Sunday, June 12, 2011

Growing in our Relationship with God

5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  -Matthew 6:5, 6 (KJV) 

Numerous people from the congregation where I am pastor have been taking trips recently to the beach.  I prefer to go to the beach in the spring or fall as summer is too hot and too crowded.  A vacation can be a wonderful experience, for it allows us time to relax and get away from the day-to-day problems we always have to face.  Be careful, however, for even a vacation can be exhausting.  I have talked with people who have stated they came home from their vacation and felt they needed a vacation.   

One aspect of life which should not be put on hold or ceased, even for a while, is daily devotion to the Lord.  Developing a routine of daily and consistent time with the Lord is among the most important aspects of the Christian life.  Whether we are on vacation for a week or away for the weekend let us not neglect our daily time with God.  We might take a vacation from our jobs or daily chores, yet we are to be faithful in prayer and devotion to the Lord at all times. 

This summer would be an ideal time to take on a 40 day challenge.  Commit to rise earlier each day for 40 days for a more extended prayer time.  At the end of the 40 days your daily time with God will have been enhanced and taken to a deeper level.  The same can be said of spending more time in God’s Word.  Set apart this sacred period of days and you will discover a marked difference in your attitude, outlook, and relationship with Christ. 

More and more I am convinced that 40 days is the Lord’s special time frame for His people.  When we commit to something for this length of time we are affected to the point that what we desire to attain becomes a part of us.  This is why we find the Lord Jesus, for example, going into the wilderness for 40 days to fast and pray.  If you undertake such a challenge resolve to keep this between you and the Lord.  Take on the attitude Jesus gave us about prayer and fasting; keep it between you and God (Matthew 6:16-18).  As Jesus said, the Lord will reward us and this is what is most important. 

Never believe our devotion to God is in vain.  Pray, seek the Lord, and commit to a closer walk with Him.  Those around you will see your faith and will be inspired to seek the Lord also.

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