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Social Distancing — A Few Thoughts

As an “expressive introvert” (I’ve taken the tests: Myers Briggs, Briggs & Stratton, etc.), I recognize that my default setting requires a fair amount of alone time. I can identify with the desert monks centuries ago who lived in caves by themselves and contemplated the glories of God away from this broken, fallen world of sin.

However, they could not escape from themselves. We take ourselves with us when we self-isolate. Blaise Pascal, the 17th century mathematician and theologian said, “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” Aloneness, solitude, can be one blessing from how our culture is dealing with the Coronavirus.

But we have a supernatural enemy who hates quiet. He majors in noise and often we cooperate with his wicked plans by providing as much noise as we can. It is hard to contemplate when one is immersed in sound. Quietness is a rare commodity in our culture, but one we can pursue with profit.

Here are several benefits of self-distancing that occur to me:

1. We can re-discover reading. You remember reading, don’t you? Pastor John Piper once said, “To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click ‘I agree.’” What books do you have in your library that you would read — if you only had the time? Now you do.

2. We can concentrate on conversation. With much of the hustle and bustle of regular life forcibly put on pause, we can talk with our spouse or significant other about life, and suffering, and challenges. And we should focus on becoming better ASKERS rather than TELLERS. Asking good questions of those we love gives them the opportunity of expressing their views and perspectives. Someone has said that “The ability to hold a good conversation has almost become a lost art form.” Edith Wharton once wrote, “Ah, good conversation. There’s nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.”

3. We can major on meditation. We who know Jesus have no excuses not to meditate on God’s Word. Many of us now have what we seemingly lacked B.V. (before the virus) — and that is TIME. Use it wisely. Develop or re-develop the habit of pouring over God’s Word — and thinking about what you read there. Chuck Swindoll writes, “In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him…that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him – totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.”

4. We can achieve a new perspective on prayer. Human helplessness in the face of this pandemic is remedied, for followers of Jesus, by the simple practice of prayer. We must pray for our leaders as they make key decisions. We can pray for our neighbors whom we hardly know. We can commit ourselves in prayer that life will be different when we are through this trial. We can pray for our churches which have discontinued meeting together. The church is not finally defined by its services or its building, but by its members who love and pray for one another. Prayer is the antidote to worry. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” And we can pray for others, for our lost neighbors, for those who have turned away from the gospel. J. Sidlow Baxter wrote, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.”

Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2020 in social distancing

 

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Ten Habits That Are Helping Me in My Christian Life! (Habit #4)

“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” (Dr. Rob Gilbert)

“In the lowest moments of my life, the only reason I didn’t commit suicide was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink anymore if I was dead.” (Eric Clapton)

“Blessed is the man who can set aside all distraction . . . Act with courage, for habit is broken by habit.” –Kempis

We are asking the question in these posts, how can I move ahead as a believer in Jesus? What practices ought to mark my life and help me grow?  I’ve talked briefly about reading God’s Word, praying, and being thankful A fourth habit that really helps me is drinking coffee in the morning.

No, seriously, a fourth habit is spending time alone with the Lord. I try to do that every morning (with coffee) and it is a very vital part of my new day.

I’m an introvert, so spending time alone is a welcome activity for me. I can be alone in the car driving for hours, take a long walk by myself, or just sit and read a book for a serious chunk of time. I’m not really energized by a lot of people, although I want to be social and to spend time with others. Especially if they are offering me coffee.

My daughter Amy is also an introvert.  She recently sent me a picture of a t-shirt she thinks we ought to wear.  I can identify with that t-shirt.

The practice of solitude is an important one.  It might be easier for introverts than for extroverts.  But I need that alone time for the health of my soul.

Spending time alone with the Lord in quietness or in reading His Word is a discipline.  One has to get to bed at a decent hour if that alone time is going to happen in the morning.

Jesus said in Mark 6:31 to His disciples:  “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”  I heard one preacher put it this way:  “Jesus said, ‘Come ye apart and rest awhile lest ye come apart!'”  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in holy habits

 

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What Did Jesus Pray about? (Part 2)

Okay, all you prayer warriors out there!  If you’re at all like me, your prayer life needs some serious work!  We want to examine Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 over the next few posts, asking what prayer meant to Him.  Let’s look at the first few verses here in our text:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

The daily, active spiritual life of the Lord Jesus is an incredible study!  As the Second Person of the Trinity, He became fully human without giving up His deity.  Yet He maintained a spiritual walk with the Father through times of prayer.  Often alone.

Alone with God.  That’s one practice that is difficult for many believers.  Just spending some quiet time alone with the Lord.  Jesus models that for us.  Away from ministry.  Away from people.  How’s your alone time?

For the Lord Jesus, prayer prepared Him for His “hour.”  “The hour has come,” He says.  Now, this, of course, is where we are not like the Lord.  We don’t need the Father’s strength for the same work that awaited Jesus, the work of atonement.  But, how much more do we need the Father’s strength and enabling for the much smaller tasks that lie before us?

What lies before you today?  A grouchy boss?  An unbelieving spouse?  Rebellious children?  Bills unpaid?  Nagging health issues?  Go to the Father.  Spend time alone with Him.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2017 in John 17

 

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