A Good Habit
There are few things I have done in life more consistently or habitually than daily devotions. For this I am very grateful. My parents started it, as our family of eight followed breakfast each morning, except Sundays because we were preparing for church, with family devotions. During this time every day we turned our individual and collective focus to God, hearing and reflecting on His Word, reading and considering devotional thoughts centered on God’s Word, spending time in prayer, and singing together songs of worship. It wasn’t long before I was also doing this on my own.
A Great Invitation
Perhaps because of this childhood discipline it became easier for me to continue this personal practice throughout life. I joyfully testify that in doing this, enjoying daily time in God’s presence, I knew He was with me as He promised to be, and I often heard God speaking to my heart. And so, sharing life on life with my Lord has been my lifelong privilege and pleasure. Many days, and in so many ways, my life has been enriched and changed because of this daily practice. I have often awakened with anticipation, knowing God is again inviting me to come near with Him.
I have desired and greatly needed for God to be with me and to direct me each day in life; and He has done so to the extent that I have listened, believed, and in faith allowed Him to change and lead me. Every day God invites His dear children to come near. I have so loved seeking Him first thing in the morning, for when I start my day with the Lord, I become more conscious throughout the day that He is very near.
A Growing Relationship
Personal relationships grow through spending time together. It is the same in personal relationship with God. If we really want to know God more, knowing His heart and living His truth, we will come near and spend time with Him often. To know God a little is better than nothing, but to know Him intimately and increasingly, up close and personal; is this not far better? Indeed, it is. How could anyone enjoy a greater honor?
We may well marvel that God desires a personal and growing relationship with us. He is willing and available to you and me, and to all who come near to Him, but He never forces it on us. God loves us, but as is the nature of love, He desires for us to choose to love Him too, thus wanting each day to enter His presence and be still.
A Grand Gift
God has clearly spoken by His Word; and through it He is still speaking. After more than 60 years now of daily devotions with my Lord, I could speak of wonderful tools God has used to help me in drawing near each day. The ones that have blessed me most are Scripture-focused, drawing truths from the Bible that are from God and about God, and that speak about living with Him and for Him today.
A Gracious Privilege
Perhaps you have noticed, that for good or bad, over time we tend to pick up characteristics from those we hang around. This is why it is wise to look for opportunities to be with people we wish to be like. This is especially true regarding our personal relationship with God. If we want to follow Jesus and increasingly become like Him, we will often take time to seek Him and be with Him. If we say we love God and want to be like Him, but neglect to seek quiet time to sit at His feet, pray, read, listen, and enjoy His presence, then our words and actions are not aligned.
The disciples of Jesus loved following Him, each one presumably astounded that they had been given this privilege. When Mary sat at Jesus’s feet, she was so glad for the opportunity afforded her that day to be with Jesus and sit with Him for a while. When Mary’s sister Martha wanted her to get up from there to assist with the busywork of the day, Jesus said of Mary and by extension of you and me, that she, “has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Sitting at our Lord’s feet is a privilege God offers to each of us. We need only do as Mary did, and to do this every day, as a way of life.
A Glorious Transformation
The more we enter God’s presence to listen, learn, and love, the more we become transformed by Him, and thus become more like Him. In God’s holy presence, as we hear His voice and respond in faith, we increasingly love, obey, honor, serve, and please our Lord. As we enter God’s Holy presence every day, and as God speaks to us by His Word, God the Holy Spirit equips us to live according to His Word.
A God-Given Assignment
Following Jesus includes gladly receiving and joyfully fulfilling assignments from Him. As 2020 approached its end, I asked my Lord how He would have me proceed in my discipline of daily devotions in 2021. I heard His assignment clearly. This year I was to listen and write a daily devotional, focusing on twelve particular themes that are all part of following Jesus, and that are made possible because God. I have completed this assignment, and this new devotional book will soon be published.
A wonderful and timeless biblical principle that is fleshed out in this devotional is Because God…I Can. Because God what? Because He speaks, acts, reveals, empowers, is, and loves, today I can… I can what? As the Apostle Paul learned and beautifully declared, “I can do all thing through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
What things can followers of Jesus do today because of God? This devotional focuses on twelve life practices we are called and blessed to live every day as we follow Him. A different theme or life practice is emphasized each month that we can be living today, Because God. Each day in that month a particular biblical truth about God is highlighted, which leads me to prayerfully see how I Can follow Jesus by living this practice today.
Meeting with God daily in quiet devotions, we continually learn and see that “Because God... I Can”. The twelve themes on following Jesus that are focused on in this devotional are: Because God… I Can Believe, Trust, Receive, Pray, Praise, Love, Listen, Rest, Testify, Serve, Give, and Hope.
It has been my joy to listen, learn, write, share, and pray. Now, as this devotional is soon published, I am praying that it may be used of God to bless many who will hear and answer His invitation to come near daily, thus to follow Jesus.