Keeping Our Appointments With God
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Sometimes the hectic demands on your day can crowd out your time with God. Find out how you can develop a regular time of Bible reading and prayer, as author Dennis Fisher offers a practical guide to ...

Sometimes the hectic demands on your day can crowd out your time with God. Find out how you can develop a regular time of Bible reading and prayer, as author Dennis Fisher offers a practical guide to help you keep your appointments with God. You’ll gain a fresh perspective on your quiet time as an opportunity to reconnect with the God of grace who is waiting to spend time with you.

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Keeping Our Appointments With God Document Transcript

  • 1. CONTENTS KEEPING OUR APPOINTMENTSStressed ByLife’s Demands . . . . . . . . 2 WITH GOD WA Relational Approach hat if we could find aTo Spending Time place to meet quietlyWith God . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 with someone who Building A loves us—someone who accepts Relationship . . . . . . . . . 6 us just as we are, while seeing Exchanging Human in us far more than we see in Strength For Divine Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 ourselves? What if this person Cultivating Two-Way could relieve our stress, our guilt, Communication . . . . . . 10 our insecurity, and our boredom? Taking Time To If such a place and such a Digest Your Meal . . . . . 12 person existed, we can be sure Writing It Down. . . . . . 14 that our enemy would try to talk Varying Your us out of going there. Yet, as Methods . . . . . . . . . . . 15 RBC writer Dennis Fisher showsJesus’ Priority us in the following pages, theOf Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . 16 place and the Person are waitingCarrying for us. What remains is for us toThe Divine Dialogue find practical ways of wearing aInto The Day . . . . . . . . . 20 path to Him.Springboard May the God of all peaceTo Praise . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 fill you with joy as together weHave You Started learn to walk with Him in theYour Journey WithChrist?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 quiet and rush of our days. Martin R. De Haan IIManaging Editor: David Sper Cover Photo:Terry BidgoodScripture quotations are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by ThomasNelson, Inc. Used by permission.All rights reserved.© 2002,2005 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, Michigan Printed in USA © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 2. STRESSED BY life’s demands that a time of spiritual refocus becomes allLIFE’S DEMANDS the more important.A middle-age executive Many of us live with a nervously organizes sense of guilt because we his weekly calendar, are neglecting our personalhaving heard that mid- devotional time with God.management downsizing During the hectic demandswill begin next month. of the day, it’s easy to let the A young mother of twin care of our inner life fall bytoddlers struggles to get the wayside.some time to herself, butthe children keep wakingeach other up from their Devotionsafternoon nap. are a matter A recent high-schoolgraduate with a newly of our heartshaved head struggles more than afor privacy in his bunk at discipline ofMarine Corps basic training. our daytimer. The examples mentionedabove are busy people whowant to walk with God But if we measure ourthroughout the day. Yet spirituality by counting theall three have one thing number of times we havein common. Each is in an met with God during theenvironment that makes it week, we have missed thedifficult to spend quality point. Devotions are atime with God in prayer and matter of our heart moreBible reading. It’s precisely than a discipline of ourwhen we are stressed by daytimer.2 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Right after the creation comfort, and guidance.of the first man and woman, And in a mysterious way,God is seen “walking in as we spend time with Godthe garden in the cool “beholding as in a mirror theof the day” (Gen. 3:8). TheSovereign of the universedid not hide behind closed “We love Himdoors and angelic executive because Heassistants to keep His first loved us.”creatures out. Instead, He 1 John 4:19took the initiative to seekout Adam and Eve forspiritual companionship. glory of the Lord, [we] are A healthy and consistent being transformed into thedevotional time is one same image” (2 Cor. 3:18).important way we can We find that spending timerespond to God’s desire to with God actually changeswalk with us. Couples who the kind of people we are.are in love do not need to This booklet is a short,be coerced into spending practical guide on how totime together. Each has a “reconnect with God.” It isdeep longing to experience designed to help you seeklife in relationship with the the One who created youother person. When life’s for a relationship with Him,interruptions keep them and to encourage you toapart, each one seeks draw upon His strength toopportunities to reconnect. live a growing spiritual life. That is what the quiet In short, it is a guide totime is all about. We want “keep our appointmentsto spend time with God to with God” because ofexperience His presence, what He has done for us. 3 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 4. A RELATIONAL Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is well aware of ourAPPROACH TO individuality and wants toSPENDING TIME give us just what we need toWITH GOD grow in our walk with Him.S uccessful marriages As we study the Bible, we are as diverse as the learn more and more about variety of snowflakes. His amazing personalAthletes marry artistic types qualities and compassionand social butterflies marry for us. And in response tothe shy and retiring. The His overtures of love, weobvious differences can will want to find time tobe a source of conflict. spend with Him.Yet with a growing The same fellowship-understanding of one’s seeking God who walkedself and one’s spouse, in the cool of the day witheach can learn to adapt Adam and Eve is reachingto the other’s idiosyncrasies out to each of us today.for the long haul. But when should we try Our walk with God to connect with Him?is much like a spiritual Many people emphasizemarriage. Jesus Christ, the the importance of startingBridegroom, has sought us the day with devotions.out for eternal relationship. I once heard someone sayBecause each of us has a that the guiding code fordifferent temperament, uses his own devotional lifea different thought process, was “No Bible, noand is at a different level breakfast.” But dependingof spiritual maturity, on your metabolism andeach possesses a unique current lifestyle, you mayrelationship with Christ. be more mentally alert4 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 5. at midday, or even late morning to be a good time.at night. Everyone is Often I will read a passagedifferent. in the morning, reflect on The Bible encourages it during the day, and thenmeeting with God during review it again in theany of these times. David evening. It helps to havewrote, “O God, You are my the same biblical thoughtGod; early will I seek You” throughout the day.(Ps. 63:1). Nehemiah, the What matters most of allgreat reformer, “read [the is to establish a regular timeLaw] . . . from morning to of the day when God canmidday” (Neh. 8:3). David speak to you through Hismentioned his anticipation Word and you can respondto meditate on God’s Word to Him in prayer.during the “night watches”(Ps. 119:148). And the firstPsalm mentioned in theOld Testament refers to the It’s importantblessed man whose “delight to establishis in the law of the Lord, a regular timeand in His law he meditates each dayday and night” (Ps. 1:2). with God. The Bible provideswonderful freedom aboutwhen to meet with God.The central issue is not Once you have chosenwhat your metabolism is a time, it’s important to belike, but rather what time disciplined in keeping yourof day will work best for you appointments with God.and your schedule. In my But how?current situation, I find 5 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 6. BUILDING A imagery of athletic gamesRELATIONSHIP to illustrate the need for“Everyone who competes for spiritual discipline. The termthe prize is temperate in all used for “temperate” reallythings” (1 Cor. 9:25). means “the power of self- Two people who love control; to practiceeach other are intentional abstinence.”about spending meaningful When athletes say “yes”time together. To do this, to the Olympics, they sayboth discipline and love “no” to other distractions.must work together. Taking Rigorous control of diettime requires deliberate and exercise are the onlyplanning. way to win in their chosen A similar focus is competitive sport.necessary to cultivate Similarly, by setting upmeaningful time with God. a daily devotional disciplineOften we begin the day fully and making it the priority,intent on having devotions a host of other positiveat a set time. But as the day habits can follow.goes on, we are bombarded Here are some ways toby one urgent item after set up a quiet time beforeanother. Soon devotions are you actually begin:postponed until tomorrow. Reserve A Daily But when a quiet time Time To Reconnect.is the priority, centering Whether we need a highlyourselves in God puts things disciplined schedule orin perspective. And this prefer a more relaxed one,relational connection we all need a plan. If yourequires discipline. are using a daily planner, In 1 Corinthians 9, computer software, or somethe apostle Paul used the other calendar, you might6 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 7. want to set aside a time that time than it is to letwhen you will meet with our daily discipline be eatenGod daily. away by daily distractions. Determine How After praying about howMuch Time To Spend. much time to spend, enterWhen I was taking classical that time block into yourguitar lessons, the instructor calendar.told me, “It’s better to Find A Quiet Place.practice 15 minutes a day We all concentrate or areevery day, and then to distracted in different ways.practice for several hours C. S. Lewis brings up aon only a few days.” He surprising suggestion inwas right, especially when his book Letters To Malcolm.it comes to establishing new His admonition on thehabits. But new habits are “quiet time” is to makesometimes hard to form. sure we have “just the It’s not by accident that right amount of distraction”the author of Hebrews wrote to help us concentrate.that we are not to forsake Lewis tells the story of a“the assembling of ourselves man who would have histogether, as is the manner devotional time in a railwayof some” (Heb. 10:25). He compartment becauseunderstood that church complete silence left himattendance, like any other open to inner distractions.activity, is a habit that Ironically, his focus wasneeds to be cultivated. enhanced when it was This principle clearly challenged just slightly.applies to our devotional The point is that we’retime. It’s better to block out not always going to find15 minutes and seek to a place that is as quietremain faithful to honoring as an undiscovered cave. 7 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Invariably, minor daily devotions aredistractions are likely about progress more thanto occur. But we need to perfection. It’s better forlook for a place where we us to have a shorter andbelieve it is sufficiently even less meaningfulquiet to help us devotional time on a givenconcentrate. day than it is to skip it in Now jot down in your the name of high standards.calendar the place for When we wait for thereconnecting with the Lord. perfect circumstances Set Up Realistic to have “quality time”Expectations. I knew a with the Lord, they rarelystudent a number of years occur. Manageable bite-sizeago who was an excellent devotional times can leadwriter. The problem was to greater consistency.that he always turned inhis papers late. Why? “If I can’t do it right, ManageableI won’t do it!” was his bite-size devotionalresponse. His commitmentto perfectionism led times can leadhim down a path of to greaterinconsistency. This is consistency.a common problem inmaintaining a quiet time.It is a “throwing the baby But what happens whenout with the bath water” the time and place arementality. It is the “all or reserved and you actuallynothing” approach to a show up for your quiet time,devotional life. but you’re not in the mood But in a realistic sense, to have one?8 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 9. EXCHANGING being fully prepared forHUMAN STRENGTH exams.FOR DIVINE One night after class,STRENGTH I discussed my problem“Those who wait on the Lord with one of my professors.shall renew [exchange] their After talking to him, I feltstrength” (Isa. 40:31). compelled to single out Isaiah believed that my devotional time as thewaiting on the Lord was top priority of the day. Itanything but a passive would be the one projectprocess. This idea of I planned on getting done“staying power” required first thing every morning.a radical exchange of The next day as Ihuman for divine strength. began my new commitmentThe Hebrew word for renew to prioritize my quiet time,means “to substitute, I found a sudden saggingto exchange, to show in my resolve. I just didn’tnewness, to sprout.” The feel like it. I wasn’t in theChristian is not supposed mood.to stir up his or her Claiming Isaiah 40:31,willpower, but instead I decided to becometo exchange human energy transparent with the Lordfor divine energy. and “exchange my strength” When I was a for His. I told Him my heartsophomore in college, was cold and that I felt littleI had a discipline problem motivation to spend timewhen it came to studying. with Him. I confessed myI found all kinds of other apathy as sin, and then Iactivities with my friends thanked Him for Histhat competed with getting forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9).assignments in on time and Then I chose to 9 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 10. surrender my mood to CULTIVATINGGod and asked Him to TWO-WAYchange it. I began to depend COMMUNICATIONon Him to replace my Have you ever written astagnation with His vitality. letter to someone in whichI read through the biblical you really opened yourpassage again that heart? You probably feltI was scheduled to read. I vulnerable as you waited forrecommitted myself to pray a response. How would youfor transformation. feel if the written response After about 20 minutes to your letter ignoredof this, I began to pray over everything you had saidother projects that needed but talked only about issuesmy attention later in the that concerned the otherday. I told God about person?assignments I didn’t This could be the viewwant to do and asked of heaven as many a quietHim for the strength time goes on day in and daynecessary to deal with them. out. The Bible is a love By the time my feet hit letter from our heavenlythe asphalt on my way to Father. Yet too often ourclass, I began to feel an prayers do not reflect theenergy, a focus, and most actual portion of Scriptureimportant, a discipline that we have read. Instead, theI had previously lacked. content of the love letterMy grades went up that is ignored as our manysemester. I had found a way pressing needs areof exchanging my strength petitioned upward.for that of the living God. What needs to happen, however, is spiritual two- way communication.10 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 11. God Speaks To Us to speak for itself in itsThrough His Word. original historical andFirst Samuel 3:21 says that cultural setting. For“the Lord revealed Himself example, let the Bibleto Samuel . . . by the word character wear his robeof the Lord.” The Hebrew and sandals instead ofword for reveal means “to expecting him to wear ashow or uncover.” The business suit.Creator discloses His The second step is tothoughts, character, and ask, “What does it mean?”will through His Word. In Within the Bible passage isbiblical history, God either an eternal spiritual truthspoke directly or inspired that is meaningful in allHis meanings into the ages. Often the main ideasacred text. Today, He is not time-bound to an erailluminates the Bible so we hundreds of years ago butcan have our understanding can be seen in our ownenlightened by the Holy time’s contemporarySpirit as we read it. clothing. In approaching a portion Finally, we need toof Scripture, there is a time- ask, “How does it apply?”honored process that can The indwelling Holy Spirithelp make examining the will change our thoughts,Word of God fruitful. speech, and behavior First of all, we need when we allow Him to useto ask, “What does the the spiritual principles wepassage say?” We find in God’s Word. A keyanswer this by looking at question to ask is, “In whatthe actual words of the text measurable ways shouldas they are used in context. my life change as a resultAllow the Bible passage of studying this passage?” 11 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Now let’s look at our of the needs of others.conversational response As Daniel was makingto God. his requests known to God, We Respond To God a spirit of thanksgivingIn Prayer. Daniel 6:10 permeated his prayer-time.says that Daniel “prayed The whole idea of givingand gave thanks before his thanks carries with itGod, as was his custom the idea of gratefullysince early days.” A group responding to God for giftsof the king’s advisers knew already given. It is part ofabout Daniel’s prayer habit the dialogue that expressesand plotted to use it against appreciation. Immersionhim. They were angry and in the Word has a wayjealous that the king was of serving as a springboardconsidering giving Daniel of praise to God for whopolitical power. So they He is and what He hasinfluenced the king to pass done for us.an edict that would put todeath anyone who prayed TAKING TIME TOto any god or man other DIGEST YOUR MEALthan the king himself. Yet, “Your words were found,despite the danger, Daniel and I ate them, andkept his appointment with Your word was to meGod at an open window as the joy and rejoicing ofhe had always done. my heart; for I am called During this established by Your name, O Lordtime of prayer, Daniel God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16).undoubtedly petitioned A delicious meal isGod about his own not very appealing if youpersonal needs and experience indigestioninterceded on behalf afterward. Slowing the12 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 13. intake of the Word through passage we begin to tastecareful reflection is also the wonderful spiritualessential. flavors it contains. When encountering the Have you ever beenpages of the Bible, it is so hungry and found yourselfeasy to skim over a given sitting down to a wide rangepassage without seeing of entrees with distinctiveits significance. But the flavors? As your stomachprophet Jeremiah, with begins to fill with protein,his deep love for the Word fat, and carbohydrates,of God, made it his first you actually begin to feelpriority. The Hebrew word a lifting of your moodtranslated “were found” emotionally. Jeremiah felt ameans both “to acquire and rush of “joy and rejoicing”secure” and “to encounter as he ingested God’s Wordand meet.” When looking into his heart. The wordat a passage, we should the prophet used for “heart”slow down and acquaint means “the inner man,ourselves with the text until thinking, reflection at theit becomes secured in our seat of appetites.” Thesoul. Word of God nourishes The passage then our thoughts and emotions,refers to one of the most and brings joy.enjoyable aspects of the The foundation forculinary experience— delighting in feeding onactually eating the food. God’s Word can be seenThe word eat can mean in the concluding section of“devouring, consuming this small but meaningfulfood” as well as “burning verse: “I am called byfuel like a fire.” When Your name, O Lord Godwe begin to “chew” on a of hosts.” To Jeremiah, 13 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 14. meaningful time in God’s of our lives that would goWord is always tied to our unnoticed if it were notrelationship with Him. In written down.our devotional time, we The guide given belowbecome aware once again could be copied down inthat we are called by the a notebook and kept as aeternally existing Lord of concise record of your dailyheaven and earth. And quiet time.this realization transformsour spiritual dryness into DEVOTIONAL GUIDEa dynamic encounter with Date:____________________the One who created us for Passage Read Today:fellowship with Him. _________________________ Version:__________________WRITING IT DOWN Highlight (chapter & verse):Without getting buried in _________________________paperwork, there are some Insights:__________________advantages to writing down _________________________your personal time with the _________________________Lord. _________________________ Our thoughts and ________________________feelings are a constant Application:______________revolving door of varied life _________________________experiences. If we have a _________________________written record of what is _________________________covered in our quiet time, _________________________various trends in our walk Prayer-time:______________of faith will be revealed. _________________________ In addition to this, we _________________________will see progress that has _________________________been made in different areas _________________________14 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 15. VARYING YOUR is both inspiring andMETHODS applicable to daily life.Recently I was at a local One caution in usingChristian bookstore doing this kind of guide, however,some browsing. I asked the is the temptation to justwoman behind the counter read the story and skip theabout books to help with Bible reading for the day.daily devotions. She took Once this becomes a habit,me over to a whole section the believer can find hisof different helps for a life built on inspirationalpersonal quiet time. thoughts instead of the There was a popular Word of God—a spiritualday-by-day devotional. Not life that is built on veryfar from it was My Utmost shaky ground.For His Highest by Oswald If you use one of theseChambers, a devotional devotional guides, be sureclassic adapted for a daily to read the Bible passagequiet time. Farther down the along with the stories thataisle was another selection illustrate the biblical truth.of readings for going If we build our lives onthrough the Bible in one anecdotes and excerptsyear. rather than on the Word In most of these books, of God, we can developa relevant inspirational an improper view of theexcerpt or story draws a Christian life and may belesson from a suggested setting ourselves up for aBible reading. One reason fall. God has promisedfor the popularity of this to bless His Word, notkind of devotional guide our illustrations about itis that it has a short, (2 Tim. 3:15-16).memorable lesson that In addition to the 15 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 16. wonderful resources for every human being wasdaily devotions that you intended to function—incan find in any Christian total dependence on thebookstore, there are Web Father. Let’s take a looksites where additional at how He sought outhelp can be found (see time to commune withwww.gospelcom.net). His heavenly Father. There is such a varietyof different methods for JESUS’ PRIORITYeffective devotional times OF PRAYER Iand Bible study, that there’s n Mark 1:35-39 we seebound to be a suitable the priority that Jesusapproach for you. put on prayer. After an In our drive to make our exhausting time of healingmethod work, it’s important sick and demon-possessedto remind ourselves about people late into the night,our motivation. Spending Jesus woke early in thetime with God to experience morning, went to a solitaryHis presence, comfort, place, and prayed. I believeand guidance should be that Jesus used this timeour goal—not to be for regaining His spiritualmore “spiritual” or to center. Peter interruptedalleviate guilt for our Jesus’ devotional timeown shortcomings. to express the further Consider the example demands of the needyof the Lord Jesus Christ. crowd. Rather thanHe was perfect and never responding to thesinned, yet He looked for immediate need, the Lordundistracted time with His reaffirmed a commitmentFather. Why? Because Jesus to greater outreach infunctioned on earth as other cities.16 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 17. A closer look at the chose to limit the exercisetext will show the inner of His divine attributes.workings of our Lord’s He was fully God, but Heown devotional life. chose to depend on the Father and the indwellingSEEKING Spirit working throughISOLATION AND Him. He did this toCOMMUNION show us how we are to“Now in the morning, depend on God. Thathaving risen a long while dependence can bebefore daylight, He went out seen in the way Jesusand departed to a solitary sought time alone withplace; and there He prayed” His Father. The term(Mk. 1:35). translated “solitary place” Have you ever thought means “a desert, wasteland,about why Jesus Christ uninhabited region.” Aftereven needed a quiet time? such dynamic emotionalWe are all aware of our interactions as healingown weaknesses and sins. many crippled and sickThe need for cleansing and from the night before,renewal is often the felt Christ needed solitude toneed of the committed make communion with thebeliever. But the Bible Father most effective.teaches the sinlessness of The walk of faithour Lord—He “who knew requires coming repeatedlyno sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). So to God for His uniquewhy did Jesus go out to a guidance. The result ofsolitary place while the Jesus’ time alone with Goddisciples slept in? redirected His vision from During His ministry local needs to greateron earth, the Lord Jesus outreach. 17 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 18. LISTENING TO ministry “interest groups.”GOD’S DIRECTION Their needs are often validAMID DISTRACTION and they sometimes have“Simon and those who were representatives who pleadwith Him searched for Him. for immediate attention. YetWhen they found Him, they look at what Jesus did. Hesaid to Him, ‘Everyone is was not worried about beinglooking for You.’ But He perceived as someone whosaid to them, ‘Let us go into wasn’t responsive tothe next towns, that I may immediate needs. Havingpreach there also, because for only a limited amount ofthis purpose I have come time and energy, He hadforth’ ” (Mk. 1:36-38). received direction from His The word found in Father to go elsewhere.verse 37 is better translated You would think Jesus’“hunted down.” Can you quiet time would haveimagine a more annoying made Him more sensitivescenario? Peter thought to the people right therehe knew best how Christ with Him. But to meetshould spend His day. only the needs directlyAnd he was even willing to in front of us is to ignoreinterrupt the Lord’s prayer- God’s ever-expandingtime to offer his advice. concern for those who areThe need Simon Peter was lost. Time alone with Hisexpressing was clearly an Father brought Jesus backurgent one: “Everyone is to the purpose for whichlooking for You.” He came into the world: No one active in “to seek and to save thatministry (either fulltime or which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).as a volunteer) has escapedthe pressure of certain18 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 19. CARRYING OUT “to the end of the earth”APPLICATION (Acts 1:8).“He was preaching in their It’s important to applysynagogues throughout all what comes out of ourGalilee, and casting out prayer-time. Meaningfuldemons” (Mk. 1:39). fellowship with Christ It’s so easy to skip over comes when we follow Histhe significance of the last example (1 Pet. 2:21) andverse of this section. It’s we apply His Word in thenot just a review of what power of the Spirit.was said in the previous Jesus said, “He who hasverse. Not by a long shot! My commandments andVerse 39 is the payoff to keeps them, it is he whothe whole passage. Jesus loves Me. And he who lovesactually did what He said Me will be loved by MyHe was going to do. He Father, and I will love himwent to the synagogues and manifest Myself to him”and preached. (Jn. 14:21). If we see our The word preaching quiet time only as a spiritualwould be used over and oasis once a day, weover again within the pages may fall into the trap ofof the New Testament as the compartmentalizing ourapostles duplicated the spiritual life. From theLord’s pattern for spreading Garden of Eden until now,the good news in expanding God has desired to walkcircles of outreach. Jesus’ with His people in life’starget area for ministry was journey (Gen. 3:8). So it’sexpanded to include “all essential that we take whatGalilee.” Later, as His we learn in our quiet timedisciples followed in His with us throughout thesteps, it would extend entire day. 19 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 20. CARRYING He did this on the road to Emmaus.THE DIVINE Now behold, two of themDIALOGUE were traveling that sameINTO THE DAY day to a village calledO ur Lord’s encounter Emmaus, which was in Luke 24:13-32 seven miles from with the two men Jerusalem. And theywalking on the Emmaus talked together of allRoad is filled with insights these things which hadabout how to keep the happened. So it was,divine dialogue with God while they conversed andgoing throughout the day. reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near andENCOUNTERING went with them. But theirJESUS IN REAL-LIFE eyes were restrained, soPROBLEMS that they did not knowHave you ever poured a lot Him (Lk. 24:13-16).of spiritual attention into Little is known aboutyour quiet time and then the two who walked the left it behind to face the well-worn path fromproblems of the day in your Jerusalem to the villageown strength? This is called of Emmaus. But the Biblecompartmentalization or indicates that they wereconfining your spiritual life troubled. They had anto an exclusive part of internal conflict, anthe day. But Jesus never emotional struggle that wasintended for us to go it based on a disappointingalone. He is eager to help experience. And thisus solve life’s problems. problem was beingLet’s take a look at how discussed by these two20 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 21. friends. Human beings are distorts our perspective.problem solvers by nature, The two men on the roadand they usually don’t do to Emmaus illustrate thisit alone. inadequacy and how the It was in this context Lord Jesus helped themof human need that Jesus correct it.approached the two men [Jesus] said toas they walked. “Jesus them, “What kindHimself drew near and of conversation is thiswent with them” (v.15). that you have with oneWhat wonderful words! another as you walk andThe risen Christ really does are sad?” Then the onewant to invade our human whose name was Cleopascircumstances and carry on answered and said toa dialogue with us. Life is a Him, “Are you the onlyjourney and Christ wants to stranger in Jerusalem, andbe our companion on it, not have You not known thejust someone we talked to at things which happenedthe last rest stop. there in these days?” And He said to them, “WhatTRYING TO things?” So they saidMAKE SENSE OF to Him, “The thingsGOD’S WAYS concerning Jesus ofOne of the great challenges Nazareth, who was aof the Christian life is trying Prophet mighty in deedto make sense of the and word before God andapparent contradictions and all the people, and howsetbacks we all face. Much the chief priests and ourof our perplexity comes rulers delivered Him to befrom having only part of condemned to death, andthe whole picture, which crucified Him. But we 21 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 22. were hoping that it was execution—crucifixion. He who was going to And to make their thoughts redeem Israel. Indeed, even more agitated, there besides all this, today is had been reports of His the third day since these tomb being empty and the things happened. Yes, appearance of angelic and certain women of our messengers. company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came To be human saying that they had also is to look at life’s seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. events through And certain of those who a keyhole. were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see” The two who walked (Lk. 24:17-24). next to the Lord were In response to Christ’s troubled by soaring hopesquestion, the two went into followed by shattereddetail about what was dreams. Their experiencetroubling them. Their is similar to what many ofsummary is a concise us have experienced. To bereview of the hope that human is to look at life’sJesus of Nazareth was the events through a keyhole.Messiah who would redeem Each of us is finite andthe nation Israel. Instead, can take in only part of theHe had been put to death picture of any circumstance.in the most cruel form of So often what we believe22 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 23. the Bible teaches doesn’t they began to get amake sense in our limited fresh outlook on theirperspective of an apparent circumstances.tragedy. Whether it’s our Then He said to them,expectations of how God “O foolish ones, and slowshould answer a prayer or of heart to believe in allhow we view life’s apparent that the prophets havemisfortunes, we are limited spoken! Ought not thein our understanding. Christ to have suffered But Jesus wants us to these things and to entertell Him our concerns. He into His glory?” Andhas a listening ear and is beginning at Mosesconcerned about all the and all the Prophets,details of our lives. Our He expounded to themunique relationship with in all the Scriptures theChrist allows us to things concerning Himselfcommunicate with Him (Lk. 24:25-27).through prayer in any of Our Lord’s responselife’s experiences. sounds abrupt. Yet in reality, this situation is aLETTING JESUS case study in education.EXPLAIN HIMSELF Look at the wording.It must have been “Foolish ones” is adevastating for Jesus’ compound word thatfollowers to have their literally means “withouthopes and dreams crushed knowledge.” The disciplesright in front of their on the Emmaus Road wereeyes. But when Christ was handicapped by having onlyallowed to illuminate their part of the information.understanding of the Word “Slow of heart to believe”of God in their experience, is a rebuke of their slowness 23 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 24. in trusting God for what LEARNINGHe had promised. TO KEEP THE Jesus then provided the CONVERSATIONonly remedy for spiritual GOINGignorance—more Meaningful connectioninformation. The Teacher with the risen Christ makesfocused their attention on us want to linger in Hiskey passages of the Old presence. When the twoTestament that explained travelers reached their finalthat the Messiah must suffer destination, they felt abefore being glorified. strong need to stay in close The lesson for us today proximity to the Savior.is that though we may Then they drew near tosometimes struggle with the village where theydisappointment, we often were going, and Helack all the information to indicated that He wouldmake sense of it at the time. have gone farther. ButThe Lord may eventually they constrained Him,provide the people or the saying, “Abide with us,necessary information for it is toward evening,to bring closure to our and the day is far spent.”problem. In some cases, And He went in to staywe won’t get the answer with them (Lk. 24:28-29).until we meet Christ face-to- The disciples had severalface in eternity. But because miles to hear what thislife on earth is a spiritual “mysterious stranger” hadbootcamp of sorts, it’s to say, and they wanted toessential to be teachable hear more. “Abide with us,”and in regular contact with was their response. Theyour Teacher. Then our faith wanted to show hospitalityand knowledge can grow. to the One who had given24 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 25. such insight into messianic their journey joined themprophecy. for their evening meal. We all have times And because of who theirwhen our circumstances guest was, this meal wouldeither nurture or hinder be accented with theour spiritual development. supernatural. To include theWe need to be sensitive to Lord in our daily routinethose times when we begin often results in seeing Histo lose contact with the divine activity at work.Lord. Then we need to Now it came to pass, asfind ways of adapting to He sat at the table withthose circumstances so them, that He took bread,that we can reestablish blessed and broke it, andour closeness to Him. gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and To include the He vanished from their sight. And they said to Lord in our one another, “Did not daily routine our heart burn within us often results in while He talked with us seeing His divine on the road, and while activity at work. He opened the Scriptures to us?” (vv.30-32). At dinner that night, after Jesus broke the breadRESPONDING and blessed it, the disciples’TO GLIMPSES OF eyes were opened and theyDIVINE ACTIVITY recognized Him. Earlier,The stranger who had their eyes “were restrained,walked with the two on so that they did not know 25 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 26. Him” (v.16). But now their “opened the Scriptures”eyes were opened. to them (v.32). He It’s interesting that the penetrated their mindsword for “opened” has the with understanding.same root as the word for Recognizing Christ in“foolish and ignorant.” An the Scriptures and in our lifeaddition to this root word experiences should occurgives the word opened in throughout the day ratherverse 31 the meaning than being limited“to penetrate the mind.” to a once-a-day event.And once their minds So what can we learnunderstood who Jesus from this incident with thewas, they recognized Him resurrected Lord aboutfrom previous encounters. extending our quiet time Surprisingly, the into the day?supernatural disappearance • Learn how to prayof our Lord didn’t inspire while “on the go.”any recorded comment • Let God into yourbetween the two. Instead, daily problem-solvingthey reflected on what it activities.was like to be on the road • Acknowledge totalking with Jesus about others your needthe Scriptures. of divine help. Their hearts were aflame • Expect God to actwith supernatural insight as outside your ownJesus Himself explained the limited perspective.Old Testament along the • Keep reflecting onway. The same Greek word a biblical theme forused for opening their eyes the day.to recognize Him (v.31) is • Be encouraged byused to explain how He the fact that Jesus has26 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 27. promised to stay and internalize the Word with us in all of life’s of Christ, we make a place circumstances. in our heart where He can feel at home. As this becomes a daily reality,SPRINGBOARD we are moved to teachTO PRAISE and admonish and learnH ow do we know from others about the if we’re making wonders of God’s progress in our character and His works.personal time with This results in instructionthe Lord? One major and encouragement,characteristic will be an stimulating other peopleincrease in appreciation for to praise God as well.who and what God is. Ourpersonal quiet time shouldcause us to praise Him. Our personal The apostle Paul taught quiet timeabout and practiced thedynamic relationship should cause usbetween God’s Word to praise God.and a lifestyle of praise: Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all A healthy and wisdom, teaching and meaningful devotional admonishing one another time spills over into three in psalms and hymns and types of praise. “Psalms” are spiritual songs, singing “Scripture songs” that have with grace in your hearts been lifted out of the pages to the Lord (Col. 3:16). of the Bible and set to When we personalize music. “Hymns” are those 27 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 28. melodies and lyrics that and enable us to pleaseexpress an individual’s Him in all that we do.personal relationship withGod. And “spiritual songs”refer to a variety of worshiplyrics and styles of music. Our ongoingWhat they all have in daily time withcommon is genuine the Lord will helpspiritual content that to increase ourreflects upon God’sgreatness. love for Him The final portion of and enable usverse 16 underscores one to please Him inof the unique distinctives all that we do.of the Christian life—therealization of God’s grace.Our quiet time should beforever linked to gratitude When God spentfor the grace of God. It is personal time with thea recognition that God has newly created Adam,saved us from the penalty walking with him in theof sin and now provides the Garden, it must have beenpower to walk in obedience a wonderful time of love,to Him. joy, and peace. Today, we An amazing too can have a moment-characteristic of being in by-moment revitalizinglove is wanting to please exchange with God.the one you love. Ourongoing daily time withthe Lord will help toincrease our love for Him28 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 29. HAVE YOU Centuries ago, a religious leader named NicodemusSTARTED YOUR approached Jesus to findJOURNEY WITH answers to his own spiritual CHRIST? questions. Nicodemus said,O ur purpose in these “We know that You are a pages has been teacher come from God; for to encourage a no one can do these signsthoughtful, daily, heart-to- that You do unless God isheart relationship with God. with him” (Jn. 3:2).We’ve written primarily tothose who already knowGod personally but wantto know Him better. You may think But some of you may of yourself asnot yet know God in a a Christian onlypersonal way throughHis Son. You may think because you wereof yourself as a Christian taken to churchonly because you were as a child.taken to church as a child.Or you may take comfortfrom the fact that you werebaptized as an infant and Jesus’ response seemsconfirmed. surprisingly unrelated to Family and church Nicodemus’ comments:connections are an “Jesus answered and said toimportant part of religious him, ‘Most assuredly, I saylife. But these experiences to you, unless one is borndon’t make a person a again, he cannot see theChristian. kingdom of God” (v.3). 29 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 30. Their conversation All of us were made forunderscored the contrast fellowship with our Creator,between physical life and but we have chosen to gospiritual life. In the Garden our own way. The Bible saysof Eden, when God began that “all we like sheep haveto fellowship with Adam in gone astray; we havethe cool of the day, Adam turned, every one, to hishad not yet disobeyed God. own way” (Isa. 53:6).He was in a state of The tragic result of thiscomplete innocence. But rebellion against God isafter Adam disobeyed God spiritual death. Adam wasby eating of the forbidden told that on the day he atefruit, a fundamental change of the tree of the knowledgetook place. A great barrier of good and evil he wouldto fellowship between God surely die (Gen. 2:16-17).and man damaged their Adam ate of the forbiddenrelationship. When God fruit and at that momentmade Himself available he died spiritually. Althoughfor fellowship with Adam he lived on physically foras He had done in the many years, his ability topast, Adam expressed fellowship with God hadhis awareness of his been damaged by thedisobedience by hiding consequences of sin.from God (Gen. 3:8-10). That’s why Jesus’ words Sin had created an to Nicodemus were suchinsurmountable chasm good news. Jesus told himwhere once there had been that each of us can bean intimate union between made alive again on theGod and man. The same inside. God’s Holy Spiritalienation has persisted can come inside us andsince that fateful day. restore our fellowship with30 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 31. God. But how does this righteousnesses are likehappen? filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). Pascal, the great “The wages of sin ismathematician, said that death, but the gift of Godinside every human heart is is eternal life in Christ Jesusa God-shaped vacuum that our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).can only be filled with theperson of Jesus Christ. TheLord is eager to forgive your “The wages of sinsin, restore your fellowshipwith God, and give you the is death, but thegift of eternal life. But gift of Godthere are some biblical is eternal liferequirements. in Christ Jesus First, we must admit thatwe are sinners and cannot our Lord.”save ourselves. The Bible Romans 6:23tells us that “all have sinnedand fall short of the glory ofGod” (Rom. 3:23). The good news is that Second, we need to Christ suffered therecognize the seriousness consequences of our sin,of our sin. Our human making it possible for ustendency is to rationalize to have eternal fellowshipand grade on a curve by with Him. The apostle Paulcomparing ourselves to wrote, “God demonstratesothers. But God sets a His own love toward us,standard of perfection in in that while we were stillwhich no one can please sinners, Christ died for us”Him based on self-effort. (Rom. 5:8). This means thatThe Bible says that “our Jesus Christ, who never did 31 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 32. anything wrong, gave His prayer and share withown life on the cross so that Him your desire to receivethe penalty of sin could be forgiveness for sin andpaid and His righteousness the start of an eternalapplied to us (2 Cor. 5:21). relationship with Him. Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner. Thank You for “He made Him dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. Iwho knew no sin to now receive You as my be sin for us, that Savior and Lord. Take we might become control of my life and make the righteousness me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen. of God in Him.” Did you pray that 2 Corinthians 5:21 prayer? If you did, you can have the assurance that Christ is in your life. The Third, it’s not enough apostle John wrote, “Thesejust to know that Christ things I have written to youdied for us. We need to act who believe in the name ofon this by receiving Him as the Son of God, that youSavior and Lord. The Bible may know that you havesays, “As many as received eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13).Him, to them He gave the The devotional timeright to become children of that this booklet has talkedGod, to those who believe about will now take on newin His name” (Jn. 1:12). meaning. Jesus Christ looks Are you ready to make forward to spending timethat decision? If you are, with you, and you will wantyou can go to Jesus in to spend time with Him.32 © RBC Ministries. All rights reserved.
  • 33. Get your free BibleResources catalog! Discovery Series booklets can be valuable guides to help you learn what the Bible says about a broad range of topics. Each 32-page booklet can be used in your personal Bible study or in a small-group setting. Your free Bible Resources catalog includes a briefdescription of each Discovery Series booklet.To get your copy, write to us at the address belowand ask for a catalog. Or follow the link below torequest your copy today.www.discoveryseries.org/catalogUSA: PO Box 2222, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-2222Canada: Box 1622, Windsor, ON N9A 6Z7