How do we stay connected to God and hear from heaven? The answer is simple: We remain in the word. In week 3 of Heart Ablaze, Pastor Jeff Jones brought an empowering message instructing us on the 5 ways to get the word into our heart. He encouraged us to grow in our personal expectation when we spend time with the Lord–reading the Bible, coming to church, taking time to pray, participating in worship–that we would experience a real and active connection with our Heavenly Father.
As believers, we have the amazing opportunity to experience exponential growth as we elevate our relationship with the one true God and let Him direct our lives. When we connect with God, He gives us guidance–not audible voices–but He gives us a knowing that we’re on the right path or if the decision we’re making is aligned with His plan. That truth gives us bold confidence as we walk through life in faith! In his message, Remain in the Word, Pastor Jeff shares key insights on how to continuously, actively grow in our relationship with God and how to be sure His word is implanted in our hearts.
When we ask the question, “How do we connect with God?” who better to answer than Jesus himself! We find the answer in Matthew 7:7-8:
(NKJV) 7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
(NLT) 7“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Jesus is saying to us, “Hey! If you want to connect with me, just ask!” That’s the beauty of our relationship with the Lord–it has limitless potential for growth. Pursuing that growth is our responsibility. Our relationship with God can continue to develop and expand throughout our lives, or it can become stale, nothing more than a routine.
God wants to be in active relationship with us! He wants to maintain a constant, growing connection with us. Our time with Him is never meant to be empty or dull. The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon said this about our relationship with the Lord: “Nobody ever outgrows scripture; the Book widens and deepens with our years.”
The Bible is just as alive today as it was the day it was written. It’s not a book that we have read; it’s a book that we are reading. The Bible is living GIVING…not life GIVEN. Hearing from God through His word is present tense…not a thing of the past!
Clement of Alexandria, one of the church founders in the few hundred years AD said this about growing in a vital relationship with God: “The one who seeks should not cease until he finds, and in finding he should marvel, and having marveled he shall reign, and having reigned he shall rest.”
When we really connect with God, we rule and reign in life from a position of resting in Him. In the end–no matter what we’re facing–we just need Jesus. In a woke culture, when everyone is confused and swayed by things of this world, we can rest in the peace and comfort of being in relationship with the Prince of Peace himself. Amen!
How has your relationship with God changed and grown since becoming a believer?
What did connecting with Him mean then versus now?
How does the Bible influence your relationship with God?
We can live in a natural world, by our flesh, and we can live by natural means…or we can live supernaturally by the Spirit, choosing to believe that God is still speaking to us. The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us, His connecting point with us. Jesus spells it out for us clear as day in Matthew 4:4 (NKJV):
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
When we meet with God, whether that be in church, in our small groups, or in our own private prayer time with Him, we have an expectation that we will hear from God because we are people of the Book.
This book, the Bible, is the key to living a supernatural life. Pastor April talks more about living a supernatural life in her message, How to Spend Time with God. Unfortunately, a lot of people just put the Book on a shelf, where it does little to actively change our lives. If you move the Book from the shelf to your heart and get the Bible to be a part of your daily life, it has the power to change ev-er-y thing!
If we remain in the Word and move the Bible from the book to our hearts, our entire lives will change–our purpose, our peace, our goals, who we are, how we relate to people, our relationships. Our goal this year is to fully and completely grasp the Bible in a new way as we strive to passionately pursue Jesus in the age of apathy. To help us do that, Pastor Jeff shares 5 ways to get the word into our hearts and move the Bible from the shelf to our soul!
Before we explore the 5 ways to get the Word into your heart, consider this: When you sit down to read the Bible, what’s your goal? What are you looking for? What do you hope is accomplished?
If you’re reading the Bible like any other book or thinking it’s this massive work you’ll never understand, then you’ll read with no expectation, no real hope for anything. Reading your Bible will just be something you do because you’re “supposed” to, a religious practice.
Our goal this year as we chase fervently after God is to open the Word and open our hearts, knowing that God will speak to us. Like Pastor April shared in 3 Ways to Move Your Heart Closer to God, if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
Be encouraged and know that God is pleased with you; He loves you and wants to meet you right where you are. All we have to do is seek Him and consume God’s word expectantly.
A Bible scholar and professor of Biblical Studies, Merril C. Tenney said this: “Bible devotions are not so much a technique as a spirit. It’s the spirit of eagerness which seeks the mind of God. It’s the spirit of humility which listens to the voice of God. It’s the spirit of adventure which pursues earnestly the will of God. It’s the spirit of adoration which rests in the presence of God.”
When we meet corporately with the expectation of meeting in the presence of God, He shows up and reveals Himself to us. As believers, we can experience the presence of God outside of church, too! Wherever we are, regardless of time or place, we can introduce the presence of God in our lives by opening up the Bible and moving the word from the book to our hearts. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul says this:
(NKJV) 16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In Remain in the Word, Pastor Jeff reminds us that when you hold the Bible in your hands, you hold the instrument that God uses to equip us, the tool He uses to show us how to live every aspect of life. There’s nothing about our lives that the Scripture does not directly talk about and we find guidance through 4 ways:
The Bible is the very substance of God written in paper. Through the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, God makes life come from the pages. Praise the Lord!
Before you read your Bible, how do you prepare your heart and enter a mindset of expectation?
Think of some of your favorite verses. Which of the 4 categories of teaching do they fall into?
When you face troubles, how does God’s word offer solutions?
Pastor Jeff Jones describes 5 simple ways to get the word from the book to our hearts in his message Remain in the Word and we’re mapping them out for easy reference here. Add this blog post to your bookmarks bar on your phone or computer and when you’re feeling disconnected or distant from God, refresh your spirit and nurture your relationship with the Lord with any (or all!) of these 5 methods.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV) – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We hear the Word through preaching and teaching, that’s why we come to church! Preaching provides inspiration, while teaching provides information. At timestamp 24:42 in Remain in the Word, Pastor Jeff shares a crystal clear example of the difference between preaching and teaching in Matthew 6:5-6 and we see times when Jesus was either preacher or teacher, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
1 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV) – Till I come, give attention to reading…
Revelation 1:3 (NKJV) – Blessed is he who reads…this prophecy.
One of the best habits we can ever adopt is reading our Bibles daily. Reading the Bible adds blessing to our lives. Rest your heart for just a few moments before reading your Bible. Then pray and ask God to minister to your heart. Then read with expectation.
“Nothing will help us grow spiritually more than spending time alone with God every day, reading His word, and praying. Time alone with God is essential to our spiritual welfare.” – Dr. Billy Graham
We are called to take ownership of our spiritual wellbeing and commit to reading our Bibles and hearing from heaven on a daily basis. The 21-day fast Bible reading plan is a great way to develop a daily practice of being in God’s Word!
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV) – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Don’t just read the Bible, study it! Make an active effort, even when you’re not in the mood or not feeling it–God will speak to us if we are faithful and obedient. Devotion starts as discipline. Studying the word puts what we read into context so that we can then apply those principles to our daily lives.
Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) – Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
By memorizing scriptures, we’re able to move God’s word off the pages and into our hearts and, ultimately, into our lives. You don’t need to commit every verse to memory, but some verses that God has used to speak directly to your heart. In Remain in the Word at time stamp 31:12, Pastor Jeff shares a personal example of a time when a specific, memorized scripture impacted his life in a dramatic, prosperous way. When we put verses into our lives permanently, they will set us free! This is the blessing that comes with building our lives on God’s word.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) – 1Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Meditation is a transcendental knowing; it means to speak God’s word over yourself and put His word into practice. When we meditate the Word, we’re never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous. That’s the kind of life we all want to have with the Lord!
In Pastor Jeff’s message, he shares a moving story about his dear friend Patrick Norris. Listen in and discover the life-giving benefits of meditating the word. By meditating the word, God’s word will get into our hearts, our spirit, and be there for us when we need it.
What’s your go-to method for moving the Word from the book to your heart? Why?
Which way of getting the word into your heart is the most difficult for you?
Now, you may be thinking, “What if I just practice 2 of the 5 ways to get the Word into my heart?” Well, 2 is better than none, but the more ways we can sow God’s Word into our heart’s the more difficult it will be for the enemy to take it from us. As we combat apathy and choose to passionately pursue the Lord, we need to put all our defenses in place. We’re standing firm in the Word, believing in God’s almighty power, and daily investing in our relationship with Him as we continue to grow our faith and trust in God’s plan for our lives!
Father, thank you for being with us today and for your Spirit leading and guiding us. Thank you for your word. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We turn to you and ask you to give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of you. We ask you to keep our hearts ablaze for you. Please stir up our passion to serve and our expectation to hear from you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.