Our Relationship with God
- Our Approach to God (2 Chronicles 7:14- If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven,.....)1.) The first thing we see in our approach to God is that we are to humble ourselves. This does not mean that we are of low self-esteem. It means that we recognize that we are but lowly dust and without God's help we can get no where as far as spiritually speaking. In Proverbs 16:19 it says “Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” God is looking for someone who is humble in spirit, the definition of humble is:2.) The second thing we see in our approach to God is that we are to pray. In Philippians 4:6 it says this “ Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” God never intended for us to be worry warts! His word proves this in so many places even Jesus own words “take no thought for tomorrow for tomorrow will take thought for itself.(paraphrased from Matthew 6:34a) says we are not to worry. But in our approach to God we need to pray, and I don't mean to just pray for a few minutes each day, but really pray. I'm guilty of this as much as anyone so I'm speaking to myself here as well. God loves it when we get on our knees and converse with Him even if it is just about our day. He also wants us to make our requests known during this time but He also wants us to be thankful for the things that he's already provided for us. This scripture says “with thanksgiving” our prayer should always include some thanks even if it's a repeat of yesterday. So many times I've heard the phrase “if you can't pray through try praising through.” You'll be amazed at what that bit of praising can do. In our approach to God in prayer we need to be conscious of praise and be generous with it. We do have so much to praise Him for. When we pray we also need to recognize that God is our maker and our Father in Jesus Prayer he said “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” We need to recognize that God is in Heaven and his name is holy.3.) The third thing we notice about our approach to God is that we are to seek him. In 1 Chronicles 28:9 it says this, “....If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” It is important that we seek God and see out His will for our lives. Elsewhere in scripture it says that we should seek God while he may be found. There is coming a day when we won't be able to seek God because He'll have raptured the church out and lifted the Holy Spirit from this place and if we didn't make the rapture it's going to awfully hard to seek Him when the Holy Spirit is not here to guide us. Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 “...seek and ye shall find...” God wants us to seek His face and seek the great things He has for us. And He has promised that if we'll do that then we'll find what we're seeking for.
- Our Redemption by God (John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”)
- The first thing we see about God's redemption is that He loves us! John 3:16 says that God so loved the world..... His love is uncomprehensible. The creation that He made in the very beginning turned away from him yet He still loved them so much that He gave His only Son for them. And yet still some have rejected Him. God had a plan in place from the very beginning to redeem His people to him. His love is greater than any love we could ever have on earth it's unconditional. His love is a total different topic but it's so great and vast. It's been said that He loves us so much that when we take a step towards him he takes 2 towards us.
- What do we need redeemed from?
- Our Sins
- Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." All means every human being on earth has sinned and needs redemption. God provded that through His son Jesus Christ. God knew from the beginning just what we would need and provided for that. We no longer have a need to sacrifice animals like in the Old Testament days we can go directly to God in prayer through Jesus Christ.
- The wages of Sin is Death. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." From the very first sin it started the cycle of death. God didn't intend for the human race to suffer, but Adam chose to eat of the fruit thus destroying the perfect body he was given. No matter how you look at it the wages of sin are still death. The things that sin drives you to do cause this mortal body to die. Drugs cause you to become addicted wanting more and more and usualy end in an overdose, Alcohol does the same thing and usually ends in seroisis of the liver and death. Immoral sins can lead to deadly diseases such as AIDS ( realize not everyone contracts it this way but it can be prevented by following God's laws for marriage.) so many other things I could list and won't that all lead to death. But what does the ending of that verse say: "...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." So many have tried to find the fountain of youth (which I don't believe exists), when we Christians already have the secret to immortality that is when we ask Christ to forgive our sins and then walk each day with Him following His plan when this mortal body dies we put on immortality and live forever in a place so perfect we can't even imagine everything. I say that's going to be one wonderful place and I for one don't want to miss it.
- How do we get redempton?
- Through Christ's Blood. Christ died for us as stated in John 3:16 so that we could have eternal life. As in the Old Testament we needed a blood sacrfice to atone for our sins and a spotless lamb. Christ is the blood sacrifice and sinless, spotless lamb. In 1 Peter 1:18-19 it says: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb withut blemish and without spot:" This explains that we are redeemed through Christ's blood and not by our works. Yes it's good to do good works but they won't save you.
- Through Faith and Obedience. Abraham was a man of great faith, God called him from the land he had known all his life and without thinking about it Abraham just followed promptly! Throughout Abraham's life we see that he was one of faith and quick obedience, when God asked him to curcumcise his household he did it the very same day. When God asked him to sacrifice Isaac he followed the command and went even though he never had to actually sacrifice him, but was provided with a ram instead. This is the kind of things that God looks for in us. We have to take it on faith that God will do just what he said he would do. And we must always be prompt to obey.
- How was Redemption provided?
- Israel's Day. They had to sacrifice animals and went through several different procedures in order to be cleansed of their sin. However it was not as complete as in our day. They had different sacrifices for different things.
- In our day really all we have to do is call upon the name of Jesus and confess our sins and repent and turn from our wicked ways. That means that just because we called upon him and asked forgiveness today, we go out and return to the things we used to do, no we were saved from those things and we don't do them anymore. We don't have to sin every day in word thought and deed we can live above that through the power of Christ. (that's a sermon for another day.)
- Continuing Fellowship with God.
- Partaking of Communion. This is something that we do in rememberance of what Christ did for us. The Israelite's participated in the celebration of the passover in rememberance for what God did for them and now we celebrate what Christ did for us on the tree.
- Preparing our Hearts for Communion. Communion is not to be entered into lightly, it's not a full course meal. You should take communion only after you've spent a little time in prayer and made sure that things between you and God are clear and between your fellow man as well.
- Daily Prayer and Bible Reading
- Daily communication through prayer. God wants us to talk to him as earlier stated. This daily time of prayer needs to be a set thing and something that happends every day. It's our life line to heaven and God so to speak. If you don't have a certain time you prayer then you should seek one out. I know that schedules are busy and time is tight, but even that 20 minute commute to work would be a good time to pray, or while you're folding those 5 loads of laundry that were washed yesterday. Anytime is a good time to pray, you don't have to pray aloud though somtimes this helps. You can walk and pray, kneel and pray, wash dishes and pray, but it's best if you don't lay down and pray because it's too easy to fall asleep. I guess the main point here is to make time for prayer. Get your husband to help with the children or spend time praying while they're taking a nap.
- Daily Reading of God's word and applying it to our lives. It's important to read God's word and apply it to your life. When you begin your time of devotions you should pray first that God will guide your reading and that He will seal things to your heart and speak to you through the reading of His word. And you don't have to read large portions of scripture each day, bite off only what you can chew on for that day and then chew away. Make sure that you keep a daily Bible reading journal and write down questions that you may have that you need answers to, and then take that list with you to your weekly Bible study or to church so you can ask your Pastor. Your Pastor will love that you're digging in God's word and I'm sure that he will be happy to help you find answers to your questions, but remember he doesn't have all the answers either. Another thing to remember is that when God gives you light on something you should walk in it and follow in His footsteps.
- Lastly is Regular Church Attendance
- Forsaking not the assembling of our selves together. (Hebrews 10:25) Make sure that you're getting together with God's people in church every week and as many times as the doors are open. The Scripture above is pretty clear that we're not to forsake going to church.
- Time for sharing testimonies and prayer requests and praises. In Revelations it says "And they over came him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimonies." Satan doesn't like it when we praise God for anything. This is also a time for making requests known, I know not everything we need prayer for needs to public that's why there is unspoken prayer requests and upraised hands. Somethings only God and you need to know about. And this time is also for worshiping God together. It's an important part of our Christian walk.
These are just someof the way to help our relationship with God. Good Bible study books also help in devotions and such. Find a good wholesome Bible Study and attend it.