Category Archives: intimacy with the Lord

Like wings…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Corrie Ten Boom, intimacy with the Lord, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality

Like a Little Child

 

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” —Matthew 6:1-2

Dear Abba - Morning and Evening PrayersJesus says in effect: Like a little child, consider yourself to be of little account. Blessed are you if you love to be unknown and regarded as nothing: all things being equal, to prefer contempt to honor, to prefer ridicule to praise, to prefer humiliation to glory. To practice poverty of spirit calls us not to take offense or be supersensitive to criticism. The majority of hurts in our lives, the endless massaging of the latest bruise to our wounded ego, feelings of anger, grudges, resentment, and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty, from our obsession with our rights, from our need for esteem in the eyes of others. If I follow the counsel of Jesus and take the last place, I won’t be shocked when others put me there, too. (Excerpt from Lion & Lamb by Brennan Manning)

Dear Abba,
You know me all too well. I seek out honor and praise and glory on a daily basis like a bloodhound. I find it and I’m satisfied, but only for a day or two as someone or something comes along and ruins it. Then I’m off again, sniffing out something to prove to everyone just how spectacular I am. But I was not created to be a bloodhound, led by his nose. No, You created me as Your child, to be led by Your hand, the hand of a loving Father Who will provide all my needs if I will just trust You. And Lord, that’s where it gets hard.

~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer by Brennan Manning with John Blase

When I read this devotional yesterday morning Brennan’s words cut to the core of my being. Especially his statement about how our “resentment and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty …our need for esteem in the eyes of others.” So much of what we do or buy seems driven by our desire for significance.

It immediately made sense and then I proceeded to wrestle with it all day long.

Its one thing to consider yourself of no account; but quite another to have people and circumstances confirm it.

  • Could I trust God to be enough?
  • Would I surrender to His agenda?
  • Could I be content simply being a child of the King?

Yesterday I held the hand of our Father and found His love to be enough. Will I trust Him again with this new day?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Children of God, Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

The Art of Being Human

Souvenirs of SolitudePerhaps the main reason that we are such poor practitioners of the art of being human; why we so often teeter on a tight-rope between self-hatred and despair is that we don’t pray. We pray so little, so rarely, and so poorly. For everything else we have adequate leisure time. Visits, get-togethers, movies, football games, concerts, an evening with friends, an invitation we can’t decline—and these are good because it is natural and wholesome that we come together in community. But when God lays claim on our time, we balk. Do we really believe that He delights to talk with His children?

~ From Souvenirs of Solitude by Brennan Manning

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Prayer, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

The Focus of Your Life

More Jesus - Less Religion - Book CoverWhen Jesus walked this earth, he worked to get the focus off “good” people doing what appeared to be “good things” and to get their focus back on God. Many people in first-century Israel were pointing to the rules; Jesus pointed to a God who wanted a relationship with his people. Religious professionals focused on the law; Jesus focused on the Lawgiver who knew our hearts and offered us grace in the midst of our failures.

A healthy, growing faith is always focused on the person of God himself, not on cheap substitutes. A healthy faith begins and ends in God, not in rules or regulations or sheer, raw duty. Jesus, not religion, is at the core of a robust Christian faith.

Today Jesus offers you and me the same opportunity he gave to those people in the early church. Oh, we can still perform and conform out of obligation. We can still try to feel good by all the “good deeds” we chalk up.

Or we can love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. We can experience his love and come to know him intimately. We can stop hiding behind our facades of religious order and meet him right where we are. We can focus on him and find sanity, rest, and peace when all hell seems to be breaking out around us.

I urge you to experience for yourself his love and acceptance. Grow closer to him and choose him because you truly love him. Make him—not your “good deeds” nor anyone or anything else—the focus of your life.

I promise…you will never regret it.

~ Excerpted from More Jesus, Less Religion by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton

What will be the focus of our life in this new week?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Divine presence, God, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Love of God, Loving God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Lost in Him

get_lost-featured1The progression toward oneness with God leaves you absent of yourself. Lost in Him.

As you move more fully into what God sees and what He desires, you’ll no longer be concerned with what you lack or how you’ve failed. As you walk with Him day by day, you will come to see yourself through His truths.

Afraid that you can’t get past your past?

Getting lost in intimacy with God will assure your heart that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Fearful that you can’t overcome a sinful habit?

Intimacy with God will bring you to believe that your “old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6–7).

Think the circumstances of your life are hopeless?

Intimacy with God will bring you to know that “the Lord will fulfill his purpose for; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).

~ Excerpted from Get Lost by Dannah Gresh

Praying that we all get lost in Him today!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Did Jesus miss the obvious?

It’s hard to imagine a more exciting scene!

Intimacy_with_GodJesus had healed enough people for word to spread like wildfire. The crowd quickly got so big it was standing room only spilling out of the house. (Mark 2) Every eye was riveted on Jesus until…

The ceiling split open and four guys lower their friend on a mat.

  • The sick were being made healthy…
  • The blind were seeing again…
  • The demon possessed were being set free…

Imagine the hopes and expectations of this man on the mat with legs refusing to work. And in the midst of all that healing going on Jesus looks at him and says…

“Your sins are forgiven.”

The guy must have been thinking something like: “Um, thanks Jesus but I was sort of hoping you would do something with my legs.”

Did Jesus miss the obvious?

Why would He skip past two legs “out-of-order” to focus on sin?

Surely the man’s legs were the real issue here? Or were they?

Jesus knows something the man doesn’t know—that he has a much bigger problem than his uncooperative legs. The bigger problem is the sin that separates him from God. What good does it do to have legs that work if you’re going to spend eternity apart from God?

So what’s the big, pressing issue for you in this life?

  • Poor health or a life-threatening disease?
  • Finances that keep coming up short?
  • The lack of a meaningful relationship or too many dysfunctional ones?
  • The death of a loved one?
  • Family members and friends who have never accepted God’s gift of grace?
  • Dead end job, bad boss, noisy neighbor, lousy teacher, apathetic students, annoying in-laws, kids bullying your kid…?

Tim Keller enjoyed reading articles by Cynthia Heimel and there’s one he’s never forgotten. She describes being around many young struggling actors and actresses who are desperately looking for their big break into show business. She observed that many of these who did make it into the business became even less content and more miserable than before.

She describes feeling sorry for them because they had the thing they had thought would make everything okay – and it didn’t. Then Heimel added a statement that took Keller’s breath away:

“I think when God wants to play a really rotten practical joke on you, he grants your deepest wish.”

Jesus didn’t miss the obvious. What He’s saying to the crippled man is this: “I’m not going to play that rotten joke on you. I’m not going to just heal your body and let you think you’ve gotten your deepest wish.”

The Bible says that our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus. Something or someone else is our savior. Almost always when we first go to Jesus saying, “This is my deepest wish,” His response is that we need to go a lot deeper than that.

What is it that we think we need to make life complete or okay?

If it’s anything other than Jesus, we’re settling for less!

Will we surrender our deepest wishes to discover a new depth of peace and contentment through intimacy with the Lord?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adversity, Christianity, Contentment, God, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Peace, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

Can every day be an adventure?

Wild Goose ChaseWhen we don’t pace ourselves, we tend to miss divine appointments right and left. In fact, they seem like human interruptions. We get so consumed with trying to get where we think God wants us to go that we put on spiritual blinders and miss the Goose trails He wants to take us down. The key is slowing down your pace, taking off your sandals, and experiencing God right here, right now.

…Spiritual maturity has less to do with long-range visions than it does with moment-by-moment sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And it is our moment-by-moment sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that turns life into an everyday adventure.
~ Excerpted from Wild Goose Chase   by Mark Batterson

I know!

I get it!

Most of the stuff that fills our days seems like anything BUT an adventure.

  • The same job…
  • The same spouse and kids…
  • The same co-workers…
  • The same neighbors…
  • The same house chores…
  • The same ol’ same ol’…

But what if these ordinary, everyday circumstances are not the main ingredient to life being an adventure?

If God is “with us always” as Jesus promised then He is with us even in the midst of these seemingly mundane moments. And how can any moment where God’s presence is available be anything but an adventure?

Perhaps we are too focused on our circumstances and not focused enough on learning to live in the awareness of God’s presence?

May today be a brand new adventure with God!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Adventure, Christianity, Discipleship, Divine presence, God, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

The apple of His eye

Get LostPsalm 17:8 finds the psalmist pleading, “Keep me as the apple of your eye.” The apple of the eye is the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in another person’s pupil. To see it, you have to be close. Intimate. To see yourself as God does, you have to get lost in His intimacy.
~ Excerpted from Get Lost by Dannah Gresh

Do you see yourself as God sees you?

Are you pursuing intimacy with the Lord?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Children of God, Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

Jesus had no problem drawing large crowds of people, as long as He was feeding them or healing them or meeting some other need in their lives.

But when He taught about the high price of considering everything and everyone a distant second compared to following after Him, the crowds thinned rather quickly.

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

Pursuing-God

In his book Jesus the King (formerly titled King’s Cross) Timothy Keller writes:

You’re glorifying something when you find it beautiful for what it is in itself. Its beauty compels you to adore it, to have your imagination captured by it.

To glorify others means to unconditionally serve them, not because we’re getting anything out of it, just because of our love and appreciation for who they truly are.

This is what we see modeled in the relationship of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. They exist to delight in and revolve around and serve one another.

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to ask God’s favor or assistance. Scripture tells us to draw close to the throne of grace so that we might receive mercy and grace as we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

But if seeking God for His help becomes the primary and dominant reason for pursuing Him, something is terribly wrong. God is beauty and majesty and glory and splendor and all the wonderful qualities that capture the deepest longings of our heart.

To truly glorify God is to pursue Him simply for who He is!

So… why exactly are you pursuing God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, Glory of God, God, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

Need a shot of adrenaline for your soul?

The end product of biblical Christianity is a person—not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics—but one person. ~ Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet in Jesus: A Theography

William Wilson PhotographyJesus!

After offering up a who’s who list of giants of the faith (Chapter 11), the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)

I’ll be honest. A shot of adrenaline into my soul sounds pretty good right now. I’ve been feeling fairly discouraged and frustrated lately for a variety of reasons. My guess is I’m not alone.

The reminder that Jesus endured much more than I’ll ever face and not only survived but thrived is very encouraging. All because “he never lost sight of where he was headed.”

So I’m starting this week with a renewed passion to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what comes at me. And while I know that Satan will do his best to distract me – and likely succeed at least a few times; I also know that the Holy Spirit will be relentless in drawing my attention back to Jesus.

How about you? Need a shot of adrenaline for your soul?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Frustration, God, Heaven, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality