Category Archives: God the Father

What if God doesn’t want us to do life for Him?

Back on Mother’s Day my daughter Mykaela and I were discussing different aspects of a relationship with God when she made a familiar statement.

“I want to do life for God in a way that pleases Him.”

Life with GodI’ve made that same statement countless times and was delighted to hear her express such a God-honoring sentiment. But this time it triggered a peculiar thought.

Doing life for someone typically happens when that person is absent or bed-ridden with illness or even dead. You know, like “Win one for the Gipper.” But since God isn’t absent or sick or dead, maybe there’s an even better option.

Maybe God would prefer that we do life with  Him rather than for Him.

Just before His departure and return to the Father Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Jesus was speaking of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which He describes in John 14:15-23. And Paul said, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

I used Mother’s Day as an example and explained that instead of planning the meals and special activities for Susan, I planned them with Susan. I got her input on what she would most enjoy.

It’s not a bad thing to take 10 minutes at the start of a day to talk with God and commit to living for Him. But how might our days go differently if we went into them with the awareness of God’s presence; of doing life with Him?

Even our most God-honoring plans for any given day will have twists and turns thrown into the mix. If I’m doing life for God with a set agenda then these twists and turns will likely aggravate me as unwanted intrusions. (Quite often they do!)

But if I approach each day with God then perhaps He’ll give me grace for the unexpected or even use them to redirect me toward a divine encounter I hadn’t planned on.

Prayer keeps us connected to God so that we can do life with Him at any given moment. And He delights in doing life with His children!


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



Filed under Children of God, Divine presence, God the Father, God's Will, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Prayer, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

God’s Tests

A Godward HeartWe cannot answer every why question. But there is always this answer: my faith is being tested by the Lord who loves me and will help me. And our Lord never wastes his tests. Whether we believe this truth is, in fact, part of the test. In the mind of Jesus, the promise that he would give them the crown of life was enough to sustain the Christians in Smyrna. I praise God that this has been, and pray that it always will be enough…

~ Excerpted from A Godward Heart by John Piper

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

In other words: “Lord, as You grow our faith by stretching it through tests, may You protect us from the lies of the evil one who would have us doubt Your motives and trust in ourselves rather than in You.”

Abba, Father, help us trust You today!


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

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Filed under Adversity, Christianity, Doubt, Faith, God, God the Father, John Piper, Prayer, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Trusting God

“These things happen.”

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ~ Romans 7:19-20

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17

brennan_manningI’ve been asked a certain question countless times over the course of my ministry. Sometimes it has been asked with genuine sincerity; other times it was a loaded pharisaical grenade: “Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters?” Here is the response I gave in The Ragamuffin Gospel in 1990: It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden, and took my eyes off Jesus. Because the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set in a right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table.

Twenty-one years later I stand by what I wrote; those words are as true for me now as they were then and on the day of my mother’s funeral. That paragraph from Ragamuffin Gospel spoke to many people; they’ve told me so time after time. I must admit though that from where I sit today the paragraph is a bit much, a little wordy. I believe I can now whittle the lines down to a three word response that incorporates all the truth of a verbose 1990 ragamuffin into a 2011 ragamuffin’s preference for brevity. Question: “Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters?” Answer: “These things happen.”
~ From All Is Grace by Brennan Manning

Dear Abba,
These things happen. They really do. And while I grieve them and You know I do, I also know deep within that these things are some of the very things that have brought me to my prodigal senses and sent me running back to You, back to my Father, back home. So I don’t thank You for these things but I do thank You for this grace that is greater than the sum of my sins; this mercy that knows my good-for-nothing name and still believes in me; and this tenderness that I’ve done nothing to deserve but loves me anyway. ~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer by Brennan Manning

Thank you Brennan for being so real. Thank you Abba for mercy and grace.


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


Filed under Brennan Manning, Brokenness, Christianity, God, God the Father, Grace, Love of God, Mercy, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation

“The Father gave you as a gift to Himself”

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV)

Dear Abba - Morning and Evening PrayersPain, inconvenience, sin—these are the problems of being, the alarming, embarrassing, even tragic things that God is apparently willing to put up with in order to have beings at all. But whatever the problems are, they are not the root of being. That root is joy and now. It is important to recapture the element of delight in creation. Imagine the ecstasy, the veritable orgy of joy, wonder, and delight when God makes a person in His own image—when God made you. The Father gave you as a gift to Himself. You are a response to the vast delight of God. Out of an infinite number of possibilities, God invested you with existence. Regardless of the mess you may have made out of the original clay, wouldn’t you agree with Aquinas that “it is better to be than not to be?”
— From Souvenirs of Solitude by Brennan Manning

Dear Abba,
Sometimes I get so entangled in the problems of being that I forget the root, and I miss the forests and the trees, not to mention myself. Wipe the sleep from my eyes this morning, Lord, and help me wake up to the truth that I am a response to Your vast delight. Thank You for making me me. Thank You for making me in Your image. Restore to me the joy of my existence.
~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayers by Brennan Manning with John Blasé

I am awestruck at Manning’s statement that “The Father gave you as a gift to Himself.” May we come to embrace this truth at the core of our being so that we might learn to live out of it!


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

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Christianity, God, God the Father, Love of God, Religion and Spirituality

No reality more breathtaking!

Desiring God Book Cover“If you are a guide on a sightseeing trip and you know the people are longing to enjoy beauty and you come upon some breathtaking ravine, then you should show it to them and urge them to enjoy it. Well, the human race does in fact crave the experience of awe and wonder. And there is no reality more breathtaking than God.”

~ Excerpted from Desiring God by John Piper

Will we live in awe and wonder of God today?


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

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Filed under God, God the Father, Religion and Spirituality, Wonder, Worship

His Divine Rhythm

The word perichoresis comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around” and chorea, which means “dance.” It is a term that the early church used to describe the relational intimacy between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s what some have referred to as The Dance of the Trinity.

I believe God wired us in such a way that our deepest longings can only be truly satisfied when we are in a relationship with Him; learning to dance in His divine rhythm.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

I long to do life more and more in step with God’s unforced rhythms of grace. And I long to see the church – the body of Christ – do the same!

I’m reminded of Jesus’ invitation here in Matthew 11 when I hear songs like the one below: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful. You may not care for the song but you can’t help but be amazed at how these five guys do their part to contribute to one rhythm.


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


Filed under Christianity, Church, Dance, Discipleship, God, God the Father, Grace, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, involvement with the church, Jesus, Music Video, Perichoresis, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Teamwork, Trinity

Like Children Playing

Children playingI recall sitting in a church service with my parents when I was very young, listening to the minister invite people to come to the front for prayer. People went forward (some were crying as they did), knelt, and prayed. When they finished they returned to their seats, and I noticed a distinct change in them. They were happy and at peace. I looked to my dad for an explanation, but he only motioned me to be silent.

Finally a day came when I looked to my dad, and he bent down to speak. “Would you like to go forward?” he asked. I nodded my affirmation. Like those who had gone before, I knelt, prayed, and cried. Before long I felt better too, and I sensed the time had come to return to my seat. My dad smiled. My little world and I were at peace. I didn’t want to ever leave that place or lose that feeling…

I believe I saw the prayer time to be a form of play. It was fun. It made me feel good—just like play. And perhaps most prayer and worship begin for children as an extension of play. Maybe we should go back to that time to discover the pure joy of being in the presence of the heavenly Father. Our cares will be lighter if we relearn how to play in the presence of God, to let our prayers be an extension of the joy that comes from being with the One who knows us, loves us, and accepts us unconditionally.

~ Excerpted from Whispering in God’s Ear by Wayne Holmes

May we find delight today playing in our Father’s presence!


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


Filed under Children of God, Christianity, Divine presence, God, God the Father, intimacy with the Lord, Joy, Prayer, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality