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Re-Booting Our Quiet Time in 2016

by Cathy Baker
It is of no use for you to attempt to sow out of an empty basket, for that would be sowing nothing but the wind. -Spurgeon

I’ve attempted to sow from an empty basket for longer than I ever imagined possible. One day turned into two, and those melted into three, then four.

Maybe you can relate?

His voice slips into the background of our days. That is, until we need to hear from Him the most, and it’s then, in that quiet moment, we realize just how empty our basket really is—void of His power, strength, and wisdom.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.”

Perhaps I’m not the only one in need of a fresh start when it comes to spending time with God.

If not, I invite you to join me in asking God for a teachable spirit as we spend this month immersing ourselves in learning (or re-learning?) what it means to be still and know that He is God.

After all, if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

Not sure about you, but I don’t want to settle for anything less than God’s best for me. Too often in 2015 I went to gather encouragement, soul-keeping rest, and love for the unlovely from my basket only to come up empty. I was spent, discouraged, and distracted.

While we can’t do anything to make God love us more (or less), we can draw near to Him through His Word, in prayer, and simply being still in recognition of who He is.

His nearness fills the emptiest of baskets.

Hope you’ll join me this month as we’ll peek into the quiet times of some of my dearest and most Father-loving friends every Monday. On Wednesdays, we’ll consider additional ideas to spur on our time with the Father.

Welcome to the January series, Drawing Near to God. It is a blessing to have you here.

 

 

When Prayer Becomes a Powerful Foe

A prayer-filled friend is a powerful foe—not to the befriended—but to the father of lies, the deceiver, the sly one.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

I
recently met with Kay, a godly mentor of twenty years. I’d not seen her in awhile but during an extended time of prayer the week before, I sensed God prompting me to ask her to meet me. I’d been on a roller coaster ride for six months, and trust me, there were no Mickey ears in sight.

I knew from the moment our meeting was penned on her calendar Kay would begin praying, but I was especially humbled to learn how on that morning, she covered us in prayer from 5:00-6:15 a.m.

After returning home, I phoned another friend who was aware of my meeting with Kay. Before I could share all God had accomplished, she said God woke her up at 4:30 a.m. to begin praying. 

An unspeakable appreciation swelled in my spirit as I thanked God for these friends, and those like them who I know would drop everything, wake up early, or stay up late to pray on behalf of others. 

God used my prayer-filled friends to wield the weapon of truth in the face of my enemy that morning and life took a different direction as a result. Prayer-filled friends are incredibly powerful foes, which is why we so desperately need each other in the battle. I plan to share more about my non-Mickey roller coaster ride in the near future, but until then, please know this:

Prayer-filled people are not perfect people. They are, however, people who know who they are in Christ, have a clear understanding of Who they are praying to, and have faith that God has the power to accomplish His desires for those being lifted before His throne of grace. Prayer-filled people also tend to repent quickly and find deep abiding joy in their community with other Christ-followers. 

Is there any doubt why James tells us that their prayers – those who are “right” before God – are powerful and effective? 

Let us appreciate our prayer-filled friends — but may we also seek to be one ourselves.
 

“Prayer strikes the winning blow; service is
simply picking up the pieces.”  S.D. Gordon



“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to
preach.”  Charles Spurgeon





Sunday Snippets – The Why of Obedience

Welcome to Sunday Snippets!
 
Jason Malone brought a timely message from Galatians 5:1-15 this morning. As with all Snippets, I try to jot down everything
verbatim, but it’s not always possible.To listen to the sermon in its
entirety, I invite you to visit Summit’s site. 
As we know, Galatians was written to Christ followers, reminding them that anything added to the Gospel of Jesus Christ results in slavery.
  • Some confuse the Gospel for spiritual milk, believing it to be a necessity for new Christ followers only, but we never outgrow the Gospel. It’s just as critical for new followers as those who’ve walked with Christ for many years. We never “move on” from the Gospel. 
  • Only one leads to true freedom: Gospel transformation (motivated by love) and moral reformation (behavior modification).
  • The “why” of our obedience is everything, as is seen in Charles Spurgeon’s The Tale of the King, the Carrot, and the Horse:
Once
upon a time there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. He took
it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever
grown or ever will grow; therefore, I want to present it to you as a
token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and
discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go, the king said, “Wait!
You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I own a plot of land right
next to yours. I want to give it to you freely as a gift, so you can
garden it all.” The gardener was amazed and delighted and went home
rejoicing.
But
there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this, and he
said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot, what if you gave the
king something better?” The next day the nobleman came before the king,
and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My
lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or
ever will; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love
and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said, “Thank
you,” and took the horse and simply dismissed him. The nobleman was
perplexed, so the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving
me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse.
  • If we are clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, attending church, or anything else to gain more love, favor, or blessings from the Lord, then we are doing these things for ourselves, not Christ. 
  • Anytime we catch ourselves doing something good, pause for a moment and ask: Did I do that so Christ will love me or because He loves me? 

Today’s snippets don’t begin to do Jason’s sermon justice. It was superb teaching on true freedom in Christ—so much so that I often found myself listening more and writing less. I encourage you to visit the link above and listen to it in its entirety.
 

Additional reference: Mere C.S. Lewis

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