Quiet Time

Core Truth:

Just as Jesus went to a solitary place to meet with his Father (Mark 1:35), so a disciple should daily pull away from the business of life for a quite time, a personal rendezvous with the Lord and Savior. (Discipleship essentials p.32)

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 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. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."
Mark 1: 32- 38
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3    

A thought for today:

Quiet Time: is it a noun, a verb, or an adjective?

Quiet Time as a noun is defined by a separate, solitary place.  Quiet Time as a verb is defined by actively quieting our mind and body, and focusing our attention and concentration.  Quiet Time as an adjective describes our interactive time with the Lord listening, soaking, and steeping in the word and in His presence.

Establishing the type of quiet time as described by Ogden incorporates 3 components: reading the Bible, meditating on the reading, and praying.  I have added active listening to those components which for some is included in the act of meditation but I like to identify it separately.  

My initial practice of quiet time was to just sit and basically say “okay, God, here I am…speak up.”  Well God is faithful and would speak and I would receive a “nugget” of wisdom, but I often found that nugget wouldn’t even sustain me through the day.  I read the Bible and spent time in prayer, but I hadn’t understood how to incorporate the quiet time.  Putting all the components together did not come easily. I had many starts, and do-overs, commitments and re-commitments. One of the reasons I think it was so difficult to put all the parts together was that I didn’t understand that I could have a personal relationship with the Lord and that He wanted one with me.  The Lord cared so much about me, he began to speak to me in His word, in my spirit and yes, even in an audible voice.  It was through mediation on His word and sitting quietly with that Word that He began to speak.  It changed everything. I suddenly realized how much he loved me and that he was revealing that love to me through meditating on Scripture and sitting with Him quietly waiting to hear.

Jesus modelled this quiet time for his disciples and for us. Jesus met with his Father in the desert, up the mountain, at sea, and in the garden.  Jesus spent quiet time with the Father even in the midst of busy ministry much to the consternation of the disciples. It was out of quiet time that Jesus began ministry, how he made important decisions, and how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.  Jesus did nothing apart from his Father. Jesus’ quiet time is the model for how we can grow deeper in our love-relationship with God the Father.

by Kristin Colligan

Questions to prayerfully ponder and challenge us in this devotional.

  • Why did Jesus go to a solitary place; why would he, the Son of God need to do so?
  • Note how Jesus did so in the midst of a very busy schedule, he made it a priority to connect with his heavenly Father, why did he make it a priority, why should we?
  • Psalm 1 indicates that the word of God is a place to connect with Him, and the transformative effect it has upon us.  Reflect on this and consider sharing how the word of God effect your relationship with Him, and your relationships with other people.  How does it make a difference in your life?

Being a Disciple

Core Truth:

A disciple is one who responds in faith and obedience to the gracious call to follow Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us. 
(p. 24 Discipleship Essentials, Ch. 2)

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:34-38 

A thought for today:

The average person—man, woman and child—fears death. It is an instinctual sort of fear, as mankind loves the idea of legacies; of leaving behind on this earth something that will, in essence, make them immortal. People do not want to die thinking the world will not remember them. So, when the average person comes across this passage in Mark, which speaks of death, though not in so many words, they shy away. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. This not only has the potential to sound a little frightening, but it also, on the surface, is a little confusing. But in reality, it is not frightening nor is it confusing. In a word, it is wonderful. These verses are poetic and thrilling. When Jesus talks of losing oneself—in other words, of dying to oneself—He means only that we must give up our earthly world, our flesh-driven desires, and follow Him instead. If we do this for Him—if we turn away the world in which we are born and move towards His teachings, if we take up our cross and are willing to die for Him—He will save us and we will be granted an eternity in Heaven. What better legacy is there than this? Death in this case is not something to be feared, it is something about which to be excited. In abiding by Jesus’ teaching in these verses, we become greater disciples, for when we lose our lives we are choosing to follow Him and lead by his example. And if we lead by his example, we demonstrate His way to those around us and this enables us to disciple to them.

by Bethany Harris

Questions to prayerfully ponder and challenge us in this devotional. 

  • What is the intersection of taking up ones cross and dying to self?
  • How do these empower us to answer the call of being a disciple of Jesus who disciples in love?
  • Why and how does losing our life for Jesus actually save it?
  • How have these verses spoken to you personally in this week?
  • How are you blessed and challenged by accepting Jesus’ challenge?

Making Disciples

Core Truth:

Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping other disciples to teach others as well. (Ch. 1, Discipleship Essentials, p. 17)

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:16-20  

A thought for today:

Jesus gives clear direction for the mission of the Church in Matthew 28:16-20, and the means for each of His followers in Mark 8:34-38.  In the Matthew passage, we see the situation of the Church at that time; the eleven comprised the Church. They were following and worshipping Jesus as best they could despite their varying degrees of faith, and the doubts they had.  In the midst of this, Jesus gives them His mission for them: “Go” – you are called to move from where you are to where I am sending you.  This will be a literal movement for some(or some of us at times), and a figurative movement of where we are in our heart, intellect and spirit at other times.  And then there is the command, of what to do as you go: make disciples of every sort of person, “all nations” in Jesus’ time meant people groups, clans and tribes, it referred most often to people who were not like them(us).  He said baptize them in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the three-person one God.  He said teach them.  Too often we baptize and perhaps even confirm, but do we continue to stay in relationship so the good stuff of teaching, mentoring through more than words, but doing life together will have an effect on these folks who are different from us? And finally the promise: we don’t have to do any of this on our own power, abilities or even natural inclinations.  We have Jesus available to us in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to guide, empower and bless us through this.  And we need this because it is against our fallen human nature to step outside ourselves, be generous, sacrificial and relational with people different from us. But we need not fear. Jesus’ call to us is for his joy and ultimately our true joy as well. My friends, please join with us this Lent as we will press into scripture to better understand what discipleship, following Jesus, is about in the place and season God has placed us.  That we will more fully know Him, and more fully make him known.  To Him be the honor and glory, now and always, amen.

by Joe Acanfora

Preface Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided  a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading andmeditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now pray before the Lord, our maker and redeemer:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remissionand forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

1979 Book if Common Prayer, p 264-265, Moorehouse Publishing, NY

Introduction by Joe Acanfora