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Posts Tagged ‘presence’

To wait is to learn the spiritual grace of detachment, the freedom of desire. Not the absence of desire, but desire at rest. St. John of the Cross lamented that “the desires weary and fatigue the soul; for they are like restless and discontented children, who are ever demanding this or that from their mother, and are never contented.” Detachment is coming to the place where those demanding children are at peace. As King David said, “I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Ps. 131:2). Such a compelling picture.

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Today the word detachment creates unhelpful impressions.

It is not a cold and indifferent attitude; not at all. May writes, “An authentic spiritual understanding of detachment devalues neither desire nor the objects of desire.” Instead, it “aims at correcting one’s own anxious grasping in order to free oneself for committed relationship to God.”

As Thomas à Kempis declared, “Wait a little while, O my soul, wait for the divine promise, and thou shalt have abundance of all good things in heaven.” In this posture we discover that, indeed, we are expanded by longing. Something grows in us, a capacity if you will, for life and love and God. I think of Romans 8:24–25: “That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy” (The Message). There is actually a sweet pain in longing, if we will let it draw our hearts homeward.

This week may you come to know that waiting is an intentional activity.  May you find in that waiting place the rest you need to hear the ‘what next’.  Only in the presence can we see the future. Grace and Peace. Here’s my take on the waiting place.

The Rest Between Two Notes

So I prayed for the next thing
Of where we might go
Our next song to sing

Then I prayed some more
For the harvest we’d reap
Of what was in store

Then it dawned on me
As I noticed the sunrise
That perhaps waiting
Was what you had in mind

The waiting space
The extra line in the poem
That creates the rest
Before you get going

The waiting space
The rest between notes
In the score of the song
That pauses for hope

So I’ll wait for you
And be right here
I’ll notice your presence
As we draw near

 

Narrative adapted from The Journey of Desire by John Eldregde.

 

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God With Us

Remember, the force will be with you, always – Obi Wan Kenobi. This classic quote from Star Wars stirs something in us and answers the question we have been asking for some time. Many people take comfort in this quote and many people have different ideas about what the ‘force’ actually is. While we debate these issues,  God is with us, always. Whether we believe this or not, matters not, as God has, is and always will be with us.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7–10).

God is always with us. Because He is an infinite Spirit, He is not restricted to being in one location at a time. He fills every inch of space throughout the universe with all His wonderful personal attributes. Although God is distinct from His creation, all His creation exists within Him. In Acts 17:28 we are told, “In Him we live and move and exist.”

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We live in His glorious presence every moment of every day. When we are alone, God watches what we do. When we do something good that nobody else knows about, God sees it and will reward us accordingly. We actually have the presence of almighty God living inside us. The apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, NIV).

God wants us to “consciously” live in His presence each day. His ever-presence makes it possible for us to be in constant communication with Him and to depend on Him in every situation. But often we ignore His presence because we are so preoccupied with our lives. Sometimes we even forget He is with us while we are busy serving Him.

Yet God’s magnificent presence is all we need for any challenge that may come our way. No person or circumstance can ever remove us from the presence of our loving God. He is always with us, hearing our cries for help. He is always with us, protecting us from danger. He is always with us, watching what we do. He is our ever-present God, Savior, Lord, and Master-our dearest friend.

I am with you always ~ Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 28:20)

To find God, we must look with all our heart. To remain present to God, we must remain present to our heart. To hear his voice, we must listen with all our heart. To love him, we must love with all our heart. We cannot be the person God meant us to be, and we cannot live the life he meant us to live, unless we live from the heart.

The enemy’s plan from the beginning was to assault the heart – make them so busy, they ignore the heart. Wound them so deeply, they don’t want a heart. Twist their theology, so they despise the heart. Take away their courage. Destroy their creativity. Make intimacy with God impossible for them. The enemy may have won some of the battles, but the war is far from over, there is a bigger story going on here.

May you this week be present and look for God in the here and now. Notice where and how God shows up when we take the time to be present.

 

Presence

Live

Like heaven has come to earth

Love

Like you never been hurt

Laugh

Like the whole world laughs with you

Sing

As if no one can hear you

Dance

As if no one is watching

Play

Like there are no winners

Give

As you have plenty

 Smile

Until your face hurts

Experience

All of this each day

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Alright I admit it. I just love 1980’s Christian Hard Rock music.  There I said it. I love everything by Petra.  I saw their On Fire tour a long long time ago (1991 I think) in Auckland with my mate Rob.  It was an awesome experience!

Part of one of their songs ‘Stand in The Gap’ has always stuck with me:

Stand in the gap
Coming boldly to His throne of grace
Stand in the gap
He will hear you when you seek His face
Put your weapon to its use
And believe it will produce
Stand in the gap

I haven’t spent much time in the gap. I’m the first to admit that I’m not really that good at being present.  I find it hard to stop and be fully present. I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s easier to live in the past or dream about the future. Sometimes being present, really present, is something that is necessary.  Even when I write this I’m thinking about what I will do tomorrow, and replaying what I did today. It probably shows in my rambling.

Over the last few months I keep running into this verse in the bible. It just keeps appearing everywhere, like when you buy a new car (OK a used car)  and keep seeing the same car everywhere. 

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.  ~ Proverbs 16:9

So I’m trying to be present in what this verse means to me.  I’ve been standing in the gap between planning what I’m doing (particularly with my writing and poetry) and waiting for God to direct my steps. It’s a curious place to be and a new experience for me. By being there and being present I’ve discovered God there too and found some opportunities for my hopes and dreams for the future, shaped by my past experiences, and honed by my present presence – in the gap.

Do you have a gap you need to explore between the now and the not yet? 

Here’s my reflection on minding the gap.

Stand in the Gap

In the gap
Between the bound and the free,
Help me see more of you
And much less of me.

In the gap
Between the now and not yet,
Let me plan my course
But Lord direct my steps.

In the gap
Between heaven and hell,
Draw near to me
As I draw from your well.

In the gap
Between souls lost and saved,
Stand with me Lord
As I live through your days.

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