There is a lot of noise in the world. I love Sundays because I can enjoy quietness. I don’t hear the bells and whistles of the world. I get to experience quiet. I get to experience peace. I get to sit on the sofa and read God’s Word and simply listen. I do the same thing on lunch break during the week. I lock myself in my car, locking out the rest of the world, and spend time with God and His Word in the quietness. There is such unexplainable peace with our time together.
In Isaiah, we read of this “quietness and confidence.” This comes from righteousness. The righteousness comes from Christ. The confidence is assurance, assurance that comes from Christ and what He has done for us to be justified by faith. We only need believe.
One day justice will rule and righteousness will bring a peace beyond our understanding. This is not something we can do on our own—only through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is this quietness and confidence possible, only through Him can we have this forever.
“Justice will rule in the wilderness and righteousness in the fertile field. And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.” – Isaiah 32:16-17 [NLT]
I always remind the kids to shut the door behind them as they are heading outside on the cold days. By doing this, they keep the cold air outside where it belongs. There are two times in 2 Kings 4 where we read “shut the door behind.”
First there is the widow who is instructed by Elisha to take her two sons and enter their house and “shut the door.” Then they were to pour olive oil into empty jars they collected from neighbors and continue that process until there were no jars left so that they could pay for their debts. Then later, when Elisha went to raise the Shunammite’s son, “he went in alone and shut the door behind him.”
Both of these instances they shut the door behind them. Both of these instances included miracles. Sometimes we need to shut things out so we have no distractions and can watch as God performs a great miracle. Everything from the world was shut out so all focus was on God and what He was doing for this widow and her sons and this son of the Shunammmite woman. Today, perhaps you need to shut the door and see what God has waiting for you.
“Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” – 2 Kings 4:4 [NLT]
“He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD.” – 2 Kings 4:33 [NLT]
People like to talk. I know I talk a lot, sometimes more than I should. Solomon advised that when we “enter the house of God” we are to do two things. We are to keep our ears open and we are to keep our mouth shut. If we are not entering the house of God with ears to listen, why are we even there? We are to approach the Lord for wisdom, for guidance, to seek His will for our lives.
At the same time, Solomon says that we need to keep our mouths shut. Why? Because we tend to approach God and tell Him what we want—what our plan is for our lives. But that’s not necessarily what God wants for our lives. If we are too busy telling God what we want Him to do, we are not focused on listening to Him tell us what we were made to do, what is our purpose—the plan for our life.
Today consider how you enter the house of God. Consider how you read and study your Bible. Do you have your ears open? Do you have your mouth shut? Are you listening for what God has to say or are you using your mouth to interject with your instructions?
“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:1 [NLT]
“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
– Psalm 62:5 [NIV]
The beginning of a year always brings resolutions and as we near the end of the month, most of the resolutions no longer are fresh in our minds because they ended weeks ago. One resolution many Christians make is to devote more time to reading the Bible and more time for prayer. Some people may have decided to follow through with a daily devotional. It is very important to have some quiet time with God each day, time where you are able to wait on Him, read His Word, speak with Him, and hear what He has to say to you.
If you have made a resolution similar to this, but have fallen short of the goal already, do not be hard on yourself. Start where you left off and keep pressing forward. God is waiting. If you haven’t made a resolution, but you are considering spending more time with God now, consider finding a Daily Devotional that will help you with your daily reading. There are so many different options available, some which are delivered via email, are presented in a RSS feed, or can even be found on a smart phone app.
I can honestly say that Daily Devotional time has always been a struggle for me. I have to do it first thing in the morning or it doesn’t happen. Something I have just started recently however is to have afternoon and evening devotional time as well, because I find it is beneficial for my walk with Christ.
Here’s a list of twelve of the Daily Devotionals available online that I use daily and/or occasionally. Why twelve? I love that number. I recommend them all; however, if it is something you are considering, please look at each of them to see which one helps you the most. The purpose of a Daily Devotional is to have some time with God. It’s all about God and you – on the relationship that matters most!
Devotionals I Use /I’ve Used / I Recommend:
- My Utmost For His Highest (Oswald Chambers) – simply LOVE this devotional
- In Touch Ministries (Dr. Charles Stanley) – constantly gleaning from this devotional
- Joni & Friends (Joni Eareckson Tada) – always insightful & must read daily
- PD Daily Hope (Rick Warren) – simple, insightful, great devotional
- BGEA: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – nicely formatted, insightful
- Joyce Meyer – good daily devotional
- Our Daily Bread – nice devotional, possibly found in your church
- Daily Grace Inspirations (Joseph Prince) – nice devotional focused on God’s grace
- The Upper Room – nice devotional
- Spurgeon’s Daily Meditations (Charles Spurgeon) – insightful, available AM & PM
- Harvest (Greg Laurie) – good devotional
- Heartlight SpiritFire (Phil Ware) – good devotional
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”
– Psalm 42:1 [GW]
When I was younger, I always was amazed at the story of Jonah. I imagined this man attempting to run away, and yet “the LORD hurled a great wind” and next thing you know he was swallowed by “a great fish.” Who tries to run away from God? It seems crazy and yet I believe we all have our moments.
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. God told him of the important task he had, but he did not agree. We do this same thing when God gives us an idea of what we are to do in life, and yet we think we know better or we allow fear to dictate our actions instead of giving God the chance to direct our path.
Perhaps it could be that we have this high paying job, but God wants us to go back to school for a college degree in something far from our current career. Maybe we are told to move, to enter or end a relationship, or perhaps to wait for something. What really can be hard to swallow is when you make a plan or goal, you nearly are there at the end to reach this goal, and God turns you around. Maybe you are paying off a house or car and think you can settle, but God thinks it’s time for a change.
No matter what it is, God promises us that we will be blessed abundantly if we trust in Him. It’s hard. I won’t argue with anyone. I went across the world because God said to despite many sacrifices that had to be made. I went back to school though I loved my career and it provided for my family. Stepping out in faith is scary and it can be very unsettling; however, the rewards always come. Trust in Him for He alone is faithful. He is our victorious warrior who is by our side each day as we press forward.
“Do not be afraid O Zion;
Do not let your hands fall limp.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
– Zephaniah 3:16b-17 [NASB]