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Shifting Awareness

How AWARE would you say you are, right in this moment, of your NEED of GOD? In general, would you say you have a pervasive awareness of your needfulness, or not so much? This has been on my mind for many years, especially as I live in the aftermath of some of my “not so great moments” in life.

The thing is, I’m certain as I read the Bible, that my need of God is comprehensive, whatever my awareness. If I slip into the template Jesus established when He walked the earth, I would do NOTHING of my own will or in my own power. The idea is that God is supplying every need 24/7. You can’t be more dependent than that.

But the truth is, I’ve scooted through moments or days or even whole seasons of life dangerously oblivious as I’ve lived in my own strength. “I got this!” (famous last words). It’s been to my detriment (and sometimes to those around me) to allow my own ability or competence or self-discipline to come to bear. When I choose to forget the pervasiveness of my need of God, I exit the safety of His care, let alone His power. “Shift my awareness of my need of you, God!”

How needful was King David as he lounged on his rooftop with Bathsheba in his sites? How needful was Eve when she applied her own reasoning in response to the serpent’s challenge to her in Eden? How needful was Abraham when he took Sarah’s advise so that they might hurry along the arrival of the promised child? How needful was Peter the Apostle, when he passionately insisted his devotion to Jesus could never waver?

Does it really matter that I acknowledge my need of God and practice dependance rather than allowing my own competence to come to bear? I have woken from too many self imposed slumbers to find myself having drifted a very long way from the company of God. Those scenarios happened one “I could do this in my sleep” day at a time. All the while the full breadth of my need remained. God has been very merciful to remind me time and again: both the ordinary and extraordinary days are laden with land-mines. I don’t want to navigate either in my flesh.

Lord, shift my awareness of my comprehensive need of You, and then bolt me to that bit of ground. May both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of today be lived out under the sway of Your Spirit. It matters more than I know.

~for further reflection~
Psalm 40:16-17; 139:7-10,
John 5:30; 8:28,
Philippians 4:10-20,
Galatians 5:16-17,
Romans 8

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Face to Face

What words would you, as a Christ Follower, use to describe how you relate WITH God? Distant – Intimate – Contentious – Familial – Fractured – Friendly – Cool – Seasoned…

I ask because too many of us seem to be starving from a lack of meaningful relationship with God. I would wonder how on earth that’s possible for children of God except I’ve lived my share of years unable to bridge the invisible chasm I FELT between myself and my Maker. The thing is, without doubt the LORD is offering His sons and daughters a highly personal connection with Himself, even friendship. That’s where the lifeblood flows from, so it’s a monumental deal if the connection is lousy.

From Eden forward, God has been inviting us to take our place in the center of His company. In this “fellowship” we learn that we are not simply relating to another human, but to the Living God – one human intimately connected to the One True God. It’s NOT going to be like any other relationship we have, yet it promises to satisfy as no human relationship can. Any discrepancy that exists between God and I can only EVER be on my end. But that ends up being very good news.

So, what to do about this lack of fellowship? There’s no getting around it: We must be willing to figuratively RUN in God’s direction, with our Bibles open (that part isn’t figurative). And we must be willing to take our place in His company and practice patience as He teaches us. He will show us who He is and who we are. He will take the lead in cultivating meaningful fellowship between Himself and us. Our job is to remain and submit, (I’m pretty sure that’s why this process takes a lifetime!). But there is NO OTHER path to fulfillment and purposefulness. None.

When we actually begin to experience God through the portal of His Word, we begin to waken to the reason we exist. There is no greater joy than communing with and making MUCH of the One we have tethered our hearts to. He is the ultimate Companion. And it might just be that after a time God would describe our relationship with Him the way He described another from ages past…

“The LORD used to speak to Moses,
face to face,
the way a man speaks to His friend.”
Exodus 33:11

Today would be a perfect day to open the Word of God, and enter the narrative God has been writing with humankind from the beginning. Open it with the objective of finding Him rather than as a utilitarian exercise. If you don’t know where to begin, start on page one. God might very well meet you and reveal Himself to you in a way you NEVER thought possible. It happened to me!
I’m sincerely praying for you ~

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Paying MERCY Forward

I had never noticed the details in the exchange between God and Moses when God sent him off the mountain to deal with the rebellion of the people, (Exodus Thirty-two, The Golden Calf). God was incensed, ready to consume His “stiff-necked people” and start all over through Moses offspring. The Lord’s desire in that moment was to allow His wrath to “burn hot” against Israel. Moses made a bold plea on the people’s behalf, and God “relented of the disaster He has spoken of bringing.”

So there you go. Moses’ intercession worked and the people were spared. Moses then headed down the mountain to face what God has just informed him he would face. Here’s where my ears perk up: Moses, upon seeing for himself the people’s lewd behavior, burned with rage, and in a fit of temper destroyed the precious tablets of stone he carried with him. Then Moses burned the golden calf, ground it to power, scattered it in the water, and made the people drink it, (that whole sequence took a minute… or days).

Do you see a discrepancy between the Lord’s response to the people’s actions and Moses response? I harken forward in time to the story Jesus told of the man who was forgiven much, who almost immediately refused to extend the same mercy he had only just received, (Matthew Eighteen). I realize these two stories have significant differences, but they both involve a giant display of mercy, followed by “not so much.”

I cannot help but do a self-exam and wonder how often I have walked away from the throne of MERCY only to withhold it from another. I also wonder how many times I am hard on someone whom God has chosen to shower with mercy. This is no small thing. Because in the face of my personal rebellion, the breadth of the mercy of God toward me is immeasurable. If I’m at all clued in to that FACT I ought to see it paying forward! Yikes.

Back to the throne of mercy I go! Lord, forgive me for not doing for others what You do for me time and again, (more than likely many times every day). Teach me to offer what is not deserved. Teach me to be like Christ, who showers the human race with mercy upon mercy.

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