Tag Archive | Bible

Day 2 – Developing Intimacy with God Through Daily Devotions

How to Develop Intimacy with God Through Daily Devotions
HOMEWORK
Intimacy – Marked by very close association, contact, or friendship developing through
long association; very familiar; suggesting informal warmth or privacy; of a very personal
nature.

1. Choose the best time of day (morning or evening) to commit to setting aside devotional
time. Don’t set yourself up for discouragement by setting a goal that you will not be able
to keep. Start small, and then add time as you grow. Begin with 15 minutes.

2. Choose a book of the Bible. Read one chapter, or less if it is a long chapter or verses
that you want to ponder. In addition, you may also want to read a daily devotional. See
suggestions listed below.

3. Pray. Specifically pray over the truths you have read, asking God to speak to you about
how you can obey; what you should do or what you should change in your life in order to
obey.

4. Spend a few minutes in quiet listening. This may be uncomfortable for you at first.
Living in a noise-filled world, most of us are not accustomed to sitting quietly. Persevere
and God will be faithful to speak to you. Remember that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in
your heart and mind and can minister to you in your thoughts!

5. Journal. Write out what these verses mean to you.
• Journal – A record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use.

6. Pray. Use the following to help you pray effectively:
Adoration – Worship and praise God
Confession – Confess and repent of any known sins
Thanksgiving – Expressing gratitude for God’s blessings in your life
Supplication – Humbly make requests for your needs and the needs of others

7. Pray that God will help you to know and acknowledge His presence throughout your day.

Suggested Devotionals
Biblical Principles for a Strong Foundation, by Craig Caster
Daily Experience with God, by Andrew Murray
Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith, by John F. MacArthur
Every Day with Jesus: First Steps with New Believers, by Greg Laurie
Experiencing God, by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King
Meet the Bible: A Panorama of God’s Word…, by Philip Yancey and Brenda Quinn
My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers
On the Other Side of the Garden, by Virginia Ruth Fugate (married women)
Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
The One Year Book of Psalms, by William J. Peterson and Randy Petersen
The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian (married women)

This was a direct copy and paste of the worksheet written by Pastor Craig Caster and can be downloaded for free from the following website:  http://www.parentingministry.org/component/content/article/14-main-menu/150-parenting-is-a-ministry-video  I take no ownership of the things written on this page.  I will not be including any answers of my own since this is more of a guide and not really something you write answers down to.  😀

About “Love Notes”

My Love

Image by Jennuine Captures via Flickr

My “Love Notes” section is where I jot down little tid bits from the Lord.  Things he may share with me from His word, in my dreams, through my friends, how ever He chooses.

There is also a subsection called “Daily Dose” where I write down the verse or chapter that I chewed on that day and what I got from it. 

I have also recently add the subsection called “The Assignment” which I am hoping turns out to be a fun adventure. 😀

 

Tried and True

I read the words in my Bible and I know they are true.  I have seen them come alive in my life and change it in such a dramatic way that it can not be denied. 

 
Lightning is a highly visible form of energy t...
Mwahahaha! via Wikipedia

Like, for example, when I was going through my divorce.  I was feeling so hurt and betrayed .  All I wanted at first was for God to just zap him! 

 I knew God could do it. I had read about when Elijah was on the hill and God had poured out fire on his enemies – I wanted some of that!  My ex had left me for another woman, ripped out my heart and set fire to all my hopes and dreams about our future, not to mention abandoned our unborn child, the least God to do was let a stray lightning bolt melt his car, right?  Then in the midst of all this hurting and wanting revenge I stumbled upon Matthew 5:38-48 which reads:

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’

39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.

40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.

41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.

42Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

   43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.

44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

At first I thought, “That is too heavy of a thing you are asking for Lord.  How can I love someone who doesn’t love me? How can I give to someone who took everything I had to offer and declared it not enough?  How can I bless someone who has wounded me and continues to hurt me so deeply?” And the answer I heard in reply changed my whole heart.

“What was asked of Jesus was a heavy thing.  He loves you when you don’t love Him.  He continues to give to you when you are ungrateful and disregard His gifts.  He blesses you who wounded Him and continue to hurt Him by not believing.”

It is like something broke inside me – but in a good way! – and all that anger and resentment melted away.  I still had to work on being a little bitter for a while but I was no longer praying for lightening.  I was praying for him to receive peace, healing, love and blessings.  My time with God went from being venting sessions full of anger and fear to times of rest and healing for my own soul. 

Thanks to the living word of God I was able to do in 9 months what it usually takes people years to accomplish – fully forgive, love, bless and release my ex husband from all the wrong he had done to me.  It had nothing to do with me – Gods word in my heart is what made the change.  I was not strong enough to forgive.  I was not strong enough to love someone who hated me.  I was not strong enough to do any of it but Jesus in me was.  

~Nichole

Is there a such thing as a good habit??

As promised, I got together my notes from Maria about our discussion the other day on habits.  I have been so excited about writing this post that I have been thinking about it all day!!

As we talked on the phone Tuesday Maria made some very shocking statements.  She told me about her dream (which I am not going to share – sorry!) and then about how when she woke up she felt pressed to pray.  She began rebuking things that she and I had never considered before to be a demon – habits! As she was praying this she thought to herself – is there even a demon of habits and if so does that imply that all habits are in fact bad? Even the ones we would consider good?  If they are all bad, what is it about the nature of habits that make them so?

The more she talked the more my wheels started spinning and coming up with examples of “good” habits:

Dental floss

Floss Daily - via Wikipedia

 

 
  • reading my bible every day
  • flossing my teeth
  • blessing my food
  • feeding my child on a regular basis
  • changing my undies every day
  • I could go on and on

This strange defensive feeling rose up inside me – “wait wait wait – I have good habits you can’t tell me my good habits are actually bad!”

The conclusion Maria came to was that when you form a habit it takes the choice out of the action.  You are doing that habit as an automatic response.  It takes the love, passion, and desire out. 

At first, you are excited “I am going to read my Bible every night!”  You hop in bed, snuggle into the quilt, grab your Bible and soak up some God Time.  But eventually, a habit is formed and suddenly one night you climb into bed and your bible is in your hand with out you even thinking about reaching for it.  You skim through the next chapter on you bible reading guide and by the time you fall asleep you don’t remember a thing you’ve just read.  Matter of fact the poor Bible is still on your bed getting scrunched up by your pillows! Okay, maybe that last part is just me, but none the less, I think you see where I am going with this. 

As you’re on auto pilot skimming over your nightly read, there sits “bad habit” on your shoulder nodding away “that’s right, you keep reading those scriptures, you better read those scriptures every night!  who cares if you’re too tired.  who cares if you’re not going to remember it.  you better read.”  Then suddenly you have guilt popping up right there with bad habit sayin, ” if you don’t read then you’re letting god down” and now you’re in a real mess because here comes mr.legalist saying, “you haven’t even cracked open your bible all day, you have to read now!”  You are so tired and not even really catching any of the words you are reading so you decide to stop before you finish your chapter and now here comes condemnation, “you never spend time with god. you are so lazy. you are such a looser you can’t even read one chapter. god is mad at you for not finishing that chapter.” Yikes!

 
An explosion

Yea that's about what it felt like - via Wikipedia

My mind just about exploded at this point.  I am suddenly realizing the depth of this issue!  OF COURSE there would be a demon of habit!  If the devil can’t keep you out of church then he will make it as automatic and redundant as possible.  Then once the habit is firmly in place he will use guilt, shame and condemnation against you to the point where you are no longer skipping off to church full of sunshine and joy but instead sulking up the steps dreading the next 2 boring hours but feeling like you HAVE to be there.  Going to church on Sunday is just what you do.  Sunday from 9am to 12pm is the slot of time reserved for church and secret naps while you sit hidden behind the lady with the big hair. You are going because you always go, not because you are expecting and wanting to encounter God and encourage your brothers and sisters.

 

In the middle of this mind explosion I arrived (safely) at home and just had to share all this perspective with my Sweet Dad.  He, in his ‘hmmmm..I don’t know about this’ voice, says, “Interesting…I’m going to have to look into that.”  Which led us on a very spirited Bible search and discussion which I am going to spare you from and just get to the point already!!

We decided that there really is NO such thing as a good habit!  There is only one reference to what might be considered a good habit in the bible, which I will post and discuss under the “daily dose” topic, and aside from that all the rest of the habits are bad in the Lords eyes! 

In both the old and the new testament there are examples of God chastising the Israelites and Pharisees about their tendencies to perform good Godly actions out of habit rather than out of a heart of love and service to the Lord. They do them to be seen of man – because they are supposed to do them – not because they want to connect with God and please Him.

“Wait, Wait, Wait!” My dad says, “You can’t just throw out a blanket statement though and declare alllll habits as bad ones! What about changing your underwear?” (Okay, so his real example was making the bed every day but underwear is just funnier;)) 

Love ? I love love love you.

God wants our heart not just our time - via Flickr

From there we decided that there has to be a distinction between actions that you do that require no heart: brushing your teeth, going to the gym, making the bed, and actions that do require heart: praying, reading your Bible, kissing your honey when they come home from work.  If the action is supposed to come from your heart but comes from a place of automatic reaction it has lost its ‘goodness’. 

God isn’t looking for people to be in the habit of reading His word or going to church.  God is looking for people who love Him and long to spend time with Him.  He is looking for people who talk to Him/pray with fire and passion, people who treasure His word and plant it in their hearts so they never lose it, because those are the ones who can go out and impact the world of lost, hurting people. 

Maria pointed out as she read my rough draft of this post that even heartless actions can’t really be considered a ‘good habit’ so much as just self-discipline.  The more self-discipline you have the more likely you are going to brush your teeth every day or walk the dog.  This might really seem like splitting hairs at this point but I think she is on to something.  🙂