Tag Archives: listening to God

From the rising of the sun to its setting

Strahan Tasmania Sunset with verse

Sunset at Strahan, Tasmania 1975, (c) Bryan Thayer

We were on vacation in Tasmania decades ago. While I say “vacation,” it was actually a whirlwind road trip. On a busy day, we found ourselves rushing to the beach at Strahan in order to catch its famous sunset “just in the nick of time.” Whew. I’m glad we didn’t miss this glorious sight!

I don’t know about you, but even as a retired guy I have lots of tasks on my to-do list… every single day. I remember Marcia’s Dad sharing about his retirement: “I wake up with nothing to do and by the time I go to bed I only have half of it done.”

The fact is, we’re all busy people. From the rising sun to its setting, our days are filled often with too much to do and too little time to get it done. Maybe you’ve struggled with how to achieve the perfect “balance.” The most productive and effective people will tell you it comes down to starting the day with the most important tasks and working your way through other less-demanding tasks.

How do you prioritize your daily schedule? If I start the morning with easy tasks I prefer to do I typically find there is not enough time or energy to complete the most important ones. But when I tackle the tougher, more important projects first, I usually have time for my preferred or easier tasks.

We find this true in our devotions. Isn’t it easy for the day to be filled with all sorts of urgent but not all that essential things to do? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that leaving time with God to the end of the day is not a plan for success. How can he guide our journey if we don’t consult with him until we reach the day’s end destination?! God’s design is not to add more things to our to-do list. He simply wants us to invite him to be a part of our everyday activities and to acknowledge who he is throughout the day.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3

When a young boy, Samuel was awakened by a voice from God and he responded saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  1 Samuel 3:10  Recently, our pastor encouraged us to begin each day with this simple prayer. Before we present our long list of requests to God, consider just being still and listening to what God may speak to you in a moment of quiet. If that concept sounds foreign to you and silence makes you feel like bolting and running, be encouraged with another challenge. BEGIN the day by reading a portion from God’s Word and then let his truth and wisdom sink in while you listen to him in silence.

Don’t have time? CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the average US consumer spends 40 minutes on Facebook alone each day. And that doesn’t include other internet activity, TV, or any other sort of diversion. You might find it helpful to do a time study for a single day to find out how much of your time is spent in things you regard as important compared to things that rank lower on your list but continue to take up too much time.

Don’t know where to start? We’re using a reading plan that takes us on a tour of the whole bible in one year. Check with Biblegateway.com or google bible reading plans. You could jump in to a reading plan right now that leads you through reading the entire bible or the entire New Testament in a year, or any number of other options. Or you could commit to reading a chapter of the gospel of John each day. I find it helpful to take a single verse or passage that speaks to me and putting it on a sticky note or card where I can reflect on it throughout the day. That’s the goal, isn’t it? To step back several times throughout the day, even if just for a moment, and acknowledge who God is, what he has done, how he is working in your life this very moment, and consider what yet the Lord will do in your presence.

It’s a good habit that not only doesn’t require a lot of time but also makes better use of the time you have remaining in your day.