During the years when I traveled frequently and stayed in a different city every night, I always scheduled a wake-up call when I checked into a hotel. Along with a personal alarm, I needed a jangling telephone to help get me out of bed and moving in the morning.
The book of Revelation contains a spiritual wake-up call in the apostle John’s letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia. To the church in Sardis he wrote this message from Jesus Himself: “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God” (Rev. 3:1–2).
In the midst of spiritual fatigue, we may fail to notice the lethargy that creeps into our relationship with God. But the Lord tells us to “remember . . . what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent” (v. 3).
Many people find that scheduling some extra time each morning to read the Bible and talk to the Lord in prayer helps them stay spiritually alert. It’s not a job, but a joy to spend time with Jesus and know that He prepares us for whatever lies ahead that day.
Is your life too busy? Business deadlines, productivity quotas, and shuttling children to lessons and sporting events can really fill up your schedule. It’s easy to think, If only I didn’t have so many responsibilities, then I could walk in vital union with God.
Jill Price has an extraordinary memory that has stunned scientists. In 2006, her overdeveloped memory was described in a scientific journal article, “A Case of Unusual Autobiographical Remembering.” Price has no special aptitude for memorizing lists of words, numbers, facts, or languages. But she does remember what happened to her on any given day over the last 30 years. Name any date and Price will tell you what day of the week it was, the weather, what she had for breakfast, the TV programs she watched, and the people she spoke with.
The word connected captures our contemporary experience of life. Many people rarely go anywhere without a cell phone, iPod, laptop, or pager. We have become accessible 24 hours a day. Some psychologists see this craving to stay connected as an addiction. Yet a growing number of people are deliberately limiting their use of technology. Being a “tech-no” is their way of preserving times of quiet, while limiting the flow of information into their lives.
As I sat in the dentist’s chair, I braced myself for the drilling that would begin my root canal. I was ready for the worst, and my body language and facial expression exposed my sense of dread. The dentist looked at me and smiled, saying, “It’s okay, Bill. Try to relax.”
In data collected from over 20,000 Christians in 139 countries, The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that, on average, more than 40 percent of Christians around the world say they “often” or “always” rush from task to task. About 60 percent of Christians say that it’s “often” or “always” true that the busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. It’s clear that busyness does distract us from our fellowship with Him.
In July 1969, I was at Fort Benning, Georgia, training to become a US Army officer. Infantry Officer Candidate School was intense and highly regimented with only rare moments of free time. Surprisingly, on the evening of July 20, we were ordered to our company Day Room, seated in front of a flickering television set, and told simply, “This is history.”
When God spoke to Elijah on Mount Horeb, He could have done so in the wind, earthquake, or fire. But He didn’t. He spoke with a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). God asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (v.13), as he hid from Jezebel who had threatened to kill him.