How To Live Successfully In The Coming Year, Part 2

Grace For The Journey

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LivingSuccessfully2  In yesterday’s blog, I shared how God wants us to live life successfully and that He has given us His grace to enable us to do that.  There are four essentials truths that are the foundation for living successfully throughout this year.  Over the next three days we will discover how these disciplines will give us the power to live in a way that will bring praise and glory to God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Essential Discipline #1: A Daily Time Of Focused Communion With God.

Many readers are familiar with the old classic Practicing the Presence of God, and that is an excellent habit to cultivate.  But the foundation of that has to be a time of focused personal communion with God, and it needs to be daily.  Demas didn’t just wake up one day and make a 90-degree turn.  That doesn’t happen.

Demas drifted little by little toward the attractions of the world.

And if you and I do not practice a daily focused time of communion with God, we will find ourselves also drifting in the wrong direction.

Before the development of today’s global positioning satellites mariners and pilots would have to check their navigational position regularly.  This allowed for corrections to be made that allowed them to stay on course.

You and I need a daily course correction,

The purpose of a quiet time . . .

Is not just to read a chapter in the Bible

And go over a few prayer requests.

Rather . . .

It should be a time of personal communion with God.

Obviously we need a plan.  We don’t just open our Bible and point our finger at a passage of Scripture and say, “This is my passage for today.”  But communion with God is far, far more than a plan.

Communion with God is meeting with Him. . .

It is asking God to speak to us,

And us speaking to Him,

As we read and interact with His Word in prayer

The Bible says something similar in Psalm 42:1–2, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”

And in Psalm 27:4 the Bible says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

The beauty of the Lord is not a physical beauty.

It’s the beauty of His attributes.

It’s the beauty of what He has done for us in Christ.

The great desire of the psalmist

Was to reflect upon God

And spend time with Him.

This is what the focused time with God is all about.

Any plan you have must direct you to God Himself.  Do we spend time with God or do we just read about God in the Bible?  Spending time with God certainly involves the reading the Bible.

But the object of reading the Bible is to meet with God,

It is to have God speak to us and to respond to Him.

As I open my Bible each day, I ask, “Lord, as I spend time with You today would You speak to me from your Word?  Would you encourage me?  Would you teach me?  Would you rebuke me if I need it?  Lord, whatever You see that I need today, I come to spend time with You.”  Then as I begin to read the passage I respond to God over what I’m reading.  I pray back to Him whatever is appropriate in that passage.

If you read through the Psalms, you will notice that in most of them the psalmist is speaking to God or about God.  When he speaks to God we hear him rejoicing, and sometimes lamenting.  In Psalm 88:4, the psalmist says, O God, why do You hide Your face from me?”  He is interacting with God.  This is what we want to do.  And as we daily seek to have that personal communion with God, God will give us that “navigational fix” and He will show us what course corrections we need to make in our lives so that we do not drift off course.

If you and I are going to live successfully in 2019,

We must make it a practice – a discipline –

To have that focused, daily communion with God.

Our youngest daughter died suddenly in 2008 . . . As I was struggling with the reality of her death, a Scripture passage came to my mind.  It was Psalm 116:15 which says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  With that came the realization that God Himself had an interest in what had happened to our daughter.  For us we lost someone precious and whom we loved dearly; but for God, it was the homecoming of one of His children.  I realized that as incredible as it seems, God eagerly awaits the homecoming of His children.  And then there came to my mind Psalm 16:11, which says “In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  As I prayed over that Scripture, I remember thinking, “But what about us?”  Quickly there came to mind words from 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

With that assurance from God and His Word I grieved, but not as one who has no hope. In addition, I was comforted by the assurance that God had joyously welcomed one of His children home and that she was enjoying His presence forevermore.

Let me hasten to give a warning against becoming legalistic about our time of communion with God.

We do not earn blessings from God

Because we have this time,

Nor do we forfeit His blessing

On a day we miss it.

God does not bless because we spend time with him,

But He often blesses through that time.

We should also not expect God to always speak to us through His Word in such a dramatic fashion as I experienced that day.  As with navigational course corrections, God’s spiritual course corrections in our lives are usually incremental and not especially dramatic.  But they are necessary.

I hope you’ll come back tomorrow as we look at the second of four essentials truths that are the foundation for starting and living throughout this year.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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