3 Options to Refresh Your Private Time with Jesus

Hello and Welcome!

I’m so excited you’ve popped in to discover three ways to refresh your private time with Jesus. Any time we engage in a daily practice there’s the potential for it to become routine, familiar, and even boring. Private time, meditation, or prayer with Jesus is not immune. To ensure you don’t fall into a rut, refresh your practice of meeting with Jesus with three options.

Refresh Option 1

Lyrics from a song easily transforms into a prayer or focal point for meditation. Several years ago, I bought The Celebration Hymnal: Songs and hymns for worship for just that purpose. Sometimes, a verse or even an entire song declares  exactly the feelings I have for God. For instance, the fifth verse of the hymn, Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated, contains a heartfelt, image-evoking prayer. Copyright law prohibits me from quoting the verse word for word so I've paraphrased it below.

Your love for the Lord, stored in your heart, is a treasure so precious it cannot be valued. You pour out this love upon His feet as an act of undying surrender. You offer your love, your life, dedicated to Jesus only, forever and ever and ever.

What a beautiful prayer and image describing one's love for Jesus. I can see myself at Jesus’ feet, pouring out my love as an offering. See John 12:3 for a similar image.

Alternatively, lyrics can turn into a meditative focus. We can create questions to go even deeper in the message.

Let’s try it with the same paraphrased verse from Take My Life.

Your love for the Lord, stored in your heart, is a treasure so precious it cannot be valued. You pour out this love upon His feet as an act of undying surrender. You offer your love, your life, dedicated to Jesus only, forever and ever and ever.

I find two questions arise in my mind: 

Am I offering every part of my life to Him?

Do I have any idols trying to compete for His attention and my devotion?

Here’s another example from one of my favorite musicians, David Crowder. His song, Come and Listen, is a call to quietness and reflection. It says pay attention because Jesus has done stuff for us, he's doing stuff for us, and he's going to keep on doing stuff for us.

Again, we can tease out a couple meditative questions.

Am I sharing what Jesus has done for me and is doing for me?

Second, do I live in such a way that someone might ask about Jesus?

Consider introducing lyrics into your time with God to keep it fresh.

Refresh Option 2

I enjoy reading the New International Version because I know it well. Familiarity enables me to find verses quickly. On the other hand, familiarity can decrease the power and meaningfulness of those verses. To guard against this, exploring a different Bible version can make it fresh and new again.

Let’s compare the verses from Luke 10:41-42 using the New Living Translation (NLT) and the New International Version (NIV) as an example.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NIV)

In the NIV version above, I always hone in on the phrase…only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. The word chosen catches my eye. When I first discovered this verse, the idea of choosing Jesus above and beyond all other options had a high impact factor for me. Over time, the impact has faded.

Now, let’s read the same verse from the New Living Translation.

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)

In this version, I immediately zoom in on the same phrase, …there’s only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it…. This time the words concerned and discovered jump off the page. The key word in the NIV version is choice, but the NLT version awakens me to the concept of discovery. Am I looking for or discovering Jesus in the midst of the moment?

Perhaps you'll experience new meaning or a new way of thinking about your relationship with Jesus by introducing a different version of the Bible into your private time.

Refresh Option 3

I've read daily devotionals so packed with nuggets I can't absorb it all in one sitting. Spotlighting a word or phrase allows me to linger with a small portion of the content. 

Let’s try it with a meditation I wrote. 

God sees you. He knows you. Every square inch, inside and out.  You're wholly loved by God. It's unconditional. Unchanging. Faithful. Let yourself believe it. Have no doubts about it.

We could pause at any one of the sentences, but my spotlight is landing on, Have no doubts about it. I can turn this phrase into a question.

Do I ever doubt God's love for me?

When you find your eyes or mind attracted to a word or phrase, it could be the Holy Spirit inviting you to linger with and savor the message. In turn, you can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal deeper insights and wisdom.

PrayerI hope these three options will rejuvenate and refresh your private time with Jesus. Below is a printable I've created for you to share or to keep handy when the time comes to bring newness to your current practice of meeting and conversing with Jesus. Download 3 Options to Refresh Your Time with Jesus

God loves us. He loves you. Thanks for reading! Terri

References:

Crowder, David. Come and Listen. A Collision. CD. Sparrow Records. 2005

Havergal, Frances Ridley; Malan, Henry A. Cesar. Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated. The Celebration Hymnal: Songs and hymns for worship. Arrangement. Copyright 1997 by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music and Word Music

Images by Pixaby

 


What's So Important About Awe?

Greetings Friends!

A few months ago I heard the word awe briefly referenced in a sermon. By the time I left the church service, the Holy Spirit tattooed that word on my heart and mind in gigantic capital letters. AWE. I needed to find out more.

I commenced an investigation and am convinced awe is a bigger deal than we realize. I invite you to discover how awe impacts our relationship with God.

Let’s take a look at the definition.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary concisely defines awe as a response of wonder, reverence, or even dread. My definition of awe is slightly wordier. Awe is an impressionable moment attributed to God because of the undeniable display of His active presence.

When God’s magnificence, glory, and power grabs our soul’s attention it prompts the realization of God in it or God with us. Awe is a step beyond thankfulness. It’s a declaration, a confession. Biblical examples include David and Daniel. Here’s an excerpt from Daniel Chapter 9.

“O Lord  you are a great and awesome God! You always Daniel 9What a profound confession from Daniel’s heart. Having personally experienced God’s life-saving power when confined with lions, he had every reason for awe of God. His awe expresses reverence and a love for God.

Have you ever wondered what our awe means to God? What if He receives awe as a love offering from our heart?

Here is the first reason why being awestruck by God is a big deal.

Awe of God expresses our love for God.

Awe of God 1

Below is a quote by Brennan Manning, author of Ruthless Trust, and it says volumes about awe.  

Awe of God Manning Quote

Brennan is saying pay attention. Let yourself be amazed. Why? Awareness of the awesome nature of God invites an inpouring of strength, peace, security, and joy. Awe beckons Jesus.

Here’s an example from the Book of Acts.

Acts 2Are you surprised prayer, the Word, and community cultivates awe? The closer you get to Jesus the more awestruck you become.

Here is the second reason why awe is important.

Awe significantly enhances your relationship with the Lord. 

To better explain, here's an example from my life. Twice, my heart has physically ached from being heart-broken. The first time it happened I didn’t think to ask Jesus for help. I went through it alone with misery. The second time I asked Him to join me.

Friends, oh, how He met me in it. I felt His strong presence though the grief threatened to overtake me. Overwhelmed by awe, I confessed it to Him.  I didn’t feel lost and desperate. Darkness didn’t enter my heart. Rather, a strength outside of my own lifted me, guided me. Over time, His peace sealed the broken places of my heart. Further, I continued to express my awe to God for being by my side all the way. My expression of awe intensified my relationship with Jesus. I am closer to Him.

Perhaps you, too, have been lifted by the Lord when otherwise you might have been buried by love and loss. 

We have many reasons to be awestruck by God.

A crucifixion

A resurrection promise fulfilled

Promised life with God in a way we’ve never known before

Getting to be in His presence and love

Whenever you utter the words, Jesus, you’re my Savior, heaven erupts at your declaration. Whether it’s the first time or the 1000th, God embraces you with life-giving love and an unbreakable commitment, sealed with the Spirit in you. The day Jesus saved you was an awe-filled day!

May awe well up inside of us overflowing into a love offering because He loves us. In turn, He will fill you with his strength, joy, peace, and hope. He is our Lord and Savior.

Thanks for reading and your encouragement! God loves us, Terri

P.S.  Find more quotes, insights, and conversation at Hearts Encouraged Facebook Page.

References:

Merriam Webster Dictionary - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/awe