In my entire neighborhood alone, there are a great number of children. They are all to be treasured as human beings, to be sure. But there are two little kids who are a peculiar treasure to me, more than any of those other beautiful children could hope to be.
In my time of prayer, the best place is in the cupped hands of my Abba Father.
So much of our spirituality and religion is greatly affected by who we know God to be. A.W. Tozer said, "Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God." We all have within us a gallery images of who God is, and those images dramatically affect our responses to Him. This gallery greatly affects the faith and religion we live out each day in relationship with God. The trouble is many, if not most of those images are distorted at best or entirely false at worst. This God many of us relate and respond to is not the God of scripture, and we begin to wonder why some of us live out such a grim, hard, and loveless faith each day.
It is because the God we have come to believe is distant and hard to please. God becomes a cold Father demanding your work without encouragement or love or pride in you. It is very difficult to serve that god with enthusiasm or joy. It is difficult not to chalk up other more enthusiastic brothers and sisters to fanaticism when the god you know is cold, removed, and grim. But this is not the God presented in scripture. This is the god of the Pharisees and he will always drive a Pharisaic religion and faith.
The moment I was first ambushed by the love of God is when I came to see the Father of Scripture who loves and delights in me, His son. He comes close to me in a true fellowship where I can find rest and healing. He is not hard to please.
Yes, he disciplines us, but I have come to know His delight and smile. He will correct and challenge me with the smile of a Father who is tender and proud. My Abba is proud of me and knows I am His "imperfect by promising" son. I see His delighted smile which knows I am coming to look more and more like my Abba every day.
Abba, I belong to You. Abba! I have allowed the fact I can address You with such intimacy and tenderness to become far too plain and pallid. It has been years since I have allowed myself to wonder and gawk at the fact You have given me a spirit of Sonship by which I can address you as "Abba Father!" (Rom. 8:15)
I have known for too long or too familiarly that "Abba" is the equivalent of our English "Daddy". I have known that children would slowly learn the term Abba to address their father with an intimate tenderness. I have known it was and has been a scandal to the pious and righteous that you would be addressed with such intimacy.
That You who created this world out of the power of your voice, You by whose beauty and glory the Grand Canyon is dwarfed, You who hold all things together in life-sustaining precision, would ask to be addressed in such tenderly intimate terms has truly become too common and plain to me.
This is my confession and my repentance today. May I recognize and rest today in the wonder of the intimate spirit within me, who can address you so tenderly as my Abba!
Abba, May your spirit connect directly with mine! May my spirit truly worship yours! Today I am striving to bask in your love. Not to think about your love and try to feel your love, but to sit and bask in your love. I sit here right now drinking in your love. Your love that calls me your child and sees me as blameless. A love that relates to me in my spirit and not my flesh. I praise you and deeply thank you for loving me in my spirit instead of my flesh.
I swim in the love of my heavenly Father who has loved me despite my flesh and the mistakes and struggles it trips on. You love me because you see through my flesh, my feelings and my facade into my spirit which truly does remain blameless due to the outrageous price you paid for me so long ago.
Today, Abba, I rest in your love that I could NEVER receive from anyone else. I am skinny-dipping in the waters of your love that lavishes me in acceptance, mercy, grace and spiritual pleasure. I am truly drinking in a love I could never return. I long for you to be pleased, and I trip and stumble to make you happy and you still tell me not to compare and measure your love for me in terms of my love for you! I try not to compare my lazy, passive, conditional, emotional, and often theoretical love with your love.
I rest in your love today with the realization that no matter how amazing my wife or daughters' love for me is, it will fail in comparison to yours. That no matter how much my mother loves me, it will tremble at yours. That I CANNOT depend solely on Tonya, Bryleigh, Haddisen, mom, friends, books, or my writing to feel special, loved or valid, but to depend only on your love.
I am taking this moment to really trust in your love for me at my deepest core, to spend a moment claiming my identity as your beloved child, and TRUSTING that enough to believe...BECAUSE of that I am special, loved and valid. I am your child and I am drinking that love in right now. Thank you for loving me, Daddy. I love you and desire you to be happy, and I trust that I truly am special, loved and valid BECAUSE of your love for me.
I am not here to speak to you. You are not here that I might teach you something. I ask you to be restful right now. Be silent and quiet. I do not ask you to do this so you may DO anything else. I am not going to speak to you. I merely ask that you are silent and just LET ME LOVE YOU. Just be still and drink in my love. Don't sit and think too heavily ABOUT my love. Just sit quietly in my lap with your head on my chest and just let me love you. My love is not an ideal, a theology to study. My love, right now, is my action. I am LOVING you. Just be still in my arms and just let me love you. Be still and drink in the love that radiates around you RIGHT NOW only awaiting your silence...your stillness to fall on. If you are not still, you will only rustle it about. But if you are still, my love will pour upon you like snow in a globe. You CAN BE covered in my love, but you must be still and allow me to rain down on you more love than you will ever be able to contain. Don't think! Don't listen for me. For I have nothing to say to you right now. I only have something to give you. I have only to love you right now. Rest and BE LOVED my wonderful child.
Last night, my hero passed away. Brennan Manning has had the strongest impact on my bedraggled heart. Sitting with him twice over hot dogs will be moments my heart will not easily forget. But far more important than hot dogs and baseball are his reflections on the outrageous love of God in all His grace and mercy that have wrecked my heart for good since 1999. My hero finally rests in Abba's embrace for his Father was very fond of him.
There are days when it seems God just wants to love me. There are days when I sit with open Bible and heart, and I wait....and wait... There are days when God does not speak to me in His Word, even when I come faithfully to it. There are days when I will sit and stare at the pages, reading a text without affirmation of any message or lesson. There are days when I will sit silently awaiting God and all I will receive is a challenge to my heart to close my Bible and let God love me.
There are days when I am ready and prepared to discover God in his Word and I am challenged to sit and let God love me. Searching the word of God will not prove necessary every single day. There are days when my heart truly needs to be still and rest in God's love; to sit and pray, "Abba, I belong to you. Please love on me today."
Some days bring my heart to a place where God has a different challenge than I realize coming into it. I cannot depend on the word speaking to me every single day I come to it. If someone desired to know me, they can only ready my journals so many times before they would need to step away from them a little while and let me love them, get to know them, talk with me, get a cup of coffee with me and let me relate to them. There are days when I need to step away from the word and sit with God and allow him to love me...to accept his love.
There are days when my mind has soaked up all the love God is pouring on to me, leaving my heart and soul a little dry. There are days when my heart aches to know the love of God and engaging my mind just will not cut it that day.
Some days God desires to lavish his love upon me. If I would only but receive it. It is on those days I have to really test my faith and abide in Abba's love. Because studying is easy when the words are there to understand and dissect, but my heart and soul operate on another faith which simply allows itself to be loved. There are those days when God desires to pour his love out on my heart, and I need to willingly receive that tender love. Today is just one of those days.
God calls the children to Him, and He calls us to come to him as children. We too often think of this as a call to simplicity before God. Come to him full of joy and whatever else you think a child looks like. What we hardly ever consider is that the context of the passage presents children as despised individuals. In that time, children were heavily looked down upon. They were considered of no account. We are too associate ourselves with children in the realization that we are all beggars at the door of God's mercy, love, blessing, and grace.
We have to come before God as needy people who honestly admit and accept our need. God longs to love the unraveled hearts, the broken down and the poor. We have to come to God as children, because God longs to love His children who are otherwise despised. We are ALL needy people, and we lie to ourselves if we deny that.
So I run to my heavenly Abba...my DADDY as a child who recognizes a need...I am a broken ragamuffin bested by life struggles, fights and inconveniences, inconsistencies and insecurities.
This question has ravished me this morning. My intimacy with God has been on my mind and heart heavily the last few days. I spend time nearly every morning in the WORD, but come to realize last night that my intimacy is none the better for it. Now why and how could that be?
My intimacy is flourished in times of communion with God, and I could only study my Bible every day for hours at a time and be no closer to the heart of God...not because of the Bible, of course, but because I have only studied the Bible. When he Bible becomes a source for study alone, it is only a textbook and it will not contribute much to communion with the Father. To intimacy!
My intimacy with Christ has been moved around like a puzzle, and has eventually taken a back-burner to my Biblical study.
I desire intimacy with my Father and Abba. That happens when I come to God as the child I am.
I am reminded of Christ as a child becoming a man in Luke, Chapter 2. Jesus is in the temple talking to the elders. Mary and Joseph are freaking out looking for Jesus. Mary finally comes across Jesus in the temple. She remembers her worry, fear, and terror only seconds ago. "I lost the Son of God. God gives me one thing and I lose him. What am I going to do about this? My child is gone! I am going to spank that Savior so badly for leaving my side (or put Him in time out for a while...depending upon your particular parenting style...I am sure the Bible supports whatever your style in some way if you make it.)
Anyway, side track aside, Mary gets pretty pissed.
She says, "Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior," (because a mother's anger is expressed best by addressing you by your full name), "Why do you do this to me? Your father has been worried sick about you. We've been looking all over for you?"
Of course Jesus is....well.....Jesus, so he's always pulling THAT card. He says to Mary, "Why were you looking for me? Didn't you know I would be in my Father's house?"
Even Jesus knew what it was like to be a child. A child always wants to be with his Father, and we are reminded that Joseph was not Jesus' Father. To Jesus, only God was his Father, and Jesus was with God in child-like communion.
How much do I come face-to-face with my Father? I desire to be with God like a child. To be in such union with my Father that my prayers are coming from Jesus within me. I want Jesus within me to pray and act through me as the child who just longs to be in his Father's house all the time. I want the child Jesus within me to pray for me to our Abba who wants great intimacy and tender loving connection with us.
I want to be so identified with the Lord's life that I am simply a child of God. I want the SON of God within me.