Be Flooded With God’s Presence

This morning I have been drawn to learning more about prayer, of course, but also about sanctification. I have been thinking and learning about being aware of what I’m choosing in the moment. Yesterday it was brought to my attention the scripture that talks about what flows from the heart comes out of the mouth. Matthew 15:18, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. I realized how evil I really am. How our nature really is sinful and our natural inclination is to choose that. I realized how very important it is to be still and think through what comes out of my mouth. Today after reading about Centered Prayer, I read that silence is God’s language. He asks us to be still and know He is God. Being still in His presence is what it takes to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. 

An analogy just came to me. We are setting up our above ground pool and we are still filling it with water this morning. My daughter just said to me to look at the pool, that it’s getting fuller. I said,” Yes, it takes time, but gradually it will be full.” God instantly showed me how this pertains to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The pool is being filled with a water hose and we all know how long this takes, right? So, if I’m only allowing a small opening for the Holy Spirit to dwell in me then it’s going to take some time to see the change. But if I can learn how to be still and open myself up completely to God, I could be flooded with God Himself, as it says in the Bible. Ephesians 3:19, 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

I’m believing that through Centered Prayer I could do this. I want to be flooded with God Himself. I want my words to reflect my heart, my heart for God. I don’t want to reflect the sinful nature. I pray for God to keep me aware of the difference so that I will be able to keep choosing Him. Help me Lord, to choose You. You know my nature and even Paul spoke about how he does what he doesn’t want to do. Help me to do what I want to do and say things that are only pleasing to You. Help me remember Your presence is everywhere all the time. I am on a stage where You are my audience. I only want to be pleasing in Your sight, Lord. Amen.

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Miracles Don’t Happen On Their Own

The poem I read today in my Mosaic Bible devotion is about recognizing our need for God’s presence in our lives. We weren’t meant to live this life without Him or alone. Only with His leading can we have true peace, true freedom and a sure path. I will praise and thank God all the day long for His everlasting presence and guidance.

Trail to the Tree

The scripture reading is about when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding. His mother’s faith caused this miracle. Jesus said it wasn’t His time to her but she told the servants to do as He says. Our faith prompts miracles.

Ann says: Today think of one way our Lord has turned your water into wine. What has He made surprisingly sweet, rich in your life?

Lately I have been making Bible art books. It started out as monthly books with a theme but it has TURNED INTO making different themed books for people! I love making them and I will be blessing people with them as well, this makes me feel fulfilled and happy!

 

 

 

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God Will Provide

The scripture reading for today is Deuteronomy 8:3, He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Everything is in existence and held up by God’s Word. People need God’s Word to live a good life. We should be thankful for everything that exists! It is here because God spoke it into being. Study God’s Word to know His perfect will to be able to carry out His will in my life. This leads to a good life in His care. Thank you for this life on this earth with everything You created. Help me to keep studying and to be faithful to Your Word to uphold my life and help my family to be prosperous.

 

Trail to the Tree for today is Ram in the thicket. God provided a sacrifice right at the right moment, not early, not late, right on time. God provides for us right when we need it.

Today, live in trust, knowing He will see to it. ALL of it. Romans 8:32,

 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

I will admit I have been fearful at night lately. I woke up the other night and realized my peace was gone. I got up at 3 am and felt drawn to read my book on prayer and one on faith. It helped me feel connected and I felt God’s presence. I have realized the importance of keeping devotion time and studying the Bible. It keeps me at peace. It reminds me God is here with me, it’s His world and He created me and won’t forsake me. He wouldn’t create everything and turn His back. He is present in every moment. The Bible reminds me I can trust Him to provide my every need. Thank you God for being here and providing for me.

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Learning Grace

My mom has told me a story over and over about God’s gifts of His grace and I want to share it now because finally in my own walk I see the light.

There was a man who lived his life without seeing God, hearing God or even feeling like God knew he existed. He never experienced God in his whole life. He died and went to heaven and was being led by Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus, and Peter took him to a storehouse full of gifts. The man asked Peter, “What’s all this?” Peter replied,” It’s all God’s gifts to you in your life that you didn’t receive. God’s grace toward you. You never opened even one.” The man looked with amazement and wished he had paid attention to his life! He wanted to go back and live fully, live the life Jesus promised us through our faith in Him. But now it was too late, his life was over, oh how he wished for a “do over!” The good news is this: You, who are reading this story, you still have time! You can start receiving your gifts of grace right now and the first one is God’s gift of Jesus Christ. You have to repent, which means giving up your way and taking on Jesus’ way.

I am going to try to explain what has happened to me in the past few months that has led me to the full life in Jesus Christ. What I have experienced this past week is life changing. What I have learned made me remember this story my mom told me many times and I never understood it. I never understood what the gifts were and how there could be so many! I realized this morning that there are many layers to understanding something.

During this past month I have been on a search or quest to experience God in all the moments of my life. I have tastes of His presence and it’s so good that I never want it to end. I was drawn to frequencies and thought that was how to experience God all the time, if I was on His frequency I would feel Him. I thought learning Hebrew or Latin or learning how to sing the Gregorian Chant would bring me closer to Him. I bought a lot of books to help me figure this out even one on prayer. If I could pray enough, pray all through the day I would experience Him. None of this is the answer. Now I know when I sing to God in praise I feel His presence but I can’t do that all day, it’s unrealistic. We do have lives to live and responsibilities. What I wanted was to feel His presence ALL THE TIME. I even finally resorted to believing that it’s impossible to “feel” God all the time. I was starting to believe what religion says that you can’t feel God all the time. That we live by faith and not feeling which is true to some degree but I needed more. One of the books I was led to buy was Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I was also led to do her Lent devotion Trail to the Tree. The timing of doing the Lent devotion and then when I actually got the book was unbelievable! What I was reading in the Lent devotion was setting me up to receive the book. Even through all the searching before, God was preparing me to read this book. She has a lot of similarities in her book to what God had been showing me.

What Ann asks in her book is, do you want to come to the end of your life and realize you didn’t live fully? That you were empty the whole time? My answer was a definite no. I had already been searching for the full life! and now could I actually have the answer right in my hands? The answer to everything?! She explains that she was on a dare to write down 1000 things that she loves. As she did this she realized she was writing down God’s gifts to her. She discovered a word eucharisteo, which means grace, thanksgiving, joy. She learned Jesus practiced this. Jesus has shown us the way to a full life by His demonstration of thanks to God before anything He did. Ann says the miracle always comes after the giving of thanks. By writing down what I notice that I love I am actually receiving God’s gifts of His grace toward me. It’s His love for me transformed into something I can see, feel, touch. This awareness and the naming of the moment causes the moment to become holy. Through these gifts recognized I am experiencing God. I am receiving His gifts by writing them down and thanking Him by acknowledging these moments as gifts of grace. It brings great joy to do this! I know it’s hard to believe but it’s real and I am experiencing it. You have to read this book and practice this to know what I mean. There was a dream I had recently about grace also. I told my dad that the hardest thing to learn about salvation is grace. I woke up wondering, what does this mean! Ann has answered it! By thanking God for the moments, the people, the things that I love as they come into my life I am learning grace! The practice of this is learning grace! I have done this for almost one whole week now and last night the story my mom used to tell me came to my mind. It finally clicked! The gifts in the storehouse were all the moments, people and things God gave him that he didn’t notice! All the ways God tried to communicate with him, to get his attention and he never got it. Because he never noticed, he never experienced God. His life was empty.

This practice has opened up a new life to me! I used to think when my mom told this story, ” What gifts?” “What exactly is grace?” I know the Bible says it’s God’s unmerited favor, but what is it tangibly?  Now I know and when I told her today what I have learned and now I know what the gifts were in the storehouse we both cried tears of joy!

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Praying Connects To God’s Presence

Prayer is something I know “works” but also I am finding prayer is what keeps me connected to God. Through the practice of counting God’s gifts it is a form of prayer because I am thanking Him for my life continually. Doing this enables me to pray without ceasing like the Bible says to do. I have also learned that by learning scripture it enriches my prayers and my prayer life. When I know God’s character and what He wants from me then my prayers are more meaningful. I ‘m learning that prayer isn’t asking for things but just asking to be in God’s presence. Something funny but true I learned from the movie Bruce Almighty is that a prayer focused on self isn’t really a prayer.  A prayer becomes alive and powerful when it’s about God and others.

A Full Or Long Life?

Which would you choose? This question came to me this morning as I was watching the Today show they were talking about eating to have a longer life. This struck me because I have been reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and she talks about living a full life. She contemplates dying and when we actually get to that point, are we going to feel full or empty? I really loved how she put it. Now when I see something about living a long life I wonder which would really be the best? In my own opinion I think living the full life long would be the ultimate life but if I had to choose I would want the full life. If life was empty, then a long empty life would just be miserable.

You may want to know what a full life looks like. As Jesus said, He came to give us life to the full. I have really meditated on that verse in the past and now Ann has revealed the key to unlocking the full life. It’s gratitude for everything you love. It’s not just feeling the gratitude but writing them down. Writing them down gives the moment a space, a sacred space that is a gift from God. This is what Ann talks about in her book. She says writing them down is the actual receiving of the gifts. She emphasizes to carry a little notebook with you which causes you to be aware of life happening and write them down as you go. I started this today and already have over 30 gifts! She says we hurry through life and miss the small stuff which is really the big stuff. We don’t pay attention to what really matters and to what is right in front of us. God is in every moment if we will just recognize Him there. When we do this we are living each moment to it’s fullest. We have given the moment a name, we have made the space in the moment holy. This is all God wants, communion with us and this is how we do it. God’s presence is the answer to all our longings, all our emptiness. Instead of filling the gaps with “things” we need to fill the gaps with thankfulness and recognize the gifts God is continually giving.

I know myself that I have lived some empty life. I can’t get it back but I can vow today to live a full life. I refuse to get to my dying day and wish I had lived more fully. This is the answer to not being afraid to die. When you know without a doubt you lived fully in God’s presence, you know without a doubt you will live in His full presence in eternity.