“Come, talk to me.”

Once in awhile Warren will offer me a cup of coffee with the invitation, “Come, talk to me.”

"The Lord takes pleasure in His people." - Psalm 149:4

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people.”Psalm 149:4

And we do talk. Sometimes an hour can go by as we share our lives, thoughts, ideas, plans, and concerns. When we are ready to get up, he often says, “Thanks for sitting with me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

Isn’t that how we build relationship? We spend time together – often in the company of others. But the best times of connection are when we shut out the outside world and focus for awhile on one another. That’s how love grows.

That understanding has taught me a lot about building relationship with God. He, too, likes having our focused attention – the special times when we shut out distractions and sit alone with Him.

When we sit with Him, we get to know Him.

When we get to know Him, we realize how much He loves us.

When we receive His love, we can’t help loving Him in return.

When we love Him, we are most blessed because that is exactly what He created us to do.

Our time with God might be in praying or just thinking about Him. At other times we give thanks, present our needs, sing, or listen. What is most important is that we are there: Alone with God.

I have found that when we get to the end of that quiet conversation, He seems to whisper, “Thank you for sitting with Me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

“I simply want to be in touch with the Divine Lover . . . the closer I get to Him, the gentler His voice becomes.” – James W. Goll

 

Two Ways to Pray

We don’t have to wait until we are better people before we go to God. He invites us to come, dirt and all. In fact, it is our recognition of the failure of all our self-improvement programs that humbles us enough to pray the prayer that God is just waiting to hear. Only then can He forgive, restore, and set us on the path to purity and true freedom.

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:16

“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16

Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. They both went to the Temple to pray.

The Pharisee stood up and prayed boldly.
The tax collector bowed his head and would not even look up to heaven.

The Pharisee spent his prayer time telling God how good he was.
The tax collector told God how sinful he was.

The Pharisee was looking for God’s approval.
The tax collector was looking for God’s mercy.

Only one of them had his prayer answered.

When it comes to our relationship with God, it is never about our being better or about trying harder. It is always about His mercy. He is just waiting for us to see our need and ask for it.  “Have mercy on me a sinner” is a prayer He always answers.

“Our conscious need for daily mercy is our only real boarding pass for heaven. The ego does not like that very much, but the soul fully understands.” – Richard Rohr

Heavenly Daydream

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“Send forth Your light and Your truth. Let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell.” – Psalm 43:3

I was greeted at heaven’s border and told I had to leave everything at the gate. “Don’t need your purse – it just holds money (everything’s paid for here) and i.d. (we know who you are). Don’t need your clothes – you need to forget about whether you’re dressed right. Here’s a robe. You’ll fit right in. No shoes.” I took them off.

All possessions, worries, and responsibilities had to be dropped on the ground.

I left it all, and then, unburdened, moved with complete freedom toward where I sensed the Throne would be. I could hear flowing water and music. There were uncrowded crowds of people, many worshiping with faces to the ground. Angels moving, singing. Joy, peace, love, excitement, contentment.

The group opened to accommodate my unspoken (and very earthly) desire to be “up front.” Then I realized position/place didn’t matter. He was everywhere, encompassing time, space, everyone.

The overpowering feeling was one of belonging. My thoughts ran like this: I belong to God. I belong to these people. I belong in Heaven. I fit in. I am accepted, loved, valued. Not for what I do or only if I behave correctly. Just because I am me, as He made me, as He wants me to be.

You belong, too. Let Him reach you, forgive you, love you, and encompass you in His earthly embrace and then, someday, in the wide circle of heavenly belonging. It will be great to see you there!

“Life on earth matters not because it’s the only life we have, but precisely because it isn’t – it’s the beginning of a life that will continue without end.” –  Randy Alcorn

 

 

 

Afraid or Amazed?

Israel Trip Bill (310)

“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed and those who followed were afraid.” – Mark 10:32 (ESV)

As we look at the road ahead of us in life, we can sometimes be afraid – afraid of the “what ifs” and even of the demands that will be made of us. Just think of how much more exciting and interesting life would be if, instead of being afraid, we could be amazed.

Jesus’ followers give us a hint as to how we can live so that confidence overtakes fear. In Mark 10, the disciples and many others were following Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem. On the way, He told about His coming arrest and death, and there were two distinct reactions to what He was saying. One group was afraid and the other was amazed. Why such opposite responses? The text seems to indicate that the disciples, who were walking up close to Jesus, were amazed. The crowds, who were following further behind, were afraid.

What a wonderful picture of how to overcome our fears: Stay close to Jesus. He will never fail to amaze us. When we’re feeling afraid, maybe we need to assess where we are walking. Jesus will always invite us to come nearer. In fact, that’s exactly where He wants us to be so He can guide our steps as we walk along. When we are close to Him, amazement happens!

“A close, intimate relationship to Christ should always be your soul’s only purpose.” – Gene Edwards

10 Surprising Truths About Jesus: A Response

This is not a standard post for me, but there is something I want to share with those of you who may be interested.

"Send forth Your light and truth, let them guide me." - Psalm 43:3a

“Send forth Your light and truth, let them guide me.” – Psalm 43:3a

Every now and then I read something that I can’t quite let go of. It gnaws at me until I respond in some way. That happened last week with a blog I read titled “Ten Surprising Truths About Jesus”. Much of what was labeled as truth was misleading and incomplete. I did respond to the post yesterday and am sharing the link with you just in case you’d like to read the blog and also my fairly lengthy comment.

You may want to add a response of your own. Sometimes it is important to speak up lovingly and convincingly so sincere questioners are not led away from our faith, but, instead, can become aware of the validity of its message. May God’s name be glorified as we live out the faith we have been given.

10 surprising truths about Jesus.