Encouragement 07-30-04


July 30, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Come Aside
Ramona Davis - Member of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team
Key Verse:
Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." Mark 6:31 (NKJV)
I looked forward to a ten-day beach vacation after a difficult school year and a hectic schedule serving as the Women's Ministry Director at my church. Much needed rest, direction and vision for the ministry was high on my priority list.
My friends bid me goodbye and shared that they were praying for a fresh encounter with God for me. I packed all of my journals, books and my Bible with the expectation of great revelations from God.
Day after day, I would rise and have my quiet time. My thoughts were the same every day. Would this be the day when the Lord reveals new and wonderful things to me?
I could sense Him calling my heart to come and join Him somewhere in His creation.  "Come, sit by the waves". "Come watch my snowy egrets float across the sky". "Come sit on the dock and watch my sun spread its shimmering diamonds across the water".
I gladly accepted His daily invitations but always with a questioning heart, "I'm listening Lord, what do you want to tell me?" I could not hear His voice. By the end of my vacation, I was tired of straining to hear Him speak.
I arrived home disappointed that I did not receive the fresh encounter my friends and I prayed for. I sadly explained what had happened, described all the places He invited me to join Him, and how beautiful each one was.  But the fact remained in my heart that I did not hear from Him.
As I shared my disappointment with a friend, the words that came out of her mouth convicted me deeply. "Sometimes He calls us simply to abide with Him." We hung up as her words rang in my ears and then I did hear His voice speak to my heart, "I called you daily to come and enjoy My creation with Me and to just be still and know that I am God. Enjoy Me and all My hands have made".
Have you ever made a special gift for someone? You put so much thought into the gift and the person you made it for. You spend time making sure it is something that will please and delight. What if they casually accepted your gift then brushed it aside and hardly acknowledged it?
Aren't we like that with God's gift of nature? He created it so meticulously and beautifully for our enjoyment and pleasure. How often do we take the time to truly appreciate and enjoy Him? How often do we take time to allow God to still our hearts and speak to us through nature? How often do we simply enjoy His awesome presence?
Take time to truly appreciate His presence and His creation then you will exclaim as the psalmist, "O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!"

My prayer for today:
Lord, give me listening ears to hear You speak, even when you don't use words. Make me more mindful of Your majesty in nature. Help me slow long enough to really appreciate, without an agenda, Your presence in my life. Teach me to be still and know You are God.  Amen

Application Steps:
Make time in your schedule to be outside with no agenda except to appreciate God in nature.
Make a list of the things you notice and are most grateful for.
Write a note of thanks to Your Creator in a journal.  If you don't have one, this would be a great place to start.

Reflection Points:
Read Job 38. How does the Lord reveal Himself to Job?
What changes in your schedule can you make to allow for more time enjoying nature?
Do you encourage your children to enjoy nature?
Make regular plans to spend time as a family enjoying God's creation in nature.

Power Verses:
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)
Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted, His glory is above the earth and heaven. Psalm 148:13 (NKJV)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8:3, 4 (NKJV)

Additional Resources:
The Power of a Simple Life a tape set by Mary Southerland
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
The P31 Woman Magazine

Originally published Friday, 30 July 2004.