When I'm quiet and settled enough to contemplate the possibility of it, I utterly long for a deep, abiding intimacy with God. When I'm still enough to listen for it, my soul cries out for Him. I've found the best place to look for and find Him is in the Bible.
Here is an exercise to connect us with His Word today: Pray first for God's guidance, then choose a fairly short passage of scripture. Read it several times over, then close your eyes and let the Holy Spirit settle its meaning into your mind. Then take out a pencil and write down your paraphrase of the passage. Put it into your own words, making it personal to you. I often turn it into a prayer or declaration of sorts. I'll do one here so you'll get what I mean.
"Lord God, I clear my mind and my schedule to meet with You right now, heart-to-heart and friend-to-friend. Speak to me, please Lord, through your Word. Let me encounter You there and interpret it rightly. Guide me into understanding and truth. Help me to bite off and chew a portion of your abundant life-giving Word and allow it to go deep down into my soul. For Your glory and in Jesus' Name I pray."
I selected Psalm 138, here it is in the NIV version:
1 I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the "gods" I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. 3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. 4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth. 5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. 6 Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever-- do not abandon the works of your hands.
My journaled paraphrase:
God, you are the Lord of my life and you are wonderful in all Your ways. And I will speak of You to anyone and everyone without shame or fearing what it might cost me. Though I'm a not a very good singer, I won't hesitate to sing out praises to You! I will worship you inside of church and out, because I find You not only real, but truthful, dependable, loving and just. God, You have chosen to infuse Your power into your Name and your Word - that when I pray in your Name and take in Your Word, magnificent things can happen. Thank You! I've prayed to You in the past and seen You answer me! Plus, no matter what I'm going through You give me the faith and the ability to endure until You choose to change my circumstances. God, I want everyone but particularly our leaders to acknowledge You. I want them to listen to You as they lead us, and to give You honor instead of seeking it for themselves. For I understand You don't hang out in a heart that remains proud, but will shine through the heart that remains humble. No matter what my leaders do or what trouble I may encounter, I trust that You will Shepherd me ... guiding me, protecting me, saving and nurturing me all the way through my life. I believe this because I know I am the works of Your hands, made lovingly with holy purpose, and You never abandon Your purposes. You are eternally faithful to Your people, Your purposes, and Your promises - thank you!
Its great to read a Psalm a day, but something about writing it out in my own words helps me process it, internalize it, and pray it. Which means I'm much more likely to remember it and apply it in my life. This writing exercise also brings the text down to that personal, intimate level which is right where God is with us. Give this exercise a try today - I pray that God and His Word becomes alive to you as you do.