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And gladly; fear, anxiety, and doubt are rendered weak by the courage and peace that only the strong enjoy.

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Strength for the journey is drawn from a daily connection to the fullness of God. His presence and power are available for every moment of our day as He waits to meet us with the strength that we need. Actively casting all your care on Him and checking for wisdom and direction at every turn provide a constant reminder that you are not a lonely stranger. Though Joshua led Israel through the toughest of times, he found his strength by tapping into the reality of his God. As God promised, "No one will be able to stand up against you I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous Strength comes to those who instinctively ask, "What is there about God's presence in my life that will give me strength and confidence now? What is there in His Word that turns the lights on in this situation? How should I pray for His wisdom, grace, and strength to move forward in His will? It's amazing how much more I get done now that I know where all my tools are.

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Here are some tools to help you get organized in a daily encounter with the living God. I have found them to be helpful. Select a slot on your schedule and a corner of your world, and claim it for God. For some, the morning may be best. Others prefer the evening and agree with David's prayer: "May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice" Psalm Others prefer many encounters during the day. The psalmist did: "Evening, morning and noon I cry out" Psalm How much time should you take?

My advice is to value the quality of the encounter over the length of the meeting. I suggest that your quiet time last long enough for you to say what you want and for God to say what He wants. Read prayerfully. God speaks to you through His Word. Ask God to help you understand the Bible. Before reading the Bible, speak with the author.

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Don't go to Scripture looking for your idea; go searching for His. Read the Bible expectantly. Jesus told us, "Seek and you will find" Matthew The Bible is not a newspaper to be skimmed but a mine to be quarried. Look in His Word for wisdom the way you would search a mine for silver; and if you read for understanding as you would hunt for hidden treasure, you will find it Proverbs —5.

God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Life thrives on the crest of good relationships. Particularly relationships that are essential—our relationships to parents, spouses, our children, friends, and other significant people in our lives. I suppose there are some people who could care less about relationships, but they are few and far between. Recently my dad said that he thought I was doing a good job at Moody.

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I'm fifty-seven years old and still thrill at the approving statements of my parents. Martie tells me that I am her favorite preacher. And our grown children call on us for counsel. No amount of money or material gain can measure against the rewards that are only found in relationships.

As good as the rewards are, the real joy in a relationship is the pleasure of making someone you love the object of your service and adoration. Nothing makes me happier than to serve Martie in ways that make her happy.

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Relationships are the backbone of life when you realize the worst day at the office is not that bad, because there is a friend or a family member who believes in you—who, in effect, reminds you that there are things in life more important than the drudgery of unrewarding daily routines that go south. It is for this reason that I am taken by the way God approaches the matter of connecting with us.

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It is profound enough that God would even want to connect; but that He desires to connect in the context of a loving relationship is an overwhelming thought. Among the world's great religions, Christianity alone is defined by the reality that the relationship between God and His people is driven and defined by a deep exchange of love.

Other religions call their adherents with no thought of love to enter ritualistic contracts of sacrificial performance of duties and oft-repeated rites. If you ask me, I am delighted to be a follower of Jesus. What amazing grace that He loves us and desires our love in return! We preach about His will and His ways, tell His stories by heart, celebrate Him in worship, and serve Him with enthusiasm.

But there is a gnawing sense that there should be more to this relationship. Why is it that He often feels so far away? So historical?

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    The space between these two experiences separates the spectators from intimate participants. It's a pretty safe bet that if you are reading this devotional you probably can recite stories of intrigue from His life and perhaps even spin a few theological paradigms about the nature of His existence. But the unfortunate reality is that most of us stop there. Seemingly satisfied with knowing about Him, we have no conception of the deep richness waiting for those who experience Him. If that's your story, get ready.

    The best is yet to come. He intends for you to experience the pleasure and reassuring peace of His presence in our lives. He didn't die for us to simply strike a deal guaranteeing heaven. He died for us to make us His own and to give us the privilege of experiencing Him personally. He lives to connect with the entire you. And you can know the pleasure.

    The words of my grandmother's favorite hymn capture the privilege: "He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known. Most of us who have grown up in "church world," particularly of the evangelical kind, tend to want God to come in neat packages that are clearly defined and identifiable. He seems safer that way. Don't misunderstand. God is both definable and identifiable. It's just that He is more than that. There is a mystery about God that escapes the limited definitions of our finite minds and an experiencing of Him that often escapes our capacity to describe.

    If you are longing for more of Him, then you must be willing to seek Him in places where He can be found, Paul, at the end of his life, declared that it was his passion to know Christ.