithful:

Morning by morning, I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season, I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
 
I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me
 
This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always
He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me
 

These words remind me of the incredible blessing that God’s faithfulness is in my life. What a wonderful source of encouragement it is to know that no matter what each day brings – the good, the bad, the peaceful, the difficult – in it all and through it all He is faithful. He will not abandon me, I will not walk alone. In any challenge I face, I know that I can go to Him. He will give me wisdom, He will guide me, He will carry me through.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful, (Hebrews 10:23)

When I have doubt, when I have fear, it means everything to me to know that He is there. Even in the darkest moment, the light of the hope that I have in Him shines through. He is my God, He will deliver me. Great is His faithfulness.

God Bless

Graham

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All Things Bright and Beautiful

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by John Doyle

During one summer break from work I took my family to Sabie River. I wanted to give them a special holiday as we had a very busy year. It was our first time going there since moving from the UK. It was quite an adventure and we got introduced to parts of South Africa that over the years we grew to love. We saw so much beauty in the Kruger Park and around the Lakes and often I would just marvel at the Beauty and the majesty of Gods creation.

I remember one night sitting outside our chalet and looking at the Full moon over the mountains and it was so special just seeing the beauty it brought to the dark night. Everything all around was illuminated by the brightness of the moon. I did not have the words to describe the experience, and now, many years later I still remember it as if it was yesterday.
 
The Scriptures have much to say about the positive things of Gods creation in this world describing an appropriate love for the goodness of God in providing for His creation. Whenever the sun goes down and we see the brightness of the moon it reminds of this past experience. To see the moonlight when it spreads across our lawn it reminds me afresh of the Beauty that the Lord has given to us and to remind us of Who He is.
 
Likewise, when we see God’s wonderful creation of man and women and the World He gave to us. God gifted us with this World to bring peace and harmony to all peoples and this was confirmed in the sacrificial gift of His son Jesus. He made it possible despite all the trials and tribulations, for us to know and love Him and appreciate all of those many things that He brings into our lives that are Bright and Beautiful. We as Gods people should be so grateful for His extravagant generosity. There’s something more we must to do honor the God we serve.
 
Firstly, God is the Creator of everything that exists, and everything He creates is good. Genesis commences with the most foundational words in the Bible: “In the beginning God…” This planet and all it contains exists because the Lord has spoken them into being. Concluding each aspect of His creation Gods Word tells us “God paused” relishing the magnificent fruit of His labor, and said, “Now that’s Good.”
 
After night and day, creating prairies and mountains, and making great Mountains and Trees and flowers across the landscape of the World, God proclaimed – GOOD
 
Hebrew scholars tell us that another translation for GOOD would be “BEAUTIFUL.” I imagine God watching the tide roll over the shore or a flock of geese cut across the sky, admiring it all with deep pleasure. It would be good when we find ourselves in a similar moment and moved to a similar response, we can remember how we bear God’s image and, like our Creator, know true Beauty when we see it.
 
We need to be grateful for His extravagant generosity. Not only has He given us His son and this world we live in but He has also given to us Family and Loved ones and I am sure you will agree with me that they are BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL in each of our lives. My wife Barbara is Brighter than me and so much more BEAUTIFUL ⚘❤
 
Secondly the Lord continues to love and sustain His creation, despite the ways that so many in this world are so corrupt and violent. Tragically, there is a lot of human rebellion that has affected many in this world. Paul says that the whole of creation groans with pain, awaiting God’s redemption – Rom. 8:19-23. However, God continues to love the earth and people in it, He made. The first Bible verse many of us memorized assures us that “God so loved the world” and that this love extended all the people of the World.
 
Even more, God’s grace and mercy continues to sustain the earth. In Colossians, Paul explains how God reveals His own splendor and beauty through the wonders of this World. “The whole earth is full of His glory,” Isaiah tells us – Isa. 6:3.
 
Finally God promises to renew creation, refusing to abandon the World He loves. The Lord will not forsake this world but rather promises to restore it, healing the whole of creation. Revelation 21:1 describes His plans for the future as “a new heaven and a new earth.” When God has the final word, the earth will flourish. It will, at long last, be just as He intended. God will transfigure the very ground where we live and work, the very places where we often feel so futile and wonder if anything will ever be beautiful again. In His TIME, He will make all things BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME.
 
Lets remember God has named us as stewards of His creation, a calling for us to tend to His world and the gift of Children and Family with care and affection. Like Adam and Eve, we must tend to whatever the Lord gives us, working to make our lives and those of our family fruiitful. Lets give thanks to God for the Brightness and Beauty He has entrusted to each of our lives and let’s give time and energy for us to help Family and friends to become more BRIGHTER and More BEAUTIFUL for God and for each other.
 
In the Love of the Lord Jesus,
John and Barbara
 
Time to sing with me: All Things Bright and Beautiful
 
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
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Look Up & Look Around

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by Luke Kincaid

I have been on my phone a lot lately. I often find myself going onto WhatsApp to read and respond to messages when I have some time, I also frequently pop onto YouTube to see if anyone that I am subscribed to has posted any new content and maybe try and sneak in a video or two. While there is nothing wrong with this in principle, I find that I sometimes do these things in the presence of others, even when I am spending time with my son Seth.

There have even been times when Seth as told me that I should put my phone down when spending time with Him which is something that shouldn’t be happening unless I really need to be on it. What I am in danger of is placing more value on an electronic device instead of my amazing little son who is of infinitely more value. I felt challenged by this recently because our lives here on earth are really short compared to our eternity with Jesus which awaits us:

14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. 14 Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. – James 4:14 CSB

Since life is so short, I instead need to be present when around others as those are moments which I will never get back again – especially when it comes to Seth since he is growing up so fast. More than this I may even be missing out on opportunities to cultivate important relationships and reach out with Jesus while my nose is buried in my phone!

So I am resolving to look up and look around more instead of using time for others on my phone instead!

 

Much love,

Luke

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