21 Days of Drawing Near 2024 - Strengthened in the Word

Here we are in 21 Days of Drawing Near to God.  He tells us in the Word that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and Jesus said He is with us always even to the end of the age
(Matthew 28:20),  Yet God instructs us to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us (James 4: 8).  The act of drawing near to God is a move or a response on our part to set aside time and attention, to clear our schedules and to choose to listen for His voice in the Word and in our hearts.
Our 21 Days is a practice of setting aside activities, affections, entertainments and even food for the purpose of drawing near to God,  In the time that you might spend on media, movies, television, social media, hobbies, or attention to meals, you instead spend that time reading the Word, praying and listening to God, reading or studying books about spiritual practices or just being still before the Lord. By setting aside distractions and disciplining ourselves to focus in the Lord and His Kingdom we position ourselves to hear more clearly from Him, to grow in our spiritual life and to become a more active participant in what God is doing now.  We want to be like the five wise virgins in Matthew 25 who had their lamps filled with oil and they were ready for the return of the bridegroom - that's Jesus! We want to be ready and available to Him whenever He calls us.

Our emphasis during the 21 Days of Drawing Near in 2024 is being strengthened in the Lord.
This is a season of strength training so we are active participants, ready workers and holy habitations for God to dwell. The word strengthen is defined as build up, establish, increase, invigorate, restore, step up and empower. Isaiah 40: 29 tells us that God will increase strength to the weak.  That is good news that in any area of your life you feel weak, you are a candidate for increased strength!

This week we are focusing on being strengthened in the Word of God.  The Scriptures are the Words of God given to us and by His Word we build a solid foundation in our lives (Matthew 7: 24-27), Storms will come to us but we will have authority over storms and we will advance after difficult times when we are built on the solid foundation of the Word in us.
We are born again by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23) and the Word is an incorruptible seed that produces good fruit in our lives. The Word of God is a weapon in the hostile environment that we live in (Ephesian 6: 17). The Word is like a sword that cuts away things in our thinking and in our heart that are not in alignment with the Kingdom of God.  We must not only read and listen to the Word but we must be active doers of the Word as well (James 1: 22-25).  It is easy for us to be complacent listeners of the Word so we must stay sharp and immersed in the Word.  We can never wander away from the wonder and power of the Word of God.  Our faith and our very lives depend on the Word!

I am encouraging a practice this week of reading Psalm 119.  It is the longest Psalm (176 verses!) so we are breaking it up into 25 verses a day with one day of 26 verses.  It is intimidating to tackle a big project so be empowered to read it all the way in small bits.  Read slowly or read out loud so the meanings of words can get into your thinking. Pause and ask the Lord how these Words of His shape your life and your thinking.  Highlight verses that are significant to you  and even memorize some of those verses.  Psalm 119 is a good tool to stir up your affection and attention to the Scriptures.
Because we are together in this season of drawing near to God we can encourage each other in our strength training.  Leave a brief comment on this post and tell us what verse or verses from Psalm 119 have challenged or motivated you in your attention to the Word of God.

1 Comment

Ethan Thomas - January 16th, 2024 at 1:48pm

So good, Pastor Caroline! Psalms 119:33-40 got me thinking about asking God for strength. The verses before 33 employ a lot of "asking," but every verse between 33 and 40 starts or ends with David strongly asking God for spiritual and character growth. Instead of telling God how I'll "be better," I want to develop a habit of asking God for the strength I need. It's by His strength, right?