HELPS FOR HAVING A TIME ALONE WITH GOD

George Mueller was one of the greatest men of faith I’ve ever read about and he asked some simple questions of God every day. Years ago, I decided to put these questions into a format I could use and teach others. I came up with the acrostic ENSPEC because it reminds me to INSPECT every passage of Scripture and carefully explore the amazing nuggets of wisdom, knowledge and truth in them.

So when I spend time alone with God and read the Bible, I always ask myself these questions because they help me understand and apply Scripture to my life. As Andy Stanley said years ago: “To understand why, submit and apply.”

Here are questions I ask when I’m reading the Bible

E – is there an EXAMPLE for me to follow?

N – is there a NEW THOUGHT about God?

S – is there a SIN for me to confess?

P – is there a PROMISE for me to claim?

E – is there an ERROR for me to avoid?

C – is there a COMMAND for me to obey?

 

So let’s see how this works…

Imagine you’re at quiet place – like your table; you’ve got your pen – Bible – something to drink & a journal or notebook.

Settle in and ask God to show you His truth as you ENSPEC the Scripture.

Let’s say you’re reading and come to Prov. 13:24 (NLT)

If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.  

Using the ENSPEC questions what might you find?

There’s an EXAMPLE to follow. If I love my children I will discipline them.

There’s also an ERROR to avoid.   If I don’t love my children I will neglect to discipline them.

If discipline is an issue in my family, and I believe God is dealing with me about it, I may not read any further. Instead, I stop and reflect on the passage and usually write an application or thought in my journal or notebook.

I might write something like this: “Because I love my kids, I’ll learn how to be consistent in disciplining them. I’ll also talk with (my spouse) about this so we can be in agreement.”

Make Sense?   It’s an action point in attitude or action.

 

You’re reading and come to Prov. 16:28 (TEV)

Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.

Using the ENSPEC questions what might you find?

If I’ve been guilty of gossip – There’s a SIN I need to confess. I need to confess it to God and I need to go to the person(s) I’ve offended and ask them to forgive me.

There’s also an ERROR to avoid. Hanging around people who gossip or like to cause dissension is a huge mistake so I might write something like: “Be careful of the people you hang around with and stay away from those who tend to gossip or spread strife.”

 

Or you’re reading 1 Thess 4 and you get to vs. 3

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 1 Thess 4:3 (NASB)

Using the ENSPEC questions what might you find?

A COMMAND to obey.   So I might write in my journal:   It’s God’s will for me to refrain from all sexual immorality.

 

Let’s say I read 2 Peter 1:2-3 which says:

May God bless you with his special favor and wonderful peace as you come to know Jesus, our God and Lord, better and better. As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. 2 Peter 1:2-3a (NLT)

Using the ENSPEC questions what might you find?

There’s a NEW THOUGHT about God for me here so I might write in my journal:   “No excuses!  I didn’t realize it before, but now I know Jesus gives me everything I need to live a godly life.”

 

Ok – last example – reading Romans 3 and I come to verse 22:

We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. Rom 3:22 (NLT)

Using the ENSPEC questions what might you find?

There’s a PROMISE to claim. I might write in my journal: “This is amazing because God promises that no matter who you are or what you’ve done – you can be saved by putting your trust in Jesus Christ.”

 

Here are a few additional notes!

The issue is not how much you read.   The issue is opening your heart and mind to God and asking Him to show you what you need to do or change.   Sometimes, I may not get through 2 verses before I know what God is saying to me specifically.

The issue isn’t trying to answer all the ENSPEC questions. Rather, find the one thing God is saying to you and make a decision to apply it in your life.   If God shows you something specific through a passage, write down an application that relates to your actions or attitudes.

There are some days when nothing I read really grabs me.   So I thank God and pray.

Remember this is not THE WAY, it’s just A WAY to spend time alone with God.   The key is making time alone with God the habit of your life.

 

 

 

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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