Monday, January 7, 2013

Hearing from God - 10 minutes a day

Happy New Year!  I can't believe it's 2013!!  It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie!  Anyway, as I reflected back on 2012, I realize it was probably one of the "calmest" years I've had as a writer. I didn't travel for business at all, no conferences, no book signing tours, no research excursions. Plus I only had one book release, when normally I have two.  All that to say that I spent a lot of time at home, writing, reading, thinking and praying. My goal for the year was to grow closer to God, and I believe He slowed down my life last year so I could do just that. And you know what? I do feel closer to Him. I feel like I know Him just a tiny bit more. But it was in the silence and the calmness that I found Him. Not in the busy, hectic modern life we all lead.

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  1 Kings 19:11-12

I am fully convinced that one of Satan's strongest weapons against believers is Busyness!  Keep them busy busy busy busy with life and work and kids and activities. And don't forget all the NOISE.  IPhones and Ipads and Ipods and UTube and Facebook and Twitter and Instant movies and TV shows and Video Games! It's all nuts!  I've seen people carry on a conversation in person while they are texting someone and watching a video and playing a game .. all on their phones! There's so much NOISE everywhere. Sometimes I wonder if people aren't afraid of the silence.

What happens in the silence when you shut everything off and you are finally alone?   Then you are forced to think about your life, to think about what you're doing with your life and how you treat people and what's important in life. When you are alone, you are introspective... you start looking deep within you. And I believe most people don't like what they see. So  they turn on the music and the videos and keep themselves busy so they don't have to address the real questions of life.  Like, why am I here? Was I just an accident? Is there a purpose for life? If so, am I fulfilling it? Is there is a God? Is there life after death? 

But people don't think about these things anymore. Satan has defeated both believers and non-believers with the weapon of busyness. Non-believers so they will never seek God, and believers so they will never know God.

Jesus led a busy life. He only had 3 years of ministry to convince His followers that He was the Messiah. During that time, He was constantly surrounded by people wanting to be healed, delivered and people just wanting to listen to Him. Plus, He had His regular 12 disciples who ate, slept, and basically spent 24-7 with Him. Now, read what Jesus did:

He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone John 6:15
And it happened, as He was alone praying, Luke 9:18
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matt 26:36
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12

I believe Jesus not only spent time praying for others, probably mostly His disciples, but I believe most of that time alone with God was spent listening to what God was telling Him.... getting direction for what Jesus would do next.

The time you spend alone with God without cellphone or music or video or any distractions is the MOST IMPORTANT time of your day. If the Son of God felt it was important, then how can we not do exactly as He did?   I know many of you spend time in prayer each day, lifting up your requests to God. And this is good and necessary. But have you ever just sat still and silent in the presence of God?  It's so hard for us to do, isn't it?  Our minds are used to so much stimuli that they race around and around and we end up thinking about what's for dinner rather than listening to God.

I started doing this last year, and it has changed my life and my walk with God.  Can you spare 10 minutes a day to find a spot alone and just sit and think about God? Some of you may say.. but I have kids and my house is full or I work all day. Okay. Find a bathroom stall and sit. Go outside for a walk.  Settle your mind, clear your thoughts, take a deep breath and concentrate on God and on how good He is. Worship Him silently in your spirit and just sit and be still. If your mind drifts to something else, don't feel guilty, just bring it back to God. It will take some practice, but I guarantee you that if you keep doing this, you WILL HEAR FROM GOD.   He wants to talk to you. He wants you to know Him. He doesn't want just a one-way Santa Clause type relationship.

What the really cool thing is about getting to know God more is you start to be able to sense His presence elsewhere during the day. The more you know Him, the more you sense Him, the more you know Him, the more you trust Him, the more peace and joy you feel. It's incredible.

So, this new year, I'm going to set aside 10-15 minutes a day and turn everything off. And I'm going to sit quietly in the presence of God. Want to join me?


  1. Mon Jan 7th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    I can hardly believe we are in to 2013, either !!!
    "Amen, and, Amen" to all that you shared today. It hit home !
    Oh, "if only" I could live out my favourite Bible verse:
    "Be still, and KNOW that I AM GOD" ! Psalm 46:10.
    In my case, it's not necessarily the busy-ness in life ... it's the busy-ness in my mind that I cannot seem to shut off !
    "Be still (stop striving), Brenda .... be STILL ... !"
    I've been sleeping really poorly over the past long while, and when my eyes open ... yes, even at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning ... my brain turns on to "instant thinking". And try as hard as I might, it just races on ahead -- with -- thoughts, worries, concerns, fears, etc ... and I cannot get back to sleep. "Should be" praying in those wee hours of dawn instead !!! My brain/thoughts are my total distraction !!!
    So, I am going to try my very best ... to calm down, sit "still", empty my head of my own thoughts, and ... wait upon the Lord and His presence.
    Thanks MaryLu ... for an especially 'timely Word in due season' ! Needed and appreciated.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Very inspiring, MaryLu. I know certain Christians who have let their jobs take a front seat to God. They were so passionate for God, but then they got a promotion, or they began traveling, etc...suddenly God was on the back burner. They are saved, yet no longer living their lives totally for God. So sad. Satan will use jobs, hobbies and even family to distract us from serving God totally. I am going to do my best to give God each day and listen for that still small voice.

  3. Hi ladies!
    Brenda, I'm so sorry about your sleep. I have chronic insomnia so I can really understand. Yes.. try and pray whenever you wake up. Keep your thoughts focused on God. It really does make a difference.

    Chaplain, I know many people like you describe too. It's sad. It's sad because they will miss out on so much!!

  4. Thank you, MaryLu, for this post. As Brenda said, it really hit home and I, too, have the same problem. My mind is my enemy. When it's quiet, my mind constantly wanders, thinking of other things that really have no importance at all. And then I feel so guilty for using God's time as my own. I'm going to try harder to just be still and let God have some say so for a change. Have a great night. :)

  5. I agree very much with what you wrote, MaryLu! Our own quiet time, where we can focus on the word and prayer is very important.

    Satan does like to keep us busy! He likes anything that takes our mind of Christ. I think this is simply part of our fallen nature. Think about how easily we try to pervert the gospel, by taking salvation, which is by grace through faith, and adding a bunch of extra commands to it. If we so easily pervert the simplicity and the greatness of the gospel, I am sure we do the same thing to our daily lives as well. We add things that don’t need to be there, making them essential in many cases. Satan knows this, and he uses it for his benefit.

  6. So helpful.....thanks, MaryLu! I, too, am guilty of not turning my mind off and just being still! I will try to change that!
    Jackie S.