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My Personal God…

By February 6, 2022August 30th, 2022Devotional

I went to seminary years ago to enter into a deeper relationship with the One who created me. That was my reason for attending school for almost ten years when I was in my late forties and early fifties.

I joined Trinity Methodist Church on the south side of Chicago when I was thirteen and pretty much figured that was it. Back then, we didn’t learn that much about having a deeply personal relationship with Christ – as teenage boys, we were more concerned with football games and a chance to date girls. Yes, we were exposed to religion but our teachers during our adolescent years weren’t really spiritually deep and it wasn’t very “cool” to spend much time in the Bible.

As Janet and I grew up and got married, we attended church and raised our three children in the church as well. But I thought something was missing. Janet has always had a deeply personal faith – much more than I had – and eventually it got to the point that I needed answers to questions I had – questions about a personal relationship with the Father and His Son. That’s where seminary came in…

Each day when I entered campus, it was like I drove through a veil that shielded the campus from the rest of the world. School was a sanctuary – a place where we could study God and work on our relationship with Him. That’s one of the biggest problems in seminaries. You spend so much time learning ABOUT God that you forget to work on the personal part – the relational part – of KNOWING God in a personal way.

As long as I worked on my personal relationship with God, I knew that I was on the right track. For many years when I was younger, I don’t think that I realized that a personal relationship with God was possible. It was elusive to say the least…

I also developed great friendships with people who provided the path for me to learn about entering into relationship with God. These were very spiritual friends who lived each day for the Lord and were quick to consult Him on virtually every decision. At first I was suspect but very early on, I witnessed the peace that they experienced day to day – every day. I wanted some of that…

For many of us, God is not very personal. We know about Him, we study Him, we read about Him, but we don’t spend the time to get to really know Him in a personal way. The Scripture is full of examples where people think of God as distant, non-personal and even somebody to be feared. But there are also plenty of examples of people, especially King David, who sought God and was active with God every day.

Our verse for tonight highlights one of the times that King David reveals his personal relationship with God. He tells us, in Psalm 86:1-4, “Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”

Notice all the personal pronouns? David has a deeply personal relationship with God. He talks to God directly – not only petitioning God for answers to questions but to praise God and ask for His mercy. It’s a great lesson for all of us. David was a man after God’s own heart.

My encouragement this evening is that each of us is invited into a personal relationship with God. We have an open invitation whenever we want to exercise it. My prayer is that each of us may find that elusive personal relationship with God throughout all the days of our lives. After all, knowing about God is much different than having a friendship with God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…