Tag Archives: embracing God

Lifts Up

Today I sit here with the stomach bug. This is the 2nd time in a month that I have been sick with the stomach bug. It seemed to have circled back around to me. It feels like a great weight upon me as I try to get work done, keep the household running, and take care of the dogs. Simple things seem like impossible tasks.

In the Bible, we read that “The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.” This is something I’m clinging to this morning. Time and time again, when I am weighed down, it is the Lord who lifts me up. No matter what you are going through today, you can rest in this truth. He lifts up those who are weighed down.

If you feel unable to get through the day or like the world is crashing down upon you, remember that you are not alone. The Lord is with you and He will see you through. He will lift you up.

“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down. The LORD loves the godly.” – Psalm 146:8 [NLT]

Disconnected

Today we had the internet installed. Everything was up and running smoothly. That is, everything but my laptop. For some reason, my stubborn laptop was not communicating well with the new router. Even though the line of communication was present, my laptop was having none of it. After ten minutes of frustration, thankfully everything was resolved.

Communication is vital in any relationship. The most vital relationship for each one of us is our relationship with God. Consider then, how vital communication is when it comes to our relationship with God. Sadly, many of us are like my disconnected laptop. God is reaching out. God wants to have a close relationship. He continues to reach out in a variety of ways, but we are disconnected from His still small voice. We are disconnected from His Word. We are disconnected from the people He is speaking through. We are disconnected from our prayer life. He is never disconnected; we often are disconnected.

Today, if you are wondering why you are not hearing from God, consider if you are truly listening for Him. Are you reading His Word daily? Are you continuously in prayer? Are you making time for Him? Spend more time with Him today. Be intentional. Read Psalm 13. Embrace Him. Drown yourself in His Word. Pour your heart out to Him.

“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.” – John 15:4a [NLT]

“I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your word.” – Psalm 119:15-16 [NIV]

 

Half Abiding

As I was preparing for a message on embracing God and embracing others, I considered the half hug. You all know the half hug. It is when you sort of hug someone, but do not truly hug the person. It’s a half hug. You have one arm around the person, but the other arm just dangles there. It’s like you almost embrace a person, but yet you don’t complete it. Some would even call this a fake hug.

I continued to be brought back to this half hug as I was preparing the message, and focusing on embracing God. Do we half hug God sometimes? Is that possible? Of course it is possible. Sadly, it is what most Christians do many times. Some compare this to having one foot in heaven and the rest of their body in the world. It’s when you are not all in when it comes to your walk with God. You believe in Jesus. You have been saved. Yet, you don’t have the close relationship that God always wanted since the creation of the earth.

When God created Adam and Eve, He walked with them. He wanted to have that kind of relationship with man. We all know sin damaged this relationship. But we also know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for a restoration of this relationship. The veil was torn. The Spirit was poured out upon believers. We can have that relationship again. The Bible tells us this truth. It’s awesome. Part of this relationship is described with the word abide. If we abide in Him, He abides in us. That sounds confusing but it’s simple. We abide (or remain) in Him, and He abides (remains) with us. How awesome?!? Understand there is no half abiding. The abiding is not to be a pick and choose type thing. You are either abiding or you are not abiding. Today, ask the Spirit to share with you where you currently are at, and if there is anything that is blocking your abiding in Him.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 [NLT]

 

Friendly Father

We never pray enough. I write and preach so often about prayer because the Spirit continues to show me that we never pray enough. I know I’m guilty of not praying enough. I consider Brother Lawrence and how he would talk to God during the day. It was so natural. Why do I, why do we, pray so unnaturally? Why do we get so caught up with trying to pray properly, instead of simply investing in our relationship with Jesus? Why do we find prayer awkward? Why do we push off prayer? It doesn’t make any sense.

The Bible tells us that God is our Father. He is the one and only Father. We can cry out to Him, “Abba Father,” just like Jesus. This is like crying out “Daddy.” But instead we put up walls. We don’t approach Him like a Father. Do we not see Him as a Father? Do we have “daddy issues” that keep us from understanding the role of a father?

The Bible also tells us that God is our friend. Our friend. Now that is hard to consider. A friend is someone you can talk to about anything. A friend is someone you can speak freely with and just have fun. You don’t hold back with your friends.

If you can grasp that God is your Father and God is your friend—that He is your friendly Father—then you are a ready for what is necessary for your relationship with God. To do life with God, you need to speak with your friendly Father. You need to open up to Him, to approach continually through the day, to include Him in your life. Speak to Him when you rise. Speak to Him as you brush your teeth. Speak to Him as you have your meal. Speak to Him as you drive your car. Speak to Him while at work. Speak freely. No need for “art” and “thou.” You can honor Him as holy as you speak freely. He wants your heart, not a fake and stuffy presentation. He wants a relationship with YOU. The real you. Pray today to your friendly Father.

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” – John 15:15 [NLT]

Wrestling God

When many people read Genesis 32, they may wonder why someone would wrestle with God. This is God, the God of the universe, the Creator of everything. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing, the great I AM. It seems crazy to even imagine thinking you could stand a chance wrestling with God. Yet, we all wrestle with God.

Each one of us is separated from God because of sin. He is holy and He will have no part of sin. The truth is sin is anything that goes against God. But as we wrestle with God just as Jacob did since birth, something happens. Jacob started out as a deceiver, a liar—some would even say a cheat. As Jacob was following his own way, God still was reaching out. The wrestling was always there as it is with us—God always reaching out to bring us back to Him, and us always pulling away following our own way.

In the passage we know as Jacob wrestling with God, the wrestling match has changed. This wrestling was very different from the past. Jacob was alone with God, just as we are alone with Him so often as we approach during quiet time in prayer. He fought with God in a different way. He clung to God. He desired God.

We read that God touches Jacob’s hip socket. With one touch, his hip is out of joint; this is something no man could do and it demonstrates the power of God. The fact is God could have done more to Jacob than cause a hip to pop out, but God does not wish to overpower us. This is a reminder that we cannot prevail by our own power. However, He wants simply for us to desire Him, not by force but freely. Jacob’s response shows his desire. He stated, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). Basically, I am going to cling to You. I am not letting You go. You can do whatever You want with me. I am sticking with You.

God won’t try to overcome you with power. He could but then that wouldn’t be a relationship; it would be a dictatorship. All the gods of this world attempt to overcome with force. Our God spreads His arms open wide, humbles Himself and dies so that we can live. And when we wrestle with Him, when we declare that we will not let go of Him, He embraces us right back.

This does not just end with Jacob winning a match. God gives Jacob a new name. No longer will he be a deceiver; for he has wrestled with God and prevailed. This means he clung to God, he hung on with everything. Renamed Israel, this man asked God to tell him His name. Why? That’s what Jacob was asked. We don’t read of a response from Jacob because it wasn’t necessary. Jacob wanted not to know another name for God, but to have a deeper revelation, a greater understanding of Who God is. He was given that from that day and onward. As we continue to cling to Him, He continues to reveal Himself to us daily. He is too great and too glorious for us to understand. But we know that the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, is the Light of the gospel—the rest will have to wait (2 Corinthians 4).

I pray that you will evaluate where you are at with your wrestling match with God. Have you been running around the wrestling ring taking jabs? Have you been avoiding situations and blocking the right hooks? Or have you embraced Him, have you clung Him tightly and proclaimed, “I will not let You go” my Lord? I will not let You go. I will not let You go.