Since we've spent the week reading about establishing a daily Bible reading habit, I thought some encouragement from Elisabeth Elliot was in order. If you aren't familiar with Elizabeth Elliot, she is a women to greatly admire as she lives what she preaches through deepest grief and greatest joy. Elisabeth is the author of nearly twenty books, including Shadow of the Almighty and Passion and Purity. As a young woman she married Jim Elliot and had a daughter. Jim, was killed in 1956 while attempting to make missionary contact with the Huaorani of eastern Ecuador. Elisabeth later spent two years as a missionary to the tribe members who killed her husband. She later remarried and that husband died from cancer. Elizabeth has taught and written about her life's ups and down. She also hosted a daily radio show, Gateway to Joy for thirteen years, until 2001.
The following excerpt is taken from BacktotheBible.org entitled, A Mother's Quiet Time.
Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says, "and underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend, Elisabeth Elliot, talking again today about being alone with God.
Some folks would call this "devotions." Whatever you want to call it, time alone with God is an essential element of the Christian life. We need not only to go to church and to join with other people in prayer and Bible reading and Bible study, but we need time alone with God. That's the time when we can examine our own hearts, straighten out our priorities for the day, lay our requests before God and listen to what God might have to say to us.
We need to practice solitude. For some of you that may be literally impossible, depending upon your living situation. Even if you have to use a closet or a bathroom or maybe the car in the garage, maybe you can find a solitary place. But if not, there is such a thing as solitude of spirit--quietness inside. Pause as you go up the stairs. Lift up your heart and say, "Thank you Lord. Help me."
If you are a mother there may be many occasions when what you need to do is to kneel down in the kitchen with your arms around two little children and pray, "Lord, give me wisdom." Perhaps you have settled yourself very comfortably in your solitary room, in a nice comfortable chair at six o'clock in the morning when no body else is awake, you think. And you're just breathing a great sigh of relief that you have this time alone with God and in come one or two of your little children. And what do you do? You include them, of course. You don't send them away.
I find myself often just lifting up my heart to God. It just means saying, "Lord, I lift up my heart to You." Maybe because He knows I've suffered some hurt or maybe because a thought has just flown through my mind, maybe it's because of something I want to thank Him about. But in one way or another, I want to refer it to God. So I say, "Lord, I lift up my heart." And in certain churches when the Pastor says, "Lift up your hearts," the congregation responds audibly, "We lift them up to You."
In the office, can you have solitude of spirit once in a while? Can you lift up your heart just in a SOS and say, "Lord, help me to be gracious to this difficult person." These are just those little SOS prayers. But can you manage ten or fifteen unbroken minutes first thing in the morning--to get your bearings, to plot your course under God's direction and to take your position as His child, His servant?
I would recommend that you keep a notebook handy and write down lessons that you are learning. Maybe there is just one particular verse that has stood out in your Bible reading, or some sin that the Lord has brought to your mind that you have been struggling with. Why not make a note? Just jot it down and ask the Lord to help you to pray about that.
Again, I'd like to read from A. W. Tozer's little leaflet Exposition Must Have Application:
"Bible exposition without moral application raises no opposition." That's a memorable statement isn't it?
"Bible exposition without moral application raises no opposition. It is only when the hearer is made to understand that truth is in conflict with his heart that resistance sets in. As long as people can hear orthodox truth divorced from life they will attend and support churches and institutions without objection. The truth is a lovely song, become sweet by a long and tender association; and since it asks nothing but a few dollars, and offers good music, pleasant friendships and a comfortable sense of well-being, it meets with no resistance from the faithful. Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song and made palatable by religious entertainment."
I have to pause over those words because I am teaching on this program. It's my purpose to build up and encourage Christians and to call others who would like to be Christians, to Jesus Christ.
But, do I leave you day by day without a sense of moral obligation? Am I failing to help you see that it's no good listening Elisabeth Elliot and Gateway To Joy and all the stuff that I read to you which is so rich spiritually, without reminding you that you personally have to do something about it? And I'm speaking to those who are Christians and those who are not Christians. If you hear the Word of God, you have a responsibility. You have to do something. What are you going to do?
May the Lord guide you as you seek time alone with Him.