Quiet Time Component #2: Studying God’s Word

Continued from here.

A second component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is studying God’s Word. If you want to get to know God, you need to learn more about Him – how He acts and reacts, what matters to Him, and what He expects from us. All of this information is available to you in the Bible.

God’s ways are counter-cultural, and He does not change. Everything that you allow into your mind shapes how you think. If you don’t spend lots of time studying God’s Word, then the culture will shape the way you think, which will lead you farther away from God. Conversely, filling your mind with Scripture – not only reading it but also studying it and meditating on it – will change the way you think to better align with how God thinks.

In addition, Joyce Meyer frequently points out on her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, that the Bible is like medicine. For example, let’s say I struggle with anger. I need to meditate on passage of Scripture that teach me how to deal with anger – to pray for my enemies and forgive them. Reading those passages is not enough – I need to actually DO them. If anger is my issue, then meditating on passages re: prosperity isn’t going to heal this area of my life. That would be like putting a Band-Aid On my head instead of taking an aspirin for a headache.

I find Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds, to be particularly helpful with this. For example, if I am struggling with feeling rejected, I will pray scripture prayers out of the chapter entitled Overcoming Feelings of Rejection. As I pray God’s Word about how He views the situation, I reprogram my mind to agree with God’s perspective. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful this has been in my personal life and personal spiritual journey.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. Courtesy Amazon.]


Digesting God’s Word: Wrap Up

elbow.pngContinued from here.

I hope you enjoyed working through Galatians 6:9 and did not find the process too tedious. I blogged about this topic because I needed it myself. I am in a season of heavy spiritual attack. In addition to the challenges I have shared and others that I did not, my teenage son broke his elbow in a flag football game and needs surgery to repair it. I cannot seem to catch my breath before the next blow comes, and I so desperately want to see a harvest for all of the good I have done and continue to do.

Giving up is not an option for me. God has been faithful too many times for me to doubt that He will be faithful again. Despite God’s positive track record with me, I still struggle. I know better than to indulge in “Why me?” thoughts, so I keep pressing on, trusting and believing that God will come through.

I have been meditating on Mercy Me’s new song, Even If, which beautifully captures the cry of my soul as I continue to do good, even when little in my life makes sense, and I don’t see the harvest that God has promised. I know it is coming, but I don’t know when. I try to consider it pure joy that I am facing trials of many kinds, but what I feel is tired … and the temptation to give up, but I won’t … because I love God more. As I have told God repeatedly, all of my eggs are in His one basket. Either He will come through, or I will fall. There is no third option.

Let the beauty and truth of these lyrics by Mercy Me wash over you and refresh you as you keep pressing on, never giving up doing good. You WILL reap a harvest IF you do not give up.

But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength
To be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You’re able
And I know You can
Save through the fire
With Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow
I know the hurt
Would all go away
If You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul”

[Graphic: X-ray of Grace’s son’s broken elbow. Courtesy Urgent Care.]

Digesting God’s Word: “Do Not Give Up”

struggle_is_realContinued from here.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the verse! While this process can seem tedious, I hope you can also see the value of meditating on God’s Word – of truly “chewing” it and digesting it until it becomes a part of who you are. Only one more phrase to go!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

In my last blog entry, I talked about the importance of the word if. If we don’t allow ourselves to become weary in doing good, God promises to send us a blessing at a future time. That promise is conditional on us not giving up. If we allow ourselves to grow weary enough that we give up doing good, then we’ll miss out on the harvest that our seeds have sown. Once we give up doing good, we remove the trigger that releases the promised blessing, so we never receive it. What a shame to have built up a huge harvest that you never get to enjoy because you gave up.

James 1:2-4 sheds some light on why we miss out on harvests that we have accrued when we give up before the harvest comes “at the proper time:”

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God wants us to grow up! Jesus did not die on the cross for you to stay a baby Christian for your entire life on earth. He wants you to mature! The Bible tells us that we become mature through perseverance. How does perseverance finish its work? You can only persevere by having to wait for your blessings to come. The key to developing perseverance is never, ever giving up, NO MATTER WHAT!

Perseverance is a choice that (sadly) most people don’t choose. They do good for a while, but when they don’t see the harvest coming, they become weary and give up. Because they give up, the blessing never comes, and they grow angry toward God, never seeing that it was their own choice of not persevering that stopped the harvest.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace closing her eyes and clenching her fist, saying, “The struggle is real.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “If We”

you_got_thisContinued from here.

Up to this point in our study of this one verse, we have explored God’s expectation that we “do good” while preventing ourselves from becoming weary of doing so. We also talked about why: God will give us a future harvest (blessings!) if we do so. Too bad the verse doesn’t stop there. It turns out that this is a conditional promise, as is evidenced by the next two words: “if we.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

The Bible is filled with awesome promises the hinge upon a two-letter word: if. In the legal world, this is called a condition precedent. In layman’s terms, this means that something is guaranteed to happen but only if a condition is met first. Meeting that condition is the trigger that sets the guarantee in motion. So, God makes us this great promise – Don’t grow weary in doing good because a future blessing is coming … IF.

The next word in the verse tells us whose responsibility meeting that condition is: OURS! Sometimes we find ourselves waiting on God to fulfill a promise when we haven’t met the condition precedent to trigger the blessing. This is an example of one of those times. Our choices can trigger the blessing or withhold it, so we need to pay careful attention to what God requires of us. In other words, what’s our part in this exchange?

On her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer has repeatedly pointed out that we work together with God. It’s a partnership in which we cannot do His part, and He will not do our part. Whenever our part is specifically identified in scripture after the word if, we can rest assured that the blessing isn’t coming until we do our part. And then, after we do our part, we can know in the marrow of our bones that the blessing IS coming because God said it is. He would have to cease to be God if the blessing doesn’t come “at the proper time.”

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling while standing in the corner of a boxing ring holding up a sign that says, “You got this.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “Reap a Harvest”

oh_happy_dayContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we focused on the certainty that whatever God promises must come to pass. Today, we explore what that promised blessing is: we will “reap a harvest.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

God promises that we will reap a harvest from doing good, which is one of my favorite promises in the Bible. I previously wrote about the topic of sowing and reaping. It excited me because this principle gives me some measure of control over my life. As a recovering “control freak,” I’m all ears whenever the Bible tells me that I can help bring about Y if I will do X.

Let’s focus specifically on what we are sowing and what we are reaping in this passage. The sowing part is “doing good,” which we already defined as anything God tells us to do in the Bible. Put another way, “doing good” is pretty much anything you do out of love for God or for other people. If you do good, you are sowing seeds that are going to reap a harvest later.

What kind of harvest can we expect to reap? While this one verse does not specify, many other places in the Bible identify harvests you can expect to reap from doing good, such as the fruit of the Spirit. Let’s return to the same passages mentioned in the “doing good” blog entry and identify some of the harvests we can expect to reap:

Sow “Doing Good” Harvest
Do justly, love mercy, & walk humbly with God Redemption from slavery
Be generous and willing to share Lay up treasures for yourself and take hold of the life that is truly life
Obey authority Rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit; hope of eternal life
Be self-controlled & use sound speech Those who oppose you will be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you.
Do not withhold good when it is within your power to act. Prolong your life; peace; prosperity; win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man; enter into God’s confidence.
Love your enemies. Great reward; child of the Most High
Provide for urgent needs. Live a productive life
Refrain from paying back wrong for wrong. Sanctification through and through; whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless
Seek peace and pursue it. Lack no good thing

I’d say the effort of sowing is worth the harvest we will reap. Do you agree?

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling while running through a field of flowers under the words, “Oh, happy day!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “We Will”

good_newsContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we learned that the blessing for doing good isn’t going to come instantly. Today, we will focus on the promise contained in two little words: “we will.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

It can be tempting to breeze right by “we will,” but there’s a lot packed into those two little words. First, let’s address the “we.” Who is “we?” It’s Christians who are “doing good” and are vulnerable to becoming weary as they are waiting for the blessing to come. If you are a Christian who is choosing to make decisions in alignment with how God tells you to live your life, then this verse applies to you.

Now let’s turn our focus to the word “will.” This is a promise from God, and God does not lie. When God says that something will happen, then nothing in heaven, on earth, or under the earth is going to be able to prevent it from happening. It’s a done deal. You might not see it with your eyes yet, but you can rest assured that whatever God has willed IS on its way.

One of my most powerful “God moments” happened when I was praying for a friend who had tithed her entire first paycheck in obedience to God – with fear and trembling because her family really needed this money. As I was praying for her, it was like the sky opened up. Everything around me became very bright, and I felt God’s words more heavily in my spirit than I had ever experienced God’s “voice” before or since:

I have promised to bless those who tithe. I would have to cease to be God for this not to come to pass.”

Think about it: God cannot lie, so He would have to cease to be God for one of His promises not to come to pass. As we discussed in the last blog entry, the manifestation of that promise will come “at the proper time,” which might take a while (even a long while) from a human perspective. However, it will come, or God will cease to be God, which, of course, could never happen.

We live in a society in which people don’t honor promises, but God is not “people.” What He promises will come to pass. So, you can rest assured that if you are doing good, what God promises in this verse will happen.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of the front page of the newspaper with a photo of Grace giving the thumbs up under the words, “Good news.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Digesting God’s Word: “For at the Proper Time”

im_waitingContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, we digested what Paul meant by “in doing good” Today, we shift our focus to the first part of why we should not become weary in doing good.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

“For” is just another way of saying “because,” so Paul is going to tell us why we should not allow ourselves to become weary in doing good. However, before he addresses why, he tells us when: “at the proper time.”

The fact that Paul felt the need to address when the benefit would come means that the benefit is not going to come instantly. Alas! Think about it – if every time you did something good, you received an immediate blessing, it would be real easy not to grow weary, right?

One of my favorite sayings is no good deed goes unpunished. I say this frequently because most of the time when I choose to do the right thing, instead of getting an instant reward, what comes is either something negative or a lack of appreciation. It’s rare when I make the decision to do the right thing, and something really great happens right after I do it. I think this is because “the proper time” has not yet come.

So what is “the proper time?” It’s God’s timing, which generally seems slow to us. In fact, I used to accuse God of being a procrastinator. Then, I read Rick Warren’s saying, “God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time.” While my preference is for God to show up early, I have the assurance that He is never late.

I don’t know whether your blessing for doing good will come in a week, a month, a year, or after this lifetime, only that it will come “at the proper time.” This requires us to trust God because we aren’t going to see the blessing when we do the good deed. There’s going to be what we perceive as a lag between “doing good” and receiving a blessing, and during that lag, we are vulnerable to becoming weary. This is why Paul is letting us know not to expect an immediate blessing but is also assuring us that it will come.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with her hand on her hip standing next to an hourglass by the words, “I’m waiting.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]