The Circle of Grace

Changes

I’ve been shooting myself in the foot, so to speak. Oh not intentionally, but now I want to come clean. Confession IS good for the soul. So, if I want to have an intimate relationship with God, I’ve got to make some changes—in my attitude, focus and direction.

Status Quo

How many know that the Lord works in mysterious ways? I mean truly loopity-loop ways at times. So, you’re going along, thinking that you’re in step with God—step by precious step. You’re putting one foot in front of the other. Things are good, your faith is strong. You’re a Golden Rule girl who knows God’s moral law—The Ten Commandments—and makes every effort to abide by them…a Joy Girl, intent on building (you guessed it) JOY!

Intimacy with God

But then you hear back-to-back messages on developing your “Intimacy with God.” Thoughts, ideas and words are expressed in two distinct ways by two very different women of God all backed up by scripture. Soon, the messages intertwine within and set your soul ablaze. You feel the heat. Both women say (paraphrasing here) “God wants all of you—He wants to be involved in every area of your life—the big and small. Seek Him, commit to Him—daily! I love the Message translation the familiar Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; 

don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.

He’s the one who will keep you on track.”

Conviction

“On track!” Important clarification: I may have been fired up in a blaze of conviction, but take note, I said, “conviction,” not condemnation. The illuminating testimonies from these two women have set off a fire storm in me. And so, as the smoke clears, I realize that God has been trying to get through to me for way too long. And that if I am really serious about giving Jesus first place so we will have the best possible relationship, I must take an inventory of where I am. As David wrote in Psalm 139:23-24:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.” (KJV)

Pray that scripture, and see how God responds. He will. At least He has in me. He’s drenched my flames with the cool, clear water of His Word. Maybe I’m learning these lessons now because I am more receptive to His correction. Now, I can see I’ve been swimming in the fast lane for far too long. Sprinting by cues from God to slow down—take Him into my depths. I’ve been pretending that I have it all together so others would never know I’ve taken more stock in the race, than in following His plan to become who He wants me to be.

Quest

With all this in mind, I have begun a quest. I’m checking my pace—letting go of distractions in order to welcome the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides me into truth.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes,

He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own;

He will speak only what He hears,

and He will tell you what is yet to come.” John 16:13

You see, if I know that John 14:6 is truth—that Jesus is absolutely who He says He is: “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” if that is my bottom line, then I seek (with all my mind, soul, heart and strength) to be guided by the one and only one who knows the way.

Good Habits

Over the years, I have developed good habits: I read and study the Bible and keep a journal of lessons from God. I love memorizing scripture and attending Christian classes—I’ve even been a facilitator. I say my prayers, pray for others and sing loud and long praises to God—making “a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Psalm 100 (KJV)

So, good for me, but now I realize that I have left one thing (the essential thing) undone. I have not given God first place in my life in everything. If my goal is to know God fully and to be fully known by Him, isn’t that the heart of it all? As Luke 12:34 says,

“Wherever your treasure is,

there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT)

A Long, Cool Drink

I’ve been sipping on lukewarm water for a long, long time. It’s time to take a long, cool drink—to feel the life it brings. Look at scripture, see the promise Jesus made to the Samaritan woman at the well:

“I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity.

You will never be thirsty again.” John 4:14 (The Voice)

The truth is being revealed in the heart of my heart. God has nothing but goodness in store for you and me. My Heart’s desire is to cultivate an intimate, authentic, loving relationship with my Father, God, with Jesus, His Son (who is also my brother) and with The Holy Spirit—my comforter and helper.

God is my sovereign Lord. To know, deep, deep down that this “everything” relationship is entirely possible gives me the heart to go on into the richer life God has planned for me, not because He’s been required to, but because He is for me, He is with me, He is in me. He is my God and “God is love!” 1 John 4:8

Wow!

Yesterday, one of my classmates shared what I call “A WOW Thing.” Almost as an aside, Natalie said, “If you scramble the letters in the word listen they spell silent.” Loud cymbals crashed in my mind. WHAT?! How perfect! If we want to listen to God, we must be silent.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:

You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19

This scripture is especially dear to Natalie in this season of her life because she’s raising her three great grandchildren! We praise You, Lord, for ears to hear!

Questions

And so, I leave you with some questions. Are you seeking Your Heavenly Father, God, with your whole heart? Are you surrendering each day to the Lordship of Jesus? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth?

God wants to give us blessing and favor—today and every day, for He is faithful, Jesus brings us abundant hope and love comes on the wings of truth given to us by the Holy Spirit. Faith, Hope and Love are His to give, and ours to receive and to give away. Then, and only then is the circle of this amazing relationship of grace complete.

Out From Here

My heart is wide open, Lord. And now, what flows out from here is in the listening, the being who you made me to be, and the doing what You have called me to do to glorify you. Thank you, Lord, Hallelujah and Amen!

Grace Blog

 

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