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NavPress author tells seminary women of honor to spend time alone with God

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Spinning a yarn about a phone call from President George W. Bush to have breakfast in the White House, Jean Fleming described her disbelief and awe at being extended such an honor. She then drew a parallel between how she would react if such an invitation were extended and what could happen if individuals consider the scriptural mandate to spend time alone with God daily.

“All of us have been offered an invitation by the King of the universe to meet him every morning before breakfast,” she said. “The Lord said, ‘I want to meet with you and tell you what I’m thinking about, what my plans are and intentions. I want to hear your concerns that I might bring the resources of heaven. Then let’s have breakfast together.'”

Fleming, an author and international speaker from Colorado Springs, Colo., spoke to 55 seminary women at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary March 2-3 during the annual Carolyne Geer Hester Student Wives Retreat. Fleming has served with her husband, Roger, on the staff of Navigators for 36 years. Her books include “Finding Focus in a Whirlwind World” (Treasure), “The Homesick Heart” and the best-selling “A Mother’s Heart” (both NavPress).

Carrying out her illustration of how a person would feel if invited by the president to the White House, Fleming said she doubts if anyone would answer, “I’m not a morning person.”

“We can be so unmoved by this incredible invitation the Lord has given us to meet with him,” Fleming said. Establishing a scriptural basis for regular communication with God, Fleming referred to a selection of Scripture verses. Among them: Revelation 3:20, an invitation to the believer to be in fellowship with the Lord and to also “listen” to what he says, and Psalm 62:8 which instructs the people are to “pour out” their hearts to God. This teaching of Scripture fulfills needs in people’s lives, among them a need for peace, Fleming said.

“I think we see the lack of peace all around us. There is a movement toward getting peace from breathing exercises and Lotus positions, drinking a certain combination of herbs or reading the latest article in a woman’s magazine,” Fleming said. “We are living in an age where we are a people starved for peace, and Jesus calls us with an invitation to open the door and to fellowship with him and to be still and know that he is God.”

How to accept this invitation and the form that daily communication with God takes for each person may depend upon individual circumstances, Fleming noted. Psalm 119, however, is a model of prayer, as is the action of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Luke 2:19. In both passages, Fleming pointed to the “pondering” of Scripture and of life’s events as a significant way to commune with God.

Despite scheduling conflicts and time demands, Fleming said this time never becomes a habit if it continues to be delayed. The practice of communing with God is not a way go gain favor with God either, she said, but is an answer to his call from Scripture.

“Making space in your life for God” is another way to refer to this quiet time alone with God, Fleming said, suggesting the following points in understanding the issue: clarify the term “quiet time;” establish your motivation; make and protect your time with God; enrich your time with God; and set special dates with God through extended times and personal retreats.

People who do not avail themselves of communication with God miss out on the “whole package” of what God intended, Fleming said. Citing Colossians 3:16, she said the Word of God is richer than having only one focus. “To know the gospel is more than the message of salvation,” Fleming said. “It is the fullness of all we have when we belong to Christ.”

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  • Joni B. Hannigan