Slow Down!

I just came from two days away from home for business and visiting a good old friend. Much driving, stress driving in Toronto, sleeping away from home is never the same. This morning I am rather tired. During my Quiet Time this morning I came across a very timely devotion written by John G Butler. The title caught my attention “Slow Down”.

 

God is still in heaven. You are not responsible for doing it all – yourself – right now!

In a few minutes, I am having breakfast with a business executive who is experiencing recurring health problems (heart attack 5 years ago). Unabated work pressure, frequent travel, and little time for himself are taking their toll on his life. Perhaps slowing down is at least part of the solution. Six pointers:

  • Allow yourself some time to be lazy and unproductive. Rest isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.‘” (Mark 6:31)

  • Once in a while, turn down the lights and the volume. Turn down the throttle, and the invitations. Less really can be more.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet lifeBetter one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11a; Ecclesiastes 4:6)

  • Create a place in your home — At your work… in your heart… where you can go for quiet and recollection.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence foreverIn quietness and trust is your strength… ” (Isaiah 32:17; 30:15a)

  • Take time just to think — Action is good and necessary, but it’s fruitful only if we muse, ponder, and mull.

Watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

Dont live carelessly, unthinkingly… ” (Ephesians 5:15, 17b – The Message)

  • Talk and play with children – It will bring out the unhurried little person inside you.

Jesus said, ‘… Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes meLet the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:5, 14)

  • Take time to wonder — Without wonder, life is merely existence.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)

Learning To “Wait” On The Lord

 

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5, 6) (See Psalm 5:3; 130:5-7; 17:14; 37:7, 34; 38:15; 119:84)

Title: “WAIT” (Author Unknown)

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried: Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate and the Master who gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait?” You say, wait!” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why! Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard? By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

“My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait? I’m needing a ‘yes’ a go-ahead sign or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

“And Lord, You promised that if we believe we need but to ask, and we shall receive. Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate, as my Master replied once again, “You must wait.” So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine, and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign. I could shake the heavens and darken the sun. I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

“All you ask me I could give, and pleased you would be. You would have what you want – but, you wouldn’t know Me. You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint: You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair: You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there; you’d not know the joy of resting in Me when darkness and silence were all you can see.

“You’d never experience that fullness of love, as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove; you’d know that I live and I save… (for a start), but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of My comfort late into the night. The faith that I give when you walk without sight. The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked of an infinite God, who make what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee, what it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for Thee.’ Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true. But, Oh, the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me. And though oft may My answers seem terribly late. My most precious answer of all is still, wait.‘”

 

How Lasting Are Your Investments?

 

I normally try to be original, to write my own blog, but honestly, I am so touched by the writing of John G Butler that it seems a good idea to let you benefit as well. Money is always a sensitive topic, we think we always need a bit more in case of bad days. And there is wisdom in that way of thinking; yet, we also have to look at life with an eternal view. Here is what Butler have to say about investment.

As an old man, Solomon agonized over the futility of his investments:

When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sunSo I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to meA chasing after the wind… ” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17)

Do your investments parallel Solomon’s? Or are you making the kind of investments that will outlive you, lasting for eternity? If you want:

A one year return on your investment, plant grain.

A ten year return on your investment, plant a tree.

An eternal return on your investment, plant people.

It is God’s intention to destroy everything physical, including your earthly investments:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass awayand the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

Can we, therefore, grasp the fact that only God, His Word, and people are eternal?

God: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (2 Peter 3:8) (See Psalm 102:12; Ephesians 3:21)

His Word: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) (See Psalm 119:152, 160; Matthew 5:18; 24:34; 1 Peter 1:25)

People: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) (See Matthew 25:46; Romans 2:7, 8; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)

Consequently, the only investments that will withstand the coming holocaust will be those made in the lives of people. Thus, God regularly places individuals in our path with whom He desires our investment: The person at the club. That neighbor across the street. A business associate. A relative. Someone in distress.

QUESTIONS: As you encounter these people, are you blithely brushing past them to fulfill your agenda? Or are you viewing each one as a divine appointment? Are you responding to the prompting of the Spirit by graciously and determinedly investing in their lives for the purpose of bringing Christ to them? Or building Christ in them? Even when it means altering your predetermined schedule?

I suppose the answers to these questions are determined by whether we are living for the temporal, or investing in the eternal.

Discipleship

This is a very good meditation from John G Butler on Discipleship.

Several Resolutions For Those Who Are Serious About Their Calling


William Law (1686-1761 A. D.) in his classic work, “A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life” puts forth some thought-provoking ideas for the committed follower of Jesus Christ:

The devout… are people who do not live to their own will, or in the way and spirit of the world, but only to the will of God. Such people consider God in everything, and make every aspect of their lives holy by doing everything in the name of God and in a way that conforms to God’s glory.”

“[The Savior and His apostles] teach us:

To renounce the world and be different in our attitudes and ways of life (Ephesians 4:17-24)

To renounce all its goods (Luke 14:26-33; 18:22, 23; Philippians 3:7, 8)

To fear none of its evils… (Luke 12:32; John 14:1, 27; 16:33; Hebrews 13:5, 6))

To have no value for its happiness (Psalm 37:1, 2, 7; 73:2-20; Proverbs 3:31; 24:1)

To be as newborn babes who are born into a new state of things (1 Peter 2:2, 3)

To live as pilgrims in spiritual watching, in holy fear, and heavenly aspiring after another life (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 1:15-17)

To take up our cross daily, to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23, 24; John 12:25, 26)

To profess the blessedness of mourning, to seek the blessedness of poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3, 4)

To forsake the pride and vanity of riches… (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; Proverbs 23:4)

To live in the most profound state of humility (Jeremiah 45:5; Matthew 18:2-4; Romans 12:3, 16; Galatians 6:14)

To rejoice in worldly sufferings (Acts 5:41; Matthew 5:10-12)

To reject the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17; Colossians 3:1, 2)

To bear injuries, to forgive and bless our enemies… (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36; Romans12:14-21)

To give up our whole hearts and affections to God (Deuteronomy 10:12, 13; 1 John 5:2-4)

To strive to enter through the straight gate into a life of eternal glory.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals.

Here Are Three Steps To Building God’s Word Into Your Life

My favorite chocolate bar is M& M. Why? Because for me it represent two important words: Memorize and Meditate Scripture. The foundational Bible verse for my Blog site is Revelation 3:20 “Jesus is at the door waiting to be invited in for an intimate time with a believer. It’s a ‘daily appointment’, ‘some personal time’, or many like to call it a ‘Quiet Time’. Nothing new, from the beginning of time, daily God seek company with Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. This morning I came across a meditation written by John G Butler that fits so well with the basic philosophy of my blog.

John G Butler, ‘Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals’

  1. MEMORIZE IT

As a newly born again teenager, I got started on consistent Scripture memory. Nothing has so powerfully affected me spiritually as this difficult but life-changing discipline. Here are three reasons for doing it:

  1. To transform your mind in order to live out God’s will: “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
  2. To help you win the spiritual battle over sin and Satan: After 40 days of fasting and prayer, Jesus was tempted by Satan. In all three instances, He won over the Enemy by quoting Scripture that was appropriate to the situation, “Jesus answered, It is writtenit is writtenit is written… ‘” (Matthew 4:4, 6, 7) If Jesus deemed it necessary to utilize the Scriptures in this manner for spiritual victory, how about you and me?!
  3. To equip you to help others spiritually: Ever have the experiences of fumbling with your Bible in trying to find a verse? Memorizing key Scriptures supplies you with the tools to intelligently and powerfully minister God’s Word to others. “The Scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (2 Timothy 3:17 — Phillips Translation)

 

II. ANALYZE IT (or Meditate)

Years ago, I remember reviewing a pre-med student’s memory verses. He had them down cold! Boy was I impressed! Then I began asking him what the verses meant, and he didn’t have a clue! So, as you are in the process of memorizing a verse or passage, ponder and mull over its meaning in your mind. Dig out its definition by studying it in its context.

III.PERSONALIZE IT

While you are memorizing Scripture, ask God where and how He wants you to change in applying its truths to your life. Someone once said, “God did not give us the Scriptures to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.”

Every person I know who is dead-serious about his walk with God has made an earnest effort to memorize God’s Word.

QUESTION: Did you, this morning, open the door to Jesus? Did you take time to read the Bible (God’s own word)?

 

Prayerful Meditation on The Scriptures

I personally enjoy Prayerful meditation on the Scriptures. The rewards are very real. It’s a channel used by the Holy Spirit to teach us deep lesson. Dwight Hill in his book ‘Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals’. offer five suggestions.

  1. Meditation on the Scriptures should not be viewed as a method or system, but as an attitude: Faith, openness, reverence, expectation, and supplication.

This people draw near to me with their wordsbut they remove their hearts far from me, and their reverence for me consists of traditions learned by rote.” (Isaiah 29:13 nasb)

  1. Meditation can actually be quite difficult at times. Thus, we should not judge its value on how

Let me understand the teachings of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.” (Psalm 119:27)

  1. It is only if we have a heart fixed on obeying God without reservation that a little effort goes a long way. When we are resisting Him through disobedience or compromise, no amount of effort can produce the desired result.

I have more understandingfor I obey your precepts.” (Psalm 119:100)

  1. In our pride, we don’t want to be beginners. In truth, we will never be anything but beginners. Given the challenge in learning to effectively utilize meditation for spiritual growth, we would do well to recognize the need for a mature mentor.

Whatever you have learned or receivedfrom me, or seen in me – put into practice.” (Philippians 4:9)

  1. Often, what first seemed easy and rewarding suddenly becomes utterly impossible. We struggle with inner confusion, coldness, and lack of confidence. We find concentration difficult. Our imagination and emotions wander – or run wild. We often feel dry and desolate. Repugnant fantasies buried deep within us take over. We totally lose interest in spiritual matters.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I doFor what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15, 19)

So don’t give up, because God promises you that “the path of righteous people is like the light of dawn that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday...” (Proverbs 4:18) (GW)

 

 

Why people grow weary and lose heart?

The little Greek word egkakeo describes a person who no longer is living life in step with the Holy Spirit. Instead, he has grown selfish and self-contained, exhibiting little concern for others.

Seven reasons:

  1. A failure to maintain a vital life of prayer — “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)
  2. A failure to keep in mind the privilege of our divine calling to minister — “Therefore, since through Gods mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1)
  3. A failure to keep in mind the fact that we will share in Christ’s triumphant resurrection — “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presenceTherefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:14, 16a)
  4. A failure to keep in mind the immediate task of promoting believers’ spiritual welfare and the glory of God — “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:15, 16a)
  5. A failure to take the long view in reaping the fruit of our efforts — “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  6. A failure to trust that God has a larger purpose when fellow believers suffer — “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” (Ephesians 3:13)
  7. A failure to press on in righteous living, even when you don’t feel like it — “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

Questions:

  1. Do you still have that spring in your step?
  2. Do you still look forward to getting up in the morning and getting at it for God?
  3. Or did you allow a dry rot of self-centeredness set in?

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Inspire by John G Butler writing