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>*< EXPERIENCING GOD>*<


A thoughtful gift and a resources to refresh our own devotional life from the teaching ministry of Dr. Henry Blackaby. MAY THIS HELP US FOCUSED OUR MIND TO THE FATHER's PRESENCE DAILY

**RITUAL or RELATIONSHIP**

Jeremiah 2:6 Neither did they say "Where is the LORD,Who brought us up out of the land of EGYPT,Who led us through the wildernes ?"

CHRISTIANITY is an intimate, growing relationship with the person of JESUS CHRIST. It is not a set of doctrines to believe, habit to practice, or sins to avoid, Every activity GOD commands is intended to ENHANCE HIS LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS PEOPLE.
God designed worship for us to see HIM in HIS glory and to respond appropriately; for many it has degenerated into "religion", one more meeting to attend out of habit.
God established the sacrificial system so that we, HIS people, could express our love to HIM; but we often diminish our gifts to our LORD into futile attempts to appease HIM and pacify our guilty conscience.
God gave us prayer so we could have conversation with HIM, but we often distort this by "saying prayers" and hurrying off without ever listening to what is on our FATHER's heart.
God instituted HIS commandments as a protection for those HE LOVES, but the commandments can become a pathway to legalism rather than an avenue for relationship with our FATHER in which HE protects us from harm.
Religious activity apart from fellowship with GOD is empty ritual. The people of Jeremiah's day were satisfied to have rituals without the manifest presence of GOD. They become so comfortable with their "religion" that they didn't even notice GOD's absence. Is it possible to pray, to attend a worship service, or to give an offering yet not to experience the presence of GOD?
IT CERTAINLY IS POSSIBLE! And that has been the sad commentary on many a Christian experience. Don't settle for a religious life that lacks a vital relationship to JESUS CHRIST. When GOD IS PRESENT, THE DIFFERENCE WILL BE OBVIOUS.

****RESOLUTIONS***

John 21:18 So when they had eaten breakfast, JESUS said to Simon Peter, Simon,son of Jonah, do you love ME more than these?
JESUS has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail HIM! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for HIM.
Peter miserably failed his LORD when he fled with the other disciples from the GARDEN of GETHSEMANE. Later,he publicly denied that he even knew JESUS. Peter must have wondered if he had been capable of being JESUS disciple when he was unfaithful to JESUS in HIS most crucial hour.
As you begin a new year, you may be painfully aware that you have failed your LORD in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed HIS WORD to you. Perhaps you denied HIM by the way you lived.
JESUS will take you aside, as HE did Peter. He will not humiliate you. He will ASK YOU TO EXAMINE YOUR LOVE FOR HIM. He asked Peter,"Do you love ME?" If you answer, like Peter's, is "YES LORD," He will reaffirm HIS will for you. If you truly love HIM,you will obey HIM ( John 14:15).
JESUS does not need your RESOLUTIONS, YOUR RECOMMITMENTS, OR YOUR PROMISES to try harder this year. If you resolve to OBEY GOD last year did not help you to be FAITHFUL, it will not make you successful this year.JESUS ASK FOR YOUR LOVE. IF YOU TRULY LOVE HIM, YOUR SERVICE FOR HIM IN THE NEW YEAR WILL BE OF THE QUALITY THAT HE DESIRES.

****A FRESH START****
Joshua 1:9 " DO NOT BE AFRAID, NOR BE DISMAYED, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO ".
New year's eve celebrate the passage of time. We make such a fuss because it signals the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one. The old year problems and struggles become a dim memory when we think of getting a FRESH START.
As we stand with our back to the past 12 months and our face toward the new year, we can have hope because we too can be sure of GOD's help. That makes the prospect of a new year worth celebrating. WE CAN TRUST OUR ALL-KNOWING GOD FOR THE UNKNOWN FUTURE.

*** MAKING A DIFFERENCE ****
DANIEL 1:8 "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king 's delicacies."

Would you dare to believe that GOD, who called you to Himself and equipped you with HIS Spirit, could work mightily through you? Have you made the connection between the time and place in which you live and GOD's call upon you ? World events never catch GOD by surprise. He placed you precisely where you are for a PURPOSE.
Daniel did not let temptations of his day interfere with his relationship to the LORD. He knew that to make his life useful to GOD he must be obedient in all things . Regardless of what the most powerful king in the world commanded, Daniel refused to compromise what he knew GOD required of him.
Are you allowing your surrounding to determine how you invest your life? Or are you letting GOD use you to make a difference in your generation ? Ask GOD to reveal HIS purposed and HIS WILL FOR YOUR LIFE .


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