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There are many challenges facing the nation and the world right now, and I know that many people are tempted to struggle with worry, stress, and anxiety. The only way to remain in peace is to spend concentrated time in the presence of the Lord.


We must never forget Psalm 55:22, which says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Today, there are so many people who are facing challenging times and I feel strongly impressed to encourage you to spend special time with the Lord in the days ahead.

Setting time aside to be quiet, to seek God, and to hear His voice is a challenge for people who are busy. I am the type of person who loves to be on the go all the time. But recently the Lord spoke directly to my own heart and called me aside for a special, intense time of praying and seeking His face.

I am so thankful that I have heeded His call, for my time with God has opened my heart so He could show me areas of my life in which I must change and come higher. During this special time of prayer, I have begun to pore over the Scriptures, and I have found there are many who sensed a "calling away" throughout the Bible. Each one who obeyed a call to prayer and who separated himself for a time of seeking God received His blessings as a result.

Even Jesus had times when He withdrew from the daily schedule of life to give Himself to consecrated times of prayer. An example can be found in Mark 6:45,46:

And straightway He [Jesus] constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while He sent away the people. And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray.
Jesus had just miraculously fed 5,000 people, had just concluded one of the largest meetings of His ministry, and had momentum and excitement among His followers. The whole region was buzzing about the miracle of providing supernatural food for the entire multitude. But how did Jesus respond to this astounding event? He told the disciples to get on a ship and sail away; He sent away the crowds, and then He headed for the mountains to pray!

I want you to notice the word "straightway" in verse 45: "And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while He sent away the people." This world was taken from the Greek word eutheos, derived from the word euthos, which means straight and carries the idea of doing something without any delay at all. So the idea conveyed in the word "straightway" is this: straightaway, without any intervening circumstances or detours.

This word speaks both to the timing and the determination of Jesus. His response to a great victory was to "straightaway, without delay or interruption" withdraw and get to a place where He could pray to the Father with no interference. Jesus sent away the disciples and the multitude so that He might have time alone with God.

Next, notice the word "constrained" in the same verse. This is the Greek word anagkazo, derived from the two words, ana and agkale. Ana means up, and agkale means arm. Compounded together, the new word paints the picture of a raised arm, demonstrating force and authority. It literally means to compel by force. In light of the miracle that had just occurred in Jesus' ministry, I am amazed by the Gospel writer's choice of these two words "straightway" and "constrained." It illustrated how Jesus responded to a great meeting: He immediately, with determined force, caused everyone to leave Him alone so that He could pray!

With so much work to be done in our ministry right now, I am frequently pulled to just keep going strong without a break. But that is NOT what Jesus did. He recognized His need to stay in touch with the Father, even in the midst of successful events. And it's interesting to note that it was after His time with the Father that Jesus walked on the water and commanded a storm to be still (Mark 6:47-51). I want to follow Jesus' example.

Anyone who knows Denise and me and our ministry knows that we believe in working very hard and giving 1000% to the call of God. But there is a time when each of us must come aside to spend special time with the Lord and to press into God's presence so He can refresh us and renew us by His Spirit, just as Jesus did after He fed the multitude. So I have determined to carve out special time with the Father—to pray, to read His Word, to fellowship with Him, to allow Him to search my own heart and change me, and to enable me to hear Him speak to me with no distractions and interruptions.

Friend, I know this is a hard time for many people right now, and maybe this is a hard time for you as well. You may not be experiencing financial struggles, but maybe something else is weighing heavy on your soul. The only way you will get through this time victoriously is by spending time with the Lord and casting the weight of all your cares on Him, as Psalm 55:22 tells you to do. Isn't it time for you to give God more time than you've been giving Him?

If God is calling you to set aside some extra time for Him, you need to be prepared for your flesh to put up a fight! That's why it's going to take determination to do it. When other things try to scream for your attention and pull you out of that consecrated place, you have to be determined to stay there unmoved because that is where your source of strength, your peace, and all your answers will come from.

If you'll obey what the Holy Spirit tells you to do by going to your mountain to be with the Father—in other words, by coming aside every day to spend special time with Him—your obedience will bring a great reward. As the author of Hebrews declares, "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).

Start this week—start today, if needed. Start by giving Him a few more minutes each day. Let your special time with the Lord grow and grow until you are finally experiencing quality time with God that surpasses anything you've ever known in your life. He will open your heart, remove the things that have troubled you and caused your defeat, refill you with the Holy Spirit, and give you joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Rick Renner Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
 
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.
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