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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Joy is being transformed

God's word transforms those who trust His word and act on it.

Joseph heard God's word 3 different times through angels in the Matthew account of the Christmas story. Each time he heard God's word and acted on it in faith. He couldn't see or hear God but he did hear God's messenger and acted on it. That transformed Joseph further preparing him to become the earthly father of Jesus.

Are you being transformed by God's word? Are you even listening? If so, when you listen, are you obeying it promptly and completely as Joseph did.

Here are some practical steps you can take to live joyful transformation:

Pick a
place. Early while it was still dark Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place where He prayed. Mark 1:35 Find a place where you can get away from everyone and read and pray undisturbed. This is your "Prayer closet."

Pick a
period of time. Start with as little as necessary to establish a daily habit. It takes about 30 days to establish a habit. Just resolve to do that. 3 minutes a day for 30 days.

Now that said, to truly be transformed by God will take more time. Just like you can't expect a close relationship to grow without spending time together, it's unrealistic to think that God will transform you significantly in so little time. Love takes time. Make time. Pick a period of time where you consistently and effectively meet with God. He's waiting.

Pick a
plan. What do you do once you get in there? Here are some suggestions. But the main thing is to pick a plan and then work it.

-Read a chapter a day in the New Testament (begin with Matthew) and read the NT in a year.

-Read 3 chapters a day. If you want to read the whole Bible in a year, read 3 chapters a day. Start in 3 place for variety. I suggest beginning in Genesis, Job and Matthew. Using 3 bookmarks, you can work the whole Bible in a year.

-Read through the Psalms and Proverbs regularly. Tie your reading to the calendar. Ex. on Jan. 1 read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, 121 & Proverbs 1. Jan. 2 read Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, Proverbs 2. And so on. You'll end up reading all of Psalms and Proverbs in a month. That is worth repeating too.

Pick a
partner. Not somebody to pray with but somebody who wants to meet with God daily as well but has trouble staying consistent. Decide to hold each other accountable by calling each other at least once a week. Check in to see how they're doing. Don't stop with did you meet with God today but ask, "What is God teaching you? How are you growing? Are you sensing any changes in your life?" It's about more than being able to say you did it (although that's important early on).

Purpose to do it. Remember, the purpose in doing this isn't to be able to say you did it. That will only build pride and we're not about that. It's to see God transform us. We want God to change us to become more like Jesus Christ. That happens as we get to know God better. Purpose for transformation.

Practice. Practice. Practice. It won't happen unless you do it. "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only."

Joy is being transformed in the image of Christ. Purpose to begin doing that today.