Showing posts with label Devotion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Devotion. Show all posts

How Do I Get Closer To God?

When I got saved I started going to church consistently, because all new Christians truly need the guidance and regular fellowship of a pastor and congregation. As a babe in Christ, it helped me to become settled in The Lord.  Eventually, I became so enamored with the things of God that I started reading the Bible alone at home. That's when I began to grow up as a Christian and draw closer to God.

The Bible is God's Living Word and through reading it for ourselves we become more like God. When God's words get into us we begin to have victory in all areas of our lives. No matter how good we think we are we need the inner pruning and trimming that God's Word provides. We can't be better people or please God through our own strength. We can't rely upon a pastor, minister, preacher or teacher to please God. We have to seek God daily on our own. Reading His Holy Word is the best way to do that.

Knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior and knowing our heavenly Father God should make a discernible difference in our lives. Many Christians never grow, but continue to be deceived that they are alright and that their own efforts make them better people. In reality, they are the same as they always were and control their lives in their usual selfish, self-centered ways.

The Bible says that what pleases God is a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. We can't do that to ourselves. We receive that through the work of God's Word in us and His Holy Spirit comforting and guiding us. The Bible says that The Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is piercing, even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, and of the joints and the marrow. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Reading the Bible will show us things about ourselves. It will bring out things that God wants to be in the open. It will allow us to grow in The Lord. We can't do any of it on our own.
There is also a big difference between a babe in Christ (or a Christian that is not growing) and an advanced Christian who devotes himself/herself to the study of God's Word. They think differently and act differently, not by choice but because The Word is pruning one of them. The other is blindly living by his/her own attitudes, thoughts and feelings.

It's up to each Christian to decide to read the Bible and grow. It's a personal choice. Life is very different when we put that Word into ourselves everyday. Of course, the Bible is not always an easy book to read, but there are many versions that make it easier. I read it everyday, and have been doing so for years. Sometimes I don't feel like reading it and sometimes I may miss a day or two. Despite that, my mind is always on it and I rush to get back on track reading it. So I never go for long without doing it.

There's a world of difference between someone who reads the Bible regularly and someone who doesn't. They don't even speak the same language. The Bible reader is becoming more and more like God each day. This should be the aspiration of all Christians who proclaim to know Jesus Christ. Sadly, it is not. The Bible, however, is there for anyone who desires to partake of it. It's free in many instances, and it is life-changing!

POETRY: About How The Bible Changes Us

Read the Bible everyday, read a variety of scriptures and watch the changes happen.

Subtle Changes

The Word molds.

The Word shapes.

Read the Word,

And you'll never have to try

To be good.

You will evolve,

Into a thing of beauty

Before God.
~ SJ Holland ~

Remarkable Faith Before Christ Sacrificed For Us

"Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego." Daniel 3:22

What amazes me is the faith of the Believers who lived before Christ. I am reading Daniel, which I haven't been reading in the Old Testament for awhile. It is an amazing book of great faith displayed by young people. I wish I could learn what led these young men (maybe even late teenagers in age because they are fondly called The Hebrew Children) to possess such a strong, sustaining faith in God. I wish I could follow their lives from childhood. Sometimes, the faith of those who lived B.C. seems to be stronger than what we have today, even though we are indwelt by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.

I think that the peoples of the ancient Bible Lands saw more miracles than we do today. Miracles were easier to experience back then. Today it is harder to believe in true miracles. Our lives are so complicated with technology, marketing, material possessions and burgeoning societal issues that miracles are hard to experience. It is not that they don't happen, because we have the same God today that Daniel had back then. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is just that the miracles of today get lost in the mix of modern living. 

"Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, anad cast him into the den of lions." Daniel 6:16

The stories of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel always bring tears to my eyes. Why? Because it is very touching to me that anyone's faith would be so great that he/she would profess that God can deliver from a violent, excruciating, prolonged death, and that the person would declare in the same breath that if he doesn't, they will still not turn their back on him. Poignant, profound and powerful (Daniel 3:17-18).

What is even more remarkable is that the king, who stood on his word and enforced the casting of Daniel into the den of lions, would say to him beforehand that Daniel's God would deliver him (Daniel 6:16). Astounding. Many people who did not walk with God in the ancient Middle East believed in his presence and power simply from the witness and experiences of those who did. Oh, what a wonderful life we would live if we walked in that type of faith today. 

Today we have Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who points to God The Father in his admonitions, to thank for restoring our connections to God. As the many great Old Testament stories of faith show though, God is truly the author and finisher of our faith. Without God, we would not have the Blood-bought saving grace of Jesus' sacrifice. Our precious heavenly Father delivered The Hebrew Children, and he is still delivering today. When he doesn't, however, the strong in Christ, though hurting, still do not turn their backs on him, just as those faith-filled children did not.

The Difference That Being Rooted & Grounded Makes

I can tell that I'm much more rooted and grounded in God's kingdom. One way in which this is evident to me is because I can listen to or watch anything about The Lord at any time of day or night. This is versus when I was un-saved, or a babe in Christ and felt comfortable and happy doing that at certain times of the day, or on certain days.

I'm just simply always ready to hear a good word about God, or listen to some good worship and praising. I always feel open to it, ready for it. I don't have to get ready, or get prepared, or get in the right frame of mind. I'm always ready to receive. 

I believe this is because I am on the inside of God's Kingdom, not on the outside looking in. Even new Christians are somewhat on the outside looking in, because they are not versed nor experienced in the things of God. They don't understand a lot about who they are, or what it is that they have. 

When I was on the outside, the things of God had the tendency to infringe upon my life, though I wanted to learn more about God. I was seeking growth, but that separation between my moods and desires were conflicting with being mentally and emotionally immersed in God things. 

Some may call it being in The Spirit. Others may refer to is as being consumed with the things of God. Whatever it is, I call it being rooted and grounded in all things God, to the extent that you are always joyfully willing to hear about Him.

As I ponder on this circumstance, I ask myself how has it come about? I believe it is because:
  1. I have been reading The Bible everyday for years now. Whether it is one paragraph or one chapter, I rarely miss.
  2. I have turned prayer into talking to God. As a result I spend time with Him throughout the day, talking to Him about my joys and sorrows. This allows me to share with Him when things happen, not later at a prayer time when I will have forgotten much of how I felt.
  3.  I pray for a hunger and thirst for righteousness, for God to make my crooked places straight, for Him to order my steps in His Word, for Him to establish my thoughts, and for Him to create in me a clean heart. I pray what The Word says I should have. These requests mean that I have to be continuously submitted to God.
I'm happy and content to be open to teaching, preaching, reading, worship and praise at all times. It's wonderful to welcome the things of God, rather than to be afraid or ambivalent about them. It's wonderful to be drawn to God at all times, rathern than to be repelled by Him at certain times.

To be rooted and grounded in God means that we can never get away from Him, and we never want to.


Poetry ~ Lord How Sweet Is Your Word

Lord How Sweet Is Your Word

How sweet is your Word in suffering,
Though oft' the burden is great.
It feels unbearably frequent,
Such difficulty of late.

Your Word is a precious ointment,
Oft' applied in much duress.
Your Word is a pathway lamplight.
With your Word I make progress.

I read and feel much freedom.
A breath of joy I breathe.
I lose myself in scriptures.
Where found is sweet relief.

Your Word I'll never shun it,
Though hurting hinders me.
That two-edged sword of sweetness,
Is what I need from thee. 

If you are not delving into the Word daily, preferably in the morning, you are missing a treat. It is the necessary nourishment for us to learn more about God, and the gospel of His Son, and to be able to successfully walk in His ways. Many Christians practice what they know of the Bible, but without spiritual power.

It is the daily ingesting of His Word that spiritually transforms us over time, giving us the power to not be conformed to this word, to resist the devil, to take no thought for tomorrow, to fear not, to give thanks in everything, to bear fruit from the inside out, to not turn to the right hand or to the left, to pray for those who despitefully use us, and to increase in faith. It is this very Word that many try to do in the flesh, that when eaten and drunk every day, will give us the power to walk in the freedom where with Christ has made us free, and to not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Lord How Sweet Is Your Word (c)2016 sjhollandwriting
Image: Free Images

Let Us Say Grace For This Meal

Dear Lord:

We thank you for this food, and all of the blessings that you have given us.

Protect our systems from any hurt, harm or damage,

through any poisons, toxins or impurities

that may be present in this food.



We thank you for all of the things that you are doing for us,

and the ways that you have helped us when we were unaware.


Help us to have better diets,

and teach us the things that we need to do to be healthy. 


 In Jesus' name.



Images: Free Images

No Rock Like Our God

Neither is there any rock like our God.

Was finishing up my morning devotion, and arranging the pages of my Bible that's falling apart, when it fell open to I Samuel 2. Verses 1-2 blessed me so much that I made this scripture graphic to encourage you too!

God bless you with a special type of encouragement today! Believe and receive, in Jesus' name, whatever your need is! No one can stop you. If God be for you, WHO can be against you? In other words, who can succeed in their plans to discourage, defeat, depress, hinder, destroy or oppress you when you know God? Who can succeed with these evil plans against you? No one. They have not won, they will not win, they cannot win, though sometimes it may appear to be so. They will fall into their own traps, while you are rejoicing in your Lord.

There Is No Rock Like Our God! 

If you would like to be sure that you are Saved, say this simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, and the only Savior as it says in The Bible. Come into my heart, and save me now. I confess all of my sins to you and believe that you died for me so that I can come to know God. I believe and I receive all that you have for me. Thank you for my new life. Show me the way and help me to understand. Thank you that I don't have to fear death anymore, and that I have eternal life in you.

Scripture Graphic: Artsy Craftery Design Studio
Background Image: Free Images

Bible 3+5 Week: More Power From On High

Read the Bible 3 times a day this week.

JOIN ME for a week of reading the Bible 3 times a day for the next 5 days; Monday through Friday. Some of you already do this. Some do it occasionally. Jump on whenever you read this, even if a day or two later.

Easiest times are morning, around noon-time, and before bed. Adjust as needed, as close together or as far apart as necessary, but not running all together. Should be 3 distinctive times in each 24-hour period. I'm reading in my current book of Luke, and I added 1 John to read mid-day. May return to Luke tonight, or something new.

as you seek His face and
worship Him in spirit and in truth!

Praise The Lord Through It All

Bless His Name and Praise Him during this season between Christmas and New Year's Day. Prepare for a year of praising Him everyday. Praise Him through the good times. Praise Him through the bad times.

Praise Him when you feel great! Praise Him when you feel terrible! Praise Him continuously and completely. Let everything that has breath Praise The Lord!!!

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

(Psalm 100 KJV)

Scripture From: 

The Pocket Power Prayer

The effective prayer that Jesus modeled has traditionally been seen as The Lord's Prayer. It's actually a prayer model that Jesus suggested to his disciples to use when they prayed (Matthew 6 NKJV). He also admonished them to not use vain repetitions, which raises a question. If we pray this prayer regularly, aren't we using repetition?


The answer is in Verse 9, where Jesus encourages them to pray "in this manner."

He does not tell them to pray that prayer. In this manner means that he was providing a template, a format for them to use in creating their own prayer to God the Father

It is easy for man to get in a rut and to perform actions without thinking or feeling. Man also faces the danger of performing to receive glory from others, and to make a good impression. Jesus says that the only value that is received for that kind of behavior is what is gotten from others at that moment. There is no long term, spiritual benefit from performing vain repetitions to impress others. If we perform for others, it is easy to use vain repetitions because there is no heart in our display.


If we pray in private, making our prayer session between us and God alone, it is easy to use his prayer model to construct our own prayer, because our innermost feelings are drawn out.

It would be beneficial for you to create a prayer in your own words, using Jesus' model. I call it the Pocket Power Prayer, because it packs a lot of power in its small size. You would then pray it often, adding extra thoughts and feelings to it whenever they come up in your spirit. In this way, you will reduce the chance of making it repetitious.

This prayer model is useful when we don't know what to pray, but want to commune with God. I was on my knees and wanted to pray once, but just felt tired and uninspired. I decided to pray The Lord's Prayer, because I had heard that it covers everything.


I prayed it from the heart, carefully pronouncing each word and thinking deeply about the meaning of each phrase.

The most interesting thing happened! When I finished, I wanted to continue praying, adding more to cover all of my concerns of that moment, but I could not pray anything else. When I began to say a statement, it felt like I'd already prayed it. I felt that it was already covered. So it is true that when Jesus spoke this prayer model to his disciples, he presented a perfect prayer format.

This is my prayer rewrite. You are welcome to use it whenever you would like, but I encourage you to write your own. Just rewrite each phrase of The Lord's Prayer in your own words. There are no perfect or right words or sentences. Just follow Jesus' format. As long as it makes sense to you God will understand and commune with you, because as Jesus said, "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8 NKJV). This does not replace our open lines of communication with God, or our short or long prayers to God at any time.  It's an additional tool. If you look closely, you can see how I have followed Jesus' model for praying to God.

Dear Father, who lives in heavenly places that we can't yet see. May we respect your name continuously. May your inner glory fill us and your outer glory consume the world in due time. We embrace your daily plan in our lives and all around us, and throughout the world, just as your plans are carried out in the heavenly places. Thank you for providing food today, in whatever way it shall come.

We choose to forgive everyone who has misused, damaged or failed us. We know that in return we have your forgiveness, through your Son Jesus' sacrifice, for our sin state and all that it entails. Thank you for providing a way out of cowardice when we are tried, so that we can hold on and endure the testing. In this way, we know that we will be delivered from the evil of faithlessness and fear.  We know that you own everything, Father. You possess power over all things, and all glory belongs to you. Amen

Image Credit: Wallpapers Wide
Scriptures Taken From: Bible Study Tools

The After-Prayer: The Most Effective Of Them All

kite festival photo:  SDC11165.jpg

Have you ever had a good prayer session, and then as you were getting up you made another statement to God? Has that statement been asking or pleading with God? Has it been a statement of praising him? Have you ever made a quick and unplanned statement of thanks to God after your intense prayer session? These quick, barely discernible after-prayers are wrung from our spirits and offered up, without planning, guile or deceit. Just what are these after-prayers?

They are the prayers after our prayers and are the most pure and impassioned, because they are not contrived. They are spontaneous and natural. The striking, intensely emotional prayer of a righteous man is of much advantage, profit and assistance. There is nothing wrong with the long, constructed prayers that help us to organize our thoughts and come before God with confidence. These types of humble offerings can also be capable of producing the intended result. After-prayers, however, come closer to communing with God.

These authentic, powerful and ardent prayers are the simple statements that are birthed from us in unintended devotion. The length is not important, because they are often one, two or three sentences. They are cast up unawares to God. When you recognize that you have offered up an after-prayer, be thankful and rejoice. They are like whispers, like the Holy Spirit. They are uncluttered with superfluous words and thoughts. They are petitions and thanksgivings that are truly fervent and effectual. They are honest and deeply-felt, a sweet incense to God, whom we can only really worship in spirit and in truth.

The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16 KJV

Word definitions taken from: The Free Dictionary by Farlex
Scripture references taken from: Bible Study Tools
Image credit: FunkyMonkeySnacks07

Meeting God In The Morning

Spending time with God early in the morning has become such an important part of my life that I talk about it a lot; like now. No matter where I have lived, I've tried to find a park nearby, where I can walk and enjoy God's presence along with nature.  If there's no nearby park, I'll find a quiet street, preferably with nice foliage along twisting and turning sidewalks.

I've found that business and office parks offer a serene and lovely walking experience, with their professionally landscaped environs. On Saturday, and especially on Sunday mornings, I can walk in these areas without having to avoid the disturbance of traffic and people.

Meeting God in the morning sets my day for success. I didn't say that my day necessarily goes the way that I want it to when I meet God in the morning. When I fellowship early with my Lord, I am, however, able to handle, with confidence and spiritual strength, whatever may come. On days when everything goes well, my joy is magnified through knowing that I spent time first thing that morning, with the Author and Finisher of my faith.

God In The Morning
Ralph Spaulding Cushman

I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day!
Image Credit: largeprime at flickr
Poem obtained from