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The Quiet PlaceDaily Devotional Readings
By Nancy Leigh DeMoss Lawrence Kimbrough
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2012 Nancy Leigh DeMoss
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJANUARY 1
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.—Mark 1:33
Jesus had been up late the night before, concluding a long, intense day of ministry: People were clamoring for His attention: desperate needs pressed in on Him endlessly, as word spread of His supernatural power over demons and disease. Yet at the break of day, our Savior was found in a quiet place, away from the crowds, seeking and enjoying fellowship with His heavenly Father. This was not something He "had" to do—it was His supreme delight.
By comparison, many believers I've known approach their "quiet time" with a sense of obligation; they dutifully go through the routine but have little sense of actually meeting with God. Others struggle with consistency; they've failed so many times, they're tempted to give up—or already have. Still others have no personal devotional life at all, and have no idea what they are missing.
And then there are those few whose lives evidence the sweet, rich fruit of meeting with God on a consistent basis. The fragrance of their lives makes me long to know Him in a deeper way
You see, more than a duty of the Christian life, a daily devotional habit is an incredible opportunity to know the God of the universe. Amazingly, He has issued to you and me an invitation to draw near to Him, to walk humbly and confidently into the Holy of Holies, to enter into a growing love relationship with Him.
Jesus said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink" (John 7:37) This devotional collection is for thirsty souls. It is an invitation to come to Him. So come and drink deeply: Let Him quench your thirst, day after day. And then watch as rivers of living water flow out through you to quench the thirst of those around you.
Do you think of a daily devotional life as a duty or a delight? Ask God to make you thirsty—to increase your desire to enjoy daily communion with the Lover of your soul.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after.— Psalm 27:4
How would you finish THIS VERSE from Psalm 27? if you had to boil down the greatest desire and longing of your heart to just "one thing," how would you summarize it? If only a single sentence could be spoken of you at the end of your life, what would you want it to be?
Our response to these questions offers an explanation for much of what we do—our choices, our priorities, our use of time, the way we spend our money, the way we respond to pressure, whom or what we love. So it's worth thinking about. Our "one thing" matters.
King David landed on the following answer: If I could only ask the Lord for one thing, it would be this—"that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." His number-one priority was to live in the presence of the Lord, so that he could look on His splendor and glory and learn the heart and ways of the Almighty.
And, no, David didn't do it perfectly. He blew it in some of the most crucial relationships of his life. But because the Lord had placed this passion in his heart, his Lover-God would not let him go. With a confronting, convicting, cleansing love, God continued to pursue and restore him.
One might have wondered at points, Why does God bother with a guy like David? The same reason He bothers with any of us—because He is a Lover in pursuit of relationship. And because His love for unlovable sinners puts His amazing grace on display. Even when we fail to live the "one thing" we most desire, we can be assured our God will keep working—stripping us of lesser loves, drawing us to Himself—till He becomes our sole consuming desire.
Try writing out your "one thing" response, and put it in a place where you can be reminded of ii throughout the year ahead.
... that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.—Ephesians 3:16
Deep inside the earth are vast riches still waiting to be found. Some experts estimate that six billion dollars' worth of sunken treasure lies undiscovered, scattered across the darkened ocean depths of the globe. The world's deepest gold mine, located near Johannesburg, South Africa, extends two full miles into the earth, having produced more than a hundred million ounces of pure gold—three thousand tons—since it first began operations. The Driefontein mine employs nearly 17,000 people working in shifts that span all day every day, gathering gold from the earth.
And still there's more—this one mine is expected to produce at least a million ounces a year, for the next twenty years.
Yet God's riches go deeper still.
The Bible talks about the "riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience" (Rom. 2:4), the "riches of his glory" (9:23), and the "riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight" (Eph. l:7–8). Yet unlike the riches on the ocean's floor, which could all be collected if someone knew how to reach them—unlike the riches of a gold mine, which are eventually extracted until no more can be found—the gold in God's mine will never be emptied. It is limitless. Inexhaustible.
God will never experience economic collapse or uncertainty. Instead, the Scripture promises that He will "supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). His ever-available provision will never strain or drain the budget of the Most High. Rather, He will continue pouring into your life from His fathomless resources. Whatever your need, whatever the deficit, the riches of God are always more than what's required.
What are some needs rod are experiencing at this time? What are some of the "riches" He has promised to supply to meet your need?
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.—Numbers 6:25–26
When God's face shines upon his people, it means He takes pleasure in them. I think of a high school athlete who's been sitting on the bench for most of three seasons, but finally, in the last quarter of the last game of his senior year, he gets into the game and scores a basket. Where does he immediately look? He looks to his coach, to his teammates, to his dad in the stands. He wants to see that smile. He wants to know they are pleased.
Often in life we must deal with the frowns of those whose acceptance we crave. You may have experienced rejection from one or both of your parents. Perhaps your spouse is cold, inattentive, and distant. Or maybe your boss constantly belittles you in front of others. You long to be looked upon with favor and grace.
When Jesus came to earth He put a human face to God. Jesus was God smiling upon His people, becoming flesh so we could see the blessing and love of the Father. "In the light of a king's face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain" (Prov 16:15).
Yes, we know we're dealing with One who can see right through us, before whom all things are "naked and exposed" (Heb. 4:13). But because Christ bore our sin on the cross, taking the full brunt of God's frown and the rejection we deserved, the terror of His face has become for us the favor of His face. And with the smile of God, we can survive the frowns and rejection of life.
What does it mean to you today to know that God smiles upon you and looks upon you with favor and grace?
A Great Big Thank-You
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.—Colossians 3:17
Where does gratitude rank on your list of Christian virtues? In an arsenal that's supposed to include things like mountain-moving faith, radical obedience, patient long-suffering, and second-mile self-denial, gratitude can feel like an optional add-on. Nice if you can get it, but not all that critical to making life run the way it should.
And vet this issue of gratitude is far more significant than its lightweight reputation would suggest. What appears at first to be merely an accessory—an accent piece—is in reality a much weightier, much more powerful, much more necessary component to your Christian life.
Try, for example, to sustain persevering faith without gratitude—and your faith will eventually forget the whole point of its faithfulness, hardening into a practice of religion that's hollow and ineffective.
Try being a person who exudes and exhibits Christian love—without gratitude—and over time your love will crash hard on the sharp rocks of disappointment and disillusionment.
Try being a person who sacrificially gives of yourself—without the offering being accompanied by gratitude—and you'll find every, ounce of joy drained dry by a martyr complex.
True gratitude is not an incidental ingredient. Nor is it a stand-alone product, something that never actually intersects with real life, safely denying reality out on its own little happy island somewhere. No, gratitude has a big, job to do in us and our hearts. It is one of the chief ways that God infuses joy and resilience into the daily struggle of life.
Where do you most notice a lack of gratitude in your life as you go about your day? What tends to fill the spaces in your heart left vacant by its absence?
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.—Proverbs 16:24
If you look up the word HEALING IN A THESAURUS, you will likely find words like therapeutic, medicinal, curing. What a blessing it is to experience physical healing from sickness, to feel yourself getting stronger, able to function freely and normally again. An even greater blessing, however, is when God uses you as an instrument of spiritual healing in the lives of others.
"A gentle tongue is a tree of life," Scripture tells us (Prov. 15:4). It can refresh the weary. It can provide support for the anxious. It can minister grace to young and old alike. It can even defuse tense situations, preventing misunderstandings from progressing into bitter conflict.
When the men of Ephraim hurried to meet Gideon, furious that tie hadn't included them in his historic assault on Midian, thereby making them feel left out of the victory, his humble response put an end to the discord. "'What have I done now in comparison to you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer?' ... Their anger against him subsided when he said this" (Judges 8:2–3).
We, too, can create a calm, healing climate in our homes, churches, and workplaces by the way we respond to those around us, even when they're not acting as they should. Soft, gentle words minister grace, strength, and encouragement—words like, "I love you," "I'm praying for you," "I'm sorry, I treated you that way," "Would you please forgive me?" "I appreciate you so much."
May God keep watch over our lips, using them to heal, rebuild, and restore.
Who needs to hear something from you that would help restore emotional or spiritual health? Write a note, make a call go out of your way to be an instrument of healing in someone's life today.
Called by His Name
You are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.—Leviticus 20:26 NASB
In the Old Testament, Israel was set apart by God to be a "holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). This didn't mean their conduct was always holy or that they were inherently more upright than anyone else. God called them "holy" because He had set them apart from other nations—a distinction and privilege that came with an obligation to live holy lives.
But not only were they set apart by God; they were set apart for God. The biblical concept of holiness carries with it a sense of belonging to God, much as a mother might claim, "These children are mine."
I remember first discovering as a child something of what it means to be set apart for and by God. My parents established for us what they felt to be wise practices and limitations for our family. At times we would complain, "But everyone else ...!" Their response was often along these lines: "But you don't belong to 'everyone else.' You belong to God!" They convinced us there was something special about being set apart for God rather than being squeezed into the world's mold.
Being set apart for God is not a punishment. It is not an attempt on God's part to deprive us or condemn us to a cheerless, joyless lifestyle. It is a privilege—a call to belong, to be cherished, to enter into an intimate love relationship with God Himself; to fit into His grand, eternal plan for this universe; to experience the exquisite joys and purposes for which we were created; to be freed from all that destroys our true happiness.
What difference would it make if you were more conscious of being set apart by God, for God? Thank the Lord for the privilege of belonging to Him, and ask Him to make your life reflect that high calling today.
A Thousand Things
Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven....—Job 11:7
Years ago, I heard Pastor John Piper make a statement that resonated deeply in my heart. I've shared it countless times since: "In every situation and circumstance of your life, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know."
Just in case you flew by that sentence too quickly, go back and read it again. Let the eternal perspective of this statement become permanently etched into your thinking.
I repeated this line recently while talking with a mom whose daughter has chosen a prodigal lifestyle. Looking back at me through tears, even as her lace showed visible signs of hope and relief, she said, "'I need that quote hanging in my home where I can look at it all the time." It's a truth we all need hanging in our hearts.
Regardless of what crisis or complexity may be threatening to engulf your life, God is at work. You may not see it, but you need to know it's true. And He's not just doing one or two or a few things in that situation. He is doing a thousand or more things.
Although at times He may allow us to see some of His purposes, enabling us to say, "Oh, that makes sense," the vast majority of what He is doing is behind the scenes, providentially obscured from our finite view.
You will never be able to fully fathom what God is doing in your life. You cannot possibly see the end or the outcome of each situation. Not yet anyway. But you can be sure that He knows what He is doing. He is God and He is working—purposefully, skillfully, lovingly. And one day when you look back on your journey from heaven's perspective, you will see His hand in all those inexplicable circumstances, and you will say with wonder and worship: "You have done all things well!" Count on it.
How might your attitude toward a knotty problem be different if you were convinced He was carefully overseeing every step and detail along the way and doing countless things to glorify Himself through that situation?
The Ministry of Encouragement
For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.—Philemon 7
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Boer republics were waging war in South Africa with the armies of the British Empire. During one protracted siege in the city of Ladysmith, a woeful citizen began wandering the streets, certain that doom was imminent, speaking demoralizing words to the soldiers. He never fired a shot for the enemy, but his discouragement was ultimately deemed a chargeable offense. When brought before a court-martial judge, he was found guilty and sentenced to a year's imprisonment.
Excerpted from The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss Lawrence Kimbrough Copyright © 2012 by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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