Alone With God

Being alone with God is more than being isolated from others, reading the Bible and praying, sitting quietly and meditating on spiritual things and trying for a few minutes to strengthen the relationship we have with Him.

Being alone with God means being without our “stuff,” entering his presence emotionally, intellectually and spiritually naked. Then allowing Him to change us as He sees fit.

It is possible to be alone with God even when in a crowd, but such intimacy is more likely when there is no one else around. We must cease to be concerned with family relationships, vocational success, recreational pleasure, health, prosperity and all else we consider important in this life. Until we reach this degree of trust these things go with us when we enter his presence. They are unnecessary baggage.

Each time we pray, we should begin with the request for the Holy Spirit to empty us of everything except an awareness of His presence.

I SAW JESUS

Last night, in a dream,
I saw Jesus. 
Not Jesus the God, but
Jesus the man.

I was surprised.
He looked normal.
Not unusual.
Just normal.

Short and stocky,
Strong and solid, with
Black curly hair.

Almost instantly
I realized I was
Disappointed.

Here was Jesus, and
He looked so very
Human.

Then I met Him and
Shook His hand.

And there,
Face to face,
Arm's length away
With His hand in mine
I first looked 
Into His eyes.

And immediately
I knew I was meeting
More than a man.

In His eyes I saw
Love.
Total, open, complete
Love.

Love with no exceptions
Or limits.

Love that does not
Have to be earned
Or even returned.

Pure love.
Enormous love.
Powerful love.
Tender love.
Giving love.

But in those eyes
I also saw
Compassion and
Acceptance and
Forgiveness.

I saw calmness and
Understanding and
Power.

I saw peace and 
Courage and
Purpose.

Then I knew
I was also looking
Into the eyes of
God. 

Bits, Pieces, Odds, Ends -14

As children of God we should look back and thank Him, look forward and trust Him, look around and serve Him, look inward and find Him.

Desperation is often the starting point to getting a passing grade in Grace 101.

Patience is developed, often slowly, by waiting. We need to be patient while the Lord teaches us patience.

Too often we try to impress people rather than serve people.

When we pray God is more concerned with what our heart feels than what our lips say.

Our greatest test of faith is believing God loves us, even when He is not blessing us like we feel He should.

Dear Christian, if as the song says, this world is not our home, why do we spend so much time and money building houses in it?

About 2000 years ago God had a gift to give me, but Jesus had to die before I could open it.

Being God's servant is an honor because He chose me for the position.

The spiritual success of my interaction with other people is largely dependent on the intensity and extent of my prior interaction with God. 

God’s Firm Grip

Recently received this from David Martin. He gave me permission to use it.

Well, it finally happened.  Violette, our granddaughter, took her first steps.  They were halting and unsure, but still independent.  She was so proud of her little self.  Even though she has a few dozen independent steps under her diaper, she still needs our assistance almost 100% of the time to get around on her own two feet.

As I was making the umpteenth lap around the house yesterday holding her chubby little hands, I realized that the death-grip she had on my fingers was not at all necessary.  I had a firm grasp on her hands that would not allow her to fall.  But that did not lessen the need she felt to hang on tightly to my forefingers.

All too often that is how I treat God.  I think I must hang on to Him with all my might, grasping his hands as tightly as possible.  My ability to hang on to God with my strength is so insignificant as to be worthless.  It is His grasp on my hands that keeps me from falling.  

Isaiah 41:13  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand;  it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you." 

His children can rest in the fact that it is El Shaddi, God Almighty, who holds our hands to keep us safe and upright.  How thankful I am that I am in His hands.     



Do the Easy Stuff

As parents we sometimes ask our children to do unpleasant chores. They are likely to look at the hardest part of the task and complain they can’t do what we have asked. But if they are obedient and willing to try, we will step in and do the difficult part for them.

What we really want from them is their obedience and an honest effort to do as much as they are able. When they are willing to do what they can, then we will gladly help. But we do need them to get started. For instance, Dad will move the heavy stuff in the garage if his ten-year-old will just start sweeping. Mom will wash the really greasy pots and pans if her eight-year old will begin washing the glasses and silverware.

God asks the same from us, his children. He wants us to obediently begin the tasks He gives us. We need to demonstrate our belief that He will take care of the difficult stuff. Our Father will not ask us to do anything that together, with Him, we cannot do. But we must be obedient and get started. Then his assistance will be readily available.

God told Joshua to do the easy stuff. All Joshua had to do was organize and carry out seven marches around the city of Jericho. When he did the simple part, God did the rest.

Sometimes our lack of faith is demonstrated by our unwillingness to get started. We must not allow what we think we can’t do to keep us from doing what we can do.

Gratitude for the Privilege of Prayer

When I start to pray I am being granted entrance into the very throne room of heaven, into the presence of the Creator of the universe. I have the undivided attention of the Almighty.

I am not worthy of such a privilege even once in my lifetime, let alone every moment of every day.

What if God limited the times I could pray to Him. For instance, what if I could pray only one hour per year, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. on my birthday. Would I then enter His presence lightly, with scattered focus, interrupted thoughts and glib phrases? I don’t think so.

If such were the case, my prayers would be intense and organized and full of passion. I would be aware of the tremendous responsibility and privilege, determined to make the best of my hour with God.

Why should my current prayer times be any different? Even though my Father grants me constant entrance into His presence, I need to be always aware of the magnitude of this privilege. I should not enter His presence without the proper respect and gratitude simply for the privilege of going there.

This should be my attitude even before I make petitions and receive blessings.

Disciples’ Easter Weekend

(Friday Night)
We thought He was the Messiah,
The true and only one.
We thought He would restore us. 
We thought He was God's son.
But now He's dead and in the tomb.
We don't know what to do.
He said "I will not leave you."
But we're scared, through and through.

(Saturday)
Years ago we left families
And followed, just like He said.
But then they nailed Him to the cross.
Our hopes and dreams are dead.
Should we run or should we hide?
What is left for us here?
A week ago it was different.
I can still hear the crowd's cheers.

(Early Sunday Morning)
Hey! He's not in the tomb!
Mary just brought us the word.
She says He's back from the dead.
It's the best news I've ever heard.
Can't wait to see Him for myself.
It's almost too good to be true.
Maybe he'll heal the sick and teach
Just like He used to do.

(Later Sunday)
Jesus just came into the room
There's no doubt about it.
Everyone needs to know. 
Let's all go out and shout it.
He is alive! He is alive!
You better believe it, friend.
He is all that He promised.
I'll never doubt again.

My Worship Relationship with Jesus

I worship God on the basis of my relationship with Him. I recognize Him as “high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1) but I also enter into his presence “boldly” (Hebrews 4:16.) Such confident worship is available only to God’s children.

It is only because of my relationship with Him that I am allowed to approach Him at all, except to say “Please forgive me. I am a sinner.” I am his child (Romans 8:16.) This father-son relationship between us gives me access to Him, no matter what my failures or shortcomings might be.

So when I worship Him I recognize that his power, knowledge, majesty and holiness are far beyond my understanding. BUT I also know that his fatherhood provides love, mercy and protection that will never end.

If I knew God only as a stranger I would have to worship Him only in fear and trembling, resembling Isaiah’s “Woe is me” (Isaiah 6:5.) But I know Him as my Father, so my fear and trembling are accompanied with a confident “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15.)

Nothing can change this relationship. It is secure for all eternity.

The Past Is Past

Every person has made mistakes that can never be corrected. This is true because there are certain things that can be done only at one specific time. Once that time limit has passed there is no second chance.

For example, if we want to be part of our daughter’s first day of school we cannot do so after she begins the second grade. Or if we want to have influence on our son’s decision to buy his first home, we cannot do so after he has signed the papers and moved in.

When we look back and see all our mistakes, we want to change them. This may be out of a desire to reduce the pain we caused others or it may be an effort to reduce our own anguish.

Often, because of the time factor, we have only a limited opportunity to help those we have harmed. We owe them an apology, along with a sincere offer to make some sort of restitution. But their acceptance or rejection of that apology is out of our control.

Only they know how much forgiveness they are ready to give. They may not be at all interested in helping us reduce our guilt. They may have long ago gone past the failure that plagues us and therefore have no desire to revisit the incident in order to help us repair our emotional damage.

We must learn to live with the fact that we have made mistakes. We must learn to live with the pain those mistakes have created in our lives and the lives of others. Then we have to learn how to prevent that damage and pain from handicapping us and stealing today’s joy. The Holy Spirit will do this within us if we just invite him to do so. God does not want our present and future joy to be reduced because of our past. He has forgiven each of our sins. Now we need to forgive ourselves.