In the very first chapters of Genesis, we read of an enigmatic character, Enoch. Though we know little about him now, it seems that Enoch was well-known in Jesus’ time, as the New Testament book of Jude records a prophecy received by him in relation to the Latter Days.1 This patriarch (born only seven generations after Adam) was also the father of the person who lived the longest in the Bible, Methuselah.2
My morning routine is a bit like this: My alarm goes off and I lie in bed a moment longer to pray for the day ahead. After getting up, I’ll give my inbox a quick scan, and then read or listen to something devotional and inspiring, sometimes distracted by my mail or to-do list. Then I’ll get dressed, eat breakfast, and then I’m off to work.
A few years ago, I had a turning point in my relationship with God. Until then, I had been fixated on the doing of things that would make Him happy or proud and on not doing the things that would displease Him. And, then, of course, there was the aspect of Him doing things. There was the matter of things I would ask Him to do, and a lot of me reading into things He did that I hadn’t asked Him to do—being discouraged when it seemed He was doing things that weren’t in my interest, and getting hung up on trying to figure out why He was doing them.
I’ve often heard people say things like, “I must not be close to Jesus because I don’t feel close to Him.” But the Bible makes it clear that we're not supposed to go by our feelings or how things appear to be on the surface. “We walk by faith, not by sight.”1
I don’t remember the first time we met; he just always seemed to be around when I was growing up. My parents made a point of inviting him to join us on summer vacations and practically every other family event. We used to walk to and from school together—we were quite close back then and talked a lot.
Again [Jesus] began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables.––Mark 4:1–2
When I open the front door, I am overwhelmed by the silence outside. How absolutely quiet the world has become! Usually there is at least some noise and movement at this hour. But not today. Today everything is still.
A few snowflakes fall out of a gray, overcast sky, adding to the sense of mystery. I zip up my coat and step into this gentle world of silence.
As I begin this New Year, I am reminded of that popular song of the 1970s: “Day by day, day by day, oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.”1
To see You more clearly… The Bible tells us that God is a Spirit,2 invisible,3 and yet we can see Him—in Jesus,4 in the love shared amongst believers,5 in the beauties of His world.6
I’d been trying not to think about Christmas, dreading the day, hoping against hope that some angel would come into my life and make everything okay. I even tried pretending that it was just a normal day, nothing special, in hopes that would make the loneliness go away. But I couldn’t avoid it: Christmas was all around me, and I was alone. No one to talk to, no one to laugh with, and no one to wish me a happy Christmas. With each minute that passed I was getting more depressed, and that’s what I dreaded the most!
He set himself to seek God ... and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.1
If you want to be physically fit, you have to eat right, exercise, and put some time and effort into building good physical habits. Similarly, if you want spiritual growth—if you want to be spiritually fit—it will require investing in a spiritual regimen.