Posts Tagged ‘god’

Intimacy with God grows as we are obedient. When we discern His voice, confirm it with the Word, recognize the affirmation in our spirit, and do what He says, we take a step in maturity.  Much of what He asks of us will either align with loving Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength or loving our neighbors as ourselves.

I once thought this meant a lot of hard work – hours scouring the Word, knees raw from prolonged prayer, exhaustion from tackling every opportunity of service to others. In my exuberance I was the energizer bunny Christian rushing here and there doing everything that I imagined a good follower of Jesus might do.  There were many spiritual high points and I am confident that along the way the Father has taken my offering and used it in furthering His purpose.  But I also see I have sometimes bowled over people, stepped on toes and generally left a wake of damage that I did not intend.

So if hard work was not sufficient to ensure godly growth, what are we to do?  The answer is that we begin by focusing less on doing, at least at first, and we seek to be who God created us and saved us to be – His beloved child.  Like an infant, our growth is a process that is best measured in gradual milestones.  The first step in a child’s development is the recognition and bonding of the child to the parent.  Developing the connection and deepening the familial bond is our first priority.  While this will last our entire life, it is our most important task when we first begin to follow Jesus.  In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians we learn that Paul, one of the most learned of men, headed into the wilderness of Arabia for an extended period immediately after his conversion before launching into full time ministry.  We do well to emulate his progression of seeking God’s face and guidance before jumping into “doing” for the Lord.

In time the child begins to communicate.  Again their primary source of communication is with their parents. Long before the child can begin to verbalize their own thoughts into words, their parents are talking to them, singing to them, reading to them. Our Father God is doing the same with us.  He loves us and He communicates that love in myriad ways.  This past weekend as I finally decided to rise from a particularly restless night, the Lord whispered in my spirit, “Come let me kiss you.” As I slipped into the front room of our house and the warm rays of the early dawn struck my face, I knew my Father was kissing me, His presence overwhelmed me, and it was good beyond description.  As I sit on this plane between two passengers absorbed in their own world, I can still feel the Father’s touch.  I know He is with me.  I know He loves me.  Oh, I am a fortunate and blessed man!

As I basked in the Father’s touch He spoke to me many things. Some were very personal and I don’t need to share those now except to say, He knows us intimately and He will speak to us intimately as we choose to make Him our Lord and the center of our being.  The one thing that He spoke that I recognized as for this blog was His call to obedience.

Continuing the metaphor of a child to parent, as we continue to grow in the Lord, we will be given increasing responsibility.  God will continue to pour into us His life, His light, His wisdom, and His heart.  As these become established in us, His vision and His call arise. There is a universal aspect of His call – reach the lost, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, encourage the down-hearted.  But in our growing intimacy He will be specific with us: the co-worker that the Lord brings to mind repeatedly, the message that powerfully reminds us of a particular need that we can meet, the phone call that comes when you are praying, “Lord use me.”

Response to the universal call is a good thing.  Response to our specific call is the best thing.  As I write this a picture comes to mind.  The Grinch provides an excellent illustration.  He had stolen every single bit the outward manifestation of Christmas from the Who’s.  Yet when he heard the Who’s still singing their joyful Christmas songs, he recognized the reason we celebrate is so much bigger than the gifts and food.   It is the reason for the season – Jesus.  His undersized heart grew 3X at that moment and he responded in abundant measure.  This same thing happens to us.  When, in our intimacy with the Father, He speaks and we enthusiastically receive and respond, our heart grows.  We are blessed as much or perhaps even more than those God has prompted us to love.

Today I encourage you to go deep with God.  Let His love embrace you.  Listen to His whispered words of love and let them wrap around you and fill you.  As you snuggle into His embrace, listen for your next step.  His call is a life in Him and with Him.  As you grow He will give you ”kingdom tasks” to accomplish IN HIM.  He is the King as well as our Father.  As such we are princes and princesses of the kingdom, living and working under our Father’s authority.  That is our blessed privilege.  Our growth and our Father’s favor are the fruit of our obedience.

Have a blessed day my friend as you live in intimacy with the Lord and walk in faithful obedience.

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Lavish Love

Have you ever met someone who couldn’t receive love?  Distant… reserved… guarded… sad – these are characteristics of the people I have met who struggled with giving and receiving love.  As I write this my heart breaks because I know what they are missing and I feel just a bit of their pain.  For love is the substance of the life God has created for us and us for.  Love is the Father’s most amazing characteristic even to the point that the Apostle John firmly declares, “God is Love!”

There are many ways we can miss this love.

We can accept a substitute and call it “love”.  Unfortunately we have many voices telling us what love is, what the ultimate experience is we should be seeking: the perfect romantic interlude, fame that results in fans who “adore” us, songs extolling varying shades of fidelity.  All of these fall far short of the Love that we are created to enjoy and share.

We can be hurt in an attempt to experience love and we allow the pain of that experience to keep us from opening up and trying to love again.

We can allow cynicism or hate to put blinders on our hearts so that we can’t see the love that exists around us.  There are times and places where love has been so maligned and attacked that it is much harder to see.  My mind goes to the brutal wars that have at times swept regions and countries or the horrific acts one person can perpetuate upon others.  However these are not proof that love doesn’t exist, rather they are adamant declarations of the need for the Love that heals and makes whole.

I read the book “Proof of Heaven” over the Christmas holidays.  An agnostic neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, contracted a severe illness which put him into a death-like coma for 7 days.  During this time with his brain essentially dead he went to a place that he recognized as being a foretaste of heaven if not heaven itself.  One of the points that struck him and resounds in me is that he was totally and unconditionally loved.  It was so complete and tangible that his description made me think of being immersed in the most refreshing and satisfying light and warmth one can imagine.

I am convinced this Love exists and that it is available right now, right here.  In Eben’s near death experience all the distractions of this life were eliminated and he could experience this love more fully than he had ever come close to before.  However the same Lover who wrapped Eben in love in heaven has opened His arms in love for us here.  He was a carpenter and itinerant preacher who opened His arms wide on the cross in the greatest display of love ever.  He has been resurrected and today His arms are extended toward us with the desire to wrap us in His embrace of lavish love.

I was young and I am now not so young.  In my years I have never met anyone who truly sought the source of Love who didn’t find Him.  And in finding launch into the process of being transformed into an agent of His love.

Lord, I ask that you wrap your love around each person who reads this blog today.  Give them a taste of Your love.  For those who don’t yet have a relationship with you I ask that you give them that nudge, that hope, that tingle, that piece that they need to have the faith to reach out for you.  I ask that you give them a practical next step to take to begin living in a love relationship with You.  For those who already know you, I ask that you give them a double-shot of Your love today that they may share it with many others today.  Father, You are so wonderful, so glorious, so amazing.  I stand in awe of You this day.  And I thank You for Your love.

Have a blessed day my friend!

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