Monday, June 19, 2006 - Part III - Where to Begin

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

Any life that is to be pleasing to God...any effort that is to be guided by wisdom...any plan that is to prosper...any intention of the heart that is to be kept pure must be grounded in the Word of God. It is our bread of life. It is the only truth. It is the way to know the mind of God and discover His will. It is always the place to begin. No matter what the issue, plan or circumstance the first question should be "What does God's word say?" Truth ends confusion and silences debate...especially those we carry on in our own hearts and minds.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is called "The Word". He is also called a firm foundation and the chief cornerstone. It is for this reason that we can do nothing, prepare nothing, begin nothing and expect it to prosper and be God-honoring unless it is grounded and built upon the foundation of the Word of God. It is for this reason that I believe that the cultivation of a Quiet Time must begin with His word.

Don't get me wrong, there are many wonderful, scripturally rich devotional materials out there, but if we are not familiar with what God's word says in and of itself, we will not be able to determine if what individual men and women say it says is right and true. I have benefitted greatly from the devotional works of Spurgeon, Chambers, Elliot and Carmichael, to name a few...but had I not first been grounded in the word I don't think they would have the effect on me they do.

First, reading God's word imparts knowledge and a familiarity with the ways and character of God which aids in discernment. But, reading His word also cultivates a love for His Word. We can not value and appreciate other's adoration of the word if we do not have some of that on our own. The best way to do that is to dig in, read up, and see the outworking of His truth in our own lives.

So, when seeking to cultivate or grow your quiet time with the Lord...go back to basics. Restrict your diet to bread and water...the Bread of Life and the Living Water of the Word of God. He will grow and expand it according to His purposes. But, be willing to be basic and simple as you begin. Do not let pride tell you that your morning routine has to look like someone else's. Don't drag out all of the devotions collecting dust on your bookself or reference books and try to go from where you are to 3 hours of intense and rich time each day. It isn't going to happen. We aren't built that way. Start with the Word and give the time you can give now. The Lord blesses faithfulness and He will not despise a heart that is bent on knowing and meeting with Him...even if that is just for 15 minutes in Psalms on the potty.

Like the tree planted by the rivers of water, what starts as a seed will sprout and grow and bear fruit. Trust the Lord to do that and know that you can't force it or make it happen faster than He would have it. Discipline takes time. Our flesh must be subdued and conditioned...and it is stubborn. Be willing to start small and go slow and trust Him with the rest. He will meet you. He will grow you. Your offering, no matter how small in your own eyes, will be acceptable to Him and your life will change bit by bit, precept by precept, morning by morning.

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