TRANSCRIPT: Good morning, Five Minute Families. Thank you for taking the next few minutes to reflect on God’s plan for the believing family.
We are truly living in unprecedented times. The US has not seen closures and shortages to this scale in over seventy years when the world powers were at war with each other. We are at war now but with a virus – together. Please note, fellow believers, that the battle is not fully ours to win. We must do our parts, of course, but God will be the champion of this battle and ultimately this war.
During this time of social distancing, self-isolating, and quarantining requirements, let’s look at the ultimate connection we can make… our spiritual connection with God. We so often say we are too busy to spend time with God in a disciplined way, so, Five Minute Families, let’s explore five areas of spiritual disciplines you can begin now while doing your part in the battle by staying at home.
- Bible reading and meditation – One pastor always said, “The biggest transformer of your life is to be in God’s Word daily.”He was correct. Dr. Donald Whitney in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life expanded this with his use of the analogy of a tea bag. He says, “… your mind is the cup of hot water and the tea bag represents your intake of scripture. Hearing God’s word is like one dip of the tea bag into the cup. Some of the tea’s flavor is absorbed by the water, but not as much as would occur with a more thorough soaking of the bag. Reading, studying, and memorizing God’s word are like additional plunges of the tea bag into the cup. The more frequently the tea enters the water, the more permeating its effect. Meditation, however, is like immersing the bag completely and letting it steep until all the rich tea flavor has been extracted and the hot water is thoroughly tinctured reddish brown.” By using these extra days to meditate on God’s Word, you are training yourself for godliness, just as Paul encourages in 1 Timothy 4:7
- Fasting and prayer – Without prayer, we are disconnected from the source of life; we must “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” as we read in Colossians. Fasting goes hand-in-hand with prayer. We don’t have time here to go into details, but we strongly encourage you to study Matthew 6:16-18 and Acts 13:2 about fasting. Right now, at home, we can easily get distracted from prayer and fasting by the streaming services and by being surrounded by food. Bring your focus back to God in these troubling times.
- Stewardship – God calls us to be disciplined in our use of money AND our use of time. Let’s not waste them, Five Minute Families. We do not yet know the full economic impact of this virus, but we already know that many will receive a devastating financial blow. If you are able, please do not forego your giving to the churches and ministries you support. Likewise, don’t use your time frivolously. Sew masks for medical professionals, video message shut-ins, write letters to nursing homes, make food deliveries, if allowed, to those who cannot get their own, and more. Proverbs 27:1 reminds us not to boast about tomorrow for we do not know what it will bring.
- Silence and solitude – We follow Jesus’s example when we enter into silence and solitude, and Jesus even arranged a rest for his disciples in Mark 6 when he said, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Often, when we enter into silence and solitude with an attitude of meeting God there, He brings discernment about our steps in His will. With the kids at home, it may be more difficult to achieve silence and solitude, but maybe you could awaken a few minutes early or hide in the pantry for a few extra minutes. We gotta do what we gotta do.
- Journaling and learning – As a unique time in history, what a godly gift you will be creating if you journal about the learning you engage in right now! Think of some great historical books based on journaling… The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, and Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela to name but three. As you learn more about God’s word, you get the put in practice Proverbs 25:2 wherein, God tells us He has hidden His mysteries and it is our joy to discover them. What a record for yourself and your loved ones!
That’s all of our time today. Please read more about spiritual disciplines by checking out our blog archive for February 2019 at clearviewretreat.org. May God reveal himself in mighty ways to you and your family as you choose spiritual connection during this time of social distancing.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney, NavPress; Updated, Revised edition (July 1, 2014)
Originally aired on WECO 95.5 fm/940 am Tues, March 24, 2020