Monday, April 12, 2010

Purposeful Effort

I am sitting here drinking cold coffee, not understanding why it is cold since I have had no children interrupting me this morning. I realize it is because I have been deep in my thoughts and in God's Word for over an hour. As I realized the time I thought, "wow, that is awesome that I have spent that much time reading, well, that's it for the day!". But oh, so ignorant am I! I will be the first to admit that I am an inconstant bible reader. Some weeks I will be very diligent and read every day, however some of those days might be just reading and not taking it in. And I will also have weeks were I may not remember where I put my bible. I'm just trying to be transparent.
My point here is, is that Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with us. That may sound weird to some, but how perfect and fulfilling that relationship can be! Prayer and spending time in the Bible is the best way to know God more and pursue that relationship. One huge aspect of knowing God is how can I teach my children about Jesus and doing what is right if I don't know God and His commands myself? Unfortunately, it has taken having kids to put a strong desire in my heart to know and abide in the Lord. It is a good thing and also too bad -because think of all the relational time I have wasted!
We are all so busy though! How do we get to know God with all that needs to get done! There are days where I have no obligations but somehow I go to bed without spending time in the Word, or just skimming it over the day. Just getting to know God, having an intimate relationship with Him, like your relationship with your husband! How do we get to know and love our husbands? Some ways are spending time together, listening, talking, sharing our thoughts, desires, fears, etc. God is a relational God and we can get to know Him the same way! Oh how He longs for a deep relationship full of love and trust! using a verse a day approach, a flip calendar, or little verse that enough?! Sure it is a great way to hear God speak to you that day, but what if we only got one line out of our husbands a day, or were able to share only one sentence with them. Would that create a thriving relationship?

How about a daily devotional? I use those! They can be great and very good tools to keep on hand! However, it is like having someone else talk to your husband, writing it down, and then giving it to you so you can get to know your spouse. Is that truly beneficial? And you don't get that intimate one on one time spent with your husband.

Bible studies? I LOVE those, I am a big fan of Beth Moore and truly feel that bible studies have been a big part of my walk and desire for the Lord. I am in the bible almost every day with the studies and it may feel like enough. However, it is like going to your husband with a clipboard and an agenda and only discovering bits and parts. Going on a mission to discover certain things can be a good thing when it comes to pursuing God and your spouse and we need to do that, but it won't be enough.

Group studies or reading the Bible with other people at church or home group? What kind of relationship would that be with your spouse...only talking when in a group of people? No one on one time, would you share your inmost secrets in a group of people to your husband? It can be good so others hold you accountable and you learn from others, but that too is not enough.

So you ask what is enough? This is something I am still discovering and learning. But the word Abide comes to heart. We need to spend intimate time with God, directly in His Word, listening, talking, and finding out what HE wants for and has for us. Not just what we have or what we can offer, because it is not about us! Pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through the scriptures and open your heart to verses. I know I can read one passage in Jan and read it again in June and it will speak to me in completely different ways! (works of the Holy Spirit!) Connecting with God can be a challenge because sometimes He isn't tangible, doesn't speak back to us right away, sometimes not for months or years! He can't have coffee with us, or go on playdates (although he has plenty of children to do that with!). Once we start pursuing God and getting to know Him, we will WANT to and look forward to spending time with Him! Drawing close to God will be the highlight of our day and we won't want to stop! That means stopping your busy day and reading the Bible, reading a book that emphasizes the Lord, praying by yourself or with your children. Sometimes praying can be done while doing dishes or laundry, driving in the car, etc. If the Lord is so important to us yet we don't find time to spend with Him daily, how can we expect to see His presence in our lives daily? Just like if we don't spend time with our spouses, how can we expect to know them and enjoy their presence every day? This is a challenge to have purposeful effort, something that I am guilty of not having most days. However, the days that I do purposefully spend time with God are the days that I don't forget, that don't wash on by, but that I cling to. Do you notice a difference in your days when God is more present and you pursue Him more? What are ways that you make sure you get that time spent with Him? Is is important to you?


Joey&Casey said...

two things come to mind: "preach it sister!" and "I love your heart for Jesus so much Elissa!!" Thank you for sharing with us and encouraging us to abide with Christ all the time. Love your picture too!!

Eryn Stennes said...

Interesting you have felt this on your heart lately. Pastor Matt just preached an Cain and Abel yesterday and the difference between their offerings. His point was that while both men brought sacrifices to God, what was their heart when bringing the sacrifice? Based on Cain's reaction when God doesn't find favor with his offering we can tell Cain's sacrifice was not brought to bring glory to God. Too often we expect God to meet us on OUR terms. We have busy schedules and things to do but the things we do are too often the things that our culture, not God's, as us doing. Ultimately, if we want our reward it heaven, our ENTIRE focus needs to be on God. With our focus there, our children will be fed, house payments made, and food and clothing will be provided (Matthew 6:25-34). This is not our world, our world is one yet to come. :) Great sharing E! Thank you!

Laura Bora said...

Amen Amen, again I say AMEN! I love your convictions and how eloquently God speaks through you! You have been so encouraging to me lately and I havent even been able to talk to you! This was so similar to our message in church yesterday that I almost want to ask where you were sitting :)! It was all about REAL Bible time, quality not quantity, a true hunger and thirst and passion for it, mmm, I just soak all this preaching up! Keep it up girl, God is doing AWESOME things through you my dear!

Rod Markin said...

E - you are an inspiration to me on the days when I need to be inspired!