Your relationship with the Lord and aspects of it should not just be a New Year's resolution, but a life-long resolution. I know many Christ-followers are making their New Year's resolutions and many are read my Bible every day, pray more, journal more, love others more, and go to church more. I believe that New Year's resolutions usually fail, because we are trying to do things by ourself. I love what Ann Voskamp says in her blog, "Trying harder only results in harder trials." We were not meant to do this on our own, we were given the Holy Spirit when we gave our life to Christ, but we as self-centered human beings set out to do it all by ourselves. You see we live in a world that screams self-reliance, self-power, self-centrality, but we are not of the world. Jesus asks of the Father in John 17:15-17, "15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth." We can't be sanctified which means to be set apart or to be made holy, purified, without knowing and being in the Word.
Ok ok, let me confess, I find it so hard especially now that I have a baby, to get in the Word daily. So I am writing this to myself as well. Here is my challenge to myself and every reader out there.
1. Dive head first!
-Ask of the Lord for a hunger and thirst for the Word. He doesn't want you to read and meditate out of a sense of duty and obligation. We as a church I feel pressure every Christian in our pews so much to do the morning "quiet time" that they are pushed away towards things that they like to do. We enjoy facebook, pinterest, youtube, blogs, and tv that we spend more time on those than we ever do with our Creator. Wake up you sleepers! He wants you, he wants a relationship with you, he wrote a whole book full of truth for us, why aren't we diving in? Lord that is my prayer for me and everyone else reading this, that we would hunger and thirst for your Word. I pray it would come alive when we read it, i pray we soak it up deep in our bones, that it penetrates to the deepest part of our being, that we store it up in our hearts as your Word says. I pray that we would use it more than any other earthly "wisdom", that you are our ultimate guide our life, our tree, our base that we build everything on. I pray that we would love your Law! Amen.
2. Join a community
No I didn't say commune, we aren't FLDS here. By this I mean, surround yourself with loving, Christ-following, godly, real, and encouraging friends. God gives us church, He gives us brothers and sisters in Christ to lift us up and encourage us, and speak truth to us. He speaks through them so be listening. At the same time ask the Lord to make you a great friend as well, loving and active in others lives. Put yourself last, serve others, love others. Let me give a shout out to my sister who is one of very few that gets it. She lives in a very low-income mostly african-american community, in an old house with two other girls. Down the street is the "boys house" where they meet weekly with all the neighbors, serve food, hang with kids. They just do life with each other and those they live around. I am in awe of her and her selfless faithful heart to do exactly what Jesus did. I live in suburbia and I confess I am nowhere near doing this well. I am a part of a group of godly young women who challenge and encourage me. But I am not serving those who are in need, who don't know Jesus. I truly admire her. So this is my prayer for all of us, Lord, may you surround us with people who love you and passionately pursue you. Reveal yourself in my brothers and sisters, let me open up my heart and mind to what others share with me. Let us prayerfully reach out to others, smiling, talking to, encouraging everyone around me, that our light would shine so bright that they know something is different because of Christ in us. Thank you Lord for all the friends you give us, let us not take advantage of them but put them first. Amen.
3. Talk to your Dad
Man, he is waiting to hear from you. I always listen to James MacDonald everyday and he is talking now about prayer. He mentions that God already knows what we are praying for, rather prayer is for us. It is for us to commune with the creator of the universe. How awesome is that??? We were given the gift of Jesus, he died so that we could have eternal life and a relationship with the Lord now. Back in the Old Testament times, only the high priest could talk to God and he had to go through so many rituals to get to God. But now, we are able to talk to God anytime, anywhere, for any reason. Why aren't we doing that more?? I can tell you, because we have our priorities out of whack. We like our lives with busyness, so we don't have "time" to talk to God. This is for me too, if I was to not talk to Nick, my husband, we wouldn't have a marriage. So why would I neglect and not pursue God in prayer. I can't have a great relationship without talking to Him. The Lord our God has paved the way, so lets walk on it!
Here are a few resources I use every day in my time with God.
I always pray for Nick using this awesome book, Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.
I start off my quiet time with Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
I am loving this incredible blog that kind of goes off of her great book. Ann Voskamp is very gifted with her words and is so poetic and seeks passionately after the Lord. Always reminding us to give thanks in place of fear and stress. So good for us busy moms! Blog is here and book is here