A Recommended Bible Devotion
I recently received an appreciation for a devotional study that I provided concerning how to have a morning devotion. Felt it would be good to offer the study on DepartingUPC. Here it is:
This is Bible Study DU023 - A Recommended Bible Devotion.
The first mention of the presence of the Lord is in Genesis 3:8. It says, "They [our first parents] heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden."
This picture of our first parents has much to say. They had lost their sense of holiness. The garden that had been a place of delight was now a place of hiding from the Lord. Their glory was gone.
Of course Jesus changed this. In His high priestly prayer, the Lord said, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one." In the return of the glory, we have a returning of the presence of the Lord.
The presence of the Lord is not simply a theological term to have dialogue over. Not only is it a positional truth, and not only does it speak to our future inheritance, but it also speaks of something that is to be realized in the life of all believers. The presence of the Lord is the secret of our spiritual strength.
This is why Paul said, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)
David also spoke of God's presence, saying, "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever." (Psalm 16:11)
Why is this quote so familiar? It is because Peter drew from it on the day of Pentecost. It is a reference to Christ Himself. And whatever applies to Jesus, applies to us in that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus. What are we heirs of? We are heirs of the presence of the Lord.
This is also why I wanted to share with the forum a devotional guide that I've prepared over the years for students in our 'Disciple's Heart' class. It is designed to help them learn about 'practicing' the presence of the Lord by use of a devotion.
I am providing the devotional guide largely as it has been prepared for our students. The exception will be additional explanations. The study would be good to download for future use.
Let's begin with the introduction ....
THE MOST IMPORTANT time of the day is that time you spend with the Lord in preparing for the day ahead. Every believer should have a morning devotion. By presenting yourself to the Lord each morning, you will find yourself refreshed throughout the day. Equally important you will find your day ordered in the Lord.
There are no set rules for a devotion. However, there are some Biblical guidelines that can be applied to cause a devotion to be truly meaningful. The following is a guide that you can use to get started.
First: Begin your devotion with a moment of quietness. David said, "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me." (Psa 131:3) Have your Bible nearby but don't open it yet. Just close your eyes and think about God and His goodness. (Cf. Matt 6:6)
For forum members --- I have found the best way to begin the devotion is to seat yourself in a comfortable chair. You need to relax with no distractions. Let your Bible rest in your lap. Close your eyes and begin meditating on the Lord Himself. Just love Him for who He is in your life.
Take to heart what David said: "One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple." (Psalm 27:4)
I also want to point out that you are training your mind and spirit towards spiritual things. According to the apostolic writer, your very senses can be trained in the exercise of righteousness.
The next step will come on its own.
Second: Give place to praise and worship. Thankfulness is the heart of worship. Your quietness before the Lord will give place to worship. Worship the Lord freely. It is as the Psalmist said, "Then they were glad because they were quiet; so He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men." (Psalm 107:30, 31)
For forum members: Worship is the natural outflow of a heart that has been attuned to the Lord. It isn't something you can stop, nor would you wish to. This outflow of worship is the Holy Spirit filling you with the Lord's presence.
There is a pattern that can be seen in the tabernacle plan. The holiest of holies is our heart. This is where the indwelling Spirit of Christ abides. The holy place can be likened to our soul. The Spirit-filled life is an outflowing of the holiest of holies into the holy place. The outer place would then represent the outwardness of our life. Paul said that if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He will give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in us. (Rom 8:11)
The interesting thing is that while Paul has the resurrection in view, he is also speaking of an effect that the Holy Spirit can have on our present bodies. Have you ever heard of a person being healed simply by being under the Word? (I have oftentimes.)
The second step leads into the third. It is almost an unconscious thing.
Third: Now comes the hearing. You will sense the Lord's timing for turning to your Bible. Remember that God can speak to you from anywhere in the Scriptures. You will find this true whether you are following a regular reading program or not. As it is written, "I will hear what God the Lord will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones..." (Psalm 85:8)
For forum members: I would encourage you to begin a regular study by going through each book. This does not limit how the Lord will speak to you. It will simply help you develop a pattern of study that is healthy. But the key is not to study the Scriptures simply for the purpose of knowledge. Do it Hebraically. Study to meet the Lord there. He will speak to your heart. This is what you want above all else.
Fourth: Receive your 'Word' for the day. Generally the Lord will minister one truth to you. As He begins to share, don't read any further. Stop and meditate on the truth being revealed. Take this truth as your GEM for the day. Chances are this truth will become a ministry tool sometime during the day. Again the Psalmist says, "I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth." (Psalm 89:1)
For forum members: When the Lord shares something with you, it may also be for someone else. But it may be for you alone. This is where the awesomeness of the Lord comes in. The Lord can speak to you prophetically. He can show you how to correct an area of your life. But whatever He does, you can be sure it will be an upbuilding of your own life.
Once you have assimilated the message of the Lord to your spirit, the next step will come into play.
Fifth: Now is the time to pray. Oftentimes it is here that the Holy Spirit will begin moving on your heart towards certain prayer needs. Pray over the truth He has given you. Pray concerning your day. Pray for each person the Holy Spirit brings before you. You will have a 'knowing' in your spirit when the prayer time is over. Jesus said, "When He puts forth all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice." (John 10:4)
For forum members: When the Lord puts someone on your heart, it is because they are on His heart. This is what praying under the influence of the Spirit means. This kind of praying is very effective.
Another thing you can do is prepare a list of people that you desire to see come to the Lord. (I am speaking of people with whom you have some reasonable contact.) The Lord will help you with this list. Don't be surprised if your list is largely made up of your family and blood kin. There is an issue here that is difficult to explain, but it appears that blood kin has a special place in the prayers of intercession.
Here is an example: In the early 60's I made a list of all my family, beginning with my dad, mom, sisters, brothers-in-law, then on to uncles and aunts and cousins, etc. Every morning I would lay the list before the Lord and ask Him for their salvation. One by one by one I checked their names off. The greater part of them I baptized personally. I actually baptized my dad, 30 days before he died. In searching my memory I don't remember if I checked off every single name, but it seems that I did. (At least the names on the list at the time.)
The only exceptions were my brother-in-laws. But I have to leave that in the hands of the Lord. We are told to judge nothing before the time.
Sixth: End your devotion with praise and thanksgiving. Thank the Lord for meeting with you in this special way. Remember that He loves to share with you. It is as the Psalmist said, "They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." (Psalm 85:8)
For forum members: You never know what will come out of your devotion. All the songs that the Lord has given me have come out of His presence. Sometimes it will be during a devotion, but at other times it will be simply because I am meditating on His person. You can be sure that your life will be enriched spiritually when you learn the practice of His presence.
Seventh: Carry the testimony of the Lord with you. One key to witnessing is simply taking to heart what the Lord shares with you during your devotion. Treasure these things. As you go about your day the testimony will be there. The Bible says, "For the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy." (Rev 19:10)
This concludes the study as it is presented to our students. Keep in mind that what I have shared here is only one way to do devotion, but it is a good way. You may do things differently. That's all right, too.
The important thing to remember is what the Spirit of Christ said through David, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
And you may wish to add this; "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on February 21, 2007. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added February 24, 2007
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