Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Me and God - Connecting with Him

As I begin to focus more on my relationship with God, a couple of concepts that were taught to me in the past have come to mind. The first was that God wants a personal relationship with all of His children.

The pastor at my old church in Lubbock used to say that we need to look at our relationship with God similarly to our relationships with others (spouse, family, friends) in our lives. We need to ask ourselves, what makes a good relationship? Well, for one you need to spend time together, you need to talk to the other person in the relationship AND you need to listen to them. I think sometimes we can think that having a relationship with God is a lot more complicated than it really is. Of course there are many things that lead up to accepting God in your life, but once you have truly done that...you simply need to spend time with Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him.

So, how do you talk to God? That's easy...prayer. I used to be the kind of guy who would always say my routine prayers right before I fell asleep. I once had my final "signing off" phrase for my prayers so memorized that I said it at the end of a voice mail I left one of my family members. The one problem that I found with saying prayers at bed time was that I often was too tired to focus and express myself to God. There were numerous times that I actually would fall asleep during prayer time. So, I decided to change things up a little. I now pray roughly 3 times a day. Once in the morning, once on my drive home from work, and once with my wife before bed. This has really worked for me because I am much more alert in the morning than at night. Also, praying several times a day allows me to feel connected to God throughout my day. The next question I asked myself was, "how do you listen to God?"

I hate to say it, but I have never have actually heard God speak to me through my ears. I think that in most cases, God doesn't communicate to us through our sense of sound. I can't just look up at the sky and let Him tell me about His day either. This could probably lead a lot of people to think that God doesn't talk to us very much, so we shouldn't be too concerned with listening. However, this just isn't the case. God has plenty to say to us, most of which was said a looooooooong time ago. Luckily, it was recorded in the bible and passed down through the generations. Unlike humans, God can say something once and it will be true for eternity. The bible tells us everything we need to know about God and what He expects of us. I honestly believe that reading the bible is the absolute key to growing your faith and relationship with God.

Sadly for me, just like I used to have trouble with my prayers, I used to have difficulties reading my bible consistently. I would either start off in Genesis and give up by Leviticus, or try some reading track in a study bible and not really remember what I was reading. Fortunately, just like with my prayer life, I made a decision to change things up in regards to reading God's word and it seems to be working for me. Nowadays, I try to read at least one chapter in the bible a day. Also, since I can remember things a lot better when I write them down, I take notes in a binder on each chapter that I read. I put the date and chapter that I am reading in the header, and then I just write whatever makes an impression on me. I have started reading the new testament, and now am in the book of Luke. While I may not be very far into my goal of completely reading the bible, I can honestly say that I now crave to read God's word, and rarely miss a day of reading. It has also amazed me just how much great information is in the bible. One of the first things I wanted to know when I re-focused my journey with God was, "what does He want of me?". Although I don't know everything He calls me to do, I have learned and retained a large amount of great insight and direction in only the first 3 chapters of the New Testament! I think that as Christians, we should always read the bible. When we get through reading the entire book, we should start right back over and become more familiar with it.

Well this is getting long again, so I will try to wrap things up. I hope that some of the different methods of connecting with God daily I used might help you in your walk. Please leave comments about different ways you take advantage of to connect with God so I can try them as well.

One more side note, I have also found a few websites that I visit during my lunch break at work and at home that help me connect with God throughout the day. they are as follows:
  • http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/Answers/11600606/ (short, simple, but very effective daily devotionals)
  • http://www.wayofthemaster.com/ (this is a great web-site with helpful resources, they also do a lot of witnessing to people that you can watch on line)
  • http://northway.thevillagechurch.net/ (this is the web site for a church in Dallas that my Brother and Sister-In-Law visit. They have great messages from various pastors)
  • http://www.lakeridgeumc.org/family/transcripts.asp (this is a list of sermon transcripts from my old church in Lubbock. The pastor keeps things very simple and does a great job of explaining things. You can also navigate this site and find video recording of some of his more recent sermons)

1 comment:

The Roberson's said...

Thank you Shawn!!! I really enjoyed spending time with you and Jay and going to church.