{re}fresh

Month: March, 2015

Overwhelmed

by Dawn Aldrich

Countryroads

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 NIV

I took the winding country roads through the farmlands one summer morning. It was my favorite route to my mother’s house during the warmer months, where I could slow down and enjoy the picturesque views of vineyards and corn fields, red barns, white farm houses and open pastures dotted with dairy cows and few horses.

Windows open wide, the sun flashed hot across my face and arms that day as the scenery warmed my heart to God’s majesty, beauty and power. With every bend and corner, gratitude welled up inside until worship spilled easily from my lips. My voice rose high above Pandora’s stream and it seemed all of creation was raising its head to sing God’s praises. It was a glorious, picture-perfect day.

But beyond the scenery, there was something so very different about the day. It wasn’t just a feel-good experience of worship. In fact I’m finding it difficult to explain, except suffice it to say, God showed up…or maybe I finally noticed He was there with me. His presence completely overwhelmed me, like God was wooing me, courting me, asking me to love Him like no other. I’d never experienced the wooing of God before, but felt at that moment God knew me completely, loved me deeply, unconditionally, and forever. And at that moment, I fell in love with God, too.

Oh, I’d been a Christian most of my life, since I was a little girl, but I could never say that I was in love with God. You know when you fall in love with someone, how you feel known and loved for exactly who you are and how you love exactly who they are? God made me feel loved like that and more. It was as though He loved me for who He knew I would become through Him; like He was trying to express a love for the me He couldn’t wait to meet; a love like no other could ever express because they couldn’t know the created me.

The Psalmist describes it this way:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 

How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18 NIV

Have you ever experienced God’s love this way; the being wooed and courted? Maybe, like me, you struggled to “fall in love” with God, but you desire more than anything to know God loves you and knows you–knows the you He created–completely. Then commit to asking God for more of Him. Take that day trip to a place where you feel closest to God. Invite Him to invade you space and show you how very much He loves you. All He asks is for a willing heart.

Falling in Love with the Father

by Rob Dunne

worshipinrain

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” John 15:26 

The sky was grey but not quite threatening. Trees swayed rhythmically causing tiny waves to dance upon the reservoir. A concrete retaining wall provided a not so comfortable seat to soak up my surroundings. The altitude wasn’t high enough for this to be a mountain top experience, however, God’s weighty Presence was tangible in what was one of my favorite spots to commune with Him.

I sat for an hour as He poured out His love over me. He said things like, “Well done, good and faithful servant” and “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Surprisingly, He also gave me a new name. “Your name is ‘David,’” He said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “Does that mean I am a leader of men? Have you given me the heart of a worshiper? Am I a man after your own heart?” It has been several years and I am still working through this one with Him.

Lacking an answer, I began the trek back to my car. Though He had poured out so much over me already, I wasn’t done. The words to the song “Let it Rain” filled my mind. As my heart cried, “Open the floodgates of heaven”, a drop of literal rain fell on my face. I lifted my hands and face heavenward. With each step, the rain increased. Moments later it became a torrent. Soon the mixing of tears and rain became imperceptible as the Holy Spirit poured out increasing measures of God’s love over my heart. I felt like I could literally fly over the tops of the pine trees lining the path back to the parking lot.

That day at the reservoir was one of the most powerful encounters I have had with the Father. His voice was crystal clear and His Presence was more of a reality than the ground under my feet. That encounter was possible because of the hunger that I had on the inside of me to seek His face. Being with Him in the early stages of my journey was like falling in love with my wife Kellie. I thought about Him all the time and longed to get alone so I could spend time with Him. It was magical.

One of the greatest gifts that Jesus gave us when He died and rose again is the Holy Spirit. His death and resurrection made it possible for the very Spirit of God to take up residence in our hearts. Through the Holy Spirit, we have fellowship with God the Father and Jesus. We can literally talk to God spirit to Spirit. Sending Jesus to Earth was God’s way of restoring our ability to relate to Him on an intimate and personal level. It is an incredible reality!

Father, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Help us to put aside anything in our lives that interferes with giving you our undivided attention. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see all that you are saying and doing. Pour out your love in our hearts in such great measure that it overflows and impacts the lives of everyone that we encounter. Thanks for being such an amazing Daddy! 

When Heaven’s Resources Become Mine #unfairadvantage

by mandyade

Spirit

Waving goodbye to my distraught child through the preschool window is still etched on my mind. If only I could have made myself invisible and gone with her.

Can you imagine sharing our spirit with another person? I don’t think science will ever come up with that one. But God did. There is a relationship so unique that is reserved for God and humans alone. We understand God as Father, Lover and Friend, since we have human relationships to mirror those, but here is a new one: God as Indweller.

Humans were never intended to live alone. We were actually created to be in union with another Spirit; God’s own Spirit. He lives inside the believer, right with the human spirit and we experience closeness with God that is a comfort like no other. He is known as the Comforter because He does not simply come with us in life; He comes inside us and loves us where no one else is able to go.

If I was able to enter into my little daughter, I would have been able to share my mind and my heart with her; she would’ve been the smartest preschooler ever with no fear or lonliness. How’s that for an unfair advantage? And that’s ours!

Holy Spirit lives inside us with our spirit. He reveals the mind of Christ and the deep secrets of God with us and gives us the unfair advantage as we live on earth.

This may sound freaky, kind of like an alien invasion of our bodies, but it is nothing like that. God’s not into mind-control. God never takes over our mind or spirit. We will always have our own mind and our own spirit. God does not come in like a parasite to steal and take control. Of course God could take anything He wanted and it wouldn’t be stealing because He owns it all anyway, but He is meek. He withholds strength to give honor to all that He is made. He enters only when invited, just like a dove and when we intentionally honor His inner presence we are giving Him the place of honor in our lives.

If we don’t give Him the places of honor He won’t usurp it. He will simply remain where we allow Him to remain, if we allow Him to speak and act and influence He will. If we speak above Him and think without Him He will not fight us. He honors relationship with us as a free gift and He waits to be freely honored and loved.

God’s desire is to share close intimacy with us, not to possess us in a controlling way, but rather to inhabit us like a dove. The enemy tries to fake God in a twisted way by possessing a person, stealing the soul and usurping that person’s authority. God will never do such a thing. He indwells us as our sweet companion and comforter. To help us think like Him, to lead us, guide us and be our closest lover and friend ever known to us. He has given us the unfair advantage, just as I would have liked to have done for my little preschooler!

Taken from Mandy’s new book ‘God Magnet- Recognizing and Releasing the Revival Who Lives Within to be released Spring 2015

 

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