Here are four ways that I hope can help you grow closer to God in 2019.
Join or Create a Bible Study Group
If you don’t go to a Bible study or a once-a-week Bible study group, either at church or in someone’s home, you’re missing out on a lot. In our Sunday school format, the teacher allows everyone to have input, and often someone will see something that the rest of us missed. Yes, it’s something like “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). But it’s more than that–it’s fellowship, friendship, and relationship. Don’t live near a church? No problem. Start your own Bible study at your house, even if there are only two of you. I believe it will help you grow closer to the others, but most of all, you’ll grow closer to God by loving His other children.
Create a Prayer Journal
You don’t need any fancy journal book to make your own prayer journal. All you need is a pen and a single notebook. Write the date and day of the week somewhere at the top. Next, in the far left, write the person’s name or issue. Then write out the problem and the prayer request. What happens is that over time, you’ll look back at people you were praying for, the problems they had, and what the prayer request was, and it will show you just how good God is. Many of these prayer requests can become praises in your prayers for all the marvelous, tender mercies God has shown and how faithful He has been (and is). This should help you grow close to Christ.
Hiding His Word
The psalmist gave us good cause to memorize Scripture when he wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). There are two things he is saying: I will hide God’s Word in my heart (memorizing it, for example) and do it in order that “I might not sin against you.” That’s what this verse means: “I will memorize your Word in order that I might not sin.” Not sinless but sinning less, hopefully. Sin can help keep you out of the Bible, but the Bible can help keep you out of sin. Try memorizing one verse a week. That’s not hard at all, and in a year, that’s 52 verses!
First Things First
When people say they don’t have time to pray or to read God’s Word every day, it’s like saying, “God, I don’t have time for you.” You might have something better, but I start my day with prayer before anything else I do. Then it’s no breakfast before Bible. And this one’s tough: “No coffee before Bible” (ouch, that hurts). You don’t have to do that, but I do as a way of showing that God comes first in my life. Yes, you might have to get up a bit earlier, but isn’t it worth it if it means growing closer to God? If I can’t put God first in my day, then God is not first in my life. Start your day with prayer and then some Bible reading. It amazes me how often those verses are just what I needed to read.
I pray, as my signed signature always says at the bottom of these devotionals, that God may richly bless you in the coming year with godly fellowship and study and growth in His Word, with a prayer/praise journal you can create, with memorization of Scripture, and with putting God first in your daily schedule. Do these things, and I truly believe you’ll grow closer to God in 2019.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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