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God’s invitation has always been for us to draw close to Him.  We see right from creation, in the garden of Eden that in the cool of the evening that God would walk in the garden with Adam and Eve

Time and time again through the OT we see the invitation to draw near to God.

Enoch walked with God right into heaven in genesis 5

Abraham was called to follow God in Genesis 10 to a new land that God would show Him, and on the way he built altars as physical representations that God was there.

Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven in Genesis 28.

Moses encountered God in a burning bush and was invited up onto mt Sinai into the visible presence of God.  He also built a tent of meeting – a place he regularly went to pray where a physical cloud of God’s presence would come down in Exodus 33.

God called Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 in a time when hearing from God was incredibly rare, so rare that Samuel, a young child at the time, didn’t know who it was.  He was the first in a line of prophets who God sent to call His people home.

In Jeremiah it says several times Time and time again I have sent you all My servants the prophets, proclaiming: ‘Turn now, each of you from his evil way of life, and correct your actions. Do not go after other gods to serve them. Live in the land that I have given to you and your fathers.’ But you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me. Jeremiah 35:15

David – the greatest king of Israel, a man after God’s heart, shepherd, giant slayer, song writer communicates through the psalms the invitation of God and that we are created to worshp and draw near.   In Psalm 27:8 he writes When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

 

I grew up going to the catholic church, where it was more of a Sunday thing and a set of rules.  God seemed far far away on a cloud somewhere and wasn’t relevant to real life.  I didn’t think much about God between Sundays and if I did it was more about if I had been good enough or how many hail marys would that cost me at confession at easter time.   I never thought of God in the context of relationship or friendship.

It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I began to wonder if there was more to life, more to me and more to God.    The very first time I went to youth group my whole grid on God was shaken as I heard someone pray and I just knew he knew God and that God was real and that I could know Him too, in fact I knew I MUST know Him.  I had no idea what that looked like but that sense of I MUST KNOW GOD was so strong and real.  I went to their easter camp and on the Saturday afternoon the speaker said go find a space by yourself and talk to God.  I found a space by myself under a big tree and cried and cried because I knew I wasn’t good enough to talk to God, or go to heaven.  That night the speaker told us about jesus and how He made the way for us to come close to God and I went forward and gave my life to Jesus.   God had been drawing me and it wasn’t about how good I could be, He had made the way through the death of Jesus and my part to play was to say yes to His invitation.

It’s almost a chicken and the egg scenario… what came first… God invites us to draw near, we draw near, He draws near, He invites us to draw near, we respond and draw near, He draws near, He invites, we respond, He draws near.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done – God invites us to come close, to be His friend, to be His child.

Romans 5:8 says But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

So how do we do it?  How do we draw near to God?

We see in Matthew 6 that Jesus gave His disciples guidelines on how to make this real in their lives.  He says

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [c]openly.

 

We can see keys in this verse that will help us develop a lifestyle of prayer and seeking God.

 

On Purpose – one of the key words in this passage is when.  We need to have a when.  We need to schedule our times with God and make it an on purpose regular commitment to carve out time with Him.   Our lives get so busy and filled up with work, extra curricular activities, people, families and I know that unless I have made it a regular rhythm to spend time with God it gets to the end of the day and its like ooops, hey God thanks for a great day you’re awesome snore snore snore….

The key is to find what time works for you.  Some people are morning people and delight in spending time with God in the morning.  Some people are NOT morning people but find that giving God that time as a sacrifice sets them up for the day.  Others do lunch with God and find time in their breaks to read the bible.  Some listen to the audio bible or a podcast on their commute to and from work, making their car a holy place.  Though once I have been having a worship time with God in the car and literally had to pull over because I burst into tears and was overcome by His presence!!!   I am a in the night hours person and have my reading time at night because that works for me and is a way of ending my day with God’s words filling my heart and mind.  Find what works for you and then in the immortal words of nike, just do it.  Do it on purpose and be intentional about it.

 

Place – Jesus instructed his disciples to go into their room, shut the door and spend time with God.   The idea is to have a meeting place, just like Moses did with his tent of meeting where he would go and meet with God face to face as friends.  There is something about having a room, or a chair or a place where you go and meet with God.   In the movie War Room the women turned their walk in wardrobes into prayer closets and created an intentional space to spend time with God.  It gives it the sense of this is my God meeting space, when I come here, when I sit in this chair or this room, I meet with God.

Susanna Wesley was a mother of nineteen children who recognized her need for quiet being with God. (No small feat when you have nineteen children and no netflix, movies, iphones or ipads ) To ensure she had quiet time, she would put her big hoop skirt over her head to create a private sanctuary. She trained her children not to interrupt her if they saw her with her skirt over her head!

 

Personal – each of us are wired in unique ways – to live and to connect with God.  How you pray and worship will look different from the person next to you.  There are so many creative ways to spend time with God and there is no one right way.  Prayer doesn’t have to be kneeling beside your bed with your hands clasped – unless that works for you!

In our high school girls connect group we’ve been doing Youth Alpha and one of the sessions was on prayer, followed the week later by a session on the bible.  Over those two nights we talked about the different ways that we pray and read the bible.  Some of them journal, write out prayers, draw prayers, do word studies, follow youversion bible plans, dance, lie on the floor, sing out loud, meditate, memorize… you get the picture.  Paul Saunders shared how he likes to go for walks and over the course of his walking God would show him some random object or thing outside and speak to him, like object lessons.

 

Persevere – I remember the first time I felt God in my bedroom – it was a completely unexpected moment – I knew that God was at church and at camp but that God in such a tangible way would be in my bedroom blew my mind.  I was just sitting in my bean bag, so you know, not on my knees with my hands clasped – I seriously really knew nothing when I became a Christian! – listening to some worship music a friend had given me.  All of a sudden it was like I felt an incredible peace and joy and love and all the things I had felt when I gave my life to Jesus.  I jumped up and jumped around and danced because I was just so happy.  My parents actually asked what was going on – I think because the music sounded um, joyful instead of um, more metal which had been my genre of choice.

But its not always like that.  Sometimes I’ll pray and worship and have that awareness of God’s presence, that peace and sense of Him that I’ve grown to recognise as God, but other times its like me talking to you right now in conversation.   Sometimes words jump off the pages, okay, I confess, the screen of my bible, like it was written just for me and other times  its more like just reading.  But I know that Jesus said that when I draw near to God, He draws near to me and rewards me for seeking Him.   I think that is why God uses the word SEEK.

Firstly as children of God and in fact as human beings God is always with us, in the sense that God is omnipresent and therefore always near everything and everyone. He holds everything in being. His power is ever-present in sustaining and governing all things.

But there is that shift when we consciously fix or focus our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God, when we turn aside from everything around us and the distractions of the world and life to focus on God and God alone.

(1 Chronicles 22:19)  “Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.”

Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

The passion translation says: Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.

We have to preserve in spending time with God.  Though we may not feel it every time we read the bible, pray and worship it is having a positive effect on our spirit and our life.  Time with God is never wasted.  Often what we store up in the silence comes back to us in the storm and we find that the things we have read in the past comes back to us at the exact right time we need it.

Every time we draw near to God, He draws near to us.

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I am LOVING this book by @andrewbergh!!!! I’m being good and reading it day by day as andrew instructs and love the gold revealed each day, that makes the Word come alive.  This is the best book I’ve read about HOW to read the Word and WHY it’s so worthwhile.  I think every new Christian should read it to get a solid foundation in developing a friendship with God, and every older Christian should read it to get a fresh sense of wow.  This book could revitalize your walk with God.

And it’s Free! Like seriously!  Get it from here http://bit.ly/tilbook
http://www.liveinspired.space/start

From the website: This book will not only help fix this but it will encourage you on a practical day to day plan to live inspired by God’s Word. I’d like to encourage you to start the 21-day inspired life project outlined in this book. I believe it’ll be an incredible investment of your time to either empower you or encourage you to get God’s Word from your head to your heart, every day for yourself!

LOVED this (How To Read The Whole Bible In 2015) that i read from The Gospel Coalition last night on how to read the Bible in a year, and also how to dig deeper and more meditatively.

I personally read the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan—read through the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice, and have done so as a personal rhythm for the past 5-7 years.  Each year I switch it up by changing what version I read it in.  Currently I’m reading the AMP version.

The Gospel Coalition article has some fantastic links to Bible Plans and extended reading and a fabulous breakdown of the themes of the Bible.

bible hand really good

Do you want to read the whole Bible this year?

The average person reads 200 to 250 words per minute; there are about 775,000 words in the Bible; therefore it takes less than 10 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year.

(For those who like details, there’s a webpage devoted to how long it takes to read each book of the Bible. And if you want a simple handout that has every Bible book with a place to put a check next to every chapter, go here.)

Audio Bibles are usually about 75 hours long, so you can listen to it in just over 12 minutes a day.

But the point is not merely to read the whole thing to say you’ve done it or to check it off a list. The Bible itself never commands that we read the Bible through in a year. What it commends is knowing the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and meditating or storing or ruminating upon God’s self-disclosure to us in written form (Deut. 6:7; 32:46; Ps. 119:11, 15, 23, 93, 99; 143:5). Read the rest of this entry »

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And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Joshua 5:14 v14

Joshua bowed down and worshipped Jesus.

Worship is more than singing. It’s about expressing surrender, its about wrapping language about how we feel, its about changing our perception and seeing things from God’s vantage point. The quickest way I know how to knock something down is to worship God. When faced with obstacles, make a choice to get your eyes open and on Jesus and to worship Him.

 

Worship reinforces what matters most, reminds us of truths we forget and renews our desire to live what we believe. Rick Warren

 

It reminds us that yes, God is with us.

It reminds us of His greatness and power.

It lifts our eyes beyond our circumstances to believe the unfailing promises of God.

We see it time and time again in the psalms of david.

David is doing what I call compraying. It’s a combination of complaining and praying.

David is being real with God. Calling a spade a spade.

But then instead of staying in that place of woe is me, David flips it around and fixes his eyes upon God, and begins to worship.

There are so many instances in the bible where worship preceded victory.

We have got to be a people who carve out time to encounter God. I know I say it every time I get up here, and all the time at housegroup but it is so vital.

 

There is something you get in the secret place that you can get no where else. Do everything you can to establish a secret history with Jesus. ~ Banning Liebscher

Read the rest of this entry »

loved this wonderful devotional by one of our leading and loving it community group ladies today – rest and spending time with Jesus was so on my heart in hosting the conversation so was neat we were “on the same page!” loved what she shared out of Mark – that the disciples were called into REST before feeding the 5000, their ability to “go and feed them” came out of that place of overflowing out of being with Jesus.

Faith to Stand

Life is busy, as women, moms, wives, daughters, friends, employees ,leaders etc.,having passion for our calling and the investment we make in those in our lives or we are leading can be depleting. This is something that God has really had to work with me on since I tend to be passionate about life and what I commit to. If a little passion is good then allot is GREAT, right? NO! God has shown me that this is not at all the case…. And not a lesson I have learned easily.

Mark 6 30 – 44 is a Bible story that is familiar to many, Jesus feeding the 5K, I was reading through this passage and God showed me a few things I had not seen before, that I am excited to share with you. I love how Go can take what we already know and shine new light on…

View original post 1,195 more words

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The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul
~ Psalm 23

calibration – [noun] the act of checking or adjusting (by comparison with a standard) the accuracy of a measuring instrument;

our devo times are opporutnities of recalibration – as we spend time with God, in His Word, worshipping Him, praying and talking to Him about our life and His Kingdom and His plans and purposes, as we renew our mind, as we confess our sins and repent and are thankful – are are recalibrated and adjusted to the standard and measure of Christ, we are transformed more and more into sons and daughters of God.

…so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Ephesians 4:12-13

bill johnson says “Never gaze at something that does not belong in your future.” recalibration keeps our gaze upon God and His Kingdom, not ourselves, the world, flesh etc.

devo times recalibrate our hearts to continue loving God and His ways – it renews our mind, exposes weaknesses and vunerabliities to sin, gives vision and wisdom.  it reminds us how amazing, awesome, powerful, mighty, gracious, compassionate, loving, kind, and glorious God is.

spending time with God and in His Word and prayer and worship unlocks something within us.

the things of God may seem illogical to our minds – but when you really look at it and think about God – they’re completely logical!

when you line mind vs God up, God wins the head to head every time.

we need to meditate upon God’s Word and let it rewrite the truths in our heart.  Read His Word, let it settle, let it challenge us, let it recalibrate in our spirit.

i am loving being in the book of Luke at the moment.  i read by a reading plan (M’Cheyne Bible Plan) and do overall love reading The Word and learning about God and drawing near to Him… i believe God reveals Himself in the Word and speaks to us through it.  anyway, back to Luke.  i am loving Luke at the moment.  so thought i would share some of my favourite passages!

 

 

Luke 5:15-16 News about Jesus kept spreading. Large crowds came to listen to him teach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and pray.

I’ve already blogged on this passage, how important, vital and neccessary prayer is – that Jesus made it a priority, even leaving the crowds of desperate people in need of healing and deliverance – he left the power ministry to draw near to God.

“I will not fear the desert place–it is there that You speak to me with greatest tenderness.

I will not mourn lost popularity–You speak Your secrets to the solitary who will take time to listen.” Thoughts In The Watchtower

Our personal devotional time – praying – reading the Word – worship – is what keeps our relationship alive with our Heavenly Father.  don’t neglect it.   Esteem it.

 

 

wanting to draw near to God and get into His Word?

a new christian and dont know where to start?

dont have a bible plan but wanting to establish a regular diligent devotional time?

wanting to freshen up your devotional time?

the essential 100 is a great bible plan that concentrates on 100 essential passages and events in teh bible, ranging from creation, to the suffering servant in isaiah, to joshua taking jerico and 50 new testament highlights too.

fantastic for those just starting to read the bible or new christians to get a good overview of some of the significant passages.

i really love the version over at sound of a soft breath – because brad has blogged his own thoughts and insights to these passages and inludes images, songs and youtube clips.  its also an easy click away on each post to biblegateway to read each passage online.

i totally recommend it!

I look to the hills!

Where will I find help?

It will come from the LORD,

who created the heavens

and the earth.

The LORD is your protector,

and he won’t go to sleep

or let you stumble.

The protector of Israel

doesn’t doze

or ever get drowsy.

The LORD is your protector,

there at your right side

to shade you from the sun.

You won’t be harmed

by the sun during the day

or by the moon at night.

The LORD will protect you

and keep you safe

from all dangers.

The LORD will protect you

now and always

wherever you go.

Psalm 121

I look to the hills!  Where will I find help?  It will come from the LORD, who created the heavens and the earth.

Help will come from the One who created the stars and the globe we call planet earth.  From the One who created the zebra, the sunflower, the grasshopper, the whale, the seahorse, the persian cat, the orchid, the camel, the mouse, the slatter, the totara tree, the starfish, the tiger, the cow, the goat, the platapus, the humming bird, the eagle, the kiwi, the butterfly, the hippo…. you get the picture… the creative almighty God is the one who gives us aid!

The protector of Israel doesn’t doze or ever get drowsy.

God does not get distracted or unfocused.  He cares for us and watches us.  His eye is upon us and he knows the number of hairs on our head and hairs on our toes (thats a claire-ism in case you were wondering!)

The LORD will protect you now and always wherever you go.

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Worship Wednesday

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