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Archive for the ‘God’s Presence’ Category

I found this really great devotional app called 21 Days of Obsession: An Invitation to 21 Days of Obsession in His Presence. Each days you get four ways to seek and experience God. I have really been enjoying it and getting good ideas.

One of the things they give you each day is a link to a really awesome Christian music group, usually someone I have never heard if before. Usually the music is very deep and worshipful.

Today’s song is from Bethel Music Without Words called God I Look to You. The devotion says, “Today’s media link has no lyrics on purpose. Find a quiet space, and invite Jesus to meet you in your imagination. Where does He take you?”

So I closed my eyes and listened to the song and found myself easily talking to God, whereas normally it may be a struggle to stay focused. I realized thus would be a great quiet-time aid, to listen to this song and others like it. It is about five minutes long, so it would give you a whole five uninterrupted minutes in Gods presence to focus on Him and pray about your day.

I’m really excited about this new approach, and I’m thinking of checking out the whole Without Words album. I really enjoyed their music. So listen to your favorite music and take five minutes to just be still and talk to God today!

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“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty” Psa. 91:1

Apparently God has a one track message for me lately, to spend time alone with Him! And I know He is right because I’ve really gotten off track in this area. It’s a relief to have Him pull me back closer to where I should be. And when I do give Him a chance to be alone with me He restores some of that intimacy that I have been missing, which in turn leads to power for the rest of my day. Here are some of God’s “subtle” messages to me! Lol

“Learn to shut yourself away in My presence…I cannot withhold [power] from the soul that dwells near Me, because it passes insensibly from Me to My disciples…” God Calling Ed. by A.J. Russell

“God invites our souls to break away from the world and remain with Him…to enter the secret place, I simply have to close my eyes and make the choice to be with God…” What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst

“It is easier to serve [God] than commune [with Him]…the more spiritual the exercise, the sooner we tire if it. See that sitting at the Savior’s feet is not neglected. The first thing for our soul’s health,..His glory,.. and our own usefulness, is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with The Lord Jesus Christ.” Morning & Evening by Charles Spurgeon

“Let My love enfold you in the radiance of My glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine.” Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

“The wilderness speaks of the place of retirement, rest, and quiet. It is only in such a place that God can teach the more intimate and secret revelations of His will. [Even] Jesus sought the quiet and retirement of the wilderness during His ministry.” According to Your Word by Stephen Olford

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you…“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4, 5 NIV84)

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In my pursuit to spend more time with God, I am finding the hardest thing is to just be still and be quiet before Him.  With God’s help, I am trying to turn off the tv at night to spend time with Him and to avoid my checking iPhone in the morning so I’m not distracted as much.  Most times I get my devotional and my bible study book read.  Sometimes I’ll even write a prayer to God in my journal.  All those things are good and necessary.  But to actually stop, put everything away, be still, close my eyes, and be alone with God is just plain hard!  For some reason I resist it.  Well, I know why.  It’s satan trying to keep my relationship with God lukewarm and powerless.

But what I realize is that being still before God is the one thing I need most.  It’s the one thing that really satisfies me and calms my anxieties and helps me feel like I’ve connected with God.  Through it I often sense his love for me and it becomes easier to do everything else when I am aware of God’s awesome love for me.  My Christian life goes from being drudgery, walking through my day like a robot, to having God’s life and power flow me through me.

Plus I just plain miss Him when I don’t spend time being quiet with Him!  I’ve been better at being alone with Him in the past, so I know what I am missing.  Strange that it takes a while for me to realize I’ve been duped into blowing God off once again.  I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to seek Him again.  I miss being close to Him, being held by Him, experiencing His presence, hearing His voice.  I miss Him!  So even for my own sake, I need to be quiet before Him more often and realize that by avoiding it, I’m actually short-changing myself more than anything.  I need Him, and I need His help to choose to be alone with Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matt.  11:28-30

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Rev. 3:20

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Well weather forecasters, you were right!  I’m so sorry for doubting you! :) Ice was predicted yesterday, and I cynically stated that they usually overexaggerate frozen precipitation here in the South.  But we did indeed get some ice yesterday.  And again today we are supposed to get more this afternoon, so that the schools are closing 4 hours early!  Makes you wonder why they are even going at all, right?  Oh well, the kids are happy, only 3 hours of school today.

I was thinking about seeking God after becoming complacent with Him.  I remembered a while ago, I read that Louie Giglio said that he had come to a time when he felt distant from God.  He said that he realized that God hadn’t moved, but Louie had stopped seeking hard after God.  He had become complacent and lost some of his passion for Him.  He said that in that case, he felt he had control over whether he felt close to God or not.  So he chose to again seek hard after God.  By the way, he is the one that does the Passion conferences for young adults that are pretty awesome.

I have noticed that as well.  I didn’t so much feel distant from God, but just not really satisfied.  I knew He was still with me and loved me, and I love Him.  But I was missing Him.  I was missing the intimacy and closeness that we’ve had before, and I knew it was because I was being lazy.  So I’ve been trying to be more purposeful about seeking Him.  Like my sister was saying, her goal is to spend 20 minutes a day with God this year, every day.  So I have decided to spend certain times with God everyday too.  I have to think that making a consistent, determined effort like that will have positive results, and I have already seen that in my relationship with God.

It’s like as soon as I start seeking God more intently, He responds, though I know sometimes it takes more time.  But don’t give up!  Remember the story about Jacob wrestling with the angel (who is actually believed to be Jesus).  He wrestled with Him and would not give up until God blessed him.  He was determined to connect with God and would not give up until God responded.  Finally After wrestling all night long, God did respond and gave him the blessing he wanted.  And Jacob’s blessing ended up leading him to become the father of the entire nation of Israel, the people chosen by God!  So don’t give up.  Keep seeking God and you will find Him!

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jer. 29:12-13

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There are certain aspects of God’s character that amaze me every time I think of them.  I just can’t seem to get over them.  I was listening to our Klove Christian radio station on the way home from work today, and the speaker was talking about how they never get over the fact that God actually chooses to live in us.  When I think about it, it continues to amaze me too.  God actually condescends to make His home in our humble little hearts, making us a temple in which His presence resides! 

I can’t get over the fact that He actually lives in me.  It is such an intimate, personal, all-encompassing experience.  He is always with me, inside of me.  I am never left alone.  Never without help or comfort or company.  He goes about my day with me, experiencing everything I experience, feeling everything I feel.  He knows me, inside and out.  He is always ready to listen to my thoughts and fears.  He helps me with my struggles or is just available to chat.  He never leaves.  He shares my very body with me.  He co-resides in me.  It’s really an amazing, awesome thing that I cannot get over!

The second thing I can never get over is that fact that God loves me.  He, who created all things, who has all power, who is perfect and holy, loves me!?   He, the great King, chooses to reach down and lift up us poor children, so that we become sons and daughters of the King! 

It doesn’t even seem like it should be true.  It doesn’t seem right that He should be so loving and so gentle and kind and patient with me.  I keep trying to convince myself that my latest transgression was one too many.  Surely it would have lessened His love for me, or at least His desire to be with me.   But it does not.  It never does.  He always greets me warmly, with love and gentleness.  He delights in my presence.  He delights in me.  Thankfully His love for me is not based on what I do but on what Jesus has already done for me on the cross.  He just loves me for me, because I am His.  Because He made me. 

Sometimes I forget what His love is like, how deep it is, how crazy and passionate He really is about us.  I get distracted and doubtful.  But then once again He reminds me, and I am surprised to remember that He truly does love me that much, beyond what I can even comprehend.  After all these years of learning about His love for me, I don’t think I’ve even scratched the tip of the iceberg!  I only know a wee little bit of the depth of His love now and even that little bit  amazes me. 

God, I never get over being amazed at how You love me or how You are always within me.  I would be lost without You, and I am alive with You.  You, living within me, loving me beyond my imagining, gives me life.  It is the very sustenance by which I live.  I am grateful beyond words and humbled.  We love You, and we choose to be with You too, amen.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Eph. 3:17-19

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.   Josh. 31:8

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All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  Psa. 139:16

As we learn to deal with job and financial struggles, I have found that I experience God’s grace day-to-day.  It’s almost like being carried spiritually through it all.  We are learning that we haven’t ever really been the ones to provide for ourselves, and especially now we know we aren’t able to provide everything we need for ourselves.  God provides for us.  He always has, but its easy to ignore when everything is going fine.  So in this learning to depend on Him, I find myself sometimes closer to Him.  It’s not anything I do.  In fact, now more than before I struggle with spending enough time alone with Him and with conquering bad habits that I thought I had already conquered.  But yet I find Him close sometimes throughout the day.  I find myself thinking about Him, smiling to inwardly in His direction at the little connection with Him.  I find little interactions throughout the day, a touch or a moment shared as we think of each other.  Sometimes I think I am learning to experience a little bit of what Brother Lawrence called “practicing the presence of God” in his book by the same name.  He says  he learned to experience God’s presence every day through faith, even as he was going about his work in the kitchen or whatever he was doing that day.

This morning as I pulled into the parking lot at work, I prayed my usual prayer, “God, please help me love people.  Help me to be accurate in my work.  Help me to be close to You and to connect with You throughout the day.  Help me to do Your will.”  And sometimes I forget to pray this last part, but this morning I did pray, “Put together my day.”  Sometimes when I pray that and really look to see what He has planned for me, I have the most interesting days and find myself endeared to Him as I realize that He has planned specific events tailored just for me.

So after my prayer, I went in to work and did my usual stuff.  I can leave when I’ve finished my work, and today I found I did not have much to do.  This was convenient because my Mom had knee surgery yesterday and was still in the hospital.  I could go right to the hospital, which is much closer to work than to my home.  I called my Dad to see what was going on at the hospital and he was just leaving to go have lunch at a Thai restaurant.   I had not had lunch yet and I love Thai food, so this was perfect timing!  I drove to the hospital, picked up my Dad, and we enjoyed our Thai lunch!

Then we drove back to the hospital, and I spent some time with my Mom.  After I left, I still had to go grocery shopping.  I had lots of energy before but was now finally starting to droop.  Although tired, I enjoyed shopping because I was still aware of God’s presence with me.  As I drove home, I began to see the most amazing sunset!  The sky glowed with a soft pink and orange.  But then as I turned the corner to enter the highway, in all three of my rearview mirrors I saw the sun blazing, a gloriously large, low, fiery orangey-pink fireball.  It was really breathtaking!  And it was shining at me through all three rearview mirrors!  I couldn’t miss it!  It was awesome!  And I saw it as a blessing, a gift from God, for no other reason than to say that He loves me.

When I finally got home I was tired.  It was dinner time, and I still had to put the groceries away and make dinner.  As I’m in my bedroom changing, my 12-year-old comes in and says, “Mom, is it okay if I make dinner tonight?”  At first, I’m thinking I already had something planned and that I would probably do a better job.  But then I thought, my daughter is offering to cook!  This doesn’t happen too often!  I’d better take her up on it!  And when I asked her about it, she actually had a pretty good plan, so I told her to go for it.  Then completely seperately, my 15-year old was also planning to make desert that night!  Now this doesn’t happen too often either.  God had it all planned out after my long, tiring day, to even get my girls to make dinner and desert for me.  Who would have thought??

So I sat and rested for a minute while the girls cooked.  My husband came home just as it was finished.  We all sat down and ate a meal that was delicious, all the more so because I didn’t make it!! :)  I felt really blessed and cared for as I thought of how God had answered my prayer from that morning to plan my day.  He really did a great job and surprised me with how it all turned out, really much better than I could have planned myself.  Plus it is just so much more fun to see what He has in mind and to accept the things that happen as gifts from Him, tokens of love and His care, catalysts for worshipping Him and drawing closer to Him.

Thank You God for the amazing plans you have for our days!

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I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. Rev. 3:20

At our prayer retreat last weekend we read through the little classic book, My Heart, Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger.  The book describes how your heart is Jesus’ home when you ask Him to come into your heart.  It describes the different rooms in your heart home and how you might interact with Jesus in each.  I definitely recommend it.

This book and the prayer retreat have drawn me closer to God.  I find myself seeing Jesus as walking with me throughout my day as in the book.  What if He were actually walking next to me, sitting near me.  What would I say to Him?

At work I imagined Him sitting across from me at my lunch table and we carried on our conversation (silently, of course!  No telling what my co-workers would have thought if I were speaking aloud to an empty chair! :)  And what joy it was to know that He is there with me, listening to me and responding.  It was almost like everyone else in the room disappeared because He was more real to me at that moment. 

On the ride home, Jesus rode with me in the passenger seat of my car and we continued our conversation there.  Somehow picturing Him here, next to me adds a new dimension to our relationship.  It makes Him seem real in a new way and makes me more aware of His constant presence.  But yet I enjoyed His presence in my heart as well.  I asked Him, “Are you next to me in this car?  Or are you in me, in my heart???”  Next to me or within me?

This was the answer:  “Yes!”  Next to, above, behind, around, before and within.  Isn’t our God amazing that He can be in all of those places.  He can also be what we need at a particular time:  our Companion Friend, our Lover, our Protective Daddy, our Saviour, the Great Lord Almighty.  He is whatever we need at a given moment and wherever we need Him.

Who is God for you today?  Where do you see Him?  In your heart, next to you?  Ask Him to show you Whom you need Him to be and where you need Him.

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:19

But you know Him [the Spirit of truth], for He lives with you and will be in you.  Jn. 14:17

…Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.  My Father will love Him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him…’  Jn. 14:23

God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.  Rom. 8:26 (The Message)

You hem me in—behind and before…  Psa. 139:5

The LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.  Psa. 125:2

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