Going for her noble profession — Part II

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This is part 2 in the short series, Going for her noble profession.

Cynthia is unsatisfied being a nurse; she wishes to quit  her job and to do something she enjoys, but she’s scared of the possible outcome on her relationship with her boyfriend, Frank, the love of her life who always wanted a nurse for a wife.

Read part 1 HERE

Three weeks later, after much praying, much contemplation, much confusion, and fear too, Cynthia went to see her pastor. She didn’t plan to become emotional, but a tear or two fell off her eyes, as she narrated to the Reverend her longstanding lack of job satisfaction and a desire to effect a change in career path.

His plain theological face expression while he listened to her wailing voice, made her heart begin to fail for fear that he would tell her to stop being stupid and to be grateful to God for a job many were scrambling to have. To be grateful to God for not having had the opportunity to experience the sting of joblessness in an economy where unemployment and underemployment were more normal than the contrary.

The green cloth hanging on the wall, to the left of the pastor’s desk, bore an inscription that made Cynthia’s heart the more miserable.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

An advice she dreaded being given, again, for she had personally taken it up herself many times and it never did seem to give her the consolation her heart needed. Contentment, someone had advised, was what she needed, plus a consideration of the well-known quote, ‘the end justifies the means’, which in Cynthia’s case was translated, ‘if the job helps meet your life’s needs, there’s no need for a change.’ For to get food, raiment and shelter, isn’t that the reason why we work after all? Should the type of job therefore matter if it meets the objective for working?

Cynthia had felt bad getting the insinuation, which basically said that financial advancement is the only rational reason for a change of job.

Pastor Wills’ long silence after Cynthia stopped talking was to a purpose which the worried young woman immediately judged and concluded that her coming to seek his counsel had been in vain. That she had just given one more mind the opportunity to realize – and possibly criticize her for – her failure to appreciate the worth of what she had in hand. And that if she let it go, inevitable would be her regret in the future, for the saying must come true: you don’t know the value of what you have until you lose it.

But she had misconstrued his silence. Rev. Wills was a very objective man, not prone to giving hasty answers, especially in such sensitive issues. You can’t just tell a young woman who comes into your office asking for counsel to go quite her job. Not if you are supposed to be a caring and careful spiritual leader. Not when the distressed look on the counselee’s face says she would take every word from your mouth as gospel truth.

Cynthia’s desperate wish for an answer was not going to move the man of God. He took his time to properly comprehend the situation and know what answer to give.

He finally said, “Cindy, I understand”, to which she replied with a weighty heave of her chest and a faint smile on her face.

“Pastor,” she immediately said, having received enough motivation from his reassurance, “working in the hospital and coming in contact with people who have various kinds of problems, I usually find opportune moments to introduce them to the Savior. When people ache, they easily give a listening ear to spiritual issues.

“My fear is really that if I quit, I may lose such opportunities and find myself in environments where I’m not truly helping people as far as their eternal destinies are concerned. I want to quit but I’m uncomfortable with that thought.”

“Cindy,” Pastor Wills replied, “your concern is genuine and understandable. What I’d say is that sometimes our wisdom is not godly. What we think is not help may be only from our own perspective. Let me tell you a story about one of my friends and former colleague in ministry.

“Brother Edward is a fervent servant of our Lord. When he got born-again, immediately in his heart was born the desire to serve God with all his heart. He soon enrolled into the Bible School – he was my classmate – where he spent four years training for ministry. When we graduated, he was called to the pastorate of a good church, where he spent a few years.

“Then one day, I got a call from him. He told me he was quitting ministry to return to the business world. My first reaction was to believe that the challenges of ministry were more than he could bear. But he replied that he had found out God never called him into the ministry, it was his interpretation of serving God that had led him to take the decision to go into ministry.

“Not a few people saw his decision wrongly. Some considered it a carnal step, you know, abandoning ministry for business. Some said he had thought to find treasure in ministry, which he had not found, and so was going back to the world to make money.

“But Brother Edward was so sure God had opened his eyes to what he should have been doing that he ignored the misunderstandings of others and quit the ministry. He rebuilt his business and got it going.

“Cindy, do you know what? Brother Edward is encountering people in the business world he never would have encountered otherwise. His being a businessman has not stopped him from preaching the gospel and leading others to the Lord. Some of these converts are becoming ministers, others are finding God’s purposes for their lives; others are finding simple joy and peace in life, some are having their marriages improved and restored. And you know what, all of that is worth the decision he took.”

Cynthia nodded in agreement, most of her fears now gone.

Pastor Wills continued, “One example that stands out conspicuous to me is one businessman, Brother Edward’s colleague. This man is rich but he was also laden with lots of problems, inner frustration and all the turmoil that accompanies a life out of the Lord Jesus Christ. The man was even considering suicide when his and Brother Edward’s paths crossed. He was led to the Savior, got so happy and overjoyed with God’s amazing grace upon his life that he dedicated his life to the sponsorship of evangelistic outreaches. Our church recently benefitted from his largesse.

“Cindy, do you know what? the fruit of that man’s work is also being credited to Brother Edward’s account.”

The encouragement Cynthia had received by now was overflowing, except for one last worry.

“Pastor, as I told you, I do not want to lose Frank. I love him dearly, but he’s always wanted a nurse for a wife.”

“Cindy, I advise you to pray and know what the Lord would have you do. Then you do it and let him handle the rest.”

“Even if it means the end of my relationship with Frank?”

“Yes. But don’t conclude yet; I know your fear, but trust God. Remember you can count on me anytime you need help.”

“Thank you, pastor.”

Story continues Going for her noble profession — Part III

Janet Bengan
Fiction for Teaching, Inspiration and Entertainment

9 Wonderful ways to ruin your quiet time with the Lord

 

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The importance of spending time alone with the Lord cannot be overemphasized. It should be the life of the believer if he has to succeed in his walk with the Lord. If he has to lessen the pull of carnality and to live a life of victory over sin and the world. If he has to dig deeper into his Word to mine the treasures contained therein.  If he has to get acquainted with God’s voice.

Spending time alone with the Lord should be a priority. A conscious pursuit. The Christian must seek to overcome complacency in this area. Pursuing intimacy with God must be one of the top goals of the individual believer.

I wrote about the , in a bid to encourage the reader to do so. Yet at the same time, there are attitudes that can make that time with the Lord useless or not as beneficial as it should be.

I have once been a victim of most if not all of these attitudes. It was not until I abandoned them that I began to reap the benefits of spending time with the Lord.

Some of these are common place among believers.

  1. Be time-conscious. Set an alarm clock.

I used to set an alarm clock when in prayers as a discipline to my flesh. Five minutes in prayer can seem like an hour, and I wanted to spend longer time than my flesh was willing to tolerate. So I went for the alarm clock.

The result of using an alarm was that I worried more about the time than paying attention to prayer. I frequently checked my phone to see if I did really set the time correctly. It would seem to me that the alarm should have come on but the time was apparently longer than what I had thought. I would be relieved when the sound finally came on.

That activity didn’t benefit me the way it should have because time consciousness turned it into a formality.

The best way is to come before God with the goal of spending quality time with him. Quantity is useless without quality. Spending five minutes in true fellowship with the Lord is better than spending an hour while constantly checking or waiting for the alarm clock to sound.

  1. Seek an emotional or supernatural experience

Most of us will love it if during and after prayer we feel like we’ve really prayed. If during prayer we experience a trance like the apostle Peter. If we have an angelic visitation like Cornelius. If we can have visions and hear God talk to us in spectacular ways.

So we sing and we pray in the spirit while waiting for that emotional high or supernatural experience to come on.

That is not only spiritually dangerous, but useless as far as reaping the benefits of spending time with the Lord. In seeking an experience, you can open up yourself to demonic spirits.

Prayer is an act of faith. You believe God exists, that he hears you and that he can talk back to you. You should praise and worship him because he is worthy, not doing that as a means of preparing your body and mind for an emotional or supernatural experience. You should pray to God because he is a person, not a force you are trying to invoke to manifest to your carnal satisfaction.

  1. Talk to God as if he’s some force or influence

This is in accord with the last sentence in point two above.

God is not weird. He is a conscious being. That is how we must approach him. He is not some force like wind, fire or an inexplicable emotion. He is a conscious being, although he is spirit. We can’t see him, but he’s real. By faith we can approach him and speak with him as we would normally speak with our fellow humans.

  1. Use high-sounding words

God is a caring Father. He loves us; he cherishes the fact that we spend time with him.

He is also friendly. While respect for him must be emphasized, protocol is not necessary.  You can talk to him in your own parlance.

Talk to him from your heart, in simple language. He knows and understands what you have to say even before you say it. So calm down, put away the dictionary, and just talk to your Father.

  1. Don’t pour out your heart to him

It is possible to come before God and not really pour out your heart; and not tell him how you really feel and think. Coupled with using high-sounding words, you might find yourself acting before God like a superhuman, especially if you have been made to believe that it is wrong to admit negative feelings to God.

Well, God knows already. You can’t pretend before him. If you are aching, pour out your heart to God. If you are confused, tell him. If you are depressed, talk to him about the situation.

You’ll be amazed at how much relief you’ll receive after doing that. For me, Bible verses or encouraging thoughts come to my mind when I do that.

To avoid turning this into complaining, you need to pour out your heart to God in faith, not in anger and resentment towards him. You must believe that he cares about you and expect him to give you the help you need at that particular moment.

  1. Parrot until you say, “In Jesus name, amen”. Then get up and leave.

That’s not fellowship. It’s recitation.

God wants to talk with you. As you come to spend time with him, make the effort to listen for his voice. Don’t just talk until you are through, then you rush out. Learn to wait before the Lord. In silence. In studying his word.

  1. Allow your mind to wander. Do not discipline it.

You shouldn’t be talking to God or apparently reading the word when your mind is out shopping, dating or watching TV. Discipline your mind.

  1. Talk to the devil instead

Devil and demon-consciousness can make you spend lots of time addressing the devil. Some believers put much emphasis on the devil’s activities that their consciousness of the evil one is more than their consciousness of God, even in the closet. It ought not to be so.

Time with the Lord is just what it is – time with the Lord.

  1. Only read the Word; do not study it.

Just read and tick the daily record. That’s what I did the first time I went through the entire Bible. The only benefit I got from the exercise was the pride of having gone through the Bible. I wasn’t taught, I wasn’t blessed, I couldn’t even remember what I’d read once I closed the book.

The Bible was written for us, not for God. When we read and study it, we are the ones who get blessed. God is not impressed by our Bible reading; he wants us to know him and his will through his word.

Merely reading the Bible will not benefit much; studying will. You need to stop and reflect in the course of reading. Ask yourself what the passage is saying, read similar verses in other portions of Scripture; make use of commentaries and Bible dictionaries to get the historical and cultural context and full meanings of some of the words. That is studying.

You’d be amazed at how much treasure you can find in the Word when you study instead of merely reading.

I doubt if my list is exhaustive. In summary, there are attitudes we adopt that make our time with God a waste of time, an activity done out of formality, instead of quality time of fellowship with the heavenly Father.

Time alone with God is an awesome time when we have the right mindset: fellowship with a conscious being who loves us. We can communicate our hearts to him in the friendliest and most intimate way.

Recommended reading:

4 Benefits of spending ample time with the Lord