And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are Quiet Times the Answer To Getting Close to God?

If you ask any group, "How do you get close to God?" you usually get the same answer: spend time with Him.

It’s a good answer, but I don’t think it works.
At least not by itself.

Think of it this way: what if you were in a relationship, either married or dating, and you got bored with your partner?

You didn’t want to give him up—because you liked having a steady relationship—but you didn’t want a boring life either. What would you do?

Let’s say you decide to spice up your life a bit—nothing serious, just a little harmless fun.

So you go out dancing. You flirt with your co-workers. You have some good conversations.
Life is looking up.

But then one day the inevitable happens: you meet a guy you really like. He’s fun. He’s exciting, and he’s interested in you.

So you start a relationship with him.

As you become more and more enthralled with this new guy, you become less and less enamored of your husband or boyfriend.

But you’re still not ready to give him up.

So you ease your conscience. You schedule fifteen minutes a day with him to visit, usually right after breakfast. Yes, it’s a little boring. Yes, it’s a duty. But at least it keeps the relationship going.

So here’s the question: is fifteen minutes a day the answer to your lack of intimacy with your husband or boyfriend? Or is the problem deeper than that?

We can ask the same question of our relationship with God: is fifteen minutes a day the answer to our lack of intimacy with Him, or does the problem go deeper than that?

It’s easy to see in a real-life example that the girl is being unfair to her partner. It’s not so easy to see in our relationship with God because we’ve grown accustomed to the sins and idols in our lives that separate us from Him.

One of the beauties of our relationship with God, though, is that He’s willing to work with us in getting rid of those idols and sins.

And here’s the interesting thing: one of the best ways to get close to God is to work with Him in removing the sins and idols of our lives.

For those of you who have followed my blogs, you know my track record for posts is not great. I go full steam for a few weeks and then peter out when I start teaching local Bible studies and run out of time.

I’ve been thinking of an idea lately, though, that I’m hoping will work. I’d like to try teaching a class online when my current Bible studies are over which should be in a few weeks.

So if you’ve been reading these sporadic blogs and you’re interested in a class on how to work together with God to remove the sins and the idols in your life, keep checking back. I’d love to have you join the class.

Note: If you have this site saved as, I’m going to go back to for awhile so you may need to change that to be able to find the blog again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You Comfortable?

Do you ever say you’ll do something for God and then have second thoughts when you find out how hard it is?

I’m guessing that’s how Peter felt when he found himself walking on the water in the midst of a raging storm. What have I gotten myself into?

His enthusiasm for Jesus was enough to get him out of the boat, but it wasn’t enough to sustain him once he got an eyeful of the waves.

What strikes me about this passage* is that Peter wouldn’t have been in such a pickle if he hadn’t loved Jesus so much. If he had just stayed in his nice, safe, comfortable boat, he wouldn’t have been in a position to panic.

It was when he loved Jesus enough to get out of the boat that all his troubles started.

I see this at work in my own life. I want life to be easy. I want it to be comfortable. But I also love God, and He keeps asking me to do things that are uncomfortable and difficult.

The worst thing I can do—and it’s often the thing I find myself doing—is to say yes to God, leap out of the boat, and then forget about Him while I look in dismay at all the waves lapping at my feet.

Especially when Jesus is standing there with His hand reaching out to take hold of me.

It’s the worst of both worlds. Not only do I miss out on the comfort of the boat, I also miss out on the comfort of His arms wrapped around me in the midst of the storm.

Not to mention the fact that I can’t walk on water without His help.

Like Peter, I need to be reminded to grab hold of His hand.

Today—thanks to His help in the middle of the night—I’m remembering.

And even though I’m uncomfortable . . . I’m comfortable.

* Matthew 14:23-33