Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. (Psalm 37:3-6)
When taking satisfaction in Christ, our desires immediately change from our selfish ways and turn toward a desire to please Him. He is our loving Father who wishes to bless His children by forming us in His righteousness. As we continue to commit our ways to Him, He works through us causing complete delight and joy in Him. It is this joy and peace that gives us the strength to seek Him daily.
By Dr. Faye Chechowich, Taylor University
Materials adapted from Karen Mains
A spiritual discipline is an activity whereby we put ourselves in a spiritual position where we are open to God doing a transforming spiritual work in our lives. Journaling can provide the opportunity for us to express our thoughts and feelings to God. As we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings, we hold them up to the truth and light of God’s Word in order to experience renewal and healing. In a journal written for this purpose, there are as many references to God and his Words as there are to our thoughts and feelings. The following format is a good way to begin.
Lord, I come into Your presence.
Intentionally focus on the experience of being in God’s presence. There are a number of ways you can help yourself to be aware that you are in God’s presence. You might sing a song like “Be Still and Know That I Am God,” or “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,” or “As the Deer Panteth for the Water.” You could also read a scripture passage that expresses the invitation of God (Revelation 3:20, Matthew 11:28-30, Revelation 22:17, Psalm 100) or humanity’s desire for God (Psalm 42:1, Psalm 62:1-2, Psalm 62:1-8, Zephaniah 3:17).
Lord, this is what is on my heart today.
Write about an issue that you need to explore and get God’s perspective about. This section is designed for more than venting any and every negative emotion you might have. Instead, it begins with honest descriptions of how you think and feel. (For an example of this kind of exercise read Psalm 69, 137, 21, 30.) Your prayer as you write this section should be, “Lord, this is how I really am. I want to end up thinking Your thoughts about these situations.”
Lord, I am listening for Your voice.
“Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10). Go to the scriptures to experience God’s Word. Sometimes God’s Word for you will come in the midst of your reading from your scheduled portions of scripture. Sometimes God will bring to mind another place in his Word for you to explore. Read with the prayer, “Lord, how does Your Word teach me to feel and think about my life?” Invite Him to be your guide as you read.
Lord, I confess sin and I acknowledge Your compassion and forgiveness.
As we consider our lives in light of God’s Word, we become aware of our limitations, our needs, our incorrect thinking, and our sin. We confess these things and then revel in the reality of God’s grace, forgiveness, and compassion. Having a list of scripture references that affirm God’s response to our confession is helpful at this stage (e.g., Psalm 103:8-14, 1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1).
Lord, today I praise You and worship You.
Praise and thanksgiving are means God gives us to lift our perspective beyond our circumstances. We praise God for who he is by focusing on an aspect of his character. Begin to develop a list of his attributes that you can focus on during these times. Use the Psalms and music to help you express your love and appreciation for God. Thank him for what he has done and how he has revealed himself to you. (The “God Hunt” – Where have I seen evidence of God’s presence and work today?)
Lord, today I intercede for the world, for those I love, and for myself.
Create an intercession section in your notebook to keep a record of the requests you bring to God. Develop a list of Scripture references that provide instruction for intercession.
Lord, is there anything else?
Before you leave your focused time with God, take a few minutes for silence. Pay attention to the thoughts that come to mind. Tell your thoughts to God, inviting him to be at home in your mind and heart as you move back into the activity of your day.
God’s gift of salvation is free to us as we call upon His name and place our faith and hope in Him.
And praise the Lord for that free gift! Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of our sin is death (eternal separation from God), and that is too much for us to bear.
But while the gift of salvation is free, this does not mean that there is no cost to being a follower of Christ.
So many want to live the Christian life without any sacrifice, but there’s more to it than that. For instance, in saying “Yes” to Christ, we’re saying “No” to much of what the world around us has to offer.
Another “cost” that Christians should—must—pay is associated with reaching the lost—those who haven’t yet recognized their need for a Savior and are still living life on their own terms in a dark and dying world. If you look at Luke 15:8-10 you’ll see what I mean:
“Light a lamp” First, it can cost resources to look for the lost. The text tells us that the woman lit a lamp in order to find her lost coin. You may not think that’s a big deal, but the lady chose to use a very precious and expensive asset by lighting the oil. That’s how important the coin was to her.
“Sweep the house” Second, it can cost time to look for the lost. Whether the English word “sweep” here literally means cleaning, or if it means searching inch-by-inch, both reflect a laborious investment as she seeks the prized coin. She did it without hesitation because of the value of that which was lost.
“Search carefully” Finally, looking for the lost will cost patience and thoroughness. The woman “searched carefully until she found it.” She illuminated the room, searched, cleaned, and looked again. There was an emotional investment and she continued because it was precious to her.
Yes, there is a price to be paid for reaching the lost. The question remains: Are they worth it?
Do me a favor—stop for a moment and think about those around you who have not made a decision for Christ. Think about your mom or dad, your brother or sister, your neighbor, your co-worker.
Now tell me—are they worth it? Of course they are!
In fact, our text tells us that the souls of those around us are so important that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Every soul is precious and needs to hear the message of hope in Jesus Christ. He paid the ultimate price for you. Ask Him to help you as you extend yourself to reach others.