Day 20 - Luke 10:38-41

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Luke 10:38-41

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

What is keeping us from sitting at Jesus’ feet, from living in the presence of God? Ironically, it is usually not that we have deliberately chosen to keep him at arm’s length. It is something much more insidious and subtle...the primary indicator is worry.

We live under the illusion that worry enhances our ability to control the world. Somehow we fear that if we stop worrying about something completely, it will really go wrong. So we worry as if we are still in control of something that’s actually completely out of our hands. (GICTYT, p54-55)

What are you worrying about today that is causing you to miss out on God’s presence and what he has for you? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 19 - Psalm 89:13-16

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 89:13-16

13 Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.

15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.

King David had a remarkable relationship with God from the days of his youth when he fought Goliath, to his days as the King of Israel. The Bible is full of the songs and poems he wrote about God, his character, his love, his power and his justice.

David was con dent of God’s power because of the many times he experienced God’s help and provision when he was in need. Even in his failures he learned about God’s constant mercy and forgiveness. He records many of his experiences with God in the Psalms, causing him to rejoice in the relation- ship he had with his Lord and Savior.

In what ways have you seen God’s love and power to save in your own life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 18 - Matthew 4:18-22

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 4:18-22

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to sh for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

God not only pursues a relationship with us, he also invites us to follow him wherever he leads us. Sometimes God’s invitations come at inconvenient times. Sometimes they come at the cost of something else we want to do. Sometimes saying yes to God means giving up our security, our dreams and even those we love.

Sometimes we are aware of the choice before us - to align ourselves with God or pursue our own way—but we don’t want to commit to a choice. We hesitate or procrastinate.

The Bible provides many examples of people who had to choose whether or not they would align themselves with God. Think about what made some of them say yes “immediately,” hesitate, or reject God’s invitation.

What can be lost when we do not respond to God “immediately”? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 17 - Ephesians 5:15-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Ephesians 5:15-17

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Tomorrow may be the most dangerous word in the English language...The failure to embrace “the sacrament of the present moment” will keep us from being fully present to God right here, right now. Not because we consciously say no to God. We just say, “Tomorrow.”

Most of us have set conditions in our minds and we think that when those criteria are met, that will be the beginning of great moments. We think the great adventure of partnership with God lies somewhere in the future. We tell ourselves that we will grow closer to God someday when our kids are no longer small and demanding, or when the pressures of work lighten up, or when we become more disciplined, or when our motivation level is higher, or when we just magically grow into spiritual maturity. Some people go through their whole life in that frame of mind. (GICTYT, p.66)

What are you putting o for tomorrow that God is calling you to do today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 16 - Hebrews 4:14-16

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and  find grace to help us in our time of need.

Sometimes we forget to surrender. Sometimes we refuse. Then our sense of guilt and inadequacy can cut us o from the current of God’s presence. On occasions when we have failed to surrender, then we have to learn to surrender even our failures. The most important thing about failure is this: Even when we have failed, the ow of the Spirit can be restored in our lives at any moment. Right now. All we have to do is ask. (GICTYT, p. 136)

The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus understands our fears and our weaknesses. He empathizes with our struggles and wants to help. This is why we can have confidence, that no matter what we have done or not done, we will find mercy and grace at the foot of God’s throne.

What is God inviting you to lay at the foot of his throne of grace and mercy? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 15 - Psalm 22:1-2

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 22:1-2

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer by night, but I nd no rest.

All of us will wrestle at some time with the absence of God. The question is, can human beings hold on to God in the face of suffering? After all, suffering is the test of love. We generally associate well-being with the presence of God and assume that suffering means someone has done something wrong. (GICTYT, p.141, 146)

While God hates pain, he can also redeem it. It does not mean he is absent. We often learn things in times of fear, pain and loss, that we cannot learn any other way. When things are going well we are tempted to think we are in control. When we su er we realize clearly that we are not.

After the death of his beloved wife C. S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Think about a time when you experienced a hardship and couldn’t find God. How did God redeem that time and pain in your life? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen to God's Response

Day 14 - Psalm 51:1-4

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 51:1-4

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Think about times in your life when you have felt a strong awareness of God’s presence with you. Then consider times when his presence seemed elusive and you even felt abandoned by God. Sometimes we can miss God because we aren’t paying attention to him. Sometimes we can’t see God because things are not right between us.

King David had sinned against God. His guilt and shame were exposed. But when he admitted what he had done and accept- ed the consequences, he experienced God’s grace and mercy. His intimate relationship with God was not only restored, but grew deeper and richer because he humbled himself before a loving God.

Ask God to bring to your mind any sin that has hindered or damaged your relationship with him. How can confession bring you closer to God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 13 - Genesis 3:6-10

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Genesis 3:6-10

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed g leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Dallas Willard writes about a two-and-a-half-year-old girl in the backyard who one day discovered the secret to making mud (which she called “warm chocolate”). Her grandmother had been reading and was facing away from the action, but after cleaning up what was to her a mess, she told little Larissa not to make any more chocolate... The little girl soon resumed her “warm chocolate” routine, with one request: “Don’t look at me, Nana. Okay?”

Any time we choose to do wrong or to withhold doing right, we choose hiddenness as well. It may be that out of all the prayers that are ever spoken, the most common one—the quietest one, that one that we least acknowledge making—is simply this: Don’t look at me, God. It was the very first prayer spoken after the Fall. God came to walk in the garden, to be with the man and the woman, and called, “Where are you?” “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid,...so I hid.” Don’t look at me, God. (GICTYT, p.36-37).

As God looks for you today, is there anything that you are doing that is making you afraid of God or want to hide from him? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 12 - Hebrews 10:23-25

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Hebrews 10:23-25

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The author of the book of Hebrews reminds Christian readers to hold on to the hope of Christ, especially in the midst of trials and hardships. We are encouraged to not neglect gathering together for mutual support and encouragement.

God often uses other people to help us discern his voice. There are certain people in your life whose words consistently guide you toward truth and joy and love...The spirit of Jesus speaks through the community of Jesus. When you are not sure about a voice, go to some trusted friends and discuss it. (GICTYT, p. 91)

With whom are you able to share your struggles with, knowing you will find encouragement to wait for God’s help and provision? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response.

Day 11 - John 5:19-20A

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

John 5:19-20A

19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.

How easy is it to hear God’s voice or know his will in the con- fusion of life? Jesus lived with a deep intimacy with God the Father such that he only did what the Father told him to do.

He was so dependent on God that he said that everything he did was a result of God’s power. He was so surrendered to God that he said his greatest desire was to do the will of his Father. He was so con dent of God that neither stormy seas nor hostile crowds could shake his poise. The river of life owed strong through this man Jesus as it had never owed through anyone before him. And when he died, the veil that kept people out of the Holy of Holies—the veil that symbolized separation between God and human beings—was torn in two. (GICTYT, p. 24)

How surrendered are you to God’s will and his purposes for you?

Do you trust God enough to do whatever he calls you to do? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 10 - Psalm 73:12-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 73:12-17

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
    I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
    then I understood their final destiny.

Every good novel leads its readers down a path with twists and turns such that the end game is often not revealed until the nal chapter. The journey of discovery is what makes the novel so engaging and worthwhile.

There is what John Ortberg calls “a good of not knowing,” a God-given reason for uncertainty in life. Yet, when we are faced with choices or when we are waiting for God to answer our prayers, there is a temptation to skip to the end of the book. But in doing so, we will miss out on the kind of strength and beauty formed in our soul as we wait for God’s final revelation.

God wants to be known, but not in a way that overwhelms us, that takes away the possibility of love freely chosen....You never know where he’ll turn up, or whom he’ll speak through, or what unlikely scenario he’ll use for his purpose. (GICTYT, p. 42)

How can you enter into the sanctuary of God and receive comfort and strength even in times of confusion and frustration? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 9 - 1 Chronicles 16:11-13

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

1 Chronicles 16:11-13

11 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

12 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

We often feel that if God would just reveal himself today, or if he would just answer our prayers in a mighty way right now, our faith would not waiver. Yet, God is constantly calling us to remember what he has done for us, his faithfulness to the people of Israel and to the people of God throughout history. And yet, answers to our prayers, no matter how miraculous, often get forgotten. Sometimes our faith seems so weak that we doubt in the darkness what we have seen clearly in the light.

John Ortberg writes that after we have been Christians for a while, “God takes away the props so that we can begin to grow true devotion that is strong enough to carry on even when unaided by emotions.” (GICTYT wkbk, p.28)

We must constantly remind ourselves of God’s character, what he is like and how much he loves us. As we remember the way he answered our prayers in the past, we nd strength to trust him to answer our prayers today.

What can you remember of God’s faithfulness in the past that will help you wait patiently for him today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 8 - 2 Kings 6:15-18

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

2 Kings 6:15-18

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

The king of Aram was at war with Israel but Israel always seemed a step ahead. This was because God would reveal the king’s secret plans to his prophet Elisha who would then relay them to Israel’s King. So the king of Aram sent an army with horses and chariots to capture and kill Elijah. Elisha’s servant became terrified when he saw that they were surrounded by Israel’s enemies. “What shall we do?” he cried. But Elisha told him not to be afraid because “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then he asked God to open his servant’s eyes so he could see the power and protection of God.

When we see the problems and obstacles before us we often forget that God is with us, protecting us and providing for our needs. We often need God’s help to see that we are not alone and do not need to be afraid.

What are you fearful of today that you need God to open your eyes to see his power, protection and provision? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 7 - Colossians 3:15-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Colossians 3:15-17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We need reminders throughout the day to practice the presence of God.

John Ortberg writes, “It can be helpful to keep certain physical reminders of God’s presence nearby. I have some stones with certain words inscribed on them that speak deeply to me about God’s care. One stone reads “Joy.” Another says “Courage.” A third one just has the word “Yes.”

Each reminds me of the spirit in which I want to work. They tell me that I’m not alone. Also, I have a crown of thorns and a nail on a credenza that speaks to me of God’s sacrificial love. I have pictures of the people I love, through whom God most often speaks to me.” (GICTYT, P. 72)

What physical reminders might you set up around your home or work place that will help you practice the presence of God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 6 - Psalm 145:17-19

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 145:17-19

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.

18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord promises that he is near to all who call on him. He assures us that he hears our prayers and responds to meet our deepest needs. Yet, many of us need to learn how to more easily experience God’s presence.

Brother Lawrence was a French monk and devoted Christ-follower who lived in the 17th century. He said, “The most holy and necessary practice in our spiritual life is the presence of God. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.” Spiritual growth, in a sense, is simply increasing our capacity to experience the presence of God. (GICTYT, p. 24)

How near does God feel to you right now?
How can you invite his deeper presence into your life today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 5 - Luke 24:28-32

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Luke 24:28-32

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Waldo was created by an illustrator named Martin Handford who liked to draw crowd scenes. He included a character named Waldo, a geeky-looking, glasses-wearing nerd with a striped shirt and goofy hat. Children became fascinated with trying to find Waldo in Handford’s illustrations of crowds.

This guy Waldo is supposed to be on every page. The author assures us that it is so. But he is often hidden to the untrained eye. You have to be willing to look for him. When you find him there is a sense of joy and accomplishment. In fact, developing the capacity to track him down is part of the point of the book. The author said he hides Waldo so children can learn to “be aware of what’s going on around them. I’d like them to see wonder in places it might not have occurred to them.” (GICTYT, p. 28)

God is often like Waldo. He is near to us and even interacts with us, but we don’t always recognize him in the ordinary activities of life.

Where might God have been present with you, speaking to you or revealing something important to you today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 4 - Matthew 28:16-20

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 is often called the “Great Commission” where Jesus calls his disciples together and calls them to make disciples of all nations by baptizing them and teaching them to obey God’s commands. This was a tall task, and some were unsure of what would happen. But Jesus ends his commission with the assurance of his “authority” over heaven and earth, as well as a promise to be “with them always, to the ever end of the age.”

What difference does God’s presence with us make in our lives and in our calling today? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 3 - Genesis 28:10-17

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Genesis 28:10-17

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth... All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your o spring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

“One night Jacob was running away from Esau, who was trying to kill him because Jacob had cheated him and deceived their father. He had been a passive codependent of his mother’s schemes, a jealous rival to his brother, and a brazen liar to his father.” (GICTYT, p. 18)

But that night Jacob had a dream where God said he was with him, would watch over him and bless him. So Jacob recognized this insigni can't place as “the house of God,” the special place where God himself is present. The ladder that he saw was not a ladder for human beings to climb up. It was a ladder for God to come down, to be where we are.

What is it like to experience the presence of God? 

Prayer Time

2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 2 - Numbers 6:22-27

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Numbers 6:22-27

22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 24 “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Dallas Willard (who lost his mother as a young child) writes of a little boy whose mom had died. He was especially sad and lonely at night. He would come into his father’s room and ask if he could sleep with him. Even then he could not rest until he knew not only that he was with his father but that his father’s face was turned toward him.

“Father, is your face turned toward me now?” Yes, his father would say. You are not alone. I’m with you. My face is turned toward you. When at last he was assured of this, he could rest.

I want to live with God’s face toward me. I want to experience—in the dark of night as well as the light of day—the reality that Moses prayed for: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you.” (GICTYT, p.17)

How does it feel to know that God’s face is turned toward you, to bless you, to be gracious toward you, and to give you peace? 

Prayer Time

Silence and Listen for God's Response

Day 1 - Psalm 139:1-10

2 Minutes - SILENCE, STILLNESS AND CENTERING WITH GOD

Psalm 139:1-10

1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 

“The story of the Bible isn’t primarily about the desire of people to be with God: it’s the desire of God to be with people...He ex- tends himself, reaching out to us today just as he has since the day he created Adam.” (GICTYT Guide, p. 7, 12).

Psalm 139 describes God’s intimate knowledge of us and his daily actions toward us. Read the passage aloud slowly. Think about what this Psalm says about God’s desire for a deeper relationship with us.

John Ortberg shares a story about the father who kept his son’s photograph on his screensaver indicating how much and how often God thinks of us. For many of us, it is difficult to imagine our Heavenly Father keeping a photograph of us that He looks at with love every second of every day.

What difference does it make, knowing how much God thinks about you and desires a deep relationship with you? 

Prayer Time

Close with 2 Minutes - Silence and Listen for God's Response.