Christian Walk - Growing Closer to God

I hear pieces of information about entering God's rest. How can I find out more?

The Scriptures that I would direct you to are Hebrews chapter 3, the whole chapter, and Hebrews chapter 4, the whole chapter. All of those verses in those two chapters are talking about entering into God's rest.

How do you do that? Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." You'll find rest for your souls, in Matthew chapter 11. So you've got to come to Him. There is going to be no rest in God without Jesus Christ, coming to Him. Come to Him with your problems. Come to Him with your sins. Come to Him with your fears. Come to Him with your worries. Come to Him and lay all that on His shoulders. Lay all of your burdens on Him. Cast all your cares upon Him and that's how you're going to find rest.

Another way that you're going to find more of God's rest is that you've got to believe God's word. It says in Hebrews chapter 3, "they did not believe and therefore, they could not enter into God's rest." In other words, they doubted God's Word. Whenever you doubt God's Word, you're going to have unrest.

Rest is the place that we come to in life that we were always meant to come to. It's the place where God always intended for us to be. It's the atmosphere of the Garden of Eden. There was rest, there was tranquility, there was peace. Where did it come from and what disturbed it in Adam and Eve's life? It came from as long as Adam and Eve believed what God said, they had rest, they had peace, they had tranquility, they had the beauty of the garden and all of the enjoyment of all the trees in the Garden. But when they doubted God's Word, that's when all hell broke loose, literally. That's when all the unrest came forth in their lives. When they did not believe the Word of God.

See, this is the key to Christianity: it's believing God. That's why faith and believing God is so vital and so important because it is the way, it's the path that gets us in to God's rest. And all unrest and all distress comes from doubting God's Word or questioning God's Word and not believing God's Word.

Christian Walk - Growing Closer to God

I know that I’m really religious and I have the Lord in my heart and everything, but it seems like sometimes when I know I’m on the right track, something distracts me – going to casinos and doing the wrong things and I just feel like I can’t get the direction that I need to go forward and make everything right in my life. What am I missing?

Well, I think that we need a number of things to be healthy Christians and to live a healthy life that’s free from sin. Number one, we need an active relationship with God where we’re praying, talking to God, reading the Bible everyday to get information, to get wisdom, to get inspired and encouraged.>
Number two, we need a healthy relationship with a good church that is teaching the Word of God and helping to hold us accountable in our relationship with God.

And number three, we need good friends, relationships that are going to challenge us to do the right thing where we have accountability, where if we’re struggling with something, we can say, “Hey, I’m struggling. Help me. Hold me accountable. Help me walk through this thing as I fight this battle.” So those are the three things we need. We need the Word of God, a relationship and fellowship with God, number one. We need a good relationship with our church, number two. And then we need relationships with strong Christians in our church that can help hold us accountable. If you add those three things to your life, then you will stop going in the wrong direction and start going in the right direction.

Christian Walk - Growing Closer to God

The Bible encourages us to grow in grace. How does a believer grow in grace?

How do we grow in grace? 2 Peter 1:2-3 says, "Grace and peace are multiplied to us through the knowledge of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ." As we study the Word and study the knowledge of who God is, of His goodness, His grace, His mercy, His love, then we, too, will grow in grace as we grow in our knowledge of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of who He is, not just knowledge about God, but who He really is, the goodness of God, the mercy of God. That helps us grow in grace as well.

(PASTOR GRACE says: The Bible also says that when you humble yourself, God gives grace to the humble. He resists the proud and he gives grace to the humble. So, I think another way is to just walk in humility. Humble yourself to God. Believe God loves you. Humble yourself. Believe that He cares about you. Open your heart to what God wants to say in the situation.)

And serve other people as a way to humble yourself and for grace to come. And submit yourself to a local church, a godly pastor, a godly leadership team where you can truly receive of that anointing. That’s another way to humble ourselves. And we’re willing to admit what we’ve done wrong, confess our sin, admit what we’ve done. That is a way of humbling ourselves. "What does God require of thee, O man, but to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before your God. He gives grace to the humble." James 4:6.

Christian Walk - Growing Closer to God

I want to live the Christian life, but I keep finding myself falling in and out of the church, never being fully able to be connected, to be able to walk with the Lord. I just keep falling back in and out. I want to know the best way I can get fully connected. I have talked to the Pastor two times. I just feel I was not answered and not helped. I don’t know if maybe this is not the right church for me or if I should look for another church.

That’s an excellent question. First of all, I would follow the pattern of Jesus. See, sometimes we don’t do things because we think they are important and valuable, but they are not absolutely necessary. So we cut out things we don’t deem as absolutely necessary.>
Let’s start with the fact that in Luke 4, Jesus made it a custom to be in church and to be connected to the synagogue He was a part of. They knew Him and that it was His custom to read the scripture. In Luke 4, it was His custom to be there and be plugged in. Earlier in His life, it was not only His custom to be in the synagogue, but to ask questions and talk to the teachers and the lawyers, those that were leading the synagogue and those leading the church. So much so that His parents, when they went home, they didn’t realize where he was. It took them three days and they realized, “we left Jesus back in the temple.” They went back to the temple and there He was, asking questions. Number one, you have to follow the pattern of Jesus and realize the absolute necessity of being connected to a healthy church.

Number two, you have to have passion to want to grow. Because when you really want to grow, you will do whatever it takes to grow. I believe from what I hear in your voice that you want to grow. That would be the next thing, to have the passion and desire to really grow and say God, I want to grow. Change me and help me be connected.

Thirdly, I would make sure I am getting connected to a church that is teaching the uncompromised word of God and start to build relationships there. There are several ways you can build relationships. In our church, there are two primary ways to build healthy relationships with people. One is to become a part of a community group, a small group, where you can care for people and where we can help you. Another way is by serving, being plugged in, committing yourself to serving on a regular basis, whether that’s once or twice a month in the nursery or whether a greeter or helping the poor or the needy. There are so many ways you can serve. That’s how you get connected and build relationships. That is what I would encourage you to do, is get connected. Coming to a good church is like filling up your tank of gas, the good news about it is that it is not as expensive to come to church as it is to fill your tank up with gas these days.

Maybe you should look for a different church. If you can get involved in one of the two ways, first you have to make sure you are connected to that Pastor. The church you are going to, the Pastor has to be anointed and you receive that anointing and that teaching and that you’re eating of that anointing. Secondly, you have to get connected through a small community group or by serving in that church. Do that and you will be fine and you will want to stay connected.

Christian Walk - Growing Closer to God

I’ve been backsliding and it seems like every time I get all the sins out of the way, I’m still disappointing him. My question is “how do I get back into fellowshipping with him everyday like I used to by making a definite time and a place that I can do it and not using any excuses, but to help me to get back into that groove again?

First of all, let me say to you that number one, God is not disappointed with you and you need to know that. He’s not disappointed with you. He loves you, man. He thinks the world of you. He made you and He created you in His image and he died for you. He paid for you. You’re like a beautiful painting that He paid millions and millions of dollars for. You might not think that you’re that good. You might not think that you’re that worthy, but He felt that you were worthy enough to pay for you with the blood of His own son. You have significance, you have value and God thinks the world of you.>

Secondly, the way that you return to fellowship with God is 1 John 1:9 says that when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And verse 7 says that we are restored to fellowship with Him when we tell the truth, when we don’t deceive ourselves, when we admit that we’ve sinned, which you’ve done. You admit you sinned, you confess it to God and the Bible says you are immediately restored to fellowship with Him.

Now, how do you spend time with Him? I believe that the first order of importance is to start your day off by spending time with God. So if you wake up at seven in the morning normally, wake up at 6:45. If you wake up at 7:30 normally, wake up at 7:15. In other words, wake up 15 minutes earlier and that’s the time to talk to God, to read your Bible and to listen to Him. Don’t try an hour at a time or 2 hours. Start with just 10 or 15 minutes and reading the Psalms and praying the Psalms and telling God how you feel and telling God what’s going on in your life. He knows, but He wants you to tell Him. He wants to hear from you and He wants you to pour your heart out to Him. That’s how I would start. And don’t feel bad if you sleep in or miss a day. God is never mad at you for not praying. But He loves to fellowship with you and He looks forward to it every day.

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