In my kitchen I have a cabinet that holds all of my vitamins, minerals and specialized health foods. These shelves hold such things as vitamin C, multi-vitamins, fish oil soft-gels, calcium, and magnesium. In addition to these, I also have a jar of flaxseed, a ziplock bag of oat bran, and a canister of wheat germ. All of these things promote good health if I take them off the shelf and make an effort to incorporate them into my daily diet.
But how much easier it is to snack on Cheetos, or go out to eat instead of cooking something healthy, or skip the vitamins because they’re a hassle. When it comes to healthy habits, good intentions count for nothing. These items must come off the shelf and make it into my mouth to have any positive effect on my health. I can purchase wheat germ, I can Google ways to prepare it, and I can purchase a cute canister to put the wheat germ in. But until I actually take it off the shelf, prepare it and eat it, I won’t gain any of the health benefits of wheat germ, right?
And (I hope you saw this coming) our relationship with God is just like that! It’s full of peace, joy, provision, healing, direction, love, love, and more love—but unless I make time to enjoy God’s presence and carve out time in my day to seek Him, I’ll never experience all the benefits.
In my office I have an NIV Bible, New King James Bible and an Amplified Bible, as well as many devotional books. My bookshelves are bursting with life-giving, joy-giving, peace-giving nourishment. Yet I’ll have to decide to set aside some time each day if I’m actually going to read God’s word. It won’t be imparted to me by osmosis… It won’t leap off the shelf and dive into my heart as I walk by…. I’ll have to take if off the shelf and delve into it for myself to receive the health benefits.
One of my favorite worship songs says, “You are great and marvelous, God of all the universe, let your Spirit come to us, we’re waiting here for you.” I like to think of that as a description of my morning quiet time with God. Sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee, Bible spread out on my lap, my journal and pen next to me, with this hour totally set apart for my time with Him. As I sit there praising God because he is “Great and marvelous”, my heart waits for his presence. I wait for his word to come alive as I read it. I wait for his leading and direction in the situations that trouble me. I wait to feel His guidance in prayer… I wait to connect with Him. And He never fails to come. He never fails to show up. He never fails to fill me with His love and joy.
God loves you so much and desires to meet your needs. To those of us who need peace of mind, He will give deep and abiding peace that can never be shaken. To those of us who desperately need forgiveness, He will give the ultimate forgiveness found in the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. To those of us who need healing, He will give healing of mind and body. To those of us who cry out to be loved, He will fill that void in our hearts, having it settled forever that we are indeed loved by God Himself. We only need to reach out for more…
Paula Friedrichsen has been speaking at women’s retreats and church conferences regionally, as well as nationally, for years. She is a member of Church on the Mountain in Crowley Lake, California, where she serves as Communications Coordinator.
Paula began writing professionally in 2004, and saw her first book, The Man You Always Wanted is the One You Already Have, (Multnomah, 2007). She also writes magazine and newspaper articles, as well as book reviews.
The heartbeat of Paula’s ministry is to encourage believers in a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ. Whether she’s talking about marriage, joy, abundant life, or even how to thrive in today’s faltering economy—the sub-theme of every message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
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