As you start the new year, getting to know Christ more intimately is a great resolution to make. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, it’s never too late to begin pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. Whether you’re already passionate about Jesus or know Him only on a surface level, it is wise to do as Paul urged—to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). There are several steps you can take in your faithful pursuit of intimacy with Christ.
1. Study Scripture. No one can know God apart from His Word since He speaks to us through it, revealing who He is and what He does.
2. Be willing to spend time alone with the Father in prayer, meditation, and worship. One of the main reasons Christians don’t have a close relationship with Jesus is that they’re unwilling to invest the time needed to know Him better.
3. Trust God. The depth of any relationship depends on the level of trust.
4. Obey Him. As we take each step of obedience, the Lord will reveal more of Himself.
5. Observe how Christ works in your life. By paying attention to how the Lord operates, you’ll become familiar with His ways and goals.
6. Make Jesus your top priority. Be willing to lay aside anything that competes with your loyalty and devotion to Him.
Knowing Christ intimately is possible for all believers. The key is persistence, so forget past failures and press on. Find an example to follow such as Billy Graham, Charles Stanley or Max Lucado. All these men have a very close and intimate walk with the Lord. I figure if they are able then so are you.
After an exhausting three-day journey, David and his men finally arrived home to find a scene of devastation. Their homes were burned to the ground, and their families were missing. Utter despair engulfed them. David’s distress soon increased when his men’s grief turned into bitter anger and they spoke of stoning him.
Most of us won’t experience this extreme a situation, but we can identify with David’s discouragement. Sometimes despair follows a personal tragedy or loss, but it can also result from the weariness of ongoing daily pressures. Family problems, financial difficulties, and health issues may make discouragement a constant companion. The same can happen with emotional struggles over feelings of unworthiness, failure to overcome an addictive habit, the pain of criticism, or fear of inadequacy.
Despair can afflict anyone unexpectedly, but the Lord doesn’t want us to linger in a fog of depression. We often can’t avoid the situations that lead us into discouragement, but we do have a choice whether to stay in that condition. Instead of caving in to misery, David chose to strengthen himself in the Lord. He recognized that God was the only one who could give him the proper perspective on the problem and provide the guidance he needed.
When you’re discouraged, where do you turn? Perhaps the last thing you want to do is read Scripture and pray—initially, the passages may seem like meaningless words, and your prayers might feel empty. But if you persist in crying out to God, you’ll eventually experience His comforting strength.
After encountering the prophet Elijah, King Ahab may well have thought, Of all the nerve! Just who does this guy think he is? Bursting onto the scene as if out of nowhere, Elijah confronted Israel’s wicked king with a message that would soon disrupt life throughout the region.
The validity of the prophecy rested with the Source, not the mouthpiece. Elijah was a man of great faith who spent time alone with the Lord and listened to Him carefully. The prophet could pass the message on with boldness and authority because he knew and trusted the One from whom it came.
We can’t expect our Father to communicate with us in exactly the same way that He spoke to the Old Testament prophets, but the process of receiving His message hasn’t changed. It starts with being alone in His presence and listening as He speaks through His Word. But it shouldn’t end there.
Prophets had the responsibility of telling the people what the Lord revealed to them. Similarly, we’re to share with others what we learn from God’s Word. Devotional time with the Lord is not just about our own interests and needs. The Father reveals His truths to us so we can share them with others.
Begin each day alone with God in His Word and in prayer, listening as He speaks to your heart. Believe what He says in Scripture, apply it to your life, and then share with someone else what He has revealed. Be bold and remember that the authority of your message comes from Him.
(reblogged from Charles Stanley | In Touch | 8.1.2017)
Do you have a sin or temptation in your life that you can’t seem to shake? It hangs on to you like a dog on a bone. I believe everyone at one time or another has/had a sin like this in their life. What can you do about it?
First, let’s look at God’s word and see what it says. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God says there is no temptation that you face that isn’t common to man. In other words, everyone struggles with the issue of temptation resulting in sin. So, when you beat yourself over and over because you think you are the only one struggling with this sin and temptation in your life, reread the first part of that verse. All sin and temptation that we face is common to man. God knew we would struggle with it, sometimes, on a daily basis.
What can you do about the seemingly impossible task of overcoming this particular sin in your life? First, we must recognize that even though we are tempted, God will not allow the temptation to be so strong that you are not able to stand against it. God believes in you and your ability to stand against temptation.
God recognizes that we are weak, so that with the temptation He will also provide us a way of escape. The escape can take many forms, such as walking away from your computer if there are things that you should not be viewing. But, what if that doesn’t work? I’ve discovered what does work.
There is one absolutely perfect, infallible method of beating the sin you struggle with. You’ve probably heard this before, but, knowing God’s word and what it says about sin will help you overcome. Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 until you know it by heart. Here’s the hard part. When those feelings attack you, begging you to sin, start saying this verse over and over in your mind and heart.
Remember that what you are about to struggle with or have been struggling with is “common to man.” You can do this!