Where to Begin
In past years when I did this exercise, I would go to several sources for input. This includes my daily journal, and scripture memorization cards. They were reminders of the paths I walked with Jesus throughout the year.
My journal included my thoughts during my time of inquiry of the Lord. Bits and pieces of this and that: theologian quotes, bible study notes and miscellaneous thoughts about life and the world I live in. Topics that caught my attention, would later become personal studies, WordBytes or Morning Reflections.
My scripture memorization cards, with date recorded at the top, would remind me of how the Spirit renews my mind with God’s Word. His Word would prove to either strengthen my heart or tell again of God’s inexhaustible grace: grace that covers my human weakness and brokenness. It most often than not encouraged me to be more patient and longsuffering.
As I reviewed my information, I came to this realization. It is vital that believers continually develop a personal relationship with God. Not religion but relationship. It should be our goal to be “intimately connected” with the Lord.
Relationship with God
God has always desired to be in relationship with man. Adam was first to experience the joy and freedom of an intimate connection with God. Imagine daily walking and talking with God about the events of the day, your hopes, and fears, and hearing His plan for your life. Guess what? We can experience that in our life right now!
Today we, as believers in Christ, have continuous access to that same intimacy Adam experienced in the Garden but with even greater privilege. We have His Presence, through the Holy Spirit living within us (John 14:16-17).
As I read God’s Word, pray, and exercise the different spiritual disciplines, I become one with Him. Jesus invited His disciples to abide in Him (John 15:4). That invitation is extended to us today.
F.B. Meyer writes about the privilege of being one in Christ and the intimacy that comes with that relationship.
We must be one with Christ: we must be in Him as the sponge is in the ocean. We must be in Him, not only in our standing, but also in our daily walk. We must be in Him as the branch is in the vine and the vine-sap in the branch. This must not only be in theory, but an hourly experience.
My 2021 Epiphany
I became a Christian when I was nine-years old. I bought the “fire insurance” and knew I wasn’t going to hell. However, as I grew older, I still didn’t feel the connection I thought believers were supposed to have. Although I went to church weekly and served in various church functions, something was missing.
I was a carnal Christian until I was 40. Then something happened. I rededicated my life to Christ. No more “hooky pokey” Christian life for me. What happened? Why the change?
A student from my Senior High Sunday School class had chosen to become a minister. We were excited to welcome him back to his home church where he was to bring the Sunday morning message.
This was especially exciting for me in that, as a teenager, he hated to review the lesson on behalf of our class. He would grumble and groan and swear never to come back to Sunday School if I made him do it. He eventually agreed to my request.
In his morning sermon, he shared his personal witness of how his intimacy with God led him into ministry. It had nothing to do with my teaching or my coaxing him to review. He found what it meant to be IN RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS. It wasn’t religion. It was relationship.
That was it for me. My Sunday School student helped me understand what it meant to have a “personal relationship” with God. So even today I seek a deeper and closer relationship with Jesus. And every day with Jesus is “sweeter than the day before”.
Go deeper in 2022
Most interesting about my epiphany is that Jesus just recently revealed this memory to me. Why now? I don’t know. Maybe He felt it was time to share it with you.
Daily we have the opportunity to practice His presence as we daily address the challenges of 21st century living. In God’s presence we experience His love, power, and wisdom. As we go deeper in our relationship with God, we can better understand His ways and see with spiritual eyes.
Let us deepen our trust in Him. When we do, we aren’t shaken by the latest news stories or the challenges we face in 2022 and beyond. We know whose in control!
As members of God’s family there is nothing that can separate us from His love. And we have the blessed assurance that our relationship with God will extend into and throughout eternity.
I invite you this year to go deeper in your relationship with God. Become “like the sponge in the ocean”. Live and abide in Him.
No extra reading this week so please share with us what you learned in 2021. Thanks for reading.
One thought on “What I Learned in 2021”
Thank you for sharing! This was very interesting and I learned some things about you that I didn’t know. I learned in 2021 that we still in 2022 and beyond have to wait on God! That our time is not his time; and as bad as these past two years have been dealing with Covid and other issues we still have to wait on the Lord. Only he and he alone knows what our future holds. All we can do is pray for those who have lost loved ones and thank God that he has spared us to pray and continue to spread his Word.