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Tag: abiding

Floating is better than swimming

by kerriebutterfield

1f1962bd24d450b350e43b719d8e3a0aEver feel like you have tried your best, prayed the prayers, and although things are okay, they aren’t what you hoped for? You expected more.

About 6 years ago, feeling burnt from my own efforts, facing and bracing for a New Year, God gave me a dream.

I found myself in a home in the middle of a cranberry bog awaiting the arrival of a guest speaker. I was filled with expectation about what that speaker would teach, release, and demonstrate. He arrived with two other individuals and began speaking. After two minutes, he closed in prayer. He looked at my stunned and disappointed face and said, “What did you want?” I answered, “I want my inheritance.” He laughed, put his hand on my forehead, and said, “Everything I have, I give to you.”

He then walked out to the porch, jumped off into the cranberry bog, flipped onto his back and floated amidst the fruit. I stared at him in confusion. As I stood there, one of his companions came to me and said, “Do your children like swimming?” I said, “Yes, they love it.” She said,”Well, floating is better because it is swimming without effort.”

Waking from the dream, God spoke to me about resting in Him instead of striving for Him; teaching me to focus on what He wanted to be for me rather than what I could be/do for God.  It wasn’t that doing things for God was bad, it was that my doing had become more about performing for God’s love than enjoying and sharing His love.

I began a journey to rewire my thinking about what God expectations were of me and to align myself with Him instead of my unhealthy and ungodly expectaions of myself.

Matthew 6:5-13 (The Message) has been instrumental to helping me develop healthy expectations of myself and Papa God:

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.

I’ve learned:

  1.  To come to him as myself. Not as who I think he wants me to be, or even who I want to be, but the true me. That is exactly where and how I need to be loved. Not for the person I’m striving to be, but resting in the love of God for who I am today, failure and all. My  behaviour doesn’t change Him, but His love changes me.
  2. Prayer is paying attention to God. I need to be quiet, When I’m busy talking I can’t hear Him.
  3.  Quietly wait for Him. When I do, I sense His emotions ,His will towards me, and hear Him speak to me. I begin to float in an ocean of grace in which all of God feels  for me envelops and surrounds me. The heavy burdens of performance and self -proving behavior take on a weightlessness as I embrace His grace and I shift from focusing on my ability to His!
  4.  I need to feel connected to my Papa. It’s about bonding; creating connection. John 15 teaches us that those who are connected to the vine will bear much fruit.  He wants to be close to me. He has made His home in me and He’s wanting to enjoy co-habitation!
  5.  It’s simple. I need Him everyday, all day. I need Him  to be things for me I can’t be for myself.  He never intended for me to be a driven striver, a exhausted swimmer, or see myself as just His worker. He wants me to see myself as His beloved daughter who grows naturally to be like her Papa. He wants me to rest in His love and grace not preform for it. To make myself at home in Him, to rest in Him.

One of my favorite things about that cranberry bog dream is that cranberries grow on a vine and I know Papa was whispering a secret to me as I slept of how to produce fruit out of rest and connection to Him.  I pray you find deep connection to Papa as you rest in His love, acceptance  and grace.

 

Spring Cleaning…Surrendering to the Light

by Dawn Aldrich

 

Pittock Mansion by Brittany Flickr.com8707522400_31cfb20015_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 2.0

Pittock Mansion by Brittany
Flickr.com8707522400_31cfb20015_z.jpg_CC BY-ND 2.0

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

The days are longer now. Morning creeps in under the shades of my bedroom window at 5 a.m. like a slinking cat reaching its front paws towards me for a morning stretch. My almost-half-century body rises less reluctantly, (yet with a few more kinks than the year before), now that light guides me safely from my slumber.

I face the day with great expectancy with a spring of hope in every step and a few more hours of sun light to accomplish great things. But as I walk from room to room throughout the day, things gone unnoticed in the darkness of winter now distract me in the light of spring. I catch a glimpse of dusty cobwebs hanging from every corner of my ceilings; once-white curtains are now a dingy gray; scrapes and scratches appear from nowhere all over my tired, painted walls. Finger prints mar every mirrored surface and I think something is growing underneath my bed. Surrendering to the light, unable to hide what it reveals, I put aside the great things and focus on spring cleaning.

Saturday, words from a former self spilled over my lips like an overflowing bucket of dirty water. Ooooops! That monster named Unforgiveness had snuck back in under the cover of darkness and drowned me with my own words. How appropriate. Words…my passion and my weakness. There they were. My dirty words spilled out for all to hear revealing my heart. I couldn’t hide. I couldn’t take them back or mop them up. I just ignored the puddle hoping it would silence them.

It’s been a few days. Sleep has been restless like trying to ignore the glow of the night light from across the room. Finally, I surrendered to the Light. God’s light. The light revealed by His glory. It’s just there because He is. It’s not a condemning light. He’s not shaking his finger at me saying, “Naughty girl.” He’s just being…in my heart…revealing what was hiding in the darkness…showing me what’s in need of spring cleaning. I can’t always get those “hard to reach” places where monsters like Unforgiveness live, but God can. I’m letting Him do some spring cleaning because I’d like to get on with the great things He has in store.

What about your spring cleaning? Do you need a little more light?

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through (Him) the Spirit who gives you life has set you free…” Romans 8: 1-2a

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7

Learning to Receive His Love

by mandyade

 

Gods-love

“Mothers love is pain,” a friend told me when my children were babies. A parent loves until it hurts. The parent-child bond does not originate in man’s attempt to be good, but is placed in our DNA by God.

Much about God is revealed to us through His creation (Romans 1:20). We are created in His image and the parental DNA that humans carry is a clue into the nature of God. Our parental DNA mirrors Father God’s heart.

I believe that understanding His love for us is the most important revelation we will ever receive. It’s not a one-time ‘get it’ moment but a continual growing revelation of how He loves me. This is a pursuit we must run after. The more we understand this, the more we will taste Him.

We cannot force our hearts to understand His love. Romans 5:5 says that God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. His Spirit reveals His love to our hearts, but we can also position ourselves to receive this revelation:

1. Believe God’s Word– what it says about His love for us, even if it contradicts our feelings about God or ourselves. Believing places our minds and hearts in alignment with God and we are able to receive.
2. Spend time in His presence simply to receive His love. In this time try to refrain from your own requests and busyness even if they are spiritual and good.
3. Practice awareness of His love. When you think of Him during your day, stop for a moment (in the car, grocery store, at your desk) and consider His love for you. Allow yourself to sense His love. It’s amazing how this will change your day and life!

Here’s a meditation exercise to help us become more aware of God’s love for us:

Take a minute, quiet yourself and ponder this…

Think of how much you love your kids.
Think of how many times you think about them and how important they are in your life.
Think of how quickly you are grieved if they are hurt or in trouble.
Think of how your whole day is ruined if something is not right with them.
Think of how happy you are when it is well with your child.
Now learn from your own heart. Abba Father loves you MORE than you love your own children. He loves you with a perfect Father and Mother love. His compassion over you is greater than your compassion for your kids. So is His mercy, His favor, His forgiveness, His grieving, His grace and His thoughts toward you.

Now live from that outflow and rock your world!

God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)

 To learn more about Mandy, please visit our contributor’s page.

God is Love

by Rob Dunne

Man-Journaling

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

The rigorous three mile hike cleared my mind. As the trail leveled out, I looked for the familiar marking I etched on the birch tree designating where to depart from the foot path. Climbing down to the small outcropping, I settled on to my “rock seat.” Still cool water slaked my thirst as I wiped sweat from my brow.

Lifting my gaze skyward, air foils carried birds of prey in wide circles. I reached inside my backpack and fumbled for my journal and pen.  The page filled while my mind emptied itself of life’s distractions. Slowly, Father God ministered to my heart while I dare asked, “How am I doing, Daddy? Am I living a life pleasing to you?”  That still small voice answered, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

It is comforting to know that God chooses to speak to us in a still small voice. Like Elijah, He could have chosen to pass by and have a great and strong wind tear into the mountain and break the rocks in pieces. Or, he could have chosen to speak through fire. Had these been His mode of communication, I would have either tumbled a hundred feet to the ground below or found myself trying to out run the raging forest fire. I was relieved He chose the still small voice and not the wind or fire.

My main love language is encouraging words. Years ago, I was taught to personalize the Word of God by substituting the pronoun for my name. For instance, in the story of the prodigal son, I changed the wording as follows: “Rob, when you were still a great way off, I, your heavenly father,  saw you and had compassion, and ran and fell on your neck and kissed you.” This practice allows God to speak encouraging words over me.  My heart soars when I hear that I am a good and faithful servant, that Jesus loves me and that He is my friend.  Those words of love are contained throughout the Bible and can be used to speak to us on many levels.

God’s love for each of us is real. The bible says that we can know His love for us. This knowledge comes from reading His Word and taking the time to be in His Presence. By clearing your mind and heart, you allow space for your heavenly Father to speak to you. He can also love you through other people when they spend time with you, help you with a project or give you flowers.

How is Daddy loving you today?

To learn more about Rob Dunne, please visit our Contributors Page.

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