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February waning

The end of the month is close at hand.  Except this year we get an extra day.

It sounds good in theory, like being handed 24 more hours to enjoy.  But I expect most of us already have plans laid out for February 29, and it will be just another day in our lives.

But what if . . . what if you were given 24 more hours to spend wildly in some unplanned way, uncommitted, unstructured to the minute?  Not the way we usually do life.

What would you do with that time?  What would I?

Perhaps get one of those 2016 projects completed, or at least started.  Maybe organize the pantry or the garage or the walk-in closet.  Maybe veg out on a movie marathon day, i.e. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or any number of serial flicks.  Maybe shop ’til you drop or prepare your taxes.

Would we work or play?

What if . . . we spent a day in retreat?  What if . . . we spent a day in silence?  What if . . . we looked deep inside ourselves and reflected our heart against the backdrop of Scripture?

I tried a day of retreat years ago.  Such a day is hard to come by because there are people around who need me.  Or so I think.

Maybe I could take half a day or a quarter of a day, or even a few hours spent intentionally in God’s Word, in prayer and meditation, journaling my swirling thoughts and somehow make some sense of what troubles me.

Because you see, there are things that trouble me.  I don’t share them freely.  They are in the deepest parts of my soul, the secret place of my heart.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ “

My secret thoughts and worries are safest when brought to the secret place of the Most High God.  It is an ascended place of rest, above the noises and voices of the world, out of reach of what troubles me.

In the secret place of God I find refuge and peace.  My deepest secrets are safe with Him.  And He knows what I need before I even ask.

Perhaps it is impossible at this late date to schedule the last day of February or even hours of uninterrupted quiet time, away from the fray of this world.

But I could get up an hour earlier on the 29th.  I could steal away during the lunch break.  I could take a leisurely walk down my lane.  I could find the time if I really want to.

And I want to.  How about you?

winter 11photo by Elena Walls

The journey begins

Day 1 of 40 Days to Resurrection Day

Today’s suggestion:  

Ask God to reveal Truth to you during these days of preparation.

Plan on spending time with Him, not just doing things for Him.

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I’ve been a busy girl most of my life.  Sometimes, often, I’ve been too busy.

To Do List taped to a wooden board

I may have been more of a Martha than a Mary at times.  Yet when I think of it, Jesus loved them both and enjoyed visiting in their home at Bethany.  He surely valued the traits in both women, saw their strengths while being aware of their weaknesses.

The story in Luke 10 is all too familiar to me. Martha is busily making preparations because isn’t that what you do when company comes?  Feeding her guests and making them comfortable would certainly seem a priority.  Meanwhile, Mary is sitting at Jesus feet listening to what He has to say.  Impatiently Martha actually accuses the Lord of not caring about her and all the work she has to do.  And she gives a command to Jesus, “Tell her [Mary] to help me.”

Wow.  The audacity of Martha.  Does she hear herself speaking words of accusation and bossy-ness?  I hate to admit it, but I think I have been Martha at times.

Jesus’ reply is classic and so relevant to me today.  “Only one thing is necessary.  Mary has made the right choice.”

It would do us well to find out, what is the One Thing?

Time with Jesus.  Listening to Him.  Stopping the anxious thoughts and multi-tasking that always, always looms ahead.

Just.Be.With.Jesus.

Hard to do, isn’t it?  The “being” part.  It’s not something I put on my to-do-list or check off with accomplishment each day.  I wonder why it is so hard for us to come away and spend time with Him, just be in His presence, listen to His words from the Word and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord?

Could it be that the enemy of our souls knows too well that this One Thing will keep us on track in our Christian walk, this One Thing will set our priorities straight?  This One Thing can help us start the day with a clearer perspective of who we are and Who He is.

As we begin our 40-day journey, keep this truth in mind:  Jesus wants you more than He wants what you can do for Him.  It can be a shocking realization.

Of course there is work to be done in the kingdom.  The fields are ripe for harvest and the workers are few.  But how can we do the work when our hearts are empty of Him?  How can we be sure we are doing the One Thing that is most important on His list if we haven’t talked to Him and stilled ourselves long enough to listened?

Relationships are built on time spent together.  The more time, the stronger the bond.  The more time, the more I know you.  The more time, the fonder I grow.  The more time, and I realize I cannot live without you in my life.

Spend time with Jesus during the next 40 days.  Make it first on your things-to-do-today.

Here are just a few suggestions to keep us focused.

  • Get up earlier, as hard as this is. Make it the best 30 to 60 minutes of your day.  Have your coffee, tea or favorite morning beverage ready.  Sit in a comfortable chair and open your Bible to feast on His words to you.  Know for certain that Jesus wants to speak personally to you.
  • Set an alarm throughout the day to remind you to take a breath, look heavenward and remember your God is in control and with you always.
  • Quote a favorite Bible verse throughout the day as a reminder of His peace and love for you.
  • At dinner, talk about being with Jesus and how that looks to the people in your family.
  • When you lie down for the night, speak to God as you close your eyes, thank Him for His provision and gifts.  Drift off to sleep with Him on your mind.

Friends, Jesus said “One thing is essential and Mary has chosen it.  It is the main course.”

Don’t neglect the main course.  It’s where we get our strength for the journey.  Let’s do this thing together for the next 40 days. And maybe, just maybe, we will find it the greatest necessity of our lives and will never want to go a day without it again.

I’ve loved this song by Larnelle Harris for a long time.  It is the heart cry of our Savior’s longing for us.

I Miss My Time With You.