I was talking with a friend of mine who desires to have a deeper relationship with God, but has been struggling to find the time to spend in prayer or in the Word of God. They felt so weighed down by guilt and shame that it seemed so hard for them to grow spiritually and in their relationship with God, and when they did make time for God they were so burdened by guilt that they could never be real with God and let their guards down.
I admit that at times in my own life it has been easy to feel this way. But if I could go back and tell myself, and tell every person who has ever felt like it is a struggle to grow in your relationship with God due to lack of time or energy I would say, “Take it easy.”
Having a relationship with God should not be hard. You don’t have to take four hours out of your day to kneel down on a special rug in a sacred room after confessing every single sin you’ve ever done in your life every time you talk to God in order to have a relationship with God. You don’t have to sacrifice animals, or DO anything to have a relationship with God. That is Old Testament thinking. Jesus Christ died so that we could have a relationship with God, and be free from our sins, shame, and guilt!
When you come to God, come to God willingly and gladly. Not out of religious obligation, or because of guilt or shame. Come to God because you love Him.
Talk to God as you go throughout your day.
Talk to God in the shower. Talk to God in the car. Talk to God during your lunch break. Talk to God between every appointment. Talk to God on Saturday mornings as you spend time alone, or with loved ones. Talk to God as you travel. Talk to God as you do something you love. Talk to God as you go through something hard. But as you come to God, take it easy. Don’t feel guilty for missing a day in your yearlong Bible reading challenge. Instead, take it easy, come to God and tell Him about your day and just do your best.
Having a relationship with God should not be a chore. Having a relationship with God is a privilege. An honor. Having a relationship with God is as easy as breathing. Don’t overthink it, just take it easy, take a breath, and praise the Lord for what He has done and what He is doing in your life. Thank the Lord for sending Christ to die for our sins so that we may come to God freely, and without guilt or shame or worry of being turned away.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. A relationship with God is not meant to weigh you down. Just take it easy, and come to God freely.
“Turn from evil and
do good; seek peace and pursue It.” ~ Psalm 34:14
In today’s world it is so easy to fall out of
peace. Peace is considered the exception, rather than the rule in our society. People
spend millions of dollars in pursuit of peace, and yet never find it. Why
is this, when Christ died so that we may have His own peace?
I believe that the
answer to that question lies in the first part of Psalm 34:14, “Turn from evil
and do good…” You see, sin causes the heart to harden. As you sin it weighs
down on your soul, and takes away your peace. It isn’t until we confess our
sins and make things right inside ourselves, with God, and with others that we
are able to seek and pursue peace.
It isn’t by good
works, or by good deeds and actions that we are saved or that we earn blessings
from God. No, it is only by the blood of Christ that we have access to our
salvation. But by turning away from evil and doing good it allows our heart to
be more open to God and the blessings He gave us. Blessings such as peace,
hope, love, joy, and sound minds.
Doing good doesn’t
mean that you have to drop everything and join the army or peace core tomorrow necessarily.
Doing good simply means seeking ways to show God’s love everyday, and
maintaining your character as that of a child of God. When you make a mistake,
fix it and apologize. When you see someone in need, don’t turn away. This will
allow your conscious to be free of guilt, shame, and condemnation to seek,
pursue, and maintain God’s perfect peace in your life.
“We love because He first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19
People were created for connection: Connection with God, and connection with other people. We connect with others by reaching. Making the effort to reach out is a sure way to connect with one another. The Bible is full of examples of the importance of reach.
God is reaching for us:
God is reaching for us, always. The entire Bible is the story of how much God loves us, and what He is willing to do for that love. He reached for us in the beginning even when He knew we would turn away from Him and choose sin. He reached for us by making a way to restore us back to Him, and gave His only Son to die so that we may live in His presence for eternity. He reaches for us now, every day, through blessings, His Word, His Holy Spirit, and even through other people. There was never, is never, and never will be a time when God is not reaching for us, and pursuing us with His love.
Reach for God:
Because God first reached for us, and because God first loved us, we are able to reach out back to Him and love Him. When Jesus went to the cross, died, overcame hell and death, and then resurrected He tore the veil between God and us. Jesus made a way for us to be able to reach out to and communicate with God for ourselves. But it is up to us to reach for Him. We cannot develop our relationship with God if we do not spend time with him.
We can reach to God for many things- after all He is our Father! Whenever we need peace, rest, provision, healing, guidance, direction, wisdom, or help of any form we just simply need to reach to God! How can we reach to God? Through prayer, spending time in your Bible, worship, tithing and going to spend time in His presence at church. You don’t have to make it complicated. You can simply pray throughout your day, and thank Him in your heart. God is never far away, He is always with us, so talking to Him is one of the easiest things we can do.
Reach others and bring them to God:
Why is it that when we first accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we don’t just pop up into Heaven? What is the point of spending 80 + years around distractions, pain, sin, and grief? We are still here because we have a job to do. There are 7.7 billion people in this world, and the vast majority of them have never even heard the name of Jesus. There are billions of people in the world on their way to eternal separation from God and suffering, and they don’t even know it. It is our job to reach those people with the love of God, and help bring them to God. And God didn’t leave us to this on our own. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us as we go through life. God shows us how to love in His Word, and moves us to love through His Spirit.
The next time you are afraid, alone, happy, or going through a big life moment remember that you don’t have to go through it alone! Reach to God, because He is reaching to you! And reach to other people to help show them that they can be connected too!
We have all officially made it through the first week of 2019. Congratulations! Now what?
A popular tradition that has come through the years is to create a New Year’s Resolution, in the hope of improving certain areas of our lives. For example, we all know that in January of a New Year is when gym memberships become higher than any other month of the year. Why? Because millions of people make a New Year’s Resolution to get in shape physically.
What do you think would happen if millions of people around the world decided that their New Year’s Resolution was to get in shape spiritually? Would church memberships grow more than gym memberships? And how can we get these new members to stay, and not drop out after a few weeks of trying? (Let’s be honest, we’ve all taken on a gym membership that we only used for a few weeks before quitting going.)
I think that when people view church and growing spiritually they shouldn’t view it in the same way as going to the gym. When I think of going to the gym I dread it. I have to beg, cry, and force myself out of the door and into the car until I find myself on the treadmill. And then afterwards I reward myself for going with food that contains a lot more calories than what I had just burned off.
But when I go to church, I go rejoicing and I can’t get there fast enough! Going to church shouldn’t be a burden. Going to church should help to relieve your burdens. Making it a habit to go to church is a way of showing God your commitment to him, and opening up your own heart to receive from him.
This year make it a resolution for you to get in shape spiritually, and to make it a habit to go to church. I’m not saying that going to church is the only way to stay spiritually in shape, there are so many other things we need to do in our lives. But going to church will help encourage you to continue your spiritual growth, and surround you with people that will encourage you during the hardest times and not let you give up!
2019 is here at last! My wife asked me this morning where I see myself in 2020, and I had to answer, “I don’t know, I don’t have 20/20 vision.” But all jokes aside, my vision, and God’s vision for the next year of my life and ministry is bigger than ever!
2018 was full of miracles, provision, healings, restoration, and thousands of people coming to know God for themselves by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And I believe that in 2019 we will see so many more miracles than we ever have in years past before!
What is your vision for 2019? Where would you like to see yourself when 2020 comes around?
Perhaps you would like to grow closer in your relationship with God, or travel to a different country?
Or maybe you would like to have led people to Christ yourself, and would like to have stronger friendships in your life?
No matter what it is that you are wanting to do with your life, and see come to pass, 2019 is a great place to start! Be brave enough to take the first step.
You have been given everything you need to make the desires that God placed in your heart come to pass, the most important tool being passion.
So as the hype of the New Year wears off, and you wonder what is next in your life remind yourself of the desires and passions that are in your heart and ask God to help make them come to reality. Take the first step, and give God your desires.