November 5, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Getting In Touch with God
Mary Nash

Key Verse:

"He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it." Philippians 1:6 (NIV)


Devotion:

The Christian life is built around a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are never alone. Christ's agenda is to make us all we were created to be and to make our lives better than we ever thought they could be. He does, however, give us a choice.

God says if we know the truth, it will make us free. I wanted to be free, so I began to seek the truth. What is truth? Is having the promise of freedom and individual rights true freedom or does it paralyze and restrict us? The enemy (the devil) entices us with choices that seem harmless. He paints the Christian life as God's attempt to pull the plug on the party, keeping us from the pursuit of happiness and all the prizes that go along with our dreams.

But the truth is that real freedom comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He created us, and only He knows what will bring us deep fulfillment. He knows that everything else leads to unhappiness, emptiness, and dreams that will never come true.

Jesus offers us a way out of our depression, despair, and sin. You see, sin separates us from God. No amount of money, success, or ability can fix that. Nobody is born a Christian. Sin is not just something we do. The condition of our soul makes us do stupid things, foolish things. We are born that way. But God demonstrated His own love for us by sending Jesus Christ, His only Son, to this earth to die for us. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, NIV). In Ephesians 2:8-9, we read, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

Before I knew about God's plan for my life or even knew there was a God who really loved me, I was a sinner. I tried to do everything on my own, hoping time would pass quickly so that when I grew up I would be in control of my own life. But growing up didn't help. I still felt worthless. One day two ladies came to my house and told me about Someone who loved me just the way I was. They told me about a God who loved me so much He sent His only Son to die on a cross for me. That day I discovered a whole new world. I couldn't believe anyone could love me, much less die on a cross for me. I went to their church to check it out, and I found a whole new life.
 
Something happens to you when you want to try to act like Jesus. You begin to change, not all at once, but you do change. What you want begins to change. Your whole life takes on a different focus. As I began to change, my family thought I was flipping out! It didn't happen for me overnight. It took a long time to change bad habits but God placed His hand on my life that day and has continued to guide my every step. My life didn't change at home. I was still living in a dangerous place but because I was willing to let God turn me into a new creation, my attitude began to change. And I hung in there because I finally had Someone who loved me, and I had a lot of wonderful Christian people who cared for me.

God's plan for us is that we all become a Christian. He doesn't care what we've done or where we've been. He just wants to take us right where we are and begin a good work in us. When we make the choice, God makes the change. The first critical step toward a relationship with God is trusting Jesus Christ to be the leader of your life. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6, NIV)


My prayer for today:

If you want to make that choice, right now, pray this prayer. "Dear God, I know my sin has separated me from You. I believe You sent Jesus to die for me. I ask You to forgive me. I now turn my life over to You and receive Jesus as the leader of my heart and life. In Jesus' name, Amen."


Application steps:

Recognize you are separated from God.

Be willing to turn toward God.

Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and was resurrected three days later.

Invite Jesus Christ to come in and be the leader of your life.

If you've already asked Jesus to be the leader of your life, take time to thank God for the difference He has made in your life.


Reflection points:

Have you solved the problem of separation between you and God?

If you were to stand before Jesus today, would He know you by name?

Do you long for real freedom?

Is there a personal, secret sin that has you trapped?


Power verses:

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10 (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Becoming A Woman Who Listens To God, book by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, book by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, book by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html