What Am I Grateful for Today… Quiet Time

22 Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. 23 When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone…” (Matthew 14:22-23, Common English Bible).

Until relatively recently I have not been a big fan of quiet time. Sure, there have always been times when I would want a little peace but for the most part, not so much.

I have always been a loud, sometimes obnoxious extrovert, who wants to be around people and communicating with people. I like to have people around me. I enjoy communicating with people. That communication can be at least a little bit loud. That can particularly be the case if that communication is going on in a place where there are other loud, sometimes obnoxious people communicating.

I have always believed in prayer. For much of my life I have prayed. That being said, I knew of the omnipresent nature of God. I understood the omnipotent element of God. And, if God is all powerful and all present, wouldn’t that mean that, wherever I am, God is going to hear me pray? I would think so.

In more recent years, particularly since going through Spiritual Directors training in the Charis program a few years ago, I have come to understand that quiet time isn’t necessary for God to hear me. That is far from the case. I need quiet time so I can hear God.

At one point in my career I thought I could write my sermons in my office with a constant parade of people walking through. I thought I could have an interruption and then return to my work and never miss a beat.

I was wrong. Did I ever write a sermon when there was loud and chaos around me? I feel pretty certain I did. But, I know now that it was more the exception than the rule. Most of the time I would probably write a paragraph or two at most and then stop and stare off into space, totally distracted from my writing. Why was I distracted? I couldn’t hear God over the noise and chaos around me. And, a sermon without God isn’t really a sermon at all.

I know for many of you, your quiet time is early in the morning. I even know a few of you who get up before the crack of dawn for your study and prayer time. You feel the presence of God during those hours. You can get a lot more done and more important, you can hear God in those early hours of the day.

I am not wired that way. I am a night owl. As I write this it is 2:10 A.M. This is my time of day (though I am rapidly reaching the end of my day). The house is quiet. I think I am the only creature awake in the hours. My friends Paul and Margie that live with me are asleep as are all the dogs. It is just quiet. There are no interruptions. It is just me and God.

Before starting to write this post, I got my sermon for this coming Sunday. It is only Monday night/Tuesday morning and the manuscript of my sermon is complete. With this short Thanksgiving week, that is a good thing.

When I finish this post I will have some prayer time and then go to bed. I realize now that all this is so much easier when I am quiet, when I am still and let my self know God and know who is God.

That is what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Write it in your journal and go share it with a friend.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With joy and thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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