The Significance of Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love the solitude and quietness of the morning. I can hear the noises of a quiet home in the morning. I hear the furnace come on occasionally. I can hear the fridge come on some as well. There is something special about my time of solitude in the morning. I like to start my time of solitude after I’ve shaved, showered and made a pot of coffee. I start each day with reading some from the Word of God. I believe the scriptures speak truth into my life every day.  I do not consider myself a theologian at all. I’m just a regular guy who loves God and loves His Word. I find such deep pockets of my faith and incredible clarity for my life when I spend time alone with the Lord in His Word.

I love the fact that Jesus modeled this. He would occasionally slip away from the “noise” of His ministry for times of solitude and prayer.  This well-known event in Jesus’ life occurred after a time of solitude and prayer. Check this out…

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. (Mark 6:45-51a NLT)

Solitude and prayer work together to help prepare my heart and mind for the day ahead. I must admit that some days are tougher than others. I can often look back on my morning time of solitude in the middle of a busy and hectic day. I believe that solitude and prayer anchor my soul to The Word of God. I believe that the Words of Scripture contain wisdom and insight that is timeless and powerful. I find words of healing here. I find words of hope. I find depth of insight. I believe solitude combined with scripture and prayer are two very valuable ingredients to a peace-filled life. In the midst of a noisy and chaotic world, I can find peace because of my time of solitude and prayer each morning.

I’ve not tried walking on water or “leaping tall buildings in a single bound”.  I just know that I’m a stronger Christian because of my time of solitude and prayer in the morning. It’s not because I’m special, I simply seeking the Lord to lead me as I live out my life. Solitude gives focus and clarity to my life and helps keep thing in proper perspective. I also think the simple discipline of starting my day with the Lord has been a huge game changer for many years. I only wish I had started this daily discipline many years ago. I’m thankful for the Lord’s Powerful Presence in my life as I sit with Him to begin each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hope – Now & Later

AnchorHope is a word that can be used as a verb or a noun. I’m not an English major, but we have other words in the English language that have different meanings for the same word. For example: I have little hope that she will make a full recovery. (Noun) I am hoping that she makes full recovery. (verb) This may not mean much to others, but I think it’s important to discern between the two. I use the word hope as it pertains to my faith all the time. I have hope for eternal life. I believe that the Lord’s promises are true. This life is not all that there is. On the other side I’m living out the hope I have in the Lord. He gives me hope now and later. Check this out…

10 For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them. 11 Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. (Hebrews 6:10-12, 19 CSB)

I have hope today as it settles in my soul. I want my life to demonstrate the hope I have in the Lord. I love the picture of hope being an anchor for my soul. An anchor holds the boat steady even when the current is pulling. The size of the anchor should be in proportion to the size of the boat. My 19’ Pontoon boat doesn’t require an anchor the size of a ship. Likewise, my little pontoon boat anchor wouldn’t hold a big yacht steady for even a second.

Jesus is the anchor for my soul. He is strong enough to steady me no matter how crazy the storm around me gets. He is here and now. He is present in my day to day journey when I invite Him in. He is also my hope in the future. He promises life after this life. The hope He has provided me in the present has deepened my convictions about the future. When the Lord entered my heart, the outcome of my life took on different meaning and significance.  I will never be the same again. My hope in Him changed my present and my future.

My current favorite about hope:   All My Hope is in Jesus by Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Urgent

urgent priority stampThis word means carries with it the need for “immediate attention and action”. When I hear that something is urgent, I tend to sit up straight and respond rapidly if I’m called upon. There are things in my life that are urgent each day. There are times when others do something and reach out to me urgently. I remember a guy saying once, that a crisis on your part due to poor planning or lack of organization doesn’t create a crisis for me. There are times when a crisis comes and it may be small or large, but it requires my attention. I am still learning that things that are urgent are sometimes not as important as they seem. The urgency makes them seem very important.

David cries out to the Lord urgently in his writing at times. I know this that when I’m desperate and struggling with hope, my prayers and cries to God are urgent. Check this out…

All my longings lie open before you, Lord:
    my sighing is not hidden from you.

15 Lord, I wait for you;
    you will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, ‘Do not let them gloat
    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.’

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. (Psalm 38:9,15-16,21-22 NIV)

The Lord knows the urgency of my situation even before I speak a word. The Lord knows things that I’m fearful of or nervous about even before I talk to Him about it. When my heart is desperate, my prayers are urgent. I am learning though that the noise of my life and the desperation of my heart doesn’t change Him. He is always full of compassion and mercy. He never gets rattled. He never gets desperate. The Lord is on time every time. He doesn’t make mistakes. I have seen Him take desperate situations in my life and bring beauty out of my struggle and desperation. I try to pray to Him about everything and worry about nothing. When the urgent situation is close by, it’s hard to not worry or entertain fear. His Word drives me to my needs to pour out my urgent and desperate struggles before Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Surrounded

Black king and queen surrounded by white pieces on white background
I’ve been through what seemed impossible. I’ve been in situations where there seemed to be no way out…no escape hatch. I’m learning that the Lord can provide an escape route when I’m surrounded on every side. His Presence in me gives me confidence to find a way through the toughest trials and darkest days. I was reminded again this morning of The Rock that doesn’t move.  Check this out…

1Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

    so the Lord surrounds his people
 
   both now and forevermore.
4 Lord, do good to those who are good,

    to those who are upright in heart. (Psalm 125:1-2;4 NIV)

 

Some of the trying circumstances that I’ve been through seemed like mountains at the time, but now I see them as bumps in the road. I want to grow in my trust in the Lord. I want to trust Him more each day. I want my confidence in Him to be rock solid and strong.

The more I know about Him, the more I trust Him.

The more I know of Him, the more I love Him.

He is consistent. He is faithful. He is worthy of my trust. He is worthy of my praise.

He is the Anchor that holds me in the biggest of storms.

My son, Matthew introduced me to this song just yesterday and it came to mind again this am. “The Rock Won’t Move” by Vertical Church

Pressing On!
Dwayne