Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's This and Not Just This

Based on some of the comments from yesterday, this subject is something we all want to have more insight to, more direction for, and more passion to continue.

In light of that, today I want to just give you some things to think about and some passages to have you tuck away in your heart as you and Christ develop your own way of doing life together.

To keep this simple, I'm just going to give it to you today in a bullet type format. That way you can see it well and I can put my brain down on this computer easier!

First and foremost, your time with Christ is just that, your time with Christ. It won't look the same as mine, even though we can use the same tools, Bible, pens and paper. But, you and Jesus will have a relationship unique as the fingerprints He put on your hands. This is a living, organic relationship between two people and it will be special between just the two of you.

Now, does that mean we can't all help each other in our walks with Him? Of course not! We do it all the time when it's human to human. This is just one little human trying to pour some life into other little humans about this relationship with GOD!!

So cool.

Secondly, there is absolutely no way you can have a rich, deep, and growing relationship with Christ without both prayer/communication with Him and His Word. Prayer and the Word of God are inseparable.

Having said those two things, I'll now throw those bullets at you.

Mind you, this comes from my experiences and what I have discovered in, not only my walk with Christ, but through watching others and what the Word itself has to say.

In regard to this thing called a quiet time...

It's developed, not practiced.

I know that we have all heard that we need to "practice" our walk with Jesus. To me that word practice brings up too many memories of sitting at my piano playing away the hours to get that piece right. Our relationships with Jesus is not something that we do over and over until we get it right. I don't take any of my relationships that way, why would I expect it with Christ.

This is something you develop with Him over time. Right things come out of it. Right responses and right attitudes. But, I don't ever strive to get it "right."

My prayer time has taken on many different ways of doing it. Mostly, I've had a journal in one hand, and the Bible in the other. But, how I journaled and studied has varied over the years. Go with it. Try new things with Him. Ask Him how you and He can grow together.

Here it is.....every. day. Let me say it again, develop your relationship with Him every. day.

Praise be to the Lord..who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

We make time for what we value as a priority. Make Him a priority.

It's an hour, not just constant.

If you don't know this about me already, you will now. I'm a huge advocate for making that time with Christ a "first fruit" priority. Let me s'plain. Just like we give God the first 10% of our income, I believe we should give Him the first 10% of our time.

I'm a meet-Jesus-in-the-morning kind of gal. We have a good hour together complete with coffee and yummy creamer. BUT, and I can say this and mean it...BUT, not all of you have the same schedule I do. HOWEVER, and I say this because it's important, however, there is such a wonderful thing about meeting Him in the morning before anything and anyone come into your life that day. He's first. And you can give Him all you have right off the bat. A focused time with Christ.

When I had a one and a half year old baby and a newborn, morning was not my top priority. I met with Him when I could and I'm certain He was fine with that. Now that they are bigger, and my new baby is older, that morning time has fallen right back into place. I search for it. I make it fit.

I've heard people say they talk with Christ all day. That's good. I do too. But, there is no substitute for sitting daily at His feet, pouring out your heart and letting Him pour into you. T'ain't no betta thang.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love. Psalm 143:8

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests
before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

It's constant, not just an hour.

On the flip side, sometimes I have had that great communion with Jesus in the morning, and then just go about my day not giving Him a second thought. This cannot be either. I must be active in hearing His voice, making note of His Spirit in me, and staying humble to His authority all day.

My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. Psalm

It's listening; not just talking.

This one is probably the most difficult for us to really develop with Christ. It's so easy to just lay it all out there. All the request, heartbreak, excitement, complaints, confessions. Those are easy. We just talk and talk and talk. And then wonder why He's not answering.

Maybe, we aren't listening.

The "art," if you will, of listening to Christ comes from an inner bowing of your spirit to the filling of His. It's knowing the Word so that your thoughts become the thoughts of the Word. (more on this later). Listening to Christ, knowing His will, and hearing His Spirit is something that, honestly, we DO practice. But, we do it with Him. I really will come back to this later in our study.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him... Psalm 37:7

It's talking; not just listening.

Still, this one is the easy one. We don't have to look far to see that we are talkers. Just look in the mirror. We love to talk. We do it all day with all sorts of people. Doing the talking with Christ is the easy part. But, it's important. He wants to hear our voices. He wants to hear us talk. I truly believe He misses us when we don't talk. So, spill it!

I was talking to Him just yesterday about how a frog just jumped out of the garden and sat there, unmoved. My daughter could actually sit there and pet that thing! I thought it was cool so I told Him. I'm sure He smiled with me.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

There's your bullets. Take them and ponder them for awhile. Talk to Jesus about what you find difficult about building and developing a flourishing, daily relationship with Him. He hears you. He will walk with you.

Read these beautiful words in Psalm 91:14-16

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Jesus wants this amazing relationship with you. It really is a decision you must make to have this relationship with Him. We do it all the time with friends, spouses, even our kids. We decide sometimes to make an effort to build relationships. Other times, it s so easy!

It's the same with Jesus, only the really cool things is is that we have His Spirit in us to carry us and change us along the way!

Will you give your first fruits to Him?

Looking forward: we'll be talking about the in's and out's of learning from Christ in, dum, dum, dum....humility!!


Theresa said...

I am one of those that talks to him all day. I like to spend the end of my day with Him as well. Kind of like a refresher before bed.

Robin Meadows said...

Love that you did the flip-side of your bullet points.

Thanks for shootin' straight!

Hey, do you think it can be practiced and developed too?

Natalie @ I AM (not) said...

Robin, yes, in the sense of pracitce like we practice humility or a character trait, practicing kindness I totally say yes. I just want to help steer people away from a sense of legalism...you know, "check" it off the calendar or you're a bad Christian. There are elements of practice.


Kim Heinecke said...

Very good.

And I'll testify to the others reading this she is speaking truth. I have witnessed the 7 year transformation...(maybe more?!)

Tammy said...

This is food for thought and Natalie thanks for being so open and making it at my level. I will be pondering these thoughts. I am not a morning person but soon will be with going back to the classroom. So I am going to pray about when to meet with Jesus as my first step.
Thank you.

Jess said...

So true, I spent YEARS, and I mean YEARS being a Christian without spending a daily time with Him...I have a baby who wakes me up early enough as it is so it's nighttime for me too. I like to focus on different books and studies, right now doing Power of a Praying wife at night and a SHORT devotional in the morning if the monkey allows it. BUT I am convicted to get out the real thang, the good ol Bible and get more into the Word, straight up!

Mary said...

Thanks for the insight. I'm one of those that has to guard against the legalistic side of it. My life is a life of lists.

But I am determined to do better in this area. I appreciate the kick in the butt you're giving me. I need it - especially in this new pastoring/church growing adventure I'm on.

I'm not perfect. Don't want to be. But I sure want my relationship with God to go deeper and deeper.

No excuses. I just have to refocus. And ask Him to help my desire to grow to want to make more time for Him. He deserves it.

I know if I spent as much time with my hubby as I do God right now -private time - I doubt I would still be married. That's sad. But true.

My heart breaks. I fail so miserably at it.

Anonymous said...

When my kids were babies, my quiet time was definitely whenever I had a moment to sit. Sometimes it was 5 minutes, sometimes an hour. But I knew God knew where I was at - He did bless me with those babies after all!

But just in the past month He gently reminded me that my babies aren't so much babies anymore, and just like they need more food, so do I. So I've been getting up first thing - and my day is so much better. ('Course, if I actually remembered to set the coffee timer to be done when I get up, that would be even better!!)

Julie Gillies said...


I LOVE your blog title - too cute!

After having my time with the Lord at night for YEARS, I transitioned several months ago (at the Lord's leading) to mornings. It was hard to make the switch because I home school and mornings can be crazy and I didn't want to just 'cram God in'. However, God gave me grace and now I LOVE it. LOVE my mornings with my Lord.

I still sneak in a bit more of the Word before I turn in - I just like to marinate in it all night long.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Natalie! You're giving me just the kick in the gas I need! ;)

Andrea, I had four kids five and under, and I am just now realizing in the past month that my kids aren't little anymore (at all). It's amazing how you get used to thinking and acting a certain way.


deleise said...

Thanks, Natalie. I'm needing to do some work in this area.

lori said...

I'm GLAD you got out of TOWN...I can catch up and not feel guilty...
I'm an a.m. gal...hold the creamer...black and always black...

I spent a long time without FOCUSED prayer time...and learned that I needed focused prayer time...and constant communication ALL day long...WHAT a change in my life...
I'm just glad he didn't give up on me!

We adjust, sometimes for a season, sometimes daily...but TIME with HIM is just where it has to begin for me...
I LOVE this one Nat!
Thanks for doing this study and sharing with us!


Transformer said...

Hi Natalie! I am so glad that someone mentioned your blogs. It's such great stuff!! =)