Time after time, over and over, I try to help and encourage by writing about the importance of two things we can do, every day, to help us improve in our walk with God … our relationship with Him … and our relationships with others:
I just can’t empathize enough how important it is to begin the day with prayer and Bible study. How much? That’s a personal choice, but it is a choice which must be made, and followed through with, every day. As with most things in life, start “small” and you will find both time, and yourself, growing. I put it this way, in order to show that, as you begin to see the difference doing this makes in your life, you’ll begin to devote more time to prayer and Bible study, and you’ll see even greater benefits as you go along. I was sharing about this just this morning, as I ran into a dear Brother, while I was at a local gas station (Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be “Gas Stations” anymore, just convenience stores which sell gas … another point for another time …). I explained that setting aside this time does require a sacrifice, as does just about everything worthwhile which is meant to improve us (I think there’s another topic right there). I explained how much of a difference it is to have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. Last year, I could leave my house-on a bicycle-at five minutes until eight, and make it on time. This year, a different School, so I have to leave around seven. Which means I must get up at 5:30 in order to “do what I need to do” in order to leave on time. But, it is so much worth it. The hard part is that, while I must get up at least an hour earlier … I can’t seem to get to bed any earlier. That’s something that I am continuing to ask God’s help for.
The point I am making is that, in order to improve, it does take work. Hard work. Consistent hard work. And, this work requires more time than if we didn’t want to improve, and didn’t want to find the time to improve. That’s why the time to improve, often, with our busy lives, doesn’t exist. It does not exist. That’s why … that’s why … we have to “make the time.” Those who “don’t have the time” never will … because they are not willing to do what it takes in order to “make” the time, to manufacture the time. Trust me, the time really doesn’t exist … and won’t exist … until we make it. Then, and only then, will this “new time” come into existence.
What could possibly be more important than “making” time to “spend time” with God? Talking to Him, listening to Him, and reading His Word. How could anything be more important? What is more important than our own, personal relationship with God?
“Our … (fill in the blank) …”
I get this thought that if we spent more time speaking with God about our problems … there would be less problems to speak with Him about … So … So … So … that would give us more time to just praise Him, thank Him for … yes, for … what He has already done … for the prayers He has already answered … the needs He has already met …
I’m going to say this, because it is true: God loves it when we praise Him! How do you think He feels-about you-when you are willing to “make time,” manufacture time (which before didn’t even exist!) in order just to have more time to spend with Him? How would you feel if the situation was reversed? Remember that our “closeness” with God depends upon how close we move toward Him. And, movement of any kind takes effort. And, in order to move closer to an object (yes, even an “object” of our affection), it is going to take more effort.
I keep getting this picture, as I think about all of the gifts God has already bestowed upon us. After all, this is the whole point of this series, to help understand how rich we are right now, how much God has already done for us, and what He does for us every day. The picture I get is this:
We see a gift that we know would be great to give to a particular person. Something they want, something they will just love, but, maybe, something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Something, maybe, you know that they want, something maybe that they’ve even hinted around for. Something they will never be able to get on their own, but they still want. You have the resources to give them this as a gift. What goes through your mind as you think about it?
“They are going to love this!”
“I can’t wait to see the look on their face …!”
“This is great! I can’t wait!”
You become just as exited to give the gift as they are to receive it.
I believe God feels the same way. I think of the look on Jesus’ face, as He looked upon the face of someone He had just healed. I don’t even know the way I would describe it. What joy He must feel when He gives a gift to someone. When He answers a prayer.
I think the greatest joy Jesus gets today is when someone praises Him, when someone realizes what He has done for them, and thanks Him.
I think about how we feel.
When we give a gift to someone … and, “the look on their face” as they receive it is something we’ll never forget. I remember, a few years ago, when Carol gave a daughter of friends of ours a necklace. It was not for “Christmas” or for a birthday, or anything like that. It was just something she wanted to give this child. I remember that the necklace had a sunflower design (we love sunflowers!). This is years later, and I still remember the look on this young child’s face, as she unfolded the chain, and realized what it was. The look on her face! But, it was what she said that I think I remember the most. This was one of those moments, which you experience so rarely in life, when you witness something so special, as it unfolds before your eyes, that it is like a scene from a movie being played out in front of you. Something that you have read in a book, or perhaps seen in a movie … What she said, as the necklace was clasped, and the sunflower came to rest, it was what she said:
“I am never going to take this off!”
I’ll just never forget the joy and wonder in her voice, and on her face. I remember it so clearly today, so many years later.
God loves when we talk to Him. He loves when we are thankful for what He has given us. I don’t know about you, but I think that when we give someone something, and they go out of their way to let us know how grateful they are … it makes me want to give them something else! I hope the underlying point settles in.
God can do anything. There is nothing He can’t do. Guess what? He knows this. But, I think He loves it when we tell Him that we know it, too. He so loves it when we go out of our way to thank Him, to praise Him, and to just let Him know that we realize that what we have, the blessings we have been given (already), we are thankful for.
I’ve helped people, and they were so grateful … I wanted to do something else for them!
I think about this: What if, every day, there was someone, a particular person, who gave us a gift? We’d get a gift, every day. What are the chances that, when you awoke every morning, the first thought you had was in anticipation of what gifts today would bring? Would this change your attitude? And, as you went about your “day to day,” I’m thinking that this would change everything. The person who gave you these gifts: Would you take the time to thank them? Wouldn’t you go out of your way to find them, make sure you ran into them-even if you had to change your schedule in order to do it? Wouldn’t you, somehow, someway … “make” the time to thank them?
I think that was another point.
So, if we don’t make the time for prayer and Bible study, it won’t be there. Because it doesn’t exist. At least, not yet. And, it won’t exist … it can’t exist … until we make this time. Consider the benefits. Remember also that doing nothing is also a decision.
Have you ever gone out of your way to do something for somebody, and they did not even acknowledge what was clearly a sacrifice for you to do?
Have you ever given a gift to someone, anticipating eagerly their response to the gift … and, they acted like it was “no big deal?”
Did you ever do something for someone, or given someone something, and they didn’t even say thank you?
Ever done all you could for someone, and they act like you don’t exist?
Ever sent a note, or a letter to someone, and they didn’t even take the time to read it?
I feel I must insert something I heard recently. I can’t get this picture out of my mind:
It has to do with football, and a recent press conference.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured during a game.
After the game, head coach Bill Belichick was asked this question:
“How did you feel when Gronkowski went down with an injury?”
Here is Coach Belichick’s response:
“How would you feel?”
God loves it when we “make” the time to thank Him, to just talk to Him.
To thank Him for what He has already done.
To be like Him, we must know Him.
How can we do this unless we speak with Him, read about Him, and then ask Him questions?
God has blessed us so much.
In closing, note that He will always make sure the time is available for manufacture … if it is something which you truly want. Meaning … if you truly want Him …
Richard. Vincent. Rose.