Tag Archives: relationship with Jesus

Roses Have Thorns: Allowing God to Refine Us

Sometimes our journey of friendship with God isn’t all roses. Roses are beautiful and lovely in appearance and fragrance. They are given to show love, that we are held dear to the heart of the Giver.

But roses also have thorns. When we pick up a rose, we are careful to avoid grabbing the stem where a thorn resides, so we are not stabbed by it. At the same time, we know the thorn is there as we acknowledge it by our making room for it.

When we pursue the Lord, we cannot ignore the hard things. We know they are there. God knows they are. He sees our hearts and all we go through, and He wants to touch our lives even in these areas. But if we pretend these things don’t exist, it can hinder Him from fashioning us in those areas.

Impurities must be brought to surface for the revealing of the fine silver that is us.

It is in the refining that the beauty is able to come forth. Ashes before beauty. The coal before the diamond. But if the pressure upon that coal is hindered, the diamond will not fully come forth.

It is painful at times, but He is worth it, and His glory to be revealed in us is worth it.

Let Him bring the fullness of His character forth in your life. He makes all things beautiful in His time. You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

All Because of Love

The love Jesus has for us carries such weight that He left Heaven’s perfect atmosphere, free of suffering and lack, to deliver us. He left the place where He was never separated from His Father all because of love for us.

Jesus left Heaven’s home and clothed Himself as a child in humility. A baby cannot survive without its parents, and Jesus–fully God–also became fully man, subjecting Himself to this dire vulnerability.

All for love Christ faced need, weakness, hunger and humility. And then He faced pain, betrayal, persecution and suffering unto the death of the Cross.

Not simply by the pain of the Cross, but also by the life-taking blow of sin, Jesus went through the very worst of the worst compared to any other. It wasn’t that He experienced pain greater than all, but it was that He was the only one who would take upon Himself the sins of all that they may be free.

This was a burden no human could survive being placed upon them. It was the weight of sin that took His life. In willingly giving up His life the Father resurrected Him as the firstborn of the dead so that we too could reign in live with Him. Continue reading

Divine Betrothal

At all times we must remember that we are His. We belong to the Lord, not to another. We are His. We have family, friends, spouses, employers and others calling upon us in varying degrees of need, but firstly we belong to Christ.

Jesus doesn’t want us wearing ourselves out trying to fix everything or running ourselves thin striving to please everyone. He simply wants our hearts, our love, and our obedience in that love. He asks not for us to be enslaved to Him but to be engaged to Him.

He is the One who calls us to come close. He calls us to serve as ambassadors of reconciliation for His Kingdom, yet He also beckons us to come and rest our weary heads.

Jesus, our Messiah, Lord, Savior and King. He is our Bridegroom. He longs to be our first go-to, our greatest Companion, our closest Friend. He wants to be the One we seek before we phone a friend, before we seek out the pastor. He wants to be the shoulder we cry on, the Deliverer we rely on. Continue reading

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)