launch 1.16

Personal Devotions

Remember your first girlfriend? You were all excited about your relationship with your new friend. You couldn’t wait to see her walk through the door. You lived to spend time with her. You couldn’t say enough good things about her. You told all your friends about her.

But suppose that even though you told her you loved her and wanted to be with her, you started ignoring her every time she came by to see you. How would that affect your relationship?

Every healthy relationship involves two parties taking the initiative to make that relationship work. Just as plants in a garden will wither and die, so our relationships with others will dry up, if they don’t receive constant care and attention. Suppose you started only seeing your girlfriend once a week or even once a month! What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how it is with our relationship with Christ. We may talk about God and say we know Him, but if we are not spending the necessary time with Him to nurture that relationship, our relationship with Him will not be very strong.

How Can We Walk Closely With God Each Day?

Having a daily Quiet Time with God is one way to enrich our relationship with Him. A quiet time involves heart-to-heart communication between you and God. A quiet time with the Lord typically involves setting aside time each day to talk with Him in prayer and to hear from Him by reading a portion of His Word, the Bible.

What is Involved in a Quiet Time?

As with any relationship, variety and creativity help to keep things fresh. However, the following suggestions may be helpful in having a meaningful Quiet Time.

1. First, have a plan.
Ask yourself: "Where am I going to meet with God?" "When am I going to do it?" "What am I going to do?" Thinking through this will help you make spending time with God a priority. Jesus rose early to meet with God in a solitary place before He would be pressed in by the crowds (Mark 1:35). Schedule a time when you are alert, at a place where you are not likely to be disturbed.

2. Second, begin with prayer.
God wants us to meet Him in prayer (Matthew 7:7-11). Prayer involves being honest with God. It involves expressing to Him your real hopes and needs. You can talk to Him about anything! If you’re feeling distracted while you’re praying, talk to Him about that as well.

Often prayer involves confessing any known sin that may be hindering your walk with God. Claim His forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross. Ask Him to give you a humble heart that is willing to obey His Word. Prayer demonstrates faith because it exhibits dependence on God to move in a situation.

3. Third, rely on the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that when He left, He would send the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us (John 14:26, 16:13). As the "Spirit of Truth," it is His role to help us understand and apply the Bible to our lives. Ask God, the Holy Spirit, to teach you as you read God’s Word. Not only so that you will have a better knowledge of God or feel good – though this will often result – but so you can apply it to your life (see James 1:22-25).

4. Lastly, find a Bible that is easy to read.
Contemporary translations like the New International Version or the New Living Translation are both accurate and easy to understand. You might want to invest in a study Bible. There are many good ones on the market that have extra notes to help you get more out of your devotion time (see the 1x1x56K magazine for more resources on this topic).

Whatever version you use, write down your thoughts as you read through the Bible. It’s often helpful to start reading the Bible one book at a time, rather than skipping all over the Bible. This way you will begin to understand how each chapter and verse relates to the rest of the book.

A good place to start is in the Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all accounts of the life of Christ from four different perspectives. These are foundational reading for all growing Christians. You may want to include the Old Testament books of Psalms and Proverbs in your daily reading as well.

One simple study method you may want to try is this: Read a paragraph or chapter, then ask yourself these three questions: What does it say? What does it mean? How can I apply this to my life today?

Again, be creative in how you approach this. The important thing is that you are spending time each day with your heavenly Father and are growing closer in your relationship and love for Christ.

From VITAL LINC Call 800.789.5462 or visit www.svlinc.com

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