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Enhancing Your Personal Time With God: As Close As You Want To Be
Archived – January 17, 2024

Enhancing Your Personal Time With God: As Close As You Want To Be

January 17, 2024

Enhancing Your Personal Time With God:

As Close As You Want To Be



Our time with God will be the most important time we spend each day this year!

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NLT)

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

James 4:8

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Kenneth Hagin – cassette – 1976 – I knew God could become more real….

Is your devotional time the most important part of your day?

If not, why not?

Daily Devotions are a vehicle to Intimacy With God.

40 years ago, in 1984, God began to deal with me about my daily time with Him.

I was working at a local church as a janitor, and I had a habit of meditating on scripture a LOT in my non-busy mental time.

At the time, I was dissatisfied with where I was in Jesus. I was walking with God, but was NOT satisfied with my daily time with Him. I would work all day, then read and pray at home at night before bed. I would often become drowsy and fall asleep.

One day, I was meditating on Matthew 6:33, and the Lord asked me a question. “What’s first in your life?”

He was, of course, my answer.

He then said What’s first in your life make first in your day…

I believe what the Lord asked of me saved my spiritual and physical life!

Is your devotional time with the Lord the most important time of your day?

If not, it should be.

All you are in God, and all He does first in, then through you, starts with your personal intimate time with Him!

John 15:1-5 (NLT)

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

Matthew 6:6 (NLT)

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

All public living or lack thereof spiritually is a result of your private time or lack thereof with Jesus.

Smith Wigglesworth:

Pay attention to life’s inflow. Outward service will dwindle if inward energies are not renewed.

J. Oswald Sanders Quote from Enjoying Intimacy With God:

(Taken from – J. Oswald Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy With God (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980) p. 13-14)

Both scripture and experience teach that it is we, not God, who determine the degree of intimacy with Him that we enjoy. We are at this moment as close to God as we choose to be.

Everything in our Christian life and service flows from our relationship with God. If we are not in vital fellowship with Him, everything else will be out of focus.

God has no “favorite” children.

He loves us all the same. Being close to God is available to all of us.

Romans 2:11

For there is no partiality with God.

David was a man after God’s own heart. Though he sinned, he repented, and chose God over other things in life that would distract him.

Regardless of where you have been or what you have done, you can connect with God on a deeper level – if you choose.

Peter, James, and John seemed to be closer to Jesus than the other disciples. Why? They chose to be closer.

Circles of Intimacy surrounding Jesus.

As you read the four gospels, it is clear that there were five circles of closeness with Jesus.

As I go through these five circles of closeness, ask yourself where you are in your personal fellowship with Jesus.

Let’s come closer together this year.

1.The Multitudes


Throughout the four gospels, multitudes followed Jesus everywhere He went.

There are 62 references to the multitude in the gospels.

Matthew 13:1-2 (NKJV)

On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Mark 2:13 (NKJV)

Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.

Mark 3:7-8 (NKJV)

But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.

They came for healing. They came to hear Him speak. But. they were not committed to Him as disciples. They ran after the latest new thing that came around.

John 6:2 (NKJV)

Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.

Many today are satisfied to be here. They are afraid to get close to anybody, even the Lord. Someone has hurt them, and, they don’t want to be hurt and disappointed again.

2. The Seventy.

In Luke 10: 1-23, Jesus sent out seventy disciples to go and minister in thirty-five groups of two.

He gave them clear instructions to go to the towns that He planned to visit. He told them what to take with them, what to say as they entered a person’s house, what to do if a town rejected them, and how to minister in his place. They came back excited that demons obeyed when they used Jesus’ name.

Each of them knew Jesus. They heard Him teach. He gave them instructions. But, you can only get so close to an individual in a crowd.

The seventy were the outer circle of people around Jesus.

You can have experiences with God here along with all of us in our services. You can learn, and you can do ok.

But there is more.

3. The Twelve Disciples.

In Luke 6:12-16, after a night of prayer, Jesus chose twelve disciples to carry His message to the world. He personally trained them. He taught them. They personally heard Him teach the Sermon on the Mount. They watched Him as He ministered, and they received something of His character as He ministered to them.

280 references to Jesus’ disciples in the gospels…

They saw Him in all kinds of situations that the 70 and the multitudes did not.

4. Peter, James, and John.

These three were with Jesus when He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead:

Luke 8:51-56 (NKJV)

When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. 52 Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.” 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat. 56 And her parents were astonished, but He charged them to tell no one what had happened.

Peter James and John were with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-2 (NKJV)

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

John said of this experience – in John 1:14 – We beheld His glory!

Peter mentioned this experience in his 2nd epistle:

2 Peter 1:16 (NKJV)

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Peter, James, and John were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Matthew 26:36-38 (NKJV)

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

5. John – The disciple whom Jesus loved.

John 19:25-26 (NKJV)

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”

John 20:2 (NKJV)

Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

John 21:7 (NKJV)

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea

John 21:20 (NKJV)

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”

At the last meal Jesus had with His disciples, John is pictured as the disciple laying his head on Jesus’ shoulder.

Was that spot available to all of the disciples?

Why was John called by this name? Did Jesus really love him more than the others?

I submit that it was John’s passion to be with Jesus more than the others that gave him that name.

Action Points:

All of the five circles of closeness to Jesus were the result of each person’s choice.

We are now, and will be in the future, only as close to God as we choose to be.

1. Where will you find yourself in these circles in 2024?

2. Will you be one of the multitude, only scratching the surface of knowing Jesus?

3. Will you be a part of the seventy? You’re with Him, but not as close as you could be.

4. Will you be a part with the twelve disciples? They were close to Jesus. They were trained by Him.

5. Will you be part of the three? Peter, James, and John experienced more because they wanted more.

6. Or will you be in that closest place to Jesus with John, the disciple whom He loved?

That spot is available to each one of us.

James perhaps says it best:

James 4:8 (NKJV)

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

We are now, and will be in the future, only as close to God as we choose to be.

*Next week I want to talk to you about how a commitment of 5 minutes turned into a lifestyle change for me that lasted lifelong…


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