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Listen while you read: "We Give Thee But Thine Own"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 22:37 – And [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (ESV)
I chat with God. I talk; He listens. It is called prayer. Thankfully, as I talk, I do not get to see His facial expressions, the odd shake or nod of the head, the smiles, the sadness, the waving of the arms, and what I think must be an occasional forehead hitting with the palm of the hand. Okay, so I have anthropomorphized the risen Jesus, but when I am speaking with God, I know that He hears.
Sometimes, when I feel safe, I ask God questions such as, How do I know that I actually love You? How does that work out in reality for us both? As the clay to the potter, how does a created being's love matter to an infinite God and vice versa?
Psalm 69:16 – Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. (ESV)
On one such occasion, God was not slow in answering.
It started by my not being able to attend a church service where I knew that I would have been intimate with God. I enjoy being in the presence of Jesus via the Holy Spirit when, as a congregation, we corporately worship as we wait on Him.
So, I had a profound sense of angst and frustration, which surprised me! I guess that I had a sense of loss akin to that of a baby missing the face of a parent. Newborn babies see a parent as an extension of themselves, not just as a caregiver. They become upset and distressed in the parent's absence because they have an acute sense of loss and disconnection.
Soon after my absence from corporate worship, I heard some non-Christians having fun on the radio conflating the physical attributes of the incarnate and risen Jesus, mocking Him in such a way that I recoiled at their poke-in-the-eye misuse of biblical text.
Then the penny dropped, and I smiled inwardly and said, "Okay, God, I hear You. I get it." We defend those whom we love, and we have a sense of loss when they are not there.
Love is exemplified by relationship, whether it be with our families, peers, or contemporaries, or even with an infinitely powerful Being.
I wonder how you see Jesus and how He views your relationship with Him today.
John 14:15-17 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (ESV)
Prayer: Lord, me again! Come, Holy Spirit, and dwell with each and all of us. Purify our hearts and minds so that we may not only shine brightly but be more intentional in our relationship with You today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Thank you, Rod for sharing your understanding and hope today.
Thanks, Rod, for this very personal lesson. The imagery is great, making out interactions with God so personal.
Thank you, Rod. I can really relate to today’s message.
Makes me feel more normal that some people think the same way as me sometimes.
We’ll done, Rod. I especially liked the “hitting the forehead” paragraph. I don’t think I’ve imagined God’s response to our prayers like that before.
Many thanks for another of your very meaningful and inspiring devotionals.
Blessings as you continue your writings.
Thank you for this morning’s devotional. It continues to amaze me how these short messages each morning so often touch my heart and encourage me each morning.
Love – a word that we all understand differently and in many ways. A great message you have written to us. You named it “Love”. I think of it as relating or communicating with others and especially with God.
You have a special way of looking at life which comes across so clearly in your devotionals. I appreciate your openness with your thoughts and feelings. I think that is refreshing maybe because I struggle with that myself.
Calling your prayers, chats with God makes it more like “chatting” with a friend than praying to our God so it seems it would be easier to me. Thank you for sharing and encouraging us to “chat” with our Lord.
Thank you, Rod, for this timely reminder! Blessings.