Tag Archives: knowing God

How to Grow in Passion for Jesus

We want to grow in love and passion for God as we pursue a relationship with Him, yet so often we make things far too complicated. Read about and put to action these three simple ways to help grow your passion for Jesus Christ. We want to know how God truly feels about us and what Jesus has done for us, and then take time to be with this One who so loves us.

1. Knowing what God thinks and feels about us ignites our passion for God.

I believe that one of the primary keys for growing in passion for Jesus is knowing how He thinks and feels about us. Many of us have believed things about God that are simply not truth.

When we think of God as a distant dictator waiting to strike us down or believe the lie that He is always angry, we will not even want to spend time with Him. Our feelings of guilt and condemnation will cause us to avoid spending time with Him, or we will always find ourselves trying to “perform” well enough to earn His love.

I once fit this description; I knew God loved me, but it wasn’t getting from my head to my heart. By meditating on the truth of how God enjoys us and experiencing heart healing through His Spirit, I began the journey of truly knowing His heart toward me. You can too.

Know this: The truth is that God loves us and He is not mad or disappointed with us. He gave His Son because He loved all, even before we repented of our sin. He does not condemn us (that’s what the devil does). Father God longs for us to come closer to His heart and experience His love. Continue reading

Contemplative Prayer: What Is It?

Contemplative prayer is a tool that can help us grow in intimacy with Jesus.

This form of prayer has been often misunderstood, as it has been defined in both correct and incorrect ways. Let’s define contemplative prayer:

Contemplative prayer is about enjoying a close relationship with God and setting aside time to behold the beauty of Jesus.

As defined in the dictionary, the word contemplation simply means “the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.”

“Thoughtfully” is a key word here: Full of thought that is focused on Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Word, which is very different than an emptying of the mind. We want to think and ponder on things that are godly, Christlike and pure, not sinful or worldly things (Philippians 4:8); we want to be a pure home for God’s Spirit.

We spend focused time looking upon the beauty of Jesus and thinking on the truths in His Word. As we do so, we are transformed. These very things come alive within our hearts as we experience His love and as He gives us revelation. We want God’s written Word to lead us to the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

As we quiet our souls and focus only on God, we position ourselves to experience His love for us and the beauty of our future heavenly home. This “beholding of His beauty” changes things on the inside of us: As we see His heart and beauty, we also begin to reflect His heart and beauty to those around us.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

In addition, contemplative prayer involves communing with God’s Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. This communion happens as we give time to lovingly dialogue with His Spirit within us in worship and conversation.

We also fellowship with God’s Spirit by intentionally talking with Him throughout each day. Doing so helps us grow in holiness and live by God’s Spirit, affecting all we think, say and do.

At its core, the aim of contemplative prayer is to specifically focus on enjoying friendship with Jesus. This differs from intercessory prayer, which focuses on praying for the needs of people or concerning specific issues affecting our world.

The focus of contemplation is Jesus Himself and knowing Him more intimately, and this is the very thing our Bridegroom Messiah says is eternal life:

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 (NKJV)

It is important to clarify that the word for “know” in the above verse comes from the same word used to define the knowing shared by a husband and wife in intimacy, an expression of the closest union found in human relationships.

Likewise, Jesus–our Bridegroom and King–yearns to have the closest relationship possible with us, even on this side of eternity.

Spend time today in intimacy with your Savior, quieting your soul from all distractions so you can experience the depths of His love. Ask God to show you the superior pleasures of knowing Him and to help you in beholding His beauty.

When your thoughts wander into daily tasks or worries vying for your attention, do not stress but write them down, and then simply pray, asking the Father’s help, or sing worship to Him. Again fix your gaze on Jesus and His Word, loving on Him and letting Him pour out His love on you.

I hope this information on contemplative prayer helps you in your journey.

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord, & to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

The Root of All Our Longing & Wanting

Chai latte in hand, I strolled through our local bookstore, browsing the titles and beauty of books, journals and stationary. I recalled the former days when I was drawn to the bookstore like a moth to a lighted lamp nearby. I would longingly look at the books, not realizing that the longing I felt would not be fully satisfied by just simply reading about God and His ways. Even when I found another good book, my yearning was not for knowledge, but for a deeper relationship with Jesus and to encounter His love, truth and beauty.

Words and pictures can help lead us and even stir up the flame of love in our hearts, but they cannot fully satisfy. It took me a while to realize that my desire to feel satisfied was what drew me to the bookstore. I love to write and to read, but I discovered that yearning for more of God was the only answer to my soul’s longing. Many of us have things in our lives that we turn to during those times when we feel a little more empty inside than usual. For me, browsing the books was one of those activities.

God does speak to us in many ways, such as through a beautiful sunset, art, words and even titles of books, but these things cannot replace pure fellowship with Him and the way this connection satisfies our hearts.

Even still, my spirit fluttered today when Jesus spoke to my heart as I browsed, reminding me of all He’s been teaching me. First and foremost, it is my Father God who I need and long for deeper communion with.

All of our longings point to Him. The ultimate root of every desire is our need for God and through close-knit moments spent with in His presence. If we will allow God a moment to shed light on this truth, we will find it always true. He uses the beauty of nature, relationships with others, the hobbies we enjoy, and much more; but ultimately, without Him, these things leave us still unsatisfied, for only He can satisfy us completely.

We must learn to cultivate an awareness of His presence with us in every moment and yet also set aside focused time to have conversation with Him and encounter Him in His Word. (Brother Lawrence, who wrote a short and very excellent book on the subject, called this “Practicing the Presence of God”, which is also the book’s title).

[A Note of Clarification: We must come to the Father through His Son, Jesus. This truth holds together all that I write: I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father; Christ’s sacrifice, believing He is the Son of God and making Him Lord of our lives. Salvation is not on our terms, but His; nonetheless, He is no forceful tyrant, He is Love and He tells us that He will not go against our free choice, but we must choose Him.) For starters, see Romans 10:9-11, John 14:6, Matthew 22:37-39.]

Intimacy is an every day, every moment endeavor. Just as in other relationships, such as that of a husband and wife, it comes in grand moments of love and life shared in the big, and it comes in the tiny droplets of joy shared in a momentary glance or smile. It comes as we give love through a gesture of kindness and service to another, and also comes as we support one another in times of trial and hardship.

This too is how I think God longs for us to live–walking through life always connected to Him, and I long to live this out. To walk through each day with joy instead of stress, gratefulness instead of fear, and meekness instead of frustration… and above all, to be intimately connected to God in every moment of every day and night.

I want to be so aware of Father God that I am filled with His love and the knowing of His presence dwelling in me by His Holy Spirit. I want to be “devoured” by the One who loves me so immensely that even through eternity I will never fully comprehend Love’s depths. I want to get lost in Christ so fully that I think nothing of myself and all of Him and what is on His mind and feeling what is on His heart. “More of Him, less of me” (John 3:30).

Father God, however possible this is on this side of eternity, please bring me to this place with You.

For Christ is all, and in all… and by Him and for Him and through Him all was made, and in Him all things consist and are held together. Jesus is THE Way, the ONLY Way! May He have the preeminence – it’s all about Him! Loving Him and knowing Him! (See John 14:6, Colossians 1:16-17).

Recommended Reading/Listening:

**Highly Recommended and FREE PDF Download:  Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle**

Psalm 42 with a good commentary such as Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David: Psalm 42
Point of Life by Misty Edwards (highly recommended! Click “MP3” on the page to download message)
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (read FREE online here)
Passion for Jesus by Mike Bickle (along with Song of Songs in the Bible is great!)
What Is the Point? by Misty Edwards

Dive In!

My heart is full with the knowledge that Christ’s return is soon. So many of us are living for ourselves, Christians included. Many aren’t living for God with the knowledge of His return in their hearts.

Know Him? No

If you don’t know Him today, know that God loves you unconditionally. He aches for you to know Him and have life and life abundantly! Come to Him and receive His everlasting love for you, my friend. Contact me or find someone who you think is truly living for and in love with Jesus and talk with them. Even tell Jesus Himself at this very moment of your desire to know Him. You won’t be disappointed!

Know Him? Yes

Are you trying to live as the world lives, fulfilling your longings with money/material things, success, activities and other people without satisfying your longing in God? He’s the only One who can satisfy you, beloved. Raise your heart to Him.

It’s not easy to constantly die to our soulish wants and desires and we will do so until His return. But come to Him, spend time with Him alone daily, and also bring Him into every aspect of your life here. You will grow in experiencing His yoke that is easy and light.

He Aches For You!

He aches to hear your voice, and also wants to tell you how He feels about youalways love and gladness! Ask Him, beloved! Ask Him! He will speak of His love to you!

Go on the never-ending pursuit of seeking God and searching out His unfathomable riches. Talk to Him and listen for His reply. Dive into His Word and ask questions like, “What was Mary feeling as she sat at Your feet listening to You speak?” What were You feeling, Jesus?!” He will answer, I know it!

It’s not just for the pastor or missionary or the person who’s “crazy” for God. It’s for ALL of us! Dive into seeking out the God of the universe in all His endlessness! You won’t be disappointed!

Fixed on Jesus

There is such a longing growing in me. A longing for God. A longing to pray night and day, to seek Him at all hours. A longing to worship Him with all my heart, all focus completely and utterly on Him. To be so in tune with God and for Him to be glorified in every moment, every place, every day.

Maybe it’s a longing for me to be living in Christ more and more deeply each day. I know that God is guiding me there: “…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Maybe it’s partly the groaning that Paul speaks of in Romans 8:23: “…we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

Let me dive in more and more, Lord.

I’m one of those creative types to whom the “atmosphere” where I read, write, sing and seek, or the people I am pursuing God alongside, makes all the difference. It doesn’t feel like it should exactly be this way (after all, God is with us wherever we go (Psalm 139:8), but it’s there.

Leaving home to study or write in a cafe is a helpful change of pace and place. Getting out of the usual place and pace of things can help me be even more deeply focused.

At times this comes by gathering with friends to seek God in intercession and worship. All  of us know that there is power in gathering with other believers to unite in prayer and to worship Jesus!

I want to live a life of continual and intentional focus on God and the mission of Christ. I don’t know how, except to let His Word penetrate deeply, and to just go for it–to seek after Him! Just to press in, seeking God with all I can muster at any given moment–yet not getting caught up in striving–but being still, knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10), that He is my God–the lover of my soul–who wants me all for Himself and for His glory. I want to be that. I want to be solely fixed on the One and Only Giver of life (Jeremiah 32:38-40). I want to be steadfast, focusing on the One Thing–the One–Jesus Christ!

That is my prayer.

“O GOD, my heart is fixed (steadfast, in the confidence of faith); I will sing, yes, I will sing praises, even with my glory [all the faculties and powers of one created in Your image]!”
(Psalm 108:1 Amplified)

“Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”
(Colossians 2:7 Amplified)