Sunday, August 12, 2007


In Genesis, chapter 1, we are told about how God created the world and all the things in it. Then in Genesis 2:2-3 we are told: "2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." From the beginning of time God has ordained a time of rest.
As I get ready to take my vacation this week, I am thankful for this time of rest. We are told that each day we should try to get some rest, but it can be a challenge. So because we struggle to find times of rest, it is good to have an extended period of rest where we vacation. So these next three weeks I will be taking a rest from my blog as well.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says: 28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." In times away from work, it is easier to give my mind, body, and soul to the Lord, and let Him give me rest. I am thankful for how this time away refreshes my mind and spirit, and energizes me so that I can again be ready to serve Him.
I will miss not blogging on "The Practice of the Presence of God," but hopefully I will be practicing this all the more. On top of this, I will be having some wonderful time with my wife and two kids. I am looking forward to having this special time away with them as we travel to God's beautiful country of Monterey and Yosemite. I pray that I will let the beauty of nature fill me with the reminder of how God creates beauty, and that I will let this beauty come alive inside of me. Blessings to all who read this, and let God give you His rest each time you go to Him.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

God's Presence 15: Humility

One of the powerful aspects of the book "The Practice of the Presence of God" is how Brother Lawrence is such a humble and sincere man. In his eleventh letter he writes: "Since you are seriously interested in knowing how I attained the ability God granted me to dwell in His presence, I will try to explain it. But I must ask you not to show my letter to anyone. If I thought you were going to let someone else read it, I would not discuss the matter..." (p. 49) First of all he attests to the fact that the only reason he has the ability to be aware of God's presence is because God gave him that ability. In a society where it is always about "me" this is quite refreshing. But he also has a tremendously humble attitude. It reminds me of what Peter said: 1 Peter 5:6- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
The key to being in the presence of God, Brother Lawrence says, is "I wanted to simply belong totally to God." The truth is, as long as we are caught up in our own selfishness and sinfulness, as long as we are more concerned about what the world has for us, we will not be able to practice being aware of God's presence in our lives. So, we have to make the decision about whom we will follow.
But Brother Lawrence continues: "I began to live as if there were no one but God and myself in the world." I remember how when I first met my wife Tami (of course she wasn't my wife then), all I could think about was being with her and talking to her. Most people have this experience in some way when they start to date someone special. This is how it needs to be with us and God if we are going to allow ourselves to experience God's presence; we must humble ourselves and only think about God.
Brother Lawrence has some good closing thoughts to this letter (p. 50): "But when we faithfully keep ourselves in His holy presence and always remember that He is before us, we avoid offending Him (at least voluntarily). Then, we may take the holy liberty of asking Him for the grace we need." Wouldn't it be nice to have this kind of closeness with God? It can be done. Let us humble ourselves before God this day. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

God's Presence 14: Trusting

Brother Lawrence reminds us in the Tenth Letter: "(if he) puts all his confidence in GOD, He will soon give him another friend, more powerful and more inclined to serve him." God has placed many people around us to help us in our lives. Sometimes these people are in our lives for a long time, other times just for a short time. But if we trust in God, God will provide us with the people we need in our lives to help us to not only do what we are created to do, but challenge us to be in a wonderful, trusting relationship with God.
He goes on to say: "
Pray remember what I have recommended to you, which is, to think often on GOD, by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone." Trusting has to do with not only knowing that God is near, but regularly practicing allowing God to be active in your life. Because God is near, we need to practice letting God lead us and guide us. This doesn't come to us naturally, we have to learn how to let God gain control and lead us. When we can let God be always near, then we will all the better for it.
He then asks a challenging question: "why then must GOD be neglected?" And we might wonder, how do I neglect God? But the truth is, because we think we should control our lives without God, and only let God in sometimes, we truly are neglecting God. God wants to (and should be) the Lord of our lives, and we should be regularly thinking about God, and lifting up our questions and concerns to God, and allowing God to speak to us through our thoughts, and the the Bible, and the events around us.
Where do you need to trust God more? How can you neglect God less, and think about God more?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

God's Presence 13: Spiritually Mature

As we get older we are expected to act more mature. This is true of our spiritual life as well. We have been talking about how to practice experiencing God's presence in our lives. As the theory goes, the longer we practice this, the more mature we should be in regards to this practice. But Brother Lawrence reminds us: "It is not possible to become spiritually mature all at once. I recommend that you work with her, because we should help each other with our advice and, even more, with our good example." (page 45)
This is important to remember, that our spiritual maturity shouldn't be up to just us, but we should work together to help each other grow in our faith. As we share our struggles with each other, then we can help challenge each other to persevere in our journey. As the Bible says: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man helps another."
But maturity in our faith also has to do with our focus. Again, Brother Lawrence says: "Let us often remember...our sole occupation in life is to please God. What meaning can anything else have?" How much easier it is to grow mature in our faith when we are focused on just pleasing God. When we can remove the distractions in life, we can concentrate better on seeking how to please God with the way we live. Even more, when our focus is more on God, we can know God more deeply, and seek God more readily.
But the encouraging news is that God gives us more time. Each day is another opportunity for us to seek God, and know God, and let God's presence be expressed in and through us. Maturity in Christ is always about being serious. But it is about knowing of God's presence, and letting God's presence be there for you in the good times and the bad.