Deepening Your Relationship with God – part 3

We are creating a receptive mindset for experiencing God’s presence at a deeper level and for having a better understanding of His will in our lives. It is a meditative prayerful method to get to know Him; and in that knowing, we will have a greater understanding of ourselves. We are following the natural craving of our spirit, for connection with our Creator.

We can steep in the wonderment of our God, thankful that He put us here and that we have a part to play – through reflecting this deeper understanding and embracing of His love to everyone around us. It is God’s gift; but we can’t get it without working with Him, so as to receive a greater assimilation of Him, which also helps remove the shackles of our worldly thinking in the process.

In other words, we need to get our old self out of the way, and let God fill us with Himself. God is always ready to spend more time with us. When we do that, we get a better idea of how He works through us, and how He works around us and for us. To facilitate this, we must practice the art of surrender, yielding ourselves to His love, that we may also greater exalt Him.   

It is a time for ‘Spirit-to-spirit’ talk. We cannot learn it. It is an experience that is cultivated by staying in God’s presence. In that presence, we let go of all non-biblical notions of who God is – this indescribable force, who calls Himself ‘I Am.’ He is beyond description.

God is in continual conversation with all of His children and HIs potential children. We need to learn to listen; and to scrutinize our lives to see how He is working in them. All of this is revealed in our contemplative time with Jehovah God. We are allowing Him to remove the weeds in our soul that get between Him and the life that He has for us.

The more we fill ourselves with God, the greater our ability to serve Him – in a life where our vision is brought to greater acuity, so that we better understand how to advance His kingdom in all circumstances.

We have to steer our free will in the right direction, so as to make decisions congruent with our authentic self (that self who has God living in him or her, not some apparition that we have been calling ‘me’) – in step with God and in consonance with His truth.

“You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” Lk. 9:55 NKJV

God is waiting for all of us to ‘clean house’ and invite Him in:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rv. 3:20 NKJV

When your mind is clean, you are ready and prepared to serve Him. It is a humble walk that puts others before ourselves, relying on God to nurture us for the task. Love is not love if it is not shared, yes? It requires acts of contribution.

The love of God empowers us; and we know that God loves us:

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rm. 5:5 NKJV

And in that love, we bring God with us when we serve, so that it transforms both who we are being and how we are acting:

…present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to the world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in HIs plan and purpose for you]. Rm. 12:1, 2. AMP

Spiritual discipline is required to get closer to God. It takes godly thinking and acting, as well as having patience with God’s timetable. We must have faith that God knows what He’s doing, and not be vexed that His timespan may not match our expectations.

Our journey to get closer to God will be interrupted at times by our humanity, with its inherent doubts, frustration, sins, egoist power plays, and uncertainty.

In the face of all that, we tough it out, (with His help), and continue to seek His will and drink in His love.

In this deepening of our relationship with God, we continue to apply our faith, even as it is being bolstered by our time with Him. It must be embraced in a fashion that supersedes our logic, knowing that our Father never lies.

“Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal [of approval] to this: God is true [and he knows that God cannot lie].” Jn. 3:33 NKJV

…it is impossible for God to lie… Heb. 6:18 NKJV

Faith builds the bridge between our spirit and His. It confers His likeness upon us so that we can meld with Him and comprehend what He would reveal to us. In that coalescing, we become beacons for His glory – radiating His loving invitation all around, fulfilling our heavenly mandate.

And all this comes to play when we spend more time with God, quietly listening for His will, asking Him how to carry it out, and jump into the chaos of the world with His peace.

As always with God, any interaction with Him begins with a relationship with His Son – our God-channel. Jesus makes that connection: Spirit-to-spirit. We must also exercise faith in embracing Jesus, who turns around and perfects that faith through the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God reveals Christ to us through the Holy Spirit.

It’s a three-sided relationship we are attaching ourselves to. You can know them all on the deepest level and your life will be changed in wondrous ways.

But, it takes a commitment of your time, focused-listening with your heart, willingness and faith.

A deeper heavenly relationship is a gift offered to everyone.

Prepare and receive…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Deepening Your Relationship with God – part 2

Last time, we talked about establishing a relationship with God, through Christ, by exercising our God-given channel to Him – which is fervent, continuous, heartfelt prayer. It is the foundation of our relationship with God, leading to a wondrous, satisfying life. Of course, one must act out what they learn in these prayer exchanges.

Let’s say that you might also be interested in knowing God on a deeper level. That requires a some additional ‘positioning’ on the seeker’s part; training if you will. You can start by planning each day at the outset, by seeing how you can, to the best of your ability, live it out in the context of (i.e. to satisfy) the two ‘great commandments:

“‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or highest good for others].’ Mt. 22:37 – 39. AMP

In this position, you help yourself and others, and break down as many barriers as possible between you and God, (i.e. ‘sin’ – things that distort, distract and discourage).

Second, you must set aside time daily to swim in God’s word. That is fundamental to getting to deepening your relationship with God. It is one of the greatest concentrations of His identity that He left for us; the other would be the universe around us and every created thing in it.

Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handing and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 AMP

We stand alone before God. We must spend that ‘alone time’ with Him to prepare ourselves to be His vessels, which draws us closer to Him.

Finally, we always want to keep His long-suffering, merciful, abundant, gracious, unconditional and immeasurable LOVE in the forefront of our thoughts. He loves us even if it is not returned. He loves us in spite of our sin. He loves us because He is love and we were created in His love; and no one can separate us from that love. (Rm. 8:38, 39.)

Once we have positioned ourselves, we need to humble ourselves before God. We can take on that humility be understanding just how BIG our God is.

God is the ruler of the universe; and through Christ He created all things and continues to sustain them. He is the Life-Giver. (Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2.)

All truth is found in God. All love comes from God and He loves all of His creations. All goodness comes from God.

God is all-powerful; He knows all, He sees all. And this immeasurably vast expansive God reaches down to love every man, woman or child that was ever or will be born. That is a mighty BIG God. Remarkably, He wants to relate individually to each one of us.

It is a bit humbling, isn’t it?

Now, we’ll begin investigating a possible path for a deeper relationship with God, now that our soul is ready (our spirit has always been ready). Up to this point (see part one from last week), we’ve only discussed prayer that is discursive in nature, i.e. a dialogue between us and God. Let’s consider a different form of prayer – the contemplative prayer.

This type of prayer was formulated by Catholic monks. (Remember, divine insights transcend the denominations. God is not partial to whom He reveals a piece of Himself to, if the seeker is willing and positioned to see it).

Unfortunately, these same God-fearing monks have been demonized (unfounded, I believe) by other ‘mainstream Christian denominations’) who label them ‘heretical mystics.’

Contemplative prayer is a silent prayer, whereby one attempts to lay aside their interior chaos and just rest in the presence of God. It’s like a 20-minute meditation with God as your sole focus.

The practitioners first decide on a ‘sacred word’ (e.g. God, Jesus, Father, love, peace, mercy, faith, trust, etc.) that they will say mentally, if and only if they get distracted during prayer – speaking that as they concentrate on their breathing, both to bring calm and bring them back to their intention of seeking God.

The sacred word is not sacred in its inherent meaning; the sacredness arises because of the meaning that the practitioner brings to it as an expressive tool of their intent to be in God’s active presence.

The contemplative prayer is not for getting anything; it is just holding a space for God to express Himself – to see what He wants.

Religionists would have you believe that if you try to clear your mind, the devil will come in and take over. If that was the case, you wouldn’t have had God firmly implanted in your faith to begin with. It’s actually a good thing to place your worries and all the other elements of your mental chatter aside. It’s refreshing, and it can help you see where and how you act against your own best interests.

Religionists will also say that those who practice contemplative prayer are in some wacky ‘alpha state,’ where the mind is imprisoned by some droning mantra. Nothing but lies to justify their own denomination.

They’ll likewise tell you that scripture does not talk about contemplative pray. So, I ask you to contemplate these:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly…but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:1, 2. NKJV

Be still and know that I am God… Ps. 46:10 NKJV

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Ps. 63:6 NKJV

My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes Ps. 119:48 NKJV

…be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity…give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine…Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress be evident to all. 1 Tim. 4:12, 13 & 15. NKJV

You must take the time to ‘be still,’ (regardless of the method you use to naturally achieve that), to let your mental stuff fall away in order to understand who God is and where He wants to lead you. Then, you will also be enriched in your ability to have your discursive prayers be more focused, effective, and bring greater glory to your Father.

Still more to come…

Goodnight and God bless.

Deepening Your Relationship with God

All relationships begin with communication. Your relationship with God commences with prayer.

Until we learn more about who God is and what He wants for our lives, our prayers tend to revolve around ourselves. And sometimes we ask for things that don’t serve our best interests:

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Jm. 4:3 NASB

Fortunately, God only answers those prayers that align with His will – a divine mindset that only provides that which promotes our highest and best life:

…if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 Jn. 5:14, 15. NKJV

God loves you so much that He wants your relationship to be a full-time affair. So, this must also be reflected in your prayer:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Th. 5:17, 18. ESV

Coming back to your prayer being in alignment with God’s will, you must pray with a forgiving heart, because He will not hear you if you bear malice towards anyone. (Mk. 11:25) Also, you must first get right with God yourself (through confession and repentance) before He will hear you. (Ps. 4:3) And, you must have faith in God’s ability and desire to answer your prayer. (Heb. 11:6)

God loves you and wants to grant you your heart’s desires. You don’t have to be ‘special.’ God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t practice partiality. Everyone is special to Him. What He wants, is your authenticity:

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18 NKJV

Even in our weakness, God sends the Holy Spirit to us to strengthen and perfect our prayers for the greatest effect / response. (Rm. 8:26)

The only thing that gets in the way of our praying is when we give into our humanity. Sometimes our prayers are not answered (at least not in the way we imagined), or it seems that God is taking His sweet time in doing so, or we think that He has rejected them altogether. We begin to think that prayer doesn’t work.

It exposes the weakness in our faith. Instead of asking Jesus to strengthen our faith, [because He always will (Heb. 12:12)], we put shame and guilt upon ourselves and pray even less, or not at all. We get more hung up on the ‘proper mechanics’ of prayer rather than keeping our focus on the Father and the Son, to whom we are praying to.

Prayer is your God-connection. Because life happens to us continually and at full-speed, we want to be having that running conversation with Him. Prayer is like any other endeavor; it improves with practice. It’s a part of your spiritual make-up. God placed that channel in you; but you have to start the communication. He’s always right there. (Mt. 28:20)

God is in control of everything. He’s the one you want to talk to. The more that you make your needs and the needs of others known to Him, the more God is going to show up to answer the prayers that bring you closer to Him, which is where you will find your highest and best life.

If some prayers aren’t answered, they didn’t meet that criteria. Doesn’t make Him neglectful; God is looking out for you. The ones that are answered will bolster your faith, increase the efficacy of your prayers and embolden you to pray all the more – simultaneously advancing the Kingdom.

Concurrently, God starts removing the dross laid upon you from your foray into the world; then your true shining self begins to emerge.

God does not expect you to show up as a perfect person or prayer-giver. Your time spent with Him will get you there. Your ‘authentic self’ is who God wants to meet face-to-face. If you ask Him, He will reveal your inauthenticity. And that’s a good thing, because then you can see what you need to step away from – with His help.

Neither does God want you to come to Him in prayer as cool and calculated. You can approach Him wild and weepy. He wants to meet you wherever you’re at because He wants to deliver you from your problems, and then meet and exceed your needs.

“…I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the LORD. Jer. 1:19 AMP

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us… Eph. 3:20 AMP

If you could have had that perfect life as a perfect person, you would have done that already. But nobody can. Why? Because our lives cannot be whole until they are lived with God inside of us. Prayer invites Him in, and our continuing use of them is what keeps Him there. It cements our relationship. Thus, you must set aside regular intervals to do that.

And remember, that channel to God can only open and flourish when we invite Christ in our heart. Also keep in mind that there is someone (Satan) who does not want you to pray. He wants your relationship with God to be dead. So, if you’re struggling with prayer or you don’t think it has any value, remember that those thoughts are from the pathetic squawking of that enemy on your left shoulder. But we know that Jesus has overcome that liar (Jn. 16:33)

So, shrug those doubts off, like water from a duck’s back. Take a deep breath and call out again to your Maker. Knowing that you have Jesus at your back will encourage you to be dauntless and audacious in your prayer. Expect answered prayer and be thankful before and after that answer comes.

…I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Ps. 20:6 AMP

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name [in prayer]. Make His deeds known among the peoples [of the earth]; proclaim [to them] that His name is exalted.” Is. 12:4 AMP

God always wants to work with you, but you must bend your will to His. When we come to Him in humility, we can ask and keep on asking, until the answer comes. And remember that Jesus is your conduit to the Father. When we ‘seal’ our prayers in Christ’s name, they are presented to the Father in their proper ‘Holy Spirit wrapper’ – guaranteed to be considered.

God never said that life would be easy. At times, we all suffer. In those sufferings, God is trying to get our attention, to pray to Him because He has something to work out with us. Maybe our character needs a little tweaking, we might need greater clarity as to how we might be contributing to our suffering, or we need to pray for others around us to help with their suffering, both to help them and to keep it from spilling over on us as well.

In all suffering, God delivers us or shows us the way out of it. As a bonus, He molds us to more like His Son in the process.

What is prayer? It’s a gift from God – a communicative channel through Christ to access them both. When we do that, we invite them to live in us, which they are more than happy to do.

They accept you just as you are. The only qualification, (and it is a continuing one), is that you confess and repent when find yourself straying from and or actively being contrary to God’s plan for your highest and best life.

When we stay in continuous conversation with God, humbly laying our will aside and living out His instead, walking in forgiveness for everyone, including ourselves, placing others’ needs above our own, and showing up as our true authentic selves in gratitude, God shows up in a HUGE way.

Your joy will be abundant and your life extraordinary.

That’s the kind of relationship God wants to have with everyone.

There can be more to the depth of your relationship by getting to know God more intimately. It’s not required, because our finite minds can never grasp His magnificent infinite magnitude. Yet it is interesting to explore what we can.

To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.