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Posts Tagged ‘Relationship with God’

Floating upward

Floating Upward

I’m a hot air balloon.
Ropes tied to stakes
restrain me
keep me near the ground.

I long for release

Cut the ropes, O God
that tether me to this place.
Set me free
–I long to float upward
to Your waiting arms.

 

Copyright MaryBeth Mullin 2018

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Is your life crazy busy?  Do you have a husband, kids, grandkids a house, a job, another job or just commitments?  We live busy lives, spent rushing from one thing to the next with little time for spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, Bible study or simply listening to God.

In his letter to Timothy in 1Timothy 2:1-4, Paul offers some ideas on how to have “quiet” in our daily lives, and he provides the rationale for doing so.  “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

How do I have “quiet”?

  • Supplications (humble prayer, entreaty, or petition)
  • Prayers (a spiritual communion with God)
  • Intercessions (a prayer to God on behalf of another)
  • Giving thanks for all men, for kings and all who are in authority
Why is this important?
Paul offers the following by way of reason for seeking to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence:”
  • It is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior
The center of living the quiet and peaceable life is relationship with the Father, through the finished work of the Son.  We can come boldly to the throne of grace because of Jesus, our High Priest.

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The LORD promises that with His love He will quiet us.  In Zephaniah 3:17, the prophet tells us, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The picture is perhaps of the child who buries her face in the bosom of a parent; the small body shaking with sobs.  The parent speaks soft words, sings gentle songs of reassurance until the sobbing subsides.

This is a picture of our Heavenly Father.  He will hold you to His bosom as you pour out your sorrow, your fear, your loss, your frustration, or whatever is stealing your “quiet.”  In that moment, He whispers to you of His great love for you.  Knowing of His love, being reminded again of how much He loves you, all His promises to you, you become quiet.  He has quieted you with His love.

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Jesus said,  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”  Matthew 23:27.

He meant they appeared to be clean on the outside, but inside they were nothing but a grave, full of the bones and carcases of dead men.  Jesus was getting at the issue of holiness.  Holiness is not outward compliance with rules and regulations . . . that is the definition of legalism.

Holiness is a heart transformed, desiring to go God’s way.  For the  truly holy man or woman, no outward rules are required.  The desire to please God, to obey God, to maintain fellowship with God will keep him or her from evil.  The Christian has very few outward restraints on his or her conduct.  The restraint is borne out of relationship with God.

May your heart be transformed so that you require no outward rules to make or keep you holy, but only a desire to please the heart of the Father, a love for the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.  1 John 5:18

It is much preferable to read about what God had done for me, what God is doing for me and what God will do for me.  My part doesn’t seem as interesting, so when I come across a verse like 1 John 5:18, it begs the question:  “How do I keep myself?”  The following are some ideas:

  • We need to submit or if you prefer, surrender ourselves to the will of God (as clearly stated in His Word)
  • We need to know what the scriptures say about where our help and hope lies
  • We need to be committed to worshiping God for who He is
  • We need to be committed to serving Him only (e.g. we need to be about the LORD’s business)

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It is wonderful to study and meditate on the love of God.  It is a subject that never grows old and is found on every page of the Bible and in every encounter with the living God.  As we walk with God, we find evidences of His love in our own lives, like those in the Bible.

But one might ask, “What is the take away?”

Here are some of the many things that we learn and “take away” from meditating on and living in the knowledge of God’s love:

  • We gain personal relationship with God.  When we understand the offer (John 3:16) and accept it (Romans 10:13), we become sons of God.
  • We gain eternal life.  God promises eternal life to those who believe. (Romans 6:23)
  • We gain factual knowledge to draw us toward God as we consider what He has done.
  • We gain experiential knowledge by our time spent with God, by watching how He changes us and moves in our lives.
  • We receive love, so we are able to be better givers of love.
  • We receive strength to accept difficult things from God’s hand when we know and understand and receive as truth the love of God for us.

Beloved, take time to consider, to meditate, to live in the knowledge of the love of God for you.  He loved, loves and will love you for eternity.  That should transform your life.

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Continuing in this series of posts on Knowing God and specifically knowing of His great love for us, we look today at another picture from the Old Testament that give us further insight into the great love of God.

In Exodus 13:21-22, we’re told, ” the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night and  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

In Numbers 9:17-22   we read the following more specific discussion of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire:   “Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents.  At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped.  Even when the cloud continued long, many days above the tabernacle, the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD and did not journey.  So it was, when the cloud was above the tabernacle a few days: according to the command of the LORD they would remain encamped, and according to the command of the LORD they would journey.  So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. “

The following can be see about the amazing love of God from these passages of scripture:

  • God is a light to dispel the darkness around us. The Israelites were in the middle of the wilderness.  No street lights cut through the darkness of night.  No lights from far off buildings or roads could be seen.  BUT GOD provided a light for His children, so they would not be left in the dark.  This light could be seen from all over the camp.  It was God’s presence with them, pushing back the darkness.
  • God is a cloud to protect us from the heat. The pillar of cloud provided relief from the scorching desert sun.  The Israelites were in the wilderness in Israel with desert terrain, rocks, few trees and limited relief from the relentless sun for 12-15 hours a day.  Under the cloud, close to God’s presence, the people would have been able to find some relief.  God was the protection from burning, a cool respite, a comfort.  He is that for us as well.
  • God is a guide for us on the path that He has chosen for us. The fool in his rebellion and self-reliance resists the guidance of an almighty and all-knowing God.  God by the picture of the pillar of fire/pillar of cloud shows that He is our guide.  If we will but look up and keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us in the way we should go.
  • God desires to teach us dependence on Him alone. The great love of God is that He desires close and living relationship with us.  The desire for relationship is what caused Jesus to go to the cross, “for the joy set before Him.”  That joy was us, the idea of relationship with us, something never possible without the perfect blood sacrifice to satisfy the law’s requirement for sin.  The pillar of cloud and fire is a picture of the dependence and relationship God is looking for with us, a daily relationship of dependence.  The Israelites didn’t know what they were doing or where they were going each day until they looked up to the presence of God in the camp.  Did the cloud move?  Were they traveling today?  So too with us.  We must have a daily dependence, daily relationship with God.  We must check with Him each day to know how to proceed.

Amazing love . . . that causes a God, who is totally sufficient in Himself, to seek to do for us  what we cannot do for ourselves.  Look to Him!  Rely on Him!  He is faithful.

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