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Best Practices in our God-Relationship

Christianity is not merely a religion, it is a faith lived in loving relationship with a personal God. Yahweh, the God revealed in the Bible, desires to have a personal relationship with us, and with you. God desires to call you His friend, His child, His precious servant. Because of Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the cross, the Bible declares that Yahweh is God for us, God with us, and God in us.

Like all relationships, our relationship with God needs to be nurtured. Because relationships are personal, lively things, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Christians have discovered many ways to nurture this relationship that have been passed down. Here are some best practices to consider:

  1. Personal devotions. Set aside time each day to spend reading the Bible and to seek God. Many devotionals have been created for this purpose, or you can create a reading plan for yourself. Pro tip: Don’t be discouraged if you miss a few days. Pick up where you left off, and keep moving on! Journeying on the same reading plan with a few friends is fun and helps to keep accountable. Reflect on the day ahead or the day gone by.

 

  1. Prayer. Even though we don’t see God physically, we can still commune with him through prayer. Prayer allows us to bring our requests and thoughts before God, and allows God to speak to us as we open our hearts and minds to Him. You can be yourself before God – no special formulas or special formalities required. Prayer can be both personal (just you and God) and communal (praying with others, such as your CG or family).

 

  1. Sabbath. What is Sabbath rest for? First, it is a time to cease from our strivings and acknowledge that God is the One who provides, protects, and sustains. We rest in the fact that God is King over all. Second, it is a time of being with God. The Sabbath does not mean ceasing from work to watch Netflix. It is removing ourselves from the noise of the world to to avail ourselves to Him and turn our attention to Him.

 

  1. Community. No Christian is an island. By believing in Jesus Christ, we are baptized into a new family, a new household in which God is Father, and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Being in Christian community allows space for us to love and care for others and be loved and cared for. It allows us to use our God-given gifts to serve others. It keeps us accountable in our Christian walk, and is just overall more fun and fulfilling!

 

  1. Generous giving. Recognizing that all we have is graciously given by God, we too generously steward our resources to bless others. This may be availing our time, or contributing financially to God’s work, or providing for a family in need, using our skills in a specific avenue of service. We love because God first loved us.
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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Jonah 1:4-16; Psalm 86:11
Tue, 25 January 2022

The Fearful Men

Observation:

How did the sailors’ fear change from verse 5 to verse 16?

Deeper Reflection
THE NARRATIVE OF THE STORM AND SAILORS IS FULL OF irony and comedy. Picture the drama. The seasoned mariners were scared out of their wits (v.5). In an utter frenzy, they dumped cargo, desperately trying to save themselves. In contrast, Jonah the rebellious prophet was oblivious to the danger, sleeping in the bowels of the ship. The mariners were frantically calling out to their gods. But the prophet of the LORD was asleep. And so the flabbergasted captain came to Jonah and commanded him, “Arise, call out to your god!” (v.6). This is a parody of the divine command that Jonah rejected: arise,…and call out against Nineveh (Jon 1:2).65 After an exercise of lot-casting to determine who is responsible for the disaster, the sailors discovered that it is Jonah, who then disclosed, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (v.9). Jonah’s talk about “fear” must have sounded incredibly hollow to the sailors who knew about his wilful rebellion!66 It was them, and not the LORD’s prophet, who understood the gravity of what Jonah had done (v.10). Another irony of the story is that because of Jonah’s irreverence, the sailors came to genuinely revere his God (v.16). How about us? Are we like Jonah, professing to fear God but treating God flippantly? Pastor Timothy Keller defines the fear of the Lord as being “overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and His love”67. Let us ask the LORD for an undivided heart that truly fears His name (Psa 86:11).
65 D. J. Wiseman, T. D. Alexander, and B. K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Tyndale Old Testament commentaries v. 26 66 Ibid., 116. 67 Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York: Dutton, 2011), 68.
Application:

What does the fear of the Lord mean to me and how does it impact the way I live?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for pastors and staff: That they will have an undivided heart that fears the name of the LORD (Psa 86:11)
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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