Deepening our relationship with God

Published 10:04 am Friday, March 4, 2011

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. Sandra Tonsing

Intimacy with God brings peace, security and promise. I recently gave up TV and Internet. It isn’t permanent but it is wonderful. Without those distractions, I was able to spend more time worshipping, loving and talking to my Lord. My countenance improved, my sense of purpose became clearer and my love of God’s creation increased, especially for people.

We live in a busy world; we live with many distractions and we are not better off succumbing to all of those distractions. Yes, we have responsibilities, our employment (if we are blessed to have it), our families, and hopefully, our time spent at church, learning more about Jesus and how He would have us live. This doesn’t even begin to approach all our activities, but it is a start. May I suggest that you make a list of all that you are involved in and then ask yourself, “What can I eliminate, so that I may have more time in prayer, worship, service and just plain expressing my loving for the Father and Jesus Christ?”

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We need to discover our rhythm, or more importantly, God’s rhythm. We can find the time to listen to what He is saying to us. When we are in difficulty, when we are overwhelmed and when we are in despair. He has the peace, the answers and the directions for how we can discover a better life experience (it usually involves changes within ourselves). Asking daily for His help is essential. “Heavenly Father, what do you want for my life today? How would you have me spend my time? Where would you like me to be? What service would you like me to perform and for whom?”

This comes, of course, after we have given Him praise, worship and glory, thanking Him for His presence in our lives. Then our petitions may be given. It is OK to ask, it is OK to seek and it is OK to use God as our ultimate source for everything. God is the source of all good. God is our protector. God is our director in this play we call life. In His creation of us. He has a plan for each and every one of us. He has purpose for everyone. To discover what these are, we must spend close, personal and very intimate time with Him.

His gift of His son Jesus Christ is meant to reconcile us to Him, so that we may “abide in Him.” Our churches give us opportunities to further understand what all of this means. Bible study, prayer groups and worship services are means of finding the transcendence we seek that is a basic part of our being.

I recently had a man shove me, I shoved back, and then he threatened me with bodily harm. After I told him if he did, he would end up in jail, he said I would be right next to him. Then he called me a hypocrite, “A fine Christian you are,” he said. “You’re a hypocrite.” “So are you,” I said, remembering a former conversation with him wherein he said his father taught him to treat others the way he would want to be treated. He said, “I’m not a Christian.” And therein lies the reason for his misery, his unhappiness, etc., that he would yell at and then accost a 70-year-old woman. Do non-Christians think we are whimps? That we are to allow people to abuse us? Not in my study of the Word. We are to stand up for ourselves, for justice and certainly not allow ourselves to be walked on. This person needs the Father.

In “Agape Road” by Bob Mumford, he talks about two kinds of love, eros (that which is only self serving) and agape love, that which is directed outwardly, unconditionally. As Mumford points out, eros love in the beginning was not referring to sex but to selfishly motivated love, I’ll love you if you love me or do something for me. But, again agape love is unconditional love that is given without thought of return, just as Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you.” (And don’t be surprised when people don’t know how to receive it, just keep on loving them.) His sacrifice on the cross was unselfish. His coming to earth, revealing what God is about is what we need to absorb. His permeating love is what real life is all about. Our willingness to receive His love and then share it with others eliminates anger, fear, loneliness, and keeps us from becoming miserable and mean in our later years.

I pray for our deepening love of God, Jesus, and acceptance of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus loves you, and so do I.