02 Oct

Take some time to reconnect with your Heavenly Father.

 We all strive to spend time with God and in His word but sometimes life can get the best of us, especially when juggling work and a family. Carving out time to talk to our Creator becomes another item on the list of things we need to check off. Over time it becomes lower and lower on the list; most days it gets left unchecked. Then before we even realize it, our relationship with God has become something we do on special occasions or not at all, stuffed away on a back shelf until tragedy strikes and we need Him to intervene. The good news is that spending time with God is not rocket science. You don’t need a bunch of books or time to prepare; there is no exact equation that is required to make you have a better, more meaningful interaction with our Heavenly Father. All you need is a willing and open heart. That is the first step that opens the door to improving and going deeper with God. That’s the first step but it isn’t the last. Just like when our relationships here on earth, a relationship with God takes time to develop and this requires some work. Everything that is good in life takes time and isn’t it worth it in the end- especially when it comes to your relationship with our Creator? There may not be a magic formula that can provide you the exact way to achieve your goal of improving your relationship with God but, these five things are just a few of the several ways you can begin to build and grow the relationship.

 Abide and Meditate

Silence has become a rare treasure that everyone wants and strives for but few seem to actually achieve or find it. We have become addicted to being busy and noise to a point of danger. To have a better connection with God we need to quite our minds – and our lives – to really listen to what He is saying to us and process His word. For some that may mean setting an alarm a few minutes earlier than usual. For night owls, it might mean turning off the television or turning off their phone a few minutes sooner than normal. Regardless of when, open up the Word, pick a book, chapter and settle on just one verse. Read it, more than once, and really process what it says. Then spend time in silence, meditating on the word, asking God to reveal what He wants you to take away from the verse.

 Service

Jesus was a true man of the people, not just Christians but people deemed castaways or less than. It’s easy to get caught up in our lives and forget about those who need help but we must reach out to them. We are called to be like our Savior, servants of man. Serving, whether at church, at your child’s school or within your community, is a way not only to humble ourselves and be Christ-like but care for others more than ourselves, something we tend not to do a whole lot of. It’s important that we not just care for our friends and family or people we like, we need to get out of our comfort zones and reach out to people often left behind, forgotten or shamed. When we serve others, we allow ourselves to draw closer to God and surrender ourselves to Him and His plan.

 Gratitude

Have you heard the phrase, “Count your blessings?” It is a phrase all of us are probably familiar with but truly need to learn to live by. During times of trial, we can look back and recount the blessings that God has given us and realize that we have been blessed abundantly. Even if you are currently struggling, know that God has not left your side. It’s important to me to try to make it a priority to spend time early in the morning, giving thanks to God who has allowed you another day on this earth. It’s also important to try and remember the little blessings that God has given you and try to serve others throughout the day. We are called to help others as God has helped us, and get out of the mindset of “what’s in it for me?” A great verse that can help remind you of this is in Psalms that says, “Praise the Lord, for He is Good; for His mercy endures forever.”

 Perseverance

We all go through difficult times in our lives. The question you have to ask yourself is will you push through? Or, will you get dragged down into the depths of your own despair? It is very easy to allow our circumstances to get the best of us, give up or become discouraged. However, God wants to use our difficulties to strengthen our faith, our job is to trust in Him and know that He knows the outcome of our trials. We have to keep moving forward, with God’s guidance- sometimes we can only look forward to the next moment but then we should stop and remember to thank God for allowing us that moment, and trust that He has everything under control. When you feel negativity start to seep into your mind, open the Bible and start reading God’s truth, it will help you to keep going. The definition of perseverance is doing something, even when you don’t want to, with willingness, a good attitude, humble acceptance of the situation and then making the steps to move forward.

 Love

Scripture says that love is the greatest fruit of the spirit, and it is hard to disagree with that when you stop and examine all that God has done for us and blessed us with. God’s love manifests itself in so many forms that often all we need to do is turn our heads and we can see a physical example of that love. God calls us to love one another and in order to do that; we must get beyond our selfishness and sometimes do something out of our comfort zone. Sometimes loving others is easy and sometimes, it’s more of a challenge but no matter who the person or the circumstances, we are called to embrace everyone just as our Savior did for us. Love is what binds us together and provides the power to share the ultimate example of love – Christ’s sacrifice – with those who need to hear it most.

 As mentioned before, relationships take time, so be patient and don’t get frustrated when you don’t feel closer to God overnight.  The more time you spend with Him, the more you chose Him and His word over television, your phone or things of this world, the more you will start to see a transformation from within yourself and feel a deeper bond with the Savior. Come to Him with an open and expectant heart of love, thankfulness and gratitude and the rest will happen naturally.