Many of you who have listened to me preach on a regular basis know I often talk about the importance of a having what I call a daily Quiet Time. I learned this discipline years ago as a teenager as it was embedded in my nature from my faithful parents who modeled this for me. As home missionaries with Word of Life Clubs, they used the Word of Life Quiet Time Diary as their primary tool for personal devotions. What I learned from having a Quiet Time Diary given to me each year by mom and dad was the important discipline of opening God’s Word each day in order to allow God to speak directly to me.
The QT Diary had guided readings in Scripture designed purposely to take you systematically through the Bible. In those early days of learning to study God’s Word for myself, there was no commentary - someone’s opinion about what the passage was saying, it was just the Word of God and two simple questions: 1) What is the writer saying? 2) How can I apply this to my life? There was an empty space under each question for me to jot down a few sentences of what God said to me that day from that passage of Scripture. What I began to experience was exhilarating because I learned pretty quickly that God not only wanted to speak to me, what He had to say was going to come into play that day! I also learned the accountability of having a Quiet Time with the Lord because if I neglected it, that blank page was staring me in the face as a reminder I missed it the previous day…or two or three…you know how that is. While it was a simple blank page that was mute in the real sense, the Holy Spirit would be whispering in my ear “I missed you yesterday Ralph.” Man a live, that blank page had the powerful voice of God.
While I’ve not used the WOL QT diary for a while now, the discipline of a daily QT has been rooted in my DNA for years now and I use a variety of things in my QT but the fundamental resource is still God’s Word without commentary or someone else’s devotions. What I’ve been amazed to see over the years is how God always manages to speak truth into my heart and life that I desperately need at that moment, at that season, on that day and time. God always sees fit to make sure I find myself in some situation to where I see how the passage I read that day applies directly to my life. It’s why the Bible describes itself this way in Hebrews 4:12-13 “12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (NKJV).
Okay fast-forward to 2018 and I’m the pastor of a great church in Corpus and I’m still telling people the need to have a QT (not a Q-tip - a Quiet Time) each day and the importance of it. A few weeks ago while preaching, I was challenging our church to watch for God at work around them and when they see it; get involved with what God is doing. I told the congregation I wanted to hear their God stories. Well I got an email from one of our members telling me his God story and he gave me permission to share it however I chose. So I’m going to simply let Roy tell his God story as he shared it with me in an email. It was so encouraging to me and I believe it will be a blessing to you too. You see it’s one thing if I’m telling you this stuff about a Quiet Time, but it’s another thing to hear from a “satisfied customer.” Here is Roy’s God Story:
A God story from Roy:
I am in pursuit of a plan that guides daily bible reading over the course of a half year. As I have finished the Pentateuch recently, I progressed into the book of Joshua. Monday evening I completed Joshua. Upon reaching chapter 22, verse 5, at work (night shifts), a coworker randomly texted me a request to share another coworker's contact information. I texted Reuben the info and decided to share with him a random fact- that is, that God was speaking through Joshua to the Reubenites in my reading as he texted me. I figured it was an interesting way for me to help better know how this guy positionally relates to Christ- a hint if nothing else. Also, this info spurt would be a friendly and non-invasive way to help Reuben understand the person within my work blues. Each of us shake hands upon passing but have never discussed much more than work matter.
To my surprise, Reuben felt that the situation was no coincidence, and that he had no convictions about it one way or another, but he would be interested to gather my interpretation! This was interesting to me, for God had been working on my heart through the book, and very clearly has he explicitly indicated how he is mighty and powerful and ever at work in the sense of spiritual battle.
His spirit had been convicting me of a heart with neutral motive over the past handful of weeks. I had been complacent and lazy and sloppy but had begun to seek a way out of backslide in the last week or so. Acknowledging sin an repenting to Him was a good start. I did not feel that I was engaging in my readings or completing anything more than a meaningless religious checkpoint until these three things happened: I was convicted, I desired a positive change , God provided means of egress!
At this point I began Joshua. The content was very clear to me. The lessons from the text, as I feel they apply to me, were striking; they are to acknowledge that God is the driving force behind the battle lines (of all types) and that he fulfills every promise to the word. He desires our participation in his work and graciously offers refuge and his omnipresence for those who cleave to him through service of love and trust with one's mind, strength, and soul. He finds it most pleasing when his children submit to him courageously- not passively as I had been, if that is even possible, for is passive submission submission at all? Another topic...
I had been missing church fellowship over the past couple of months and had curiously asked God to help fill this void. That's when Michael Mata came down sick. Oops. I offered my time and service Saturday night for the upcoming morning congregation. A new song called "The Battle Belongs to the Lord" was one scheduled. Do you know how many battles belonging to the Lord I had read about in Joshua in the previous two days?! Close to a dozen- and- God explicitly said that it was He who was accountable for the victories. He. Not by the bows or swords of the Israelites, but by the power of God! Even Rahab knew that her city was to be overcome by the Lord. His name and acts of might are famous across the lands.
I could not keep secret how God had shown me his features and then set me up to sing of them at the next unplanned Sunday service! I wanted to, but I didn't feel lead to share the above random timing comment. I didn't feel lead to share it until Reuben said that he was interested to hear my interpretation of why I might be reading about Reubenites as he texted me. As Reuben was my lunch provider tonight, I was able to meet with him and share with him the information above. I didn't say "for sure," but I did tell him that this was at least my "out" provided by God to tell someone of the fun moments God has aligned for me these last few days. Reading of Reuben and speaking to Reuben was icing on the cake.
Small or insignificant or not, God has spoken to me through this example and has encouraged me to approach his throne with boldness again. I am amazed at how quickly he can produce good works when a servant shows up-on time- with his or her tool belt!
Thank you for being a faith motivator, Pastor. Please share this info as you are inclined. It's hard even to get the message out to my own family when all we do is sleep on opposite schedules. Maybe I need to speak with my buddies in China about this!
How cool is that? Here is a regular guy, a husband, father, a fellow believer who faithfully put himself in a position to let God speak to him because he had the courage to open God’s Word in order to allow God to speak truth into his life. I use the word courage purposely because it can be a scary thing to have God speak to you directly, especially if you don’t intend to hear and obey what God says! (See what happened with the Children of Israel in Exodus 19:16 & 20:18-21). But for those who do have the courage to let God speak to them through a daily Quiet Time are in for an immense blessing. So what about you? Will you engage God each day in His Word? If you’re interested in the Word of Life Quiet Time tool, here is a link to different options and there are versions for kids, teens and even an online version: https://wolstore.org . Those who allow God to speak to them will have God stories of their own to tell, and I can’t wait to hear them; from my little corner of the world to yours…