By Nina Atcheson One beautiful morning, I realized the house was too quiet, and my three-year old daughter was missing. Her brothers were playing together, but she was nowhere to be found. I called out for her, wondering where she could be. “Tahlia, where are you?” My voice echoed through the house, but silence responded. I walked through different rooms, finding no trace of her. Finally, I heard a tiny voice. “Mummy...” Her little head poked out from behind my red chair. “Look,” she held up our worship book, the page open to a picture of Jesus and His angels descending to earth. “He comes today, Mummy?” she asked, pointing to the window beside her. My heart melted as I realized that she was sitting there, waiting for Jesus to come back today. In my morning rush, I was making breakfast, hanging out washing, and answering the phone instead. The immediacy of these ‘urgent’ chores had completely distracted me from giving any time to Jesus that morning. God couldn’t have spoken more clearly than through Tahlia at that moment. It was like He was saying, Just slow down and notice Me this morning. I’m here. And I’m coming soon! Spend some time with Me… Today, many years later, I still hear God’s words to me. “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). He invites us to stop, in the maddening rush around us, to be with Him. Not just momentarily or out of obligation, but for a season, because we want to spend time with the Restorer of Our Souls. Right now, many of us find ourselves in a place where we are isolated in our homes due to a global pandemic. In a sense, we have been forced to pause in our usual rush of life. Our lives have changed for this season. Are we resting in Him in this “deserted place”? Are we listening to His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12), calling us into a closer walk with Him (John 15:9)? Are we coming aside to know Him more, or are we filling up the quiet space with the noise of other distractions? As a child, I remember singing a song that included these words: “Time with Him is time well spent. He will be your Comfort and your Guide. Time with Him is time well spent. He will always be right by your side.” Building our relationship with God by spending time with our Comforter and Guide, is of utmost importance in the times we find ourselves in right now. Quality time (instead of quantity or length of time) is what counts most. What might you do to improve the quality of your time with God this week? Consider the following ideas: • Ask God to give you a greater desire to spend time with Him. • The Bible is not meant to be difficult to study. It’s God’s living Word to you, and He is waiting to speak to you through it. • Come in humility and pray before you read your Bible, asking God for a specific message that you need to hear. • You may want to take just one verse or one small bite-size portion of Scripture each day. Consider: What is God telling me through this passage? How can I encourage someone today with this message? God waits patiently for us to spend time with Him every day (Rev. 3:20). Will you wait expectantly, like Tahlia, longing for His return? Will you come and rest awhile with Him as you wait? Nina Atcheson currently serves as the Curriculum Manager for the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department at the General Conference, and the Adventist Identity Officer for Adventist Schools Australia. Nina, her husband Matt, and their three children live near the Gold Coast, Australia.
ACTIVE HEART CHALLENGE: Perhaps God is wanting to work through the difficult circumstances around us to help us realize our great need for Him before He returns. He is providing a unique opportunity for us to rest awhile in Him. Will you respond to His invitation? Let’s claim the promises of John 15:4, 5; Isa. 26:2, 3 and Mark 6:33 while we seek rest and assurance in Him. “Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude… Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory.” (Desire of Ages, p. 331)
Heart Questions: What is the greatest barrier that stops you from spending quality time with God? Are there blocks you could ask God to help you remove to clear away certain distractions? How might this change your prayer and Bible study habits?
Praise Report: In spite of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to move forward in mission. And many creative and new methods of sharing the gospel are being developed with a much broader reach then we’ve yet experienced. Praise the Lord!
Day 22 - Prayer Focus Prayer Requests shared by Ted N.C. Wilson
Pray for our church members and those who are grieving the recent loss of loved ones due to COVID-19. Pray for peace and comfort for their hearts. Pray for physical healing for those who are currently battling the Coronavirus.
Pray that church members will actively embrace the healthy lifestyle principles of NEWSTART (which stand for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in God) as a balanced approach to healthy living.
Pray that we as a church will continue to will find ways to effectively share God’s health message, along with the Three Angels’ messages, which is our last-day mission to the world including our need to plead for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, as we prepare for Christ's soon second coming.
• Pray that in our eagerness to find creative ways to witness to others, we don’t lose our strong emphasis on Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, and His saving power in the great controversy.
• Pray for the It Is Written online evangelistic campaign “Hope Awakens” that is launching today nationwide. (To learn more visit: https://www.discoverhopeawakens.com). Pray that even more people will be able to watch and gain interest in this series than they would have with the LIVE evangelistic event that was cancelled in Indianapolis.