I had to lead devotions today for our team meeting so I thought I would share. Enjoy!
Seeking God first in your everyday life
There are some practical ways/tools to seek God first in your life. They require action on our part but are far more rewarding than the sacrifice for us.
1. Seeking God first on a daily basis: I know personally that when I set time apart first thing in the morning, I begin to become more aware of His presence throughout the day. A while back when I had more questions for God than answers and more anger than peace, I (only by God’s grace) began to get up just ten minutes early. I knew that this discipline was something that could help heal my heart and draw me closer to God. I would light a candle, turn on worship music, and begin to be silent before God. I would also have a time of prayer and reading. In turn, after a few days, I yearned for more time with God. Getting up became easier and I looked upon the day with anticipation. Ten minutes turned to fifteen and fifteen to twenty as I sensed the cobwebs falling off my heart and strongholds tearing down. There are several disciplines I am passionate about but ultimately they all come out of seeking God first on a daily basis. I wanted to share some tools that I use to help create an environment of deeper intimacy.
2. The candle: Each morning the candle represented Christ in the room with me. This helped me to visually recognize that He was right there-right then. Sometimes when we are having a quiet time, it is hard to really believe Christ is there in the room. We feel like our prayers are going nowhere and reading the Word is just dry. In fact, He is in us, but we don’t always “feel” like this is true. Having the candle lit, can help us to remember this truth first thing in the morning. I believe this will not only create a deeper level of intimacy during your quiet time but also affect the way you go throughout your day.
3. Worship/Praise music: I have found that having music on during my quiet time (is this an oxymoron?) helps to usher in the presence of God. I know for me, that when I am singing praise or meditating on the words of the song, I begin to remember not only that He is there with me but I also begin to remember His promises for me. Remembering God’s promises can be very powerful as we all face trying times and times of doubt and despair. In fact, the bible talks about worship being used to tear down strongholds and even defeating armies! I have experienced this to be true. I may start off in a bad mood, but after listening to praise music, my mood has changed, my spirit has lifted, and I begin to experience peace.
4. Being silent: I am sure you all know that being silent for me is no easy task. However, as I began to practice this discipline, I began to hear that small quiet voice more often. I believe this was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. In fact, this is how God revealed to me I was pregnant! It was during one of these times, on January 24th, that I was sitting in silence all ready to “listen” to God. I lit my candle, turned on the music, closed my eyes , and became silent. I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to get out an extra pregnancy test I had and take it. I started to ignore the voice as I didn’t want to see yet another negative result…(after seven years, you take a lot of tests) So, I hushed that voice and began to pray….God, I want to hear your voice this morning…lead me in this time. After a few nudges, I heard clear as day, I AM SPEAKING TO YOU RIGHT NOW….CLOSE YOUR BIBLE AND GO TAKE THAT TEST! Fine, I thought, I will! Sure enough, that is the day, we found out we were indeed pregnant after seven years of trying.
5. The Word: The bible is a very powerful weapon used to defeat the enemy of our lives. I believe the bible not only reminds us of God’s character but also grows ours as well. There are so many benefits to reading the Word each day…first thing. As you begin to read just a little bit a day, you begin to hunger for more. The bible also reminds us of the power available to us to help us conquer those negative things in our lives. As you read more, you memorize more, and you will begin to notice the Word springing up out of your heart just when you need it. This will also help you to encourage others around you with a perfect word in due season.
6. Prayer: Prayer is something I am very passionate about but will talk about at a later time. However, I would allow time for prayer all throughout the quiet time. As the Holy Spirit brought people to mind to lift up, I would pray. Ultimately, this is Him praying through me. Prayer draws us closer to God and helps get our mind in line with His….said differently, our will in line with His. Prayer is a direct link to God for us. We can pray without ceasing simply by speaking to God like we would a friend…lifting up concerns and praises to Him throughout the day. While having times of uninterrupted prayer are important, praying throughout the day is also a great way to experience God.
Overall, these quiet times are used to glorify God in our lives. Yes, they give us peace and help us, but our motive should be to glorify God. I know for me, this can only be my motive, when HE makes it my motive. I encourage each of you to begin setting apart ten minutes at the start of your day to seek God first. I know that you will experience deeper intimacy with Christ and His transforming power when you do so. You will begin to walk in the joy that is available only IN HIM. You will begin to notice your attitude changing, your relationships healing, and your character growing. You will begin to practice the presence of God and become who God has ordained you to be.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
The candle/presence of God:
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The Word of God:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
1 Kings 8:28
Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.
2 Chronicles 7:15
Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.