Give In To His Pull

     God is SO good. It’s insane.

     That said, sometimes it is easy for us to underestimate just how insane His goodness is. Heartache, distractions, hurry, and insecurity can all keep us from seeing the full scope of how gloriously good and kind and present God is in our lives. That’s where spiritual disciplines come in.

     Spiritual disciplines, if done free of a motive of compulsion and performance-orientation, can be so enriching. They open our eyes to the wonder and awe of the beauty that is God-with-us. They help us savor life and squeeze all the juice out of it. They help us more fully “taste and see that HE IS GOOD.”

     I personally love to practice any kind of spiritual discipline that slows me down and helps me notice where the Lord is moving in my life. For this reason I almost daily write an extended list of ways that I am grateful that God has given me fresh joy, or that He has spoken to me, or that He has touched me or proven He is showering His favor on me. It’s amazing how many times I will realize that I almost completely forgot how active He has been in my life because I was too busy living it. If I pause to consider it all though, it actually seems like I have the best history with Him possible!

     I also love to practice adoration — singing out or speaking out to Him all that I love about who He is and how He treats me. It’s funny, sometimes it feels like it is going to be work for me before I start. As soon as I get rolling with it though I find so much joy and pleasure in the moment. Simultaneously I feel His rich affection poured back on me much stronger.

     It’s also been a big blessing for me to get used to practicing quiet contemplative prayer. I get away by myself and just rest in silence, breathing in and breathing out. I mindfully take note of all my stray thoughts and anxieties — just noticing them, not judging them. I am then re-centered on the fact that I am held by my Father’s embrace and that I am His delight. Thought it’s often a struggle to wind down, I grow conscious that He and I are simply together. It is the sweetest form of quality time.

     All of this then translates into a life where I am often noticeably more gentle, patient, loving, confident, and Spirit-led than I would be had I not otherwise purposefully given Jesus my focus for a while. Most of all, I appreciate my day and my connection with the Lord throughout it better.

     I encourage you, be intentional about carving out space to be with yourself, your thoughts, your heart and with the precious Holy Spirit. Invite His leadership and His voice into your day. Lift your own voice to His ears. Let the love between you be nurtured and more fully enjoyed. He saved you for this very purpose — because He wants you all to Himself. For your benefit and for His intense happiness, give into His pull on your soul.

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Let’s Notice

     As a Charismatic Christian I have spent a lot of time “seeking” the presence of God. I’ve put it in many hours reaching for His heart, beckoning for Him to come, and even sacrificing money and energy to go places to “get in His Glory.” Often, I have felt frustrated with the lack of fruit that has come from such attempts to attain a deeper connection with the Lord.

     One of the most popular worship songs of our time has a line in it that I’ve really grown to like. It says, “Let us become more aware of Your Presence.” I like that because it indicates a reformational truth about the nature of God.

     God is here. He is not just “out there” somewhere. 

     The incarnation of Jesus revealed to us that our Maker is not inclined to maintain a separation from humanity in any sense. He is committed to be with us, manifestly.

     This is not even just something He does. It’s who He is….

     He’s Immanuel – which literally means “God is with us.”

     He’s Yahweh Shammah – “The Lord is here.”

     He is the promised Spirit of Christ, “with us even until the end of the age…”

     Most of all He is love — and when seeking to overcome relational distance, “love never fails.”

     Instead of asking for more of God’s presence, my prayer life these days consists primarily of finding ways to acknowledge and appreciate His nearness. I actually make lists of “encounters” I have with Him, to help bring them to my attention more. For instance, I’ve made note that…

  • I wanted to spend alone time in prayer and reflection, but instead I felt God when I took time to encourage a friend who interrupted me wanting to talk about their problems. God showed up through me, rather than to me.
  • I had a dream at night that really caught my attention, and upon taking time to consider its deeper meaning, I realized there was divine counsel hidden in its imagery that added guidance to my current situation in life.
  • The number 11:11 caught my eye repetitively this week. I can’t help but think God is winking at me every time I see it, encouraging me that my life has an orchestrated symmetry to it just like the four linear ones standing side-by-side each other.
  • I was thinking about my own personal weaknesses and failures, right when Katy Perry’s song came on the radio saying “I will love you, unconditionally…”
  • I was thinking about someone I missed, and then five minutes later I ran into them for the first time in years at a grocery store.
  • At church I was let down because I was getting caught up in worship right when the pastor cut off the music. He immediately started preaching a message though that turned out to be exactly what my soul needed to hear that day.
  • I wake up dreading a long work day ahead of me, but suddenly the dread turns to optimism and I end up having a full, fun day. (I often find out later that someone just happened to be praying for me that morning!)

If I don’t take time to stop and savor these moments in life, I can become blinded to just how active and intimately involved the Lord is in my seemingly mundane routine. Even the more spectacular divine encounters – such as when an angel physically touched my head – can seem incredibly normal at times. The most dramatic signs from Heaven have a way of becoming easy to forget if we do not make an intentional effort to rehearse what happened and praise God for it.

Whatever it takes, I encourage you to practice looking for and listening for the presence of God in your life. Contrary to religious tradition, He isn’t one to simply “intervene” on special, awe-inspiring occasions. Rather, He is creatively weaving Himself in our daily lives already. He is loyal to keep working for our benefit whether we notice or not.

Let’s notice though. ? 

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