Practical Proverbial, from 2 Timothy, 16 April 2019

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.   2 Timothy 2:7 (NIV).

One of my pastor’s favorite pieces of good advice is to take 5 minutes daily with God.   In that five minutes, simply be silent.  Clear you mind; focus only on God and whatever He may say to you.   It may take a hundred days; it may take only five minutes.  Eventually, no matter how long it takes, you’ll begin to perceive more of what God says to you in His Word, in messages He gives you through others and the world, in matters put on your heart.  He’s speaking; we listen.

Paul would have understood this.   He was advising Timothy to do much the same thing.   Paul was telling Timothy to be still, to know God is God of all, and to let Him speak to his heart.

That’s still good advice today.   Just ask Pastor Mark.

Indeed, we need insight more than ever.   Just yesterday, I was called a hypocrite online by politically opposite friend…and she was right.   What’s more, her rebuke was enjoined by my own daughter, who was also right.   I had resorted to name-calling in a comment, and it took the rebuke from a political adversary and my flesh & blood for me to see they were correct.  A man of better insight (maybe Timothy or Paul, or even my friend, Mark) would likely have seen that sooner, maybe not even posting the words at all.   When I saw what they were saying, I quickly deleted the name.  Seems I should have done some more reflecting before posting yet another political opinion.   Yep, I need insight more than ever.

And just yesterday, Notre Dame cathedral burned.   We don’t know why, though the cause is most likely something innocuous.  But it’s still suspicious given the number of unaccounted church vandalisms in France, as well as the fact that it’s Holy Week and the cathedral would make a ripe target.   Yet even pushing that suspicion aside, we need insight about the event.   Not insight into why it happened but, perhaps, insight into the good things that Jesus will do through the efforts of first responders, engineers, and builders to restore this ancient house of God.

It’s the insight into what Jesus is saying that Paul was invoking into Timothy.   It’s that kind of insight we would all do well to contemplate today.   Then act on it.

On behalf of my friend, let me invite you to act today by taking five minutes to be still and know that Jesus is God.   That He will speak to you as He does.   That He loves and forgives you.   That He wants to work through you today.   Take five for insight, my friend.

For further reading: Psalm 46:10, 2 Timothy 2:8.

Insightful Lord Jesus, open my eyes to Your purpose for me today.   Guide my thoughts, words, and actions to better serve Your purpose.

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Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 15 October 2014

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1, verse 35.

Something I’ve mentioned here before is how the pastor at my church, Mark Schaefer, periodically advocates to the congregation that we should each take 5 minutes with God every day.   Every year he leads Spoke Folk mission trips with high schoolers and this is one of the practical faith activities they do while on mission. Spend five minutes alone with God, without anyone else around, listening to him.   Clear your mind and just listen to God. Maybe prayers will come to mind, or calm confession, or imploring him on behalf of others. Whatever you do in that time, just take five minutes every day for time with just you and God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”   That’s Psalm 46. It’s the basis for my friend’s five minutes activity. No doubt, it was one of the things Jesus had in mind when He would get up early in the morning, while it was still dark, left the house and went off to a quiet, alone place to pray.   What did Jesus pray, or pray for?   We’ll never know. Did He pray to Himself (being the Son of the indivisible triune God)?   Did He pray for others?   Jesus was fully man and fully God, both at the same time.   What did He pray for and why did He need to pray?

Truthfully, we may never know; to us, the content might not really matter.   The lesson does, though, and for a few reasons.

Jesus was fully man.   He fully needed communion with the Father through prayer.   It was a physical as well as emotional and spiritual need. As a human, Jesus felt the need to turn His concerns, His ailments, His thoughts, His praises over to the Three in One who could tackle them.   Jesus understood it was something we needed to do, as well as something He wanted to do.   In this respect, we’re no different from Him.

He taught us that we are praying to God the Father.   Would you pray to yourself?   Again, truthfully, we may never know nor fully understand the mystery of the Trinity.   Was Jesus praying to Himself?   I think not; it could have been construed as vain.   No, I think He was praying to the Father, knowing the Father listens and is active.   It tells us that, when we pray, we’re praying to the listening active Father as well. That’s good news.

He modeled how we should pray.   Where, in the Lord’s Prayer, He modeled what we should pray, here in Mark He models how we should do it.   Go.   Be in a private place.   Assume a reverent posture, both physical and emotional. Get to a quiet place where you can clear your mind, where you can open up to Him.   By ‘going’ we make it a discipline, setting aside something personal but special for God and ourselves.

All by taking just five minutes to be still and know He is God. Just like Jesus did. We NEED to do the same.

My God, I pray to You, praising You for Your love, forgiveness, creation, and the life You’ve given to me.   I’m sorry for the bad things I’ve done.   I’m thankful for all the blessings You give.   I’m concerned for others; please help…

Read Psalm 46, verse 10, Matthew 14, verse 23, Luke 4, verse 32, and Luke 9, verse 18.