Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘intimacy with God’

A Safe Distance?

Keeping our distance is a good way to stay safe from things that would threaten our safety–
–another vehicle on the road
–a live wire
–fire
–a wild animal

We tell our children, “Don’t get too close; you might get hurt.”

Keep Distance

On the other hand, how could we as humans relate to one another without getting close enough to communicate and express affection?  When we get close to someone, it’s true that we are making ourselves vulnerable to hurt, but we are also opening ourselves to love.  I’m reminded of back in the 60’s and 70’s when cars were made with bench seats in the front.   Often one would see what we called a “two-headed driver”—a couple sitting as close to each other as possible while the guy drove! 

What about getting close to God?  If you’ve read or seen the tales of Narnia, you will recall that most beloved character Aslan, the great lion that symbolizes Jesus Christ.  When the four children first hear the Beavers talking about Aslan, they ask, “Is he quite safe?”  The answer was, “’Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”  And all through the seven books, the children take great delight in being as near as possible to Aslan.  Real love of God will overcome our fears and give us the greatest joy and security.

These are some of the my thoughts as I read this short article by Dr. Harold J. Sala in his book Today Counts:

I’ve been thinking about our lives in relationship to God. Often we don’t want to be too far away from Him, but neither do we want to get so close that He can easily get to us. A comfort zone is okay. After all, it’s good to be on the side of God but just don’t get too carried away with this business of religion.

Why are we afraid of getting too close to God, or letting Him get too close to us? There are three clusters of fear that keep us on the spiritual beltway – neither too close nor too far away.

Fear 1: You can never really please God, so why try? A lot of folks – especially those who have had parents whose expectations were difficult to meet – think they can never be good enough or spiritual enough for God to receive them and fully love them.

Fear 2: You will lose control of your life if you allow God to get close to you. The issue of “who is in charge” keeps lots of people on spiritual beltway. Yes, they want to be close enough to get God’s attention when things get desperate but not so close that they can’t make a spiritual detour.

Fear 3: You will be asked to do something you don’t like and to stop doing something you like but God dislikes. But most of our fears are irrational and without foundation. God is a loving Father who wants the best for us.

When you understand who God is and how compelling is His desire to have fellowship with you, you quickly abandon the beltway of your comfort and strive to move towards the presence of the Almighty.

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Divine Tryst

Moses had two places where he would go regularly to meet with God:

1.  Up on Mount Sinai. God’s appearance on the mountain was announced by fire and billowing smoke, thunder and lightning, earthquake and a crescendo of trumpet blast.  The people were scared out of their wits, but Moses didn’t hesitate to go up whenever God called him to receive instructions on behalf of the people.  He had courage in the presence of the One who loved him and had chosen him for service.

2.  In a temporary “tent of meeting” that Moses set up outside the camp before the Tabernacle was built.  Moses spent a lot of time in there.  God met him and spoke to him personally, “as a man speaks with his friend.”  (Exodus 33:11)  How amazing is that–to be considered God’s friend!!!

But fast-forward.  I do have a “tent of meeting”!  It’s a rocking chair in the corner of my living room.  Or the kitchen where I sing as I prepare food.  Or deep in my heart as I give thanks and express my love to this Heavenly Friend.  When I curl up in my chair in the morning with my Bible and a cup of coffee, how I wish he’d have a cup, too (would He take sugar and cream?)—and that I could hear his voice and see his face.  But I know He’s there with me, and one day I will see His face. (Revelation 22:4)  Imagine his smile of delight as He welcomes me home! Smile

There is a quiet place
Far from the rapid pace
Where God can soothe my troubled mind

Sheltered by tree and flow’r
There in my quiet hour
With Him my cares are left behind

Whether a garden small
Or on a mountain tall

New strength and courage there I find
Then from this quiet place
I go prepared to face
A new day with love for all mankind  (by Ralph Carmichael)

You can listen to the song at this website:  http://offthesanctuarywall.blogspot.com/2010/11/lyrics-there-is-quiet-place.html

A Very Special Meal

Communion Sunday today.  We were reminded that this is not fast food. 

It’s fine dining—an intimate meeting of  friends, lovers–the Lord and me. 
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (Revelation 3.20 NLT)

It’s a family dinner shared with my brothers and sisters, hosted and paid for by our Father. 

It’s the appetizer for that great Marriage Supper of the Lamb when all of God’s people from all ages finally join together at His table for the glorious feast that inaugurates our life of unending bliss with the Lord. (Revelation 19:9)

Wedding Supper in heaven

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Who’s Watching You?

Black boxes, white boxes, this and that government agency spying on everyone… It’s quite disturbing really.  But you know what?  There’s Someone who knows my thoughts and my words even before they exist!—and who sees everything I do and has even planned out my life!  And do I think that’s scary?  No!  I am happily secure in the confidence that the all-wise, all-powerful and everywhere-present God loves me enough to care for me in that way. 

He knows my weaknesses–my pride, laziness, rebellious attitudes, fear, cynicism—and yet He loves me unconditionally.  What’s more, He assures me that He’s working on my character so that by the time I finally get to see His face, I’ll be exactly what I’ve always wanted to be:  perfect in His sight.  This is what keeps me going through ho-hum and challenging days when the news reads like a horror movie.  I’ve read the end of the story (Revelation chapters 21-22) and it’s good!

So go with me, Lord, into this day. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

My Friend, Brother, King

A line of a favorite song says, “You’re my Friend and You are my Brother, even though You are a King.”

Paradoxes fascinate me, especially when when I struggle to get a glimpse into the mysterious nature of God. 

I imagine falling to my knees before Him in awe, and then climbing into His lap and snuggle with His arms wrapped around me!  This is my God, my King, my Father, my Friend!  The One I can both worship and confide in, the One who is infinite and yet lives with me and in me. 

Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.  (Psalm 73:23-26 NLT)

Hanging Out with God

“I Miss My Time with You” is a song I heard again this morning in which Jesus longs for the company of one who has grown too busy for Him.  Then later a colleague shared that we are actually God’s prized possession (Ephesians 1:11-18).  It blows my mind that God would so highly value my company!

But then I pictured myself on a rare visit to my grandchildren.  (I maintain that God gave us earthly families to help us understand His family.)  How would I feel if one of them just ran past my chair with a quick wave as she hurried off to play with friends or work on a project?  Or accepted my gift with a mumbled thanks and then spent the rest of the day focused on the gift instead of the giver?

Instead I long for them to sit in my lap, whisper secrets in my ear, invite me to play their favorite game, and go looking for me when I’m out of sight. 

That’s how God feels about me.  In love

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