Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:4-7
“There are three things for which the Christian needs a regular time alone during the day: meditation on the Scripture, prayer, and intercession…
“In our meditation we read the text given to us on the strength of the promise that it has something quite personal to say to us for this day and for our standing as Christians․ It is not only God’s Word for the community of faith, but also God’s Word for me personally.… We are reading the Word of God as God’s Word for us. Therefore, we do not ask what this text has to say to other people. For those of us who are preachers that means we will not ask how we would preach or teach on this text, but what it has to say to us personally”
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Biblegateway.com)
I wrote a few days ago about how ignorant we are. Indeed, I was quite ‘ignorant’ in my writing of the post. I write often about knowing that the Holy Spirit is the voice that we hear in our quiet time with the Lord only when we have immersed ourselves in Bible Study, prayer, and communion with other believers, but this time, I did not repeat myself. Salvageable pointed this out and was right in doing so – complements and compliments.
To put in the effort seems to be the road less traveled these days. For many people today, but of me lately. Some of my devotion time lately has been sloppy. Still there, but sloppy – distracted. And maybe that has shown in my writing. I could provide excuses, but they would just be excuses. Maybe that’s my old Army training coming through. “No excuses, Sir!” We got it done in spite of the hardships and circumstances. That’s what I need to do now with my walk with my Savior.
In reading this quote from Bonhoeffer, it has struck me that we often read a passage of Scripture, someone else’s post, or a paragraph from a devotion or a book. But sometimes, we think about how others need to read “that.” What made us think that? Were we moved by what we read or were we judging others? We fall back into Jesus’ analogy of trying to remove the speck from our brother’s eye when we have a log in our own eye. Not talking about ‘judging’ per se. Just neglecting the introspection time that needs to be part of the quiet time with God, not feeling sorry for myself, but ‘How can I be more like You, Lord?’ We might not like God’s answer, but that is where we need to grow.
I could say we, but I am taking Bonhoeffer’s suggestion to heart today. I, me – myself, need more time spent in Bible study each day. I need a more organized prayer life, in general and in each specific area. Maybe I will start a prayer journal. My wife gave me an extra notebook – no better time than now. I have the church’s prayer list, but that is for a lot of people that I don’t know. Yet, it gives me a familiar structure. I need to make it personal – for me.
Then, in making it personal for me, I need to seek God’s will at the same time. Maybe I won’t like God’s answer, but I am not God. He is.
And maybe that will make the blog posts better. I can only give God the Glory for that.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.