Devo, to those who have faith
God promised Abraham and his descendants that he would give them the world. This promise wasn’t made because Abraham had obeyed a law, but because his faith in God made him acceptable. If Abraham and his descendants were given this promise because they had obeyed a law, then faith would mean nothing, and the promise would be worthless. God becomes angry when his Law is broken. But where there isn’t a law, it cannot be broken. Everything depends on having faith in God, so that God’s promise is assured by his gift of undeserved grace. This promise isn’t only for Abraham’s descendants who have the Law. It is for all who are Abraham’s descendants because they have faith, just as he did. Abraham is the ancestor of us all. The Scriptures say that Abraham would become the ancestor of many nations. This promise was made to Abraham because he had faith in God, who raises the dead to life and creates new things. God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations. Abraham’s faith never became weak, not even when he was nearly 100 years old. He knew he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children. But Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God. Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised. So God accepted him, just as we read in the Scriptures. But these words were not written only for Abraham. They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God. (Romans 4:13-25 CEVUS06)
How to spend time with God
Many people have found that setting aside a regular time each day to read and think about God’s word, and to spend time in prayer, has been the power-house of their spiritual life and growth. Explore is designed to encourage, help and support you in this daily joy and discipline, sometimes referred to as a ‘Quiet Time’.
It is often a struggle to be consistent in finding a daily time to spend with God. Children, the busyness of life, special nights out, holidays, or just sheer exhaustion can all conspire to get in the way. However, there is no substitute for just getting into a good habit. There are many patterns that suit different people, and yours may change over time. Whatever you choose to do, guard your time with God jealously. If you come to it hungry to learn from the Lord, and to feed on the truth, it will be a place of nurture and growth, and a source of direction and strength for your daily life.
Find a time when you will not be disturbed, and when the cobwebs are cleared from your mind. Many people have found that the morning is the best time, as it sets you up for the day.
As C.S. Lewis said: ‘The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice… letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.’
But you may not be a ‘morning person’ so last thing at night, or, if you’re free, a mid-morning break. Whatever suits you.
Jesus says that we are not to make a great show of our religion (see Matthew 6 v 5-6), but rather pray with the door to our room shut. So, anywhere you can be quiet and private is the key, which makes your bedroom the top choice for many. Some people who commute plan to get to work a few minutes earlier and get their Bible out in an office, or some other quiet corner. Some like to sit in a favourite armchair with a cup of tea at hand. Others find sitting at a table or desk more productive. The rule is that there’s no rule—whatever works for you!
Although Explore helps with specific prayer ideas from the passage, you should try to develop your own lists to pray through. Perhaps you could pray each day for one family member, one friend, and a fellow believer? And how about keeping a prayer diary where you record your prayer requests, and also how God has answered them. Often our problem is not so much ‘who to pray for’, as what to pray for them! That’s why Bible reading and prayer are inseparable. We are reminded from God’s word what is truly important, and it will shape the nature of our prayers for ourselves, the world and others.
As the saying goes: expression deepens impression. So try to cultivate the habit of sharing with other believers - and even those who are not yet Christians - the things you have learned from your reading. It will encourage both them and you. Using the same notes as a friend will help you encourage each other to keep going.
What’s in Time with God?
If the Bible is God’s word to us, then it stands to reason that our experience of reading it will be surprising, uplifting and, at times, deeply disturbing to us. So the 28 days of daily readings in the free Time with God introduction start by looking carefully at the claims the Bible makes about itself.
After the first few days, where we think about the nature of the Bible from a range of passages, we’ll look over a section of Jesus’ teaching from Matthew.
Then, on day 15, we begin a short overview of all the different types of writing to be found in the Bible, and finish by working our way through the OT book of Jonah.
We hope that this month of readings will give you a taste for reading the Bible regularly with Explore, and that, as a result, you will grow in the knowledge and love of God.
If you want to access the regular issues of Explore, you can download them by hitting the ‘Download’ button at the bottom of the main screen.
• It’s quality, not quantity, that counts.
Better a few minutes thinking about a few verses, than to skim through pages without absorbing anything.
• Falling behind:
It’s inevitable that you will occasionally miss a day. Don’t be paralysed by guilt. Just start again.
• It’s about developing a love relationship, not a law relationship.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that ‘doing your quiet time’ is an end in itself. The sign that your daily time with God is real is when you start to love Him more and serve more wholeheartedly.