Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Devotional: Time Out

"The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, "Get up and come forward!" And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, "I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?" After looking around at them all, He said to him, "Stretch out your hand!" And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus. It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God."
‭‭Luke‬ ‭6:7-12‬ ‭NASB‬‬
I bet you thought I was going to focus on the legalism of the Pharisees!  Yes, it was something to behold.

I realized that I usually read Scripture from section break to section break. Do you do this too?  When I do this, I might miss something and in this case, I had always missed the connection between when the Pharisees became filled with rage toward Jesus and what Jesus did in response to their rage.

The text says, "It was at this time that He went off to the mountains to pray.."

Yikes!  I don't know about you, but when I am in a conflict or when the chips are falling and my life is getting rough, my first response isn't to remove myself from the situation and spend time in prayer.  I'm usually in defense mode trying to figure out how to remedy the situation as fast as I can or trying to figure out how to survive.  Jesus' first line of defense was to remove Himself from the situation and pray.

Now I realize it's not always possible to remove ourselves from a situation, but it is always possible to turn our hearts to prayer.  We can step back, slow down, be slow to speak and take a moment to pray within our heart to God for guidance and ask Him to guard our heart and tongue so we don't make the situation worse when we are in a conflict with someone.

If our circumstances (not conflict) are just getting too hairy for us, for example, money problems, too many things needing our attention, or in general, just feeling overwhelmed, we can usually find at least a 15 minute block of time where we can go find some solitude from the onslaught and spend some time in prayer before God.

This will do several things for us.
1.  It will give us time to re-center our thinking toward God.
2.  It will allow us time to take some deep breaths and relax a little.
3.  It will allow us to think before we act, so we can say or do whatever we need to with wisdom
      instead of in the heat of the moment.

Let's follow Jesus' example of how to handle tough situations...handle them with time out and prayer.

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