Making the Connection With God (#649)
Is God's love only something we read about in the Scriptures and know in our heads, or does he want us to experience it in our hearts as well? Wayne and Brad continue the theme of last week's podcast about the importance of having a personal connection with God in the earliest days of faith and what to do if you missed that. Unfortunately much of Christendom is big on connecting us to the rules, rituals, and doctrines of faith, without actually helping us actually engage God. where we know we're not alone no matter what we face. He becomes a growing part of our lives as we learn to lean into his reality instead of being lost in ourselves. They discuss what it is to be born again, filled wit the Spirit, and how to seek him that turns our heart from our own preoccupation with self, to behold him.
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Just wrote this in my journal to share with others I meet with:
There are times when we simply need to put down the books (cell phones, etc) and come away from the gatherings. Even as the Christ of God, Jesus withdrew to quiet places that he might hear the Father’s voice.
If Christianity offers us anything of importance, even nonbelievers, it is this – “come away to a quiet place”. The regular practice of silence and solitude has been called “the mother of all the spiritual disciplines”. There is a deep reason it is practiced by all the great faith streams and has been for centuries.
To hone this discipline we may have to withdraw to the wilderness – go away to a monastery, the desert, wherever it is truly quiet and absent the distractions of this secular age and world. But once experienced we are able to enter this holy “cell” wherever we are, even in the midst of the bustling city.
This is when and where we will discover that the deepest prayers of the heart are the simple, humble listening for the Good Shepherd’s voice. We would do well, even no better than, starting every day this way, and ending it similarly.
I am very blessed in that as a retiree my first thing in the morning is my “God time”. A hot cup of coffee in the office and then just quietly waiting on and worshiping Him. In Psalm 27 the verse “wait on the Lord” means in the literal Greek as follows: “be still before the Lord in the calmness of faith”. Often a song comes to mind, or a scripture. These are the “sign posts” that I follow as the Lord leads me into Himself. My prayer of “Oh God” may broaden to supplication for my loved ones. From time to time I find myself weeping in His love as His Presence deepens. I don’t know how I could live any other way. After an hour or so I am transformed and ready to meet whatever the day brings.
If we ourselves try to “manage” God, or manufacture our own worthiness by any performance principle whatsoever, we will never bring forth the Christ but only ourselves. -Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas
It’s a paradox that God’s gifts are totally free and unearned, and yet God does not give them except to people who really want them, choose them, and say “yes” to them. This is the fully symbiotic nature of grace. Divine Loving is so pure that it never manipulates, shames, or forces itself on anyone. Love waits to be invited and desired, and only then rushes in.
-Richard Rohr, Just This
Here is part of a quote from Malcolm Gladwell concerning universities, but I think it applies here, ” [education is] based on this preposterous notion of the consumer as a passive recipient of prepackaged experiences, and most of life is not prepackaged.”
The more I listen to Wayne and Brad and feast on Wayne’s books, the more I yearn to lean into these fresh, authentic, unscripted relationships and experiences.