Friday, September 28, 2007

Pursuing God

I'm going to reverse the order again on my blogs. I'm back to all the general stuff first and then the devotional. I think it's good to keep going back and forth. It breaks the monotony. We have overcast skies this morning and they are predicting a light rain for this afternoon and evening. It'll probably be just enough to mess up my car. But I've decided to fix that problem. I thought I'd go out with the hose while it's still sprinkling and hose off my entire car. That way it won't turn the dust into mud. There are people who always wash their cars in the rain. They don't have to worry about the rinsing part of the carwash. But the way they described this rain last night on the news it sounds like it's just going to sprinkle lightly if at all, so I won't use soap but I'll spray it off good.

I just stopped and got all my chores done. I almost had a repeat of yesterday. Don't know why it's suddenly hard for me to remember to get my chores done first, before the blog. I think what it is, is that I'm going directly from checking my morning emails and reading the news on into my blog. Well, whatever the reason, I corrected the situation.

I finished my third scarf last night and got a good start on the fourth. I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with all these scarves. I just enjoy knitting them. The next time we go across the river to do our shopping, I'm going to try to take the time to look up a yarn shop and look for some patterns of other things to knit. Although I like knitting scarves I just don't know what I'm going to do with them all.

Michael should be home tomorrow and I'm looking forward to having him home and hearing all about his trip. He's already told me so much over the phone but I'm sure he won't mind telling me again, and again, and again (know what I mean)? I guess that means I have to cook again. I've gone all week with cooking only one night and that was the night my shrimp scampi went in the trash, which reminds me, I need to take the trash out to the barrel and get it out of the house. So far it hasn't started to smell but I don't want to continue chancing it. I don't generate much trash when it's just me here and the bag is only partially full (about 1/4). But I think I should take it out anyway.

I need to work on my project for the day of prayer. I think I just about have it finished until it comes to the typesetting part. Michael will do the cover page and then I'll type all the material into his system and then he'll put it all together for the finished product. It will be nice. I'll get that finalized this afternoon. One of the things on my list of tasks to do today. Well on to my short devotional...

A deep relationship with God is fostered and encouraged by discovering His character and His will for our lives and it is achieved in several ways. Each one, while familiar, represents an important discipline in the Christian life that we pursue in the will of the Lord.

Meditation is an excellent way to build our relationship with God. This is done by reading a Bible passage several times with the express purpose of hearing from the Lord. Then, as we keep up diligent, sustained concentration, the Holy Spirit will communicate to us through the verses. During meditation we benefit by asking ourselves questions such as these: What do these verses reveal about God's character and His nature? Is there a divine promise here for me to claim? A command to obey? An example to follow?

Studying Scripture allows us to draw from many different passages to gain a broader, deeper, more accurate understanding of God's character, purposes, and promises. Studying Scripture differs from meditation in that in meditation we are primarily listening. We take in the words and listen to what is being said to our hearts and minds. In studying we delve deeper into the subject to gain additional understanding of a particular word, phrase, verse, or subject. We may use a concordance to look up other verses that are similar or that add a slightly different meaning and understanding. One of my favorite ways to study is to use several different translations to gain a fuller appreciation of the passage. Different translations add different flavors to the verses and enables me to dig down into the Greek to see why one translation uses one word while another translation uses a different word. Different translations allow us to see the same thing in a different light. I have an 8-translation New Testament that I use a great deal when I'm studying. That way I have eight different translations on the same page. It's very useful. But when we study we must keep in mind why we are studying. We aren't studying to gain facts. We will gain facts but that's not why we are studying. We are studying to see our Lord. God reveals Himself in Scripture. Always go into a study pursuing God, seeking Him and His purposes.

Another key spiritual discipline that we looked at a couple days ago is prayer and it must be the foundation of our meditation and study. Encountering God requires both a listening ear and a receptive heart. But our quest must be marinated in prayer. Not necessarily a formal keep-your-eyes-closed kind of prayer. I'm talking about the running conversation type prayer we talked about just the other day. Hopefully we are able to find a quiet place to study and will be free to just speak out loud when a question comes up. While we're studying we should ask God questions and I personally do this out loud. Why do You say this here and that there? What was on Your mind when You said this, Lord? Reveal Yourself to me, show me what it is You want me to learn here. I don't understand what You mean here, Father. Questions and responses such as these allow us to get "up close and personal" with the Lord. And you know what? He loves it! And we will too. There is nothing so wonderful as being plugged into the Lord. Of feeling His presence there with us as we study and meditate. There is nothing more beautiful than spending an hour with the Lord in close communion over His word. There is nothing so satisfying as speaking to Him as if He were sitting there, right across the table from us. We must always come to Scripture as a way of coming to the Lord. He will reveal Himself to us and He will reveal His will for us as well.

We can use these different disciplines at the same time or we can have individual times for each. We can meditate on a passage we intend to study and then go right into studying it while we're praying our comments and questions out loud. If you personally don't speak your prayers out loud I encourage you to give it a try. There's nothing quite like it. It won't take long until you feel Him studying with you. Our heavenly Father so desires this type of communion with us. He's anxious to reveal Himself to us to enable us to know Him better and to love Him more.

Recognizing how God works in our lives and in other people's circumstances will help us pursue Him. We are seeking and pursuing God when we spend time discovering who He is and what pleases Him and when our day is just not complete without fellowship with Him. We can know our methods of seeking Him have been successful when we find ourselves trusting Him more and swelling with a fullness we can't get any other way. We will know when we long for, truly yearn for, His companionship. We will know when we desire nothing so much as being with Him.

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