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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Love – Obedience – Joy

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”  John 15:9-11

“First time , all the way.” It’s a great phrase Dr. Dennis and Elsie Kinlaw used in teaching their children to obey the first time they were asked to do something and to obey completely. (We all know the frustration of being with children who don’t listen.)  A mom requires complete and total obedience not because she is a mean ogre, but because she knows what is best for her child, which comes from her heart of love.

It’s the same with Jesus. I find it interesting and inviting that in the above scripture Jesus commands us to remain in His love. He doesn’t command us to obey, but instructs us that obeying Him is how we make our home in His love.

Intimacy in any relationship is based on trust and openness. The more we trust, the more open we are, and the more we let the others in. Then, if they demonstrate their trustworthiness and love (and vice versa), the more we open and trust, and intimacy deepens. We experience this growing intimacy with Jesus as we hear from Him through His Word or the nudging of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and then out of our love for Jesus, we obey Him. We often need His help, which He loves to give. As we yield ourselves to Jesus 100% and experience His Spirit enabling us to obey, we know the joy of Him living His life through us, which causes us to trust Him more (and Him to trust us more), and our intimacy deepens. As a result we are filled with His overflowing joy! Jesus says that’s the whole point. He wants us to know His joy, which is only experienced as we remain in His love as we give Him our love through obedience – “first time, all the way.”

Think of your own life. When have you obeyed Him and known the sweetness of His presence and His joy? Is there any place in your life where you are not obeying Him fully?

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All of Me for All of Him

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

God wants to be with you. It’s all He’s ever wanted—that’s why He made you. Look at Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They walked with God, and there was nothing in between them. (Not even clothes!) They enjoyed a rich intimacy with God which was suddenly broken as Adam and Eve doubted Him, disobeyed Him, and did things their own way. They lost His presence. But, the rest of Scripture unfolds how God was making a way so that we could know Him personally, and He could walk with us once again.

The Father provided everything needed to restore our relationship with Him by giving Jesus to pay the price for our sin, to take the punishment for how we turned our backs on God. Out of His incredible love for us, Jesus was willing to die so that you and I can personally know the Living God.

So how do we enter into the daily, moment-by-moment presence with the Living God once again? It is as intimate and beautiful as a wedding. Beth Coppedge, the founder of Titus Women, explained this using a phrase that forever changed my life: “All of me for All of Him.”

God invites us to give ALL of ourselves to Jesus. We give Him every part of ourselves including our past, our sin, our selfishness, our fears and dreams, our heart, mind, soul and even our physical strength. And in exchange, He forgives us, cleanses us and gives us ALL of Himself, filling our inner most being with His life, love, and peace. We exchange our sinful, selfish nature for His nature of holy love. Our relationship with the Living God is restored, and as we live moment by moment giving ourselves to Him, He gives us all of Himself so that our relationship is one of complete and total self-giving love. All of me, for all of Him.

Knowing Your Daddy

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are childrenof God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. (Romans 8:14-17)

How would it change you if you related to God as your good, loving, strong Daddy?

My friend lost her dad suddenly at the tender age of 6. Without a physical father, she pressed in to the only other father she knew, her Heavenly one. When she prays, she calls him “Daddy,” and it grips me every time.

My brother spent time in an orphanage in Romania and had an extended conversation with a young man in his 20s. I’ll never forget his story. All he ever wanted was a family.

Knowing God as my Daddy is a new adventure for me. God has so sweetly shown me ways in which I’m living outside of His care, like an orphan, trying to fight for my own needs, prove my worth, fend for myself. I don’t need to live this way. We have a Heavenly Father who made it possible for us to be adopted as His daughters through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus paid the price for our adoption into His family. We don’t have to live bound by sin, fear, self-protection or any other way of our old nature any longer. We can know God as our Daddy, depend on Him fully, and know ourselves as His dearly beloved daughters, filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Incredible!

Part of being a good heavenly Father is that God is a great teacher, and He’s kind. He longs to father you, teach you, mold you, and embrace you. It’s a powerful and intimate appointment to crawl up into the lap of God. Do not fear. There is no question too hard for Him, no pain too deep for Him, no doubt you have that will scare Him. He understands the ways in which we’ve been hurt by our earthly fathers. He longs to heal every hurt and show you what a true Father is as He relates to you as His cherished own daughter.

So how does it change things, change you, to relate to God as your Daddy? I’d love to hear!

Intimacy Begins with Jesus

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8 NLT

It’s hard sometimes to imagine that the Living Lord Jesus longs for an intimate relationship with us, that he would call to our hearts and invite us to come and talk with him. But he does! What does intimacy with Jesus look like?

I think David, the Psalmist, helps us here. A new level of intimacy with Jesus begins with Jesus! He is the one who initiates the relationship and wants to be with you and me. David’s heart is open and responsive to this incredible invitation as he declares: “LORD, I’m coming!” Is your heart open to hear God drawing you to spend time with Him? He longs to hear your heart and share His with you.

In her book, The Love Exchange: An Adventure in Prayer, Margaret Therkelesen shares how she entered into a deeper level of intimacy with Jesus as He led her to spend 3 minutes a day just loving Jesus and praising Him for who He is. Sometimes she would read a Psalm, sing a hymn, or just Him tell how much she loved Him. Then, she would spend 3 minutes receiving God’s love. She would read scripture verses that speak of His love (like Psalm 139) and would believe it! In the quietness of her heart, God began to speak.

Is your heart open to Jesus? As He calls you to come and talk to Him, what will your response be? I invite you in the next week to set aside 6 minutes a day to tell Jesus how much you love Him and to receive His love for you.

I’d love to hear about what He shows you in your time with Him.