Quiet Time : Specific Time

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best! Give God the best part of your day, when you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftover time. Remember, too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s.

For most of us, however, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus’ own practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father.

In the Bible many godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these were: Abraham, Moses, Job, Hannah, Jacob, and David.

Whatever time you set, be consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. Make a date with Jesus!

Then look forward to it and don’t stand him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with him and keep it at all costs.

If you’ve never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with seven minutes and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend at least 15 minutes a day with the Lord.

Quiet Time : Proper Attitudes

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

In God’s eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do.

1 Samuel shows us it is quite possible to do the right thing but with the wrong attitude.

When you come to meet with God in a quiet time, you should have these proper attitudes:

Expectancy – Come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to have a good time of fellowship with him and receive a blessing from your time together: “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you.” (Psalm 63:1)

Reverence – Don’t rush into God’s presence, but prepare your heart by being still before him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the world: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

Alertness – Get wide-awake first. Remember that you are meeting with the Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Redeemer of men. Be thoroughly rested and alert. Get to bed early so you will be in good shape to meet God in the morning.

Willingness to obey – Don’t come to your quiet time to choose what you will do or not do, but come with the purpose of doing anything and everything that God wants you to do. Jesus said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:17) Come to meet the Lord having already chosen to do his will no matter what.

Love Is A Habit

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you only love those who love you what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32 NIV)

His point is this: all of us can love those who love us back. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable. It’s when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.

This may seem like an impossible task and it is – that’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16 NIV)

When you realize how much God loves you – with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love – then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving the unlovely, loving the difficult, loving the irritable, loving people who are different or demanding.

You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

We Love Because God Loves Us

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

We were created in God’s image to do two things on earth: Learn to love God and learn to love other people; life is all about love.

But love all started with God. He loved us first and that gives us the ability to love others. (1 John 4:19) The only reason you can love God or love anybody else is because God first loved you. And he showed that love by sending Jesus Christ to earth to die for you. He showed that love by creating you. He showed that love by everything you have in life; it’s all a gift of God’s love.

In order to love others and to become great lovers, we first need to understand and feel how much God loves us. We don’t want to just talk about love, read about love, or discuss about love; our need is to experience the love of God.

We need to reach a day when we finally, fully understand how God loves us completely and unconditionally. We need to become secure in the truth that we cannot make God stop loving us.

Once we’re secure inside God’s unconditional love, we’ll start cutting people a lot of slack. We won’t be as angry as we’ve been. We’ll be more patient. We’ll be more forgiving. We’ll be more merciful. We’ll give others grace.

God Smiles When We Obey

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. That means doing whatever God asks without reservation or hesitation. You don’t procrastinate and say, “I’ll pray about it.” You do it without delay. Every parent knows that delayed obedience is really disobedience.

God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. Instant obedience will teach you more about God than a lifetime of Bible discussions. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.

Often we try to offer God partial obedience. We want to pick and choose the commands we obey. “I’ll attend church but I won’t tithe.’ “I’ll read my Bible but won’t forgive the person who hurt me.’

Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Obey him gladly.” (Psalm 100:2 LB)

This is the attitude of David: “Just tell me what to do and I will do it, Lord. As long as I live I’ll wholeheartedly obey.” (Psalm 119:33 LB)

James, speaking to Christians, said, “We please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” (James 2:24 CEV)

God’s Word is clear that you can’t earn your salvation. It comes only by grace, not your effort. But as a child of God you can bring pleasure to your heavenly Father through obedience. Any act of obedience is also an act of worship.

Why is obedience so pleasing to God? Because it proves you really love him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 TEV)

The Giant Restaurant

(from GodWhispers)

Dear Lyn,

Life is a giant restaurant. And you’re the customer. And the universe is the waiter. All of my creation is waiting for your order.  What do you want? Most of what you’re experiencing in your life is a result of what you have ordered.

Restaurant Owner,

God

P.S. Lyn, you order through your thoughts, your words, and your deeds. Order wisely.

Dedicate Your Work To God

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

Whatever you want God to bless, you give to him first. Dedicate it, consecrate it, hallow it, and then God will bless it.

As a pastor, I want you to succeed in life. Obviously I want you to succeed spiritually, but I also want you to succeed in your work. I want you to be a witness at your work. I want you to use your platform for the glory of God.

When you dedicate your business to Christ, he gets involved with decisions. He tells you what to do. He becomes the chairman of your board. He gets the glory.

“We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!'” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT)

Just as I’m the minister of Saddleback Church, you’re a minister of a church — at your workplace. Your job is to be an ambassador of Jesus to the people around you. The blessings that God pours out in your life – in your career, in your business, in your finances, in your family, in your health – they all come because of Jesus Christ.

“Let us give thanks to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.” (Ephesians 1:3 TEV)

I want you to take time to thank God for all that he has blessed you with, then, dedicate your job to him.

Expand Your Skills to Succeed

(From Rick Warren’s Daily Devotional)

If you want to succeed in life, your education cannot end when you graduate. All leaders are learners, and you need to continue learning the rest of your life. Because the moment you stop growing, your contribution to your company stops growing also.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” (NIV) It’s important to work smarter, to sharpen your ax. You waste less time when you do this.

How do you sharpen your ax? By filling your head with learning – read a book, listen to a seminar, take a class, attend church. If you keep learning, then God can continue to expand your horizons.

“Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8 TEV) The solution to most of life’s problems is training. So learn all you can.

That’s why I encourage my congregation to take notes during my sermons. Did you know that if you don’t, then within 72 hours you’ll forget 95 percent of what you hear? So you may look real spiritual, but you’re not real bright.

Learn all you can and remember what you learn and watch how God blesses your work.