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week 1 day 1
Be... Psalm 46:10, NIV
Prepare Your Heart
Has anyone ever remarked about how religious you are? Many people think that if you talk about God or go to church a lot, then you must be religious. But if you read the Bible for very long, you'll find that people are really into religion, but God is really into relationships. People tend to want to do, but God emphasizes above all that His people should simply be. He wants them to be with Him, to be the unique persons that He made them to be. This week you will study intimacy with God. This study is about relationship. The most important relationship you will ever have is your relationship with God. Do you know God? Are you in a relationship with Him?
Two thousand years ago an amazing Person lived in the area of Jerusalem. This man's name was Jesus. He did amazing miracles. And basically, He astounded all who came into contact with Him. And He made an amazing claim-He claimed to be God!
The religious leaders of the day were waiting for a Messiah, a man from God, but they expected Him to come as a king who would align himself with them and give them power. These religious leaders were offended by Jesus because He seemed to enjoy associating with people of ill repute, people who were poor, people they considered sinners. But it was His claim to being God and His offer of forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life that blew them away. And it was this very claim that also drew masses of people to Him to hear what He had to say. As people came to hear His words, Jesus did amazing things.
He would touch someone who was paralyzed, and that person would walk. He would speak to a prostitute, and as tears came to her eyes, she would be filled with the desire to be holy and righteous and good. He would place His hands on the eyes of one who had been blind from birth, and for the first time, that person would have sight. And after three years, people from virtually the entire area of Judea and Galilee flocked to be with Jesus.
The religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, not because of what He did, but because of Who He claimed to be-God in the flesh. One well-known columnist was asked who he would most like to have interviewed from across history. He named Jesus Christ. He said he would like to ask Jesus if He was indeed born of a virgin, because he felt that the answer to that question would define history.
Could it be that God has visited us on earth-that Jesus is God? Why would Jesus come to earth?
Suppose there is a God who is Creator-One who created the heavens, the earth, and you and me. Suppose He created human beings, including you, for a purpose. And that purpose was simple: He wanted a love relationship with them-and with you. Suppose that relationship existed in the beginning. Suppose when God created the first human beings, the relationship was idyllic, and the fellowship and the exchange of love between God and His creation were perfect. Within that idyllic existence, God Himself set up boundaries to allow for this love relationship to flourish. The boundaries were basic: God's creation was not to exist independently of Him but was to be dependent upon Him as the source of everything.
Then one day God's human beings crossed those boundaries. Suppose they decided, with the help of one who was bent on destroying their relationship with God, to make a choice that was independent and directly against what God had commanded. Once they crossed that boundary, sin entered the world.
Now suppose that when sin entered the world, the love relationship with God was affected: their sin separated them from a holy God, and they could no longer enjoy this intimate fellowship with Him for which they were designed. This sin created a great uncrossable chasm between man and God and affected all of mankind.
The Bible tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that the sentence, or penalty, for sin is death (see Romans 6:23).
Now let us suppose that God saw the inability of man to reach Him because of sin. Because He knew it was impossible for man to reach Him, He reached down to man and determined to pay the penalty for sin Himself.
It is a fact of history that the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus at night, secretly tried Him, and pressured the Roman governor to execute him. While Jesus was on the cross, His followers mourned. His disciples had fled, fearing for their own lives. His death devastated those who knew and loved Him. Three days later, something happened-something Jesus had said would happen: He rose from the dead. He appeared to His disciples and more than five hundred others.
Jesus is who He claimed to be: God has spoken in Jesus.
Only God has a love for you that is greater than any found in this world. What does He desire from you more than anything else? Your love. You are what gives Him the greatest pleasure. Augustine wrote, "You have made us for Yourself, Oh God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You." Perhaps you are thinking, Yes, this is exactly what I am longing for. I would like to know God. How can you have a relationship with Him?
God is offering you the gift of a relationship through Jesus Christ. This gift does not become yours until you actually receive it. To establish your relationship with God, simply turn to Him, ask Him to forgive your sins, and invite Christ into your life. The Bible teaches that "as many as received [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).
If your heart is restless and you long to know God, you may pray a simple prayer to invite Him into your heart. If you have never asked Him into your life, you may pray the following: Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for me. I ask You now to come into my life, forgive my sins, and make me the person You want me to be. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Read and Study God's Word
This week you are going to look at God's invitation to an intimate relationship. In Psalm 46:10, God says, "Be still, and know that I am God." What do those words mean? As we delve more deeply into this great invitation, it is important to stop and think about where you are in your relationship with God. What has God been doing in your life in the last six months? What has He been teaching you? Is there a verse or passage of Scripture that has been particularly significant to you during the past year? Record your thoughts below or on a Journal Page in the back of this book.
1. Read Psalm 46. What is most significant in this psalm to you today?
2. Write Psalm 46:10, word for word. What is your favorite part of that verse and why?
3. God's invitation to a personal relationship is found throughout Scripture. Look at the following verses and record what you learn about God's invitation.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Summarize what you have seen about God's invitation to you.
Adore God in Prayer
At the outset of this study, as you think about intimacy with God, take some time now to write a prayer to God below or in the Journal Pages. Include in this prayer your desire to know God more. Ask God to speak to you as you draw near to Him.
Yield Yourself to God
As you think about God's invitation to a personal relationship, meditate on these words by John Piper in his book Desiring God:
The faith which pleases God is the assurance that when we turn to him we will find that All-satisfying Treasure. We will find our heart's eternal delight.... Once we had no delight in God, and Christ was just a vague historical figure. What we enjoyed was food and friendships and productivity and investments and vacations and hobbies and games and reading and shopping and sex and sports and art and TV and travel... but not God. He was an idea-even a good one-and a topic for discussion; but he was not a treasure of delight. Then something miraculous happened. It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn. First the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness. Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness. Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul's end. The quest is over. We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever and ever. And then, faith-the confidence that Christ has made a way for me, a sinner, to live in his glorious fellowship forever, the confidence that if I come to God through Christ, he will give me the desire of my heart to share his holiness and behold his glory.
Enjoy His Presence
How would you describe your relationship with the Lord? Is it personal and intimate? Have you responded to God's invitation? What would you like to see happen in your relationship with Him? Record your thoughts.
Rest in His Love
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20, NIV).
week 1 day 2
Be still... Psalm 46:10, niv
Prepare Your Heart
Silence and solitude are the great secrets to knowing God intimately. They are almost lost arts in the twenty-first century. Have you learned to be still? This phrase means to stop, let go, and relax. The Lord is inviting you to this stillness. Why? Because He wants to reveal Himself to you. As you begin your quiet time today, ask the Lord to quiet your heart and speak to you. You may wish to write a simple prayer to the Lord.
Read and Study God's Word
When God says, "Be still," He is asking you to stop, relax, and know that He is God. The Hebrew word means "to relax the hands" and "let down." In a world that is moving faster and faster, we need to stop and turn from busyness to be still. God teaches His people this stillness throughout the Bible. Jesus demonstrated it with His life.
1. Turn to Luke 5:15-16. What do you notice about Jesus' life and habits?
2. Think about the following verses and record your insights related to silence and solitude.
1 Kings 19:9-13
1 Timothy 2:1-4
3. What is the value of silence and solitude in becoming intimate with God?
Adore God in Prayer
Take some time now to be still before the Lord. What are those things that are weighing heavily on your heart today? If anything is troubling your soul, turn to the Prayer Pages in the back of this book and write out each one as a prayer request, laying everything at the throne of God.
Yield Yourself to God
When we come to Him in prayer, we should begin as one who has come to the highest place a soul may reach-to God Himself. We must see ourselves as standing at the wellspring of overflowing goodness! It is so honoring to God to come to Him in prayer, declaring His goodness over all. And it brings so much sweetness to the soul. So many miss this, and it is the true beginning of prayer. Come to Him, then, and start your prayers by resting quietly and completely in His goodness. You will quickly find this inner rest is the very thing that makes it possible for Him to flood us with the power of grace-pouring himself into us... and out to others through us. Julian of Norwich in I Promise You a Crown
Enjoy His Presence
As you launch out on the great adventure of knowing God, your daily quiet time will be the most important part of your day. How can you become consistent? The best way is to set aside a time and a place to be alone with God.
When life is so busy, it is not always easy to find time. Consequently, you must resolve to be intentional, carving time out of your day so that you can be alone with God and listen to what He has to say to you. If the CEO of your company or the president of the United States called you up and asked you to lunch, would you write it on your calendar? Then, would you show up? Spending time with God is even more vital than spending time with the president of the United States. After all, He is the CEO of the universe!
Find a quiet place to be alone with the Lord. Organize all your quiet time materials in that place. You might use a basket or a shelf to keep the materials together.
Once you have found a time and a place, then you need a plan to spend time with the Lord. That is one of the purposes of this book. It gives you a plan that you will learn over the course of the study. This plan-P.R.A.Y.E.R.(tm)-offers many exciting ways to draw near to God in quiet time. When you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (see James 4:8).
As you close your time with the Lord today, think about what it means to be still. What elements of your time with God will help you to be still so that you may know God more? Is anything in your life keeping you from being still as you approach God and spend time with Him? Write your thoughts below or in the Journal Pages.
Rest in His Love
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly" (Matthew 11:28-29, MSG).
week 1 day 3
Be still, and know... Psalm 46:10, NIV
Prepare Your Heart
Nicholas Herman was a soldier in the Thirty Years War that engulfed seventeenth-century Europe. At the age of eighteen he was captured, charged with espionage, and threatened with hanging.
Excerpted from a heart that dances by catherine martin Copyright © 2003 by Quiet Time Ministries. Excerpted by permission.
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