Tag Archive | characteristics of God

Quiet Times in a Noisy World

I read something the other day that made me stop and think. It went something like this: God’s characteristic way of working is in quietness and prayer. Yet, it seems that in today’s society, quietness is nearly non-existent.

Nearly everywhere we go, noise is being promoted. Whether we’re shopping, eating out or participating in any number of activities, there is usually music or a radio station being played “in the background.” And restaurants of varying sizes and clientele now offer TVs as well — usually more than one and usually on different stations with the volume turned on. To carry on a conversation at some of these restaurants becomes frustrating, if not impossible. Then we also have added into the mix the not-so-private cell phone conversations being carried on at the table next to us. This list goes on and on. That’s what’s outside our homes.

Sadly, once in the privacy of our homes, things may not be much better. Family dinners around the kitchen table with everyone sharing their day are all but extinct. In many homes, families may still gather at the kitchen table, but cell phones are positioned next to plates as if they are another utensil and a TV is blaring nearby because we don’t want to miss the news, or because one of our favorite shows is on. Then there are the “family” dinners that aren’t even in the kitchen at all. Instead, these are found in the living room or family room with the TV front and center. And, for many families, most dinners are “on the go,” grabbing a bite between activities which have family members running helter-skelter in multiple directions.

Many of us have become so accustomed to noise that we find it harder and harder to do without it. Even when we’re alone, we have to have noise. The TV comes on first thing in the morning, is turned back on immediately after work, and stays on until the sleep timer shuts it off for us. And, what’s really sad is that sometimes we sit and watch TV shows we don’t even particularly like or enjoy — we just want the noise. We seem to have an aversion to quiet. I know. I’ve been guilty.

Bad habits can start innocently enough. For me, it was the death of my husband. The noise helped keep me from feeling quite so alone. But after a while, I realized this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. So I intentionally went back to my pre-widow days of enjoying true quiet times alone with God in the early morning hours — no TV, no background music, only the sound of clocks ticking. I returned to the wonderful anticipation of waking up and being excited to see what God has for me in His Word.

If we are conditioned to only respond to noise, we will miss out on God’s word for us. We will miss hearing his still, small voice. As Christians, we should no longer be content to remain in our fast-paced, noisy world and let our time alone with God “just happen.” We must re-condition ourselves and purposely set aside a time of quiet and solitude every day. It must become a priority for us to find a time and a place where we can meet one-on-one with God and enjoy his presence.

I realize what is idyllic for one is not for all. We are all made differently and we are all wired a bit differently. And, besides that, no two homes are the same. So many factors have to be considered when planning your personal quiet time. For instance, I think of the working single parents with young children at home who are often stretched so thin with responsibilities that it’s hard to find time to think, much less spend a few relaxing quiet moments alone with God.

For those of you who struggle to find a few minutes to yourselves for a quiet time, I encourage you to read a blog Jennifer Rothschild recently posted entitled, “Who Made the Quiet Time Rules, Anyway?” at http://www.jenniferrothschild.com.

Bottom line: quiet times alone with God don’t often “just happen.” They must be planned. And it’s up to each one of us to evaluate our lifestyle and intentionally plan our daily one-on-one time with God. Whether it is in the privacy of your own home or (as Jennifer suggests) in the car or on the treadmill, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that, wherever you are, you are able to turn off the world’s noise, focus on God, and fine-tune your hearing so you can hear what His Spirit is whispering to you.

Question: In the fast-paced world that circles around you, how do you intentionally set aside a quiet one-on-one time with God? What does your quiet time look like?

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The Start of an Endless List?

A few months ago several ladies and I began spending part of our Sunday morning class time looking at attributes and characteristics of God. Each week we looked at a different passage of scripture and listed those we found.

The first passage we looked at was a portion of the Parable of the Lost Son, Luke 15:11-24.

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (NIV)

We were stunned at how many attributes and characteristics we discovered in this parable. It was amazing!

Let me share with you the 20 — yes, 20!!! — we found:

God . . . accepts us as we are (but that doesn’t mean he intends for us to stay that way!)
God . . . is affectionate
God . . . celebrates
God . . . is compassionate
God . . . is forgiving
God . . . is full of grace
God . . . is generous
God . . . is a God of second chances
God . . . is hands-on
God . . . knows us
God . . . looks for our return when we stray from him
God . . . is loving
God . . . is patient with us
God . . . recognizes us even when we are distant from him
God . . . rejoices
God . . . runs to us when he sees us coming
God . . . sees us from afar
God . . . is sympathetic
God . . . waits for us
God . . . welcomes us

Yes, some of these could be labeled as synonyms, but even synonyms often have slightly different connotations to them.

And, yes, there are probably more that could be discovered in this passage. (If you do, please let me know so I can add them to my notebook!)

From time to time we will add to this list. Attributes and characteristics of God can be found literally from Genesis to Revelation. There are so many to discover. Truth be told, I suspect the list is endless.

I challenge you to spend some time in this parable and see how many of these attributes or characteristics of God from which you have benefitted. You might also consider starting your own notebook listing these and/or journaling your own personal experience with the God who loved you during your own prodigal season, be it days, weeks, months, or years.