photo-13A devotional adventure. Do those words even go together? I think so. Adventure involves challenge, risk, something out of the ordinary, exciting… can reading the Bible be this? When we take it to heart… I think so. And adventures are always better with friends. So I invited friends along. The people who are closest to you are the most influential in your life – like your family and best friends. Sometimes you choose to spend time with them, and sometimes you can’t avoid them. I think the most important thing I ever did for my own spiritual life, was develop a habit of daily Bible reading when I was an early teenager. I don’t read every day, but when I do, and when I keep up a habit of conversation with him throughout the day, his influence on my life is greater than any other influence. As I read the Word of God, talk to him and listen to him more, I am reminded of his priorities, his faithfulness, and his true character. And as I share what I learn with friends, the meaning becomes that much clearer. My commitment to a right response becomes that much stronger.

HOW DO YOU SEE GOD? 

We all have ideas about what God is like, based on our experiences in church, with Christians, with our own parents, or by the portrayal of God in the media. Do you see God as angry? Loving? Indifferent? Causing bad things? Or powerless to stop them? bad things from happening, or causing bad things?

Just as people often face prejudice in dealing with others, many people come to God with prejudice, because he is so often misrepresented in society, and misunderstood because the world of the Bible is so different from the world today.  Because Christians are human, they don’t always act like Christ. God lets us choose, which is a gift he will not take away.  You deal not only with the consequences of your choices, but also with the consequences of others’ choices, and the fact that all of creation is affected by sin (Rom 8:21).  Life is not always how you want it to be, and it does not always seem “fair.”

So, how do we approach God? Hebrews 4:14-16 says this:

“…We have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.”

We also have the promise that God “will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).  Through the entire Bible, this foundational truth can be seen:  God loves people, and wants to have relationship with them.  So come to him with the expectation that HE IS THERE and that HE CARES about your life.

If I am not careful, I will make the Bible say what I want it to say, because of my prejudice. Instead, I try to come to the Bible with an open mind, asking God to show me what he is really like, and how he really wants to interact with me. I try to keep a willingness to be honest about my own life, and admit it when I fail to reflect Christ.

READ. RELATE. RESPOND.

I have a reading list organized around six themes that I feel are foundational to a good relationship with God and a solid understanding of his true character and priorities. After reading, there will be a few questions to help you relate it to your own life, and then hopefully, you can respond to God with your own prayer. I sometimes journal my Relate/Respond sections, and this is what will be in my blog, probably 2-3 posts per week. Feel free to journal on your own, or make comments to the blog, or ask questions. Remember, it is the same as with anyone else: the more you interact with God, the more you will become like him.

Theme 1: Relating to a Personal God – selections on prayer (see Reading List)

Theme 2: Walking in Faith – on wisdom, obedience, and faith

Theme 3: Sticking with God in Challenging Times – a look at Elijah and Jesus

Theme 4: The True Meaning of Christianity – Romans, Abraham, and Jonah

Theme 5: Centered on Essentials – baptism, communion, evangelism, and other core beliefs of the faith

Theme 6: The Heart of the Matter – living with open hands and a spiritually-tuned heart

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