Tag Archives: Michael W. Smith

A Quiet Moment with God

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
Psalm 46:10, MSG*

Traffic noise: motors, horns, someone’s booming stereo. Dust. Exhaust fumes. Movement everywhere.

We get used to navigating life in the middle of it all. This verse caught my attention, invited me to take a time out.

Then I saw this tweet from Sheila Wray Gregoire:

It’s about marriage, but it applies just as well to a Christian’s relationship with God. We get so caught up in the “traffic” of daily life, the things we’re doing for God. Sometimes we drift into managing our responsibilities in our own strength (we all have stories of how well that works–not!). But even when we’re praying about it, committing the day and its needs to God, working with Him and for Him, it can get to be all about the work. The responsibilities.

Yes, we want to please God. We love Him, and He’s given us so much. But it’s easy to forget that this isn’t all He wants. It isn’t even the most important part.

God wants quality time with us. (Click to tweet)

Just like the husband and wife, the friends who work or study together, we can’t let it all be about doing—even when there are a million things to do. We need to pull back, “step out of traffic,” “be still and know” He is God. (Did you recognize the verse from The Message paraphrase? I didn’t!)

Some people schedule a daily “appointment” with God so their agendas don’t fill up and crowd Him out. I start with a morning prayer and reading, but you know, that’s starting to feel like the morning meeting with the Boss. Important, but needing to be realigned. Reinforced.

Step one: I need to slow down and enjoy that quiet time. Reflect more on who God is. Worship. Enjoy His presence.

Step two: It’s time to go back to having a tea date with God later in the day. No planning the rest of the day, just a pause for togetherness. Maybe with a worship song to help me focus, or maybe in silence.

God our Creator and our Shepherd, teach us to be still and to know that You are God. Help us abide in You, delighting in Your presence. Forgive us for what we’ve missed in our frantic pace. Help us to work diligently for You and in Your strength, but help us first and foremost to set our hearts on You and to let everything else flow out of that relationship.

A good prayer as we step back from the noise is Michael W. Smith‘s song, “Draw Me Close to You.” If you have 4 ½ minutes for an experiment, try this: listen to the song, concentrating on the Lord, without doing anything else. No checking email, no deciding what to look at next. Just 4 ½ minutes of you and God. (I confess I found it really hard!)

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson


Getting It. Remembering It.

And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.
Exodus 14:31, MSG*

The people finally get it. They’ve seen God in action: the ten plagues that broke Egypt, and now the dramatic parting of the Red Sea and destruction of the Egyptian army.

How else could they respond but in worship and reverent awe? And by trusting this God and the man He chose as their leader?

They get it. They truly get it.

I’m sad that it doesn’t last long. Before the end of the next chapter, they’re complaining there’s no safe drinking water. (Exodus 15:24) As if the God who’s leading them might have run out of resources.

And how about us? God connects with us in a personal way. We know He’s real, our spirits respond in worship and reverent awe. We trust Him.

Those are the best moments of our lives. But they don’t last.

The feelings fade. That’s disappointing, but we don’t live by feelings. We live by faith, or at least we’re called to. In trust. In reverent awe. In worship.

We don’t want to drift apart from God any more than the Israelites did. Living on this side of the Cross, Christians have the Holy Spirit in us, a closer and more intimate connection with God. You’d think we’d stay close.

He shouldn’t have to keep calling us back like He did the people of Israel.

Isn’t it good that He does it, though? He doesn’t just dust off His hands and walk away. He loves us, and He woos us back.

God our Saviour, patient and abundant in mercy, forgive us for the many ways we let ourselves get distracted from You. Draw us close to You, and teach us to keep looking at You in love and awe. We’re incomplete apart from You, and unable to be Your light in the world. Grow us in faithfulness and in truth, into the children You’ve designed us to be.

May our prayer be “Draw Me Close to You,” sung here by Michael W. Smith

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Taking God for Granted

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
Romans 1:21, NLT*

Knowing God but not worshipping Him or being thankful leads to terrible depths. God lets us find out the hard way, and what’s saddest is that some never see and turn back.

The context here is people who turn away from God. They know about Him but don’t care. I wonder how many start out with that intent and how many drift away because they aren’t paying attention to God.

That troubles me, because I know plenty of good people who believe in God but don’t seem to think about Him. Sure, He’s there to turn to in a crunch, but what if their spirits harden and they won’t call out to Him for help? What if they believe the enemy’s lies about God and decide there’s no point?

And what about those of us who know and love God? This is a warning for us too, not to take God for granted and let our relationship stagnate. It takes discipline and intentional effort to keep a strong, daily connection with our God. There are so many distractions and drains on our time.

Father, I don’t want to slide away from You even a little distance. You are life itself. There’s so much more of You to know; draw me deeper into relationship with You. Let me know You better so I can more fully trust and obey You. And please, by Your grace, draw back the ones who are slipping away. Help them see, help them choose Your life. Our whole world needs You, Lord. We’re no good on our own. Open eyes, soften hearts, draw many to Yourself.

I know we’ve had this song last week, but it fits so well today: Here’s Michael W. Smith with “Draw Me Close to You.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Happy Ending to a Long Story

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, NIV*

I love happy endings. They can make even the most difficult story worthwhile. Sometimes it’s a hard slog to get there, but at last things work out.

Around the world, people are suffering. Christians aren’t the only ones, but they’re doing their share In North America, Christians have it easy: we’re only treated as irrelevant or repressive. (Some of that we’ve earned, but that’s another story.)

In Paul’s day, the believers in Thessalonica were suffering because of their faith The verses I shared above were to give them hope, but also to give them perspective: help is on the way, just hang on until He gets here

It looks like they expected Jesus to return any day and wrap things up. Good thing they didn’t know we’d still be waiting in 2010! But He is coming, when the Author and Finisher of our faith declares that the time is right.

I don’t understand everything in the Bible, but I’ve read the end of the Book: we win. Revelation chapters 21-22 are some of my favourite passages. After all the hardship, suffering and false turns, we’ll reach the end—and what a glorious end it will be!

Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit—God with us, who strengthens and keeps us in the hard times. Help us fix our eyes and hearts on You and live by faith. Thank You that we have Your promises, including Your promise that in the end we’ll be with You.

“Reading to the end of the book” brought to mind a song I hadn’t heard in years. Here’s Michael W. Smith with “End of the Book.” This is a long concert clip, and the first half is a cool instrumental piece. If you’re short on time, slide the progress button over to the three-minute mark. Prepare yourself for a trip back to 1985….

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I Spy… God at Work

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Psalm 105:1-4, NIV*

I dreamed I had a really bad day. I’d been out of sorts through it all, and things kept going wrong.

In my dream, I suddenly noticed the good things that had threaded through the day. They’d been there all along and I’d been too grumpy to notice.

When I woke, the last bit I remembered was telling a friend “God was blessing me all day, despite the bad stuff.”

And I’d almost missed seeing the blessings.

Years ago I tried something called a “God hunt,” where the idea was to keep alert for sightings of God’s presence in the day. Once you start looking, it’s amazing what you see. We stopped talking about it at church, and I forgot to keep it up. I think it’s time to start again. Anyone want to play too?

God, You are good. Your presence satisfies. Forgive me for all the times I get caught up in the negatives and miss what You’re doing. Open my spirit to recognize Your touch in my day and to embrace You. Thank You for loving me.

Our song this week is “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” sung here by Michael W. Smith.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.