Keys to Knowing God Better

Keys to Knowing God

Over the years I have asked this question of so many of my friends and those in leadership: How do you get to know God?

I have come to realize that getting to know God is a process just like building a relationship with your spouse or friends. These relationships don’t happen overnight but grow progressively over time as we spend time chatting and doing life together. It is the same with our Lord and Savior. Initially, we come, give Him our heart and make Him Lord over our lives. Mistakenly, we think this is all there is to it; however, I am here to tell you that God has so much more in His Kingdom. Salvation is only the beginning – it is the “on-ramp” to the most powerful loving relationship you will ever experience here on earth. The Kingdom of God is progressive and continues precept upon precept depending on how far you want to go. As you come close day by day, your relationship will grow and deepen. As you share your heart and wait on Him, your ability to hear and commune with Him is heightened. So with all that said, I want to share keys that may help you in this process. Remember, a relationship with Christ is deepened as we spend time with Him so even these keys are just another “on-ramp” to levels of intimacy with Him. I call this place my secret place and this is how my time with Jesus begins.

Paul writes in Philippians 3:8, “Yes, furthermore, I count every as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him…” (Amp)

Begin Your Journey

SCHEDULE A TIME.

Make an appointment with God and keep it. If you are a calendar person, schedule it in at the beginning of each week. Go through your week and leave room for the most important few minutes of your day. Be as consistent as you can so that it becomes a habit – a discipline. Realize that Father is waiting for you every day and He loves His special time just with you. Be intentional and don’t allow the enemy to rob you of these precious moments. If you miss a day, try again as habits are built as we try every day. Don’t give up!

CHOOSE A TOOL – A BIBLE/DEVOTIONAL/JOURNAL.

Use your Bible but always have other translations available to help with furthering your understanding of the scriptures. You can Google Bible Gateway and choose from all different kinds of translations and commentaries. I recommend the Passion Version or the New Living Bible if you are just beginning. The Message Version makes for very easy reading as well.

START WITH PRAYER.

Prayer is talking with God. Don’t make it difficult but rather speak to Him in everyday language. If you need to confess sin before you begin, do it. Ask Him to forgive you and receive His forgiveness. Remember that when we repent, scripture tells us that He remembers no more and your sin is removed in the eyes of Jesus. Put on some good worship music and just enjoy God. If something or someone comes to mind, ask the Father to take care of it. Present the problem to Him and trust Him to accomplish His purposes. Put away long lists of prayer needs and trust that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind those things you should lift up to the Father. Then ask Jesus to give you ears to hear and eyes to see. Ask Him to open up His Word to you. Thank Him and believe He will. (Spend as much time in this place as you can. It is so life-giving.)

USE YOUR BIBLE OR DEVOTIONAL.

Get a journal, notebook or a piece of paper and as you read, jot down thoughts or verses that may leap off the page. If you don’t know where to begin, start with the Psalms or the Gospel of John. Talk to God about what you are reading. Ask Him questions even if they seem silly to you. You can look up words in the dictionary to get more understanding or read another translation and/or a commentary. If nothing stirs your heart, slow down, meditate on what you are reading and TAKE YOUR TIME!

We are not racing through the scriptures but rather remaining open to what the Father may want to reveal. Sometimes the scriptures just come alive and then other times they can seem dull, but just continue to read and enjoy the process with Jesus. I always have an extra piece of paper on hand so that if my mind wanders to things I have to do, or phone calls I have to make and etc… I write them down immediately and continue reading. Enjoy the moment with Jesus. Feel free to read that day’s devotional as well. Many times God will have a word just for you but the scriptures should remain your main reading material.

MEDITATE AND REST IN HIM.

I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to just sit before Him and enjoy His presence. The Word you just read can lead you into this moment. Take a few minutes now and review what you have read and what the Lord may have spoken to you. Thank Him for speaking to you even if you feel you received nothing that day. His presence fills the scriptures and He was there all the while you were reading and praying.

DON’T JUST READ BUT OBEY WHAT HE HAS SPOKEN.

Do what the word says to do. James 1:22 says that we are not to be hearers only but doers of the Word. If Holy Spirit is speaking to you about gossip or any other character issues during your devotions, then that is the area He is highlighting and He is asking you to obey Him. Every time we obey His Word, we get to know Him in a deeper way. It warms His heart as we obey His Word and long to become like Jesus.

MAKE A COMMITMENT TO READ THE WORD EVERY DAY AS BEST YOU CAN.

If you miss a day, try again the next day. Remember that you are developing a habit and that takes trying and trying and then trying again.

YOU ARE NOT BEING GRADED ON YOUR PERFORMANCE.

This is all about your heart and your longing to get to know Him. Performance is a thing of the past and you are on this quest to know the One Who created you and wants a deep relationship with you. Loving, relational and merciful describes our Father. Despite the “worldview,” He does speak today and longs for you to hear His voice. YOU ARE A PERFECT A+ IN HIS EYES!

I pray that this helps you get on that path to a deep relationship that never ends. The deeper you go with Him, the more He has for you. It is a quest to seek the face of the One Who gave it all.

Love you so much,

Julaine

Let Me Sing You a Song!

“Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the children of the world.”

Let’s not forget that while the news media screams that we are becoming a divided nation,  Jesus was never divided in His love for us; thus, we must battle the enemy and his lies in order to stay focused on this foundational truth that God loves His children.

As Christ loves, so do we.

We have become so earthly minded here in America that we have lost sight of eternity. Colossians 3:1 speaks about setting our affections on things that are above and not on the earth. The earth draws us and feeds us its delicacies until we are so fat with its delights that we have forgotten our eternal purpose.  Its tasty desserts have become our food rather than the Word of God. Remember that a life of sugar can kill us in the end.  Solid food produces life.

It promotes and parades its lofty ideals until we buy into it believing that truth is represented through the news, advertisements and college professors.  We buy it and eat until we, too, look and act just like the world.  We are no longer separated …Jim Caveziel says it this way: “You weren’t made to fit in.  You were made to stand out.” Currently, we are not standing out but standing in.  We fit in.  We blend in.  We are no different. Fitting in is the trend even in the Christian community. Let’s not upset the cart.  Be careful what you say as you may offend someone – even if you misquote God’s word.

We even try to mold the Word of God into our ungodly way of thinking. We cannot allow the world to shape our values!

The Word of God is our value system.

Romans 12 says that we are not to be conformed to this world.  It actually means that we are not to be molded into its shape.  On my current Facebook chat, I talked about the piece of clay and how it is formed into its designated shape.  When you place a fragment of clay in a pot or wheel, it develops as you work with the lump.   If the potter has design in mind, then that lump of clay will be converted into the potter’s design as he/she uses wet hands to mold it into the projected image.  With a high-speed wheel and much practice, the clay ultimately becomes.

Likewise, if we spend too much time in the world listening to it, walking like it, talking like it, believing it, then we too become molded into its shape and design.

The world molds us.

Our intended God-given purpose becomes roughly anything other than its original intent.  Psalm 139 states that we were formed by God from the beginning of our conception. He has already given us shape but setting our affections on the world will transform our God-given design into the world’s image.

Set your affections (love) on the things above. ABOVE?  Look to the eternal One.  Look to Christ.  He is seated in heaven beside the Father.

Love not the world.  I John 2:15 challenges us with these words: “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them.” We love people no matter where they come from, what they look like or even the choices they have made. But we don’t love the rhetoric of the world and its tactical narrative that would try to persuade us to worship anything other than Christ Jesus.

Does that mean I have to quit living?  No! It just means that we are not to forget who our God is.

If the tasty delights of the world become our God, then we have lost our way.  Time to find our way back to the simple truths.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

Come home to Jesus.  Let Him rule and reign in your life.  He loves you so much and so do I.

Love,

Julaine

Up, Up and Away!

I arrived at the airport early this morning just so I could take my time, relax and stay organized. If I rush, my organized life takes a turn and I become – well – not in control…rushed and that is not good.

So fully intact, I got a cup of coffee, (you can order my coffee devotional on my site) sat down and just began to check my messages and “people watch.” As I scanned the airport, a tiny (3 ft maybe) older man rushed in front of me. I felt as though Father was giving me a glimpse into the lives of all kinds of “persons of interest” and I thought, “I wonder what his world has been like and what obstacles he has had to face over the years?” I immediately looked at my world and became grateful that I made it to 5′ 3″.

I have always complained about being short.  I am so sorry, Lord.

I looked to my right and observed a group of young people laughing and carrying on oblivious to anyone around them – one girl with a shrieking laugh had bright orange hair and tattoos and I noticed that 4 ethnic groups were represented in that one small group of 4.   My first thought was, “Have they met Jesus?”   Wondered again what life had handed them. I looked at mine and thought, “God, I am so thankful that I chose you in my twenties. You have been so good to me.”

I prayed those unique ones would all find Jesus, if they hadn’t already.

I immediately turned my attention to the flight desk to see when my plane would board and a young man with no legs – no thighs – riding on what seemed to be some sort of skateboard, raced swiftly in front of me and once again,  I thought, “Lord, I have legs. I can walk, run and jump. What is it like to never be able to run or walk?”

Lord, thank you for my legs…You see I have always complained and murmured about my short legs.  

Gratefulness swept over me and this sense of giving thanks for life no matter what has been handed to me dropped into my heart. I want to get REAL. Sometimes, life is all about me! And sometimes I have a problem with negativity. I want to put the best construction on everything,  feel safe to stand in faith and believe for the best no matter what, but many times, my first response is to think the worst. I have always been a “first responder” to negativity rather than the positive. God has been working with me on this area…He is so kind and lovingly disciplines me.

God had something on His heart for me today.

When I woke up this morning, I heard the Lord speak very clearly. (It seems He shouts the loudest just as I am about to wake up.) Today, I actually saw scripture on faith and hope float in front of me and Father began to show me why it is important to speak in faith and live a life of gratefulness. It is not just because it’s good to be positive but the fact is, scripture teaches that life goes better for us when we declare and stand on His word and this agreement gives power to our life.

Immediately, I decided that I was going to begin to think and act in faith and thanksgiving. My words were going to become a flow of positive declarations of God’s Words beginning now (with His help). God was speaking to me about something He wanted to see changed in my life- for my benefit. I started quoting Philippians 4 to myself where Paul talks about how we are to think: “Think on these things that are true, good, lovely, just etc.” That was my first leg of the trip.

As I entered the plane for my second leg, I sat down, buckled myself in and took out the only book that I had decided to bring with me (beside my Bible). It was a book on leadership by Rob Kettering and I had been looking forward to having time to delve into it. I decided to skip the introduction and went right for the juggler – Chapter 1 (I usually look at the end of the book first, then thumb through the introduction with wild anticipation in order to get to the first chapter – so much for long introductions to books – my apologies to all authors). As I began to read, I couldn’t believe how God was using chapter 1 just for me.

Be careful what you complain about, because it might shine a light on your own faults.

People don’t realize the power of negative thinking. Not only does it highlight their faults, it also destroys their enthusiasm”(Rob Kettering). I would like to add that it destroys their JOY.

I realize that Rob is speaking to the people in the back row of the church or organization who complain and never move to the front row and do something, but I found it quite interesting that Father had been speaking to me all day about negative words and he was continuously reminding me throughout my journey what I should think on and what words should flow out of my mouth. Earlier that morning, He had moved me to grab this particular book for my long journey to CA.

You would think after all we went through last year with my husband’s kidney transplant that I would do better and have learned a great lesson, but it remains an upward battle for me to change the way I think and speak. (I have actually grown a lot.) However, it is a battle I intend to win as I look to the author and finisher of my faith. I will not lose this battle but I will pass this test as well.

I had such a precious upbringing – loved and cared for – but it as a child, I adopted some wrong thinking.  Here is an example: If I were hoping for something good to happen, I resolved in my heart that if I thought the worst and then the good happened, I would be pleasantly surprised. (Not good – faith-filled thinking, uh?) It was much safer to think negatively than to take a risk.  I believe that in order to stay away from discouragement, many of us take the route with the least resistance and just don’t hope, that way we are safe from disappointment. Maybe you are thinking even right now, “Why should I believe that it will turn out alright…everything always goes wrong for me?” I have tried it before.

I realize that IF I had taken the road of negativity during my husband’s trial this year, my husband and I would not have passed the kidney test. Standing on God’s word, confessing His truth, and believing what God told us were the beliefs that held us firmly in His grip. I refused to ever allow any negative thoughts to enter my mind during this huge trial, only His promises.  If fear thoughts came, I grabbed them with fervency and threw them back at the enemy – the author of lies.   How could I not believe His Word? How could I stand on any other foundation but Christ the rock as any other foundation would crack and eventually collapse? My foundation would have crumbled “had I not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 91).

The lesson in all of this is that I must live a lifestyle of faith not just when the big trial forces me to but my life must express true joy in whatever circumstance life gives me so that God will get all the glory in my life every day.  My hurting world and sphere of influence need to see me trust God in every situation – good and not so good. They MUST SEE BOLD FAITH and JOY. They must hear words of life flowing from my mouth.

My God lesson and God-thoughts for today: “Julaine – be grateful for everything. Always believe me for the best outcome. Don’t think so much. Don’t criticize when you feel weak. Choose to change the way you think, my daughter. Think the way I think. Think my word. Look at everything from my perspective and trust me for the final outcome. Don’t allow the cares of this world to steal the joy I have given you. There is joy to be found deep inside you no matter what you go through or what you have been handed in life. That joy is deep in your spirit where Christ Himself dwells in every believer. He is the hope of glory. “He is” lives inside you. You just have to look for it in every moment. Today and every day, choose a life filled with God – inspired thoughts and words.

One final thought: When I ask my husband how he is doing, he has always responded for as long as I have known him with these words, “I am doing good but I will get better.”

Today, my friends, choose His Word.  Stand on it!  Believe it! Confess it for your life.

I am getting out of the hole of negativity and I choose today to be a woman full of faith and if you ask me how I am….”I am great with God’s help and I will get even better because Jesus is transforming my life.”

Love you all,

Julaine

 

 

Time for Courage – A New Season A New Day!

NEW SEASON…NEW DAY…A SEASON TO BE BRAVE & COURAGEOUS

I am sitting at my desk, looking out the window and enjoying the sound of the rain as it pours down on the seeds that have laid dormant during the winter. In a month or so, they will bloom.  Isn’t it amusing how each year we anticipate a new season as if we have never experienced its performance before?  It’s as though this is the first curtain call and we are the audience awaiting this year’s new screenplay. Yet, seasons come and go – and come and go – and come and go.

Here I am, over 60 and wondering as many of you, young and old…what in the world does this next season look like?  I know the script has been written because God’s word says that our days are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 3:15 & Ps. 139)  My days are numbered and God has already written a great plan for me if I will follow His plan in obedience.  Of course, if I deviate, things may change a bit but still God has a perfect plan for every season of my life.  He is always at work.

Then,  why this uncertainty?  Why this feeling of emptiness?  Many times when we are about to cross over into that next season of life, there is a sense of “I don’t belong here anymore,” or “I don’t have grace for this anymore.”  Personally, I begin to feel a bit agitated and then  I know, God is about to do something great. I am certain that Joshua, as he was about to cross into the promised land, experienced much of the same things we feel.

But God kept saying to him, “Be strong and of good courage.”  That is what I am saying to you, today, my friends.  Be strong and be of good courage as your next season is about to bloom.  It is raining and the ground is getting prepared for your crossover.  When those “feelings come” just tell them to step down and leave you alone.  You are about to enter into a new season…There may be a few giants to kill along the way so get out your sword (God’s Word) and stand strong in the power of HIS might and see the breakthrough begin.

Stand up and be BRAVE… BE COURAGEOUS!

Start looking for your breakthrough BRAVE ONES!

UPDATE:  My husband and George are doing fantastic and we are currently entering into their 8th month since the transplant.   Once again, thank you for all your support and prayers.

 

 

Transplant Coming Soon!

10689433_10152415306462303_3592310236224213158_nI was in prayer the morning of Sept. 10, 2015, when I received the phone call stating that my husband was diagnosed with Renal Disease (Kidney failure). I had written in my daily journal earlier that day and felt the Lord say that this would be a year of moving from walking in fear to a year of developing strong faith. When I heard the news, I knew that God was preparing us to trust Him in a way that we had never trusted before. God doesn’t send sickness and disease; however, He will use any circumstance in our life to bring about His grandest purposes. Our 2015-2016 journey began that morning.

One day, I will share many of the words of encouragement that the Father gave me along the way. His voice carried us every day along with the prayers of so many amazing people. The prayers of our praying friends and God’s Word became our safety net holding and propelling us from fear to faith in 2016. We had to trust the One Who knows all things – We couldn’t fix this problem and now trust became part of our daily walk. Each day as I watched my husband get weaker and weaker, go through test after test, do dialysis every night, my faith and trust in God became stronger and stronger. There was nowhere to turn – only the Father could heal my husband. My prayer: brand new kidneys either through a miraculous healing or bring us a donor!

Has it been a difficult journey? Yes…”I would have fainted had I not believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13) God’s promises are His covenant with His people. We can trust Him in every storm. Recently, my three-year-old granddaughter stopped what she was doing, looked straight into my eyes and said, “God calms the storm and Elijah saw the cloud.” I was undone. I could hear the Father say that He is calming our storm and that we were to look at the cloud – the answer was coming.

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In Sept., 2015 when our son Chad heard the news, he immediately called his closet friend to tell him. Without hesitation, George Kunz replied, “I am giving your dad my kidney.” From that moment on without our knowledge, George began his own journey going through extensive tests beginning in November and ending in July of this year when we received his phone call informing us that he was a match. George would be giving my husband his kidney and he was God’s miracle. We were stunned at this young man’s sacrifice!

George has always been a special part of our family and as a young man, he and my husband would do basketball stats together during the basketball games at Central Christian High School. He was best man at my son’s wedding and a true friend of the family. Who would know that years later, George would be giving my husband such an amazing gift! George currently lives in Phoenix with his wife and two beautiful children.

On August 10, exactly 11 months after God spoke these words to me, George and Dave Christensen will meet in a transplant surgery center here in Omaha and undergo a kidney transplant. God said, “It will be a year of walking from fear to faith.”

This scripture from the Message Bible hangs on my kitchen wall and every day I quote these words: “The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing.”  

Will you pray for George and Dave for a safe and perfect transplant? Pray that Dave’s (Chris) body will receive the kidney and begin to function immediately.  Pray that recovery for both of them will be smooth and without any complications. Please pray for George’s family as they move forward and that the blessings of God will follow them wherever they go.

Thank you so very much for everything and especially for praying. Please never underestimate the power of prayer. It changes everything!

Thank you for praying!!!!!

Dave & Julaine