This letter is an introduction to the attached document of “7 templates for your time with God.” These templates each have a different approach to spending time with God and include different spiritual disciplines. I want to encourage you to explore all seven over this next period of time and expect to meet God in a fresh way.
One day Moses was tending the flock of his father- in- law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw that Moses ‘turned aside’ to look more closely, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1-6
“He led the flock far into the wilderness”: Moses went further into the wilderness and it was there God called from the burning bush and commissioned Moses. Moses had no idea that he was about to experience a deep encounter with the Lord but I believe in his heart he was longing for something more to his life. He had known a life of royalty and a sense of God’s heart for his own people and now here he was – a shepherd in the wilderness. Sometimes we need to come to a broken state, to be in a place ready to meet with God.
God isn’t interested in us having a fleeting glance or a few moments to look. He wants us to gaze, to focus our attention, to have a heart that is desperate to see God. Are we ready to travel far in the wilderness? Moses traveled to mount Sinai, where he would in the future receive the 10 commandments. This was a special place. Do you have a mount Sinai, that draws you? Do you have a place you can go, to seek the Lord and spend significant time with him?
“An angel of the Lord appeared and Moses stared in amazement.” This perhaps was a natural thing that could happen in the wilderness. In the heat of the day, a bush would burn. But this bush didn’t burn up. Do we have things happen in our lives that cause us to stop? It can be as simple as an act of kindness that took us by surprise, an answered prayer, a spectacular view or sunrise, a meaningful conversation or an ‘aha’ moment. God is in our everyday occurrences and wants encounters with us but doesn’t ever shout. He woos us and draws our attention but it’s up to us what we do in those moments.
For many, those moments come and go and the potential encounter is lost. It could have been so easily missed by Moses but he turned aside, he gave his attention and time and his whole life changed as a result. God desires for each of us to experience regular encounters where we touch something of God, something of his heart and destiny for us, something that changes us from the inside out. The question is, will we make time? Will we stop? Will we be looking for those encounters?
“When the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to take a closer look, God called to him.” We don’t see God shouting and waving and trying to get Moses’ attention in the same way we might try to gain the attention of a friend across a busy road. God is looking for hearts that are open and willing to give him a time to say something. God called Moses once he stepped closer. We make one step and God comes to us and brings his presence, his affirmation and his challenge or assignment. He is always personal and uses our name. He knows us so well. He knows that he calls us to do more than we can personally handle. But whatever he asks, he always promises to give us everything we need. What a God!
“Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.” An encounter with God is always awesome, special, life changing, pivotal and yet so personal and relational. Encounters are fearful and exhilarating at the same time. This was a sensorial experience for Moses – the sight of the fire, the smell, hearing God speak and being aware of his presence. He took off his shoes because he was stepping on holy ground and he couldn’t lift his face because he was afraid. Sometimes we have lost this sense of awe as we come to God. He has some wonderful and frightening things to share with us and as we come to him, we need a fear of God and an attitude that says – whatever you say Lord, the answer is YES!
God wants to meet us on a regular basis. I was brought up with having a quiet time every day as soon as I became a Christian at 13. However, over the years those times have had their ups and downs. I find that I need some variety in how I relate to the Lord, just as I do in the relationships with those around me. I have included a document below, with 7 days of outlines for spending time with God in different ways. Some outlines might appeal more than others but I strongly encourage you to use these templates over the coming weeks. Try them all out and then decide on what your own templates will be for the future. It may be you are happy with your times with God and this may help you to tweak them to be even better. It may be that you are needing a little more framework for your times with God to be more significant. Each day will include a different spiritual discipline and so over the week you will have an all round meal for your spirit, soul and body. Enjoy.
Until next month