How To Draw Near To God

Hebrews 7:19 (NLT) For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.20120120-072421.jpg

How can you draw near to God? The Bible makes it clear that your own body is God’s temple. Your spirit needs and wants closeness to God. You want to know the living God personally, not as an idea or concept, not as a distant monarch.

You can draw near to God through prayer, worship, and Bible meditation. You need not live like a monk, but you probably need more prayer in your life, more quiet time before the Lord.

The habit of worship has become a convenience to be wedged between sports, and other recreations. Instead, make worship your top priority. Bible meditation may include verse memory, songs, and quiet personal reading.

The Bible is the Word of God for you. Use it every day and you will draw nearer to God.

 

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Look for God’s Purpose In Your Interruptions

“The Lord . . . makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever.” —Psalm 33:10-11

If your life is anything like mine, it’s pretty well planned out. I have everything in my calendar that reminds me of appointments, meetings, and other “to-do” items. Inevitably, interruptions change my day dramatically; and while they can be frustrating, they also can be productive.

Some of the great advances in God’s plans have come through “interruptions” to the normal routine. Take Mary, for example. An angel interrupted her life with the announcement that she would have a son named Jesus. Since she was a virgin and engaged to be married, this news was undoubtedly shocking and deeply troubling (Luke 1:26-31). And Saul, the Jewish zealot who persecuted early Christians, was on his way to Damascus to arrest more followers of “the Way” when he was blinded by Jesus Himself (Acts 9:1-9). This life-changing interruption had huge implications for the future of Christianity.

The psalmist reminds us that the Lord can make “the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Ps. 33:10). Yet all too often we respond to the interruptions of our well-ordered lives with attitudes like frustration, irritation, fear, and doubt. God’s surprises in our day are full of opportunities. Let’s welcome them as a new “to-do list” from Him.

Lord, if I’m feeling rushed today,
I need Your eyes to help me see
That when an interruption comes,
It is an opportunity. —Sper

Application: Look for God’s purpose in your next interruption. (Our Daily Bread)

What Does Christmas Mean?

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)

The fact that God made the announcement to shepherds helps us to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life,” and He chose to announce that to shepherds first of all.

You must understand that shepherds were at the opposite end of the social stratum from King Herod and all the influential people of the day. Think about it. Shepherds lived in the fields with their animals. They were not respected, they had no power or prestige.  Yet, God’s angel came to them and said, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  Unto shepherds a Savior was born.

In that one simple announcement God made known some very important truths that will help us discover the meaning of Christmas.

So, what does Christmas really mean? It means three things:

1. That God KNOWS YOU and you are IMPORTANT to Him!

2. That YOUR LIFE MATTERS because GOD LOVES YOU!

3. That YOUR FAITH MATTERS because without it, you cannot PLEASE GOD! Continue reading

Does God Seem Far Away?

 

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!—James 4:8

There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him.

God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).

Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions:

  1. You must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right.
  2. You are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God’s eyes and are in harmony with God’s word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.

If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.

God Is Teaching You

Read this verse slowly and allow it to settle in your spirit.

Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I did not make My name Yahweh known to them.”—Exodus 6:2–3

As God has walked with His people through the generations, He has progressively revealed His nature according to His purposes and the needs of His people.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as God Almighty, because they needed His mighty power to protect them from their enemies. Moses and the Israelites learned that God was Lord, Master over every nation and every thing. God not only delivered them from the most powerful ruler in the world, but also brought them into the Promised Land. They came to experience Him as Lord, preeminently powerful over the pagan gods of their day.

God will continue to reveal His character to you according to your needs and according to His purposes. You will come to know more and more about Him as you obey Him.

* When you grieve, He will come to you as the Comforter.
* When you are in need, He will demonstrate that He is the Provider.
* When you face a serious challenge, He will reveal that He is God Almighty.

Your understanding of God’s character ought to be greater now than when you first became a Christian. You ought to know Him today better than you did five years ago. Sadly, some Christians continue to live year after year with the same basic knowledge of God that they had when they first began walking with him.

Personally, I believe God loves us too much to leave us as we are!

Therefore, whatever your present situation, view it in the light of what God is teaching you, through circumstances, about Himself and you will come to know God in dimensions you have never known Him before.