Stay Close

At the end of 2019 and the very start of 2020, the questions, “What are your goals for 2020?” and “What is your “word” for this new year?” were all over social media. If people weren’t asking about our “word” or goals they were telling us what their goals and word for the new year are.

It makes me feel a little pressured thinking I have to come up with these goals and words. Don’t get me wrong, I am always wanting to improve on the previous year. Therefore, I pray for direction from the Lord about what action to take if any.

This year, as I considered some changes and improvements I would like to make in different areas of my life, the Lord has been showing me one thing; “stay close.” My two words and goal for 2020 are to “stay close” to the Lord.

John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can bear no fruit unless you remain in me.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to be in 2020 is unfruitful or unproductive.

To remain means to abide, dwell, hang around, stay, stick around, and to tarry. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary App]

How can we stay close to the Lord?

We can read and study God’s word daily getting to know Him better. When we know God better we will trust Him more.

We can also spend time with the Lord every day in prayer. Not just talking to Him but also being quiet and listening to what He is speaking into our spirit.

You may say, “I’m too busy to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible.”

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all get to choose how we spend those 24 hours. If spending time with our Creator and Savior is not a priority in those 24 hours then those 24 hours will have been unproductive and unfruitful.

“If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will, in the end, make no difference what you have chosen instead.” ~ William Law

It’s our choice! We get to choose how close we will be to the Lord. He doesn’t move away from us, we move away from Him.

James 4:8a Come near to God and he will come near to you.

What are the benefits of staying close to the Lord?

  • Lack of fear
  • Spiritual growth
  • A greater understanding and knowledge of God’s word
  • Increased wisdom and discernment
  • Increased love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  • Increased faith
  • Eternal assurance
  • Increased hope
  • Increased obedience to God’s word
  • Decreased compromise of God’s word
  • Not so easily deceived
  • Direction

The list could go on and on.

The sky is the limit for those who stay close to the Creator of heaven and earth. To the One who knows the beginning and the end. To the One who is in control of all things. To the One who loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Whatever your “word” or your goal for 2020 is, I encourage you to stay close to the Lord. There is no safer place to be. There is no more productive or fruitful place to be.

Colossians 1:9-11 … that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

If You Love Me

My husband and I like to take our dog Autumn for walks on our property. We take the leash along just in case she refuses to obey.

If we’re not careful, she’ll wander off and return smelling like the decaying carcass of the animal she rolled around in. Why on earth do dogs do this? Baffling and gross!

When my husband and Autumn returned from a recent walk, he was happy to report that she was very obedient. Actually, he was amazed by her obedience. Needless to say, he made sure Autumn knew he was very pleased with her.

You see, Autumn is usually a fearful, stubborn, rebellious dog (sounds a lot like me at times). So, for one of us to say that she was obedient for an entire 15-acre walk is really saying something.

Autumn’s act of obedience reminds me of scripture. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.”

We don’t have to exhaustingly work hard at trying to obey God in order to prove our love for Him. The more we fall in love with the Lord, obedience to Him will come more naturally. We’ll actually desire to be pleasing to Him.

Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

The more time Autumn spends with my husband, the more she gets to know him and trust him. The more she knows him and trusts him, her love for him grows. Therefore, her obedience to him increases.

It’s the same with¬†God. The more time we spend with Him in prayer, bible study, and experiencing life with Him, the better we will know Him. The better we know Him, the more we will trust Him and what He says.

The more we realize we can trust God and His Word, the deeper and deeper in love we will fall with Him. Resulting in more obedience.

What is the result of more obedience? A more pleasant journey.

Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their hearts.

What is the reward of obedience?

Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Just as my husband made it clear to Autumn that she had done a great job on their walk and that he was very pleased with her obedience, so also the Lord will express His delight in our obedience.

Matthew 25:23 His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!”

I don’t know about you but that’s what I’m looking forward to hearing the Lord say to me at the end of my walk.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.