Friday, January 22, 2016

Can we get Intimate?

'Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight..'
Psalm 51:4a

So many Christians are scared. We maintain largely superficial friendships and relationships with other Christians and church members. We are scared to grow intimate relationships with anyone. We build walls, cover them with broken glass and enclose glass and concrete in barbed wire fences, anything to stop us from getting intimate with others. We are running scared to church, to work, to school, on our buses and trains. We are absolutely terrified. 

We are scared because we don't know how to be intimate with the source of intimacy Himself. Sure we're Christians. I mean I gave my life to Christ, spoke in tongues, served in church, did the whole going out and preaching 'evangelism' thing once in a while, did my devotions/ quiet time and generally went to church. I know just doing these didn't make me christian of course, so I also made sure to not drink or smoke or party or do drugs or sleep around or dress indecently or say certain things or... (fill in the rest).

So of course, I was a Christian.. or so I thought. I forgot one thing: that being a Christian was about a relationship, friendship, intimacy with Him. Sure, I heard about it and even talked about it but I didn't really become intimate with Him..because I didn't know how. And because I wasn't intimate with him, I always had high walls to keep everyone out. No matter how close I got to anybody, there was always this insurmountable wall. Funny thing is, I craved that deep intimacy, but just couldn't let myself go and my walls down enough to build it with the people God had placed in my life.I always felt this inperceptible pressure to present a perfect front to everyone, especially other Christians, because I hadn't learned to be honest and intimate with Him yet.God forbid they knew my weaknesses or struggles.

Then I read Psalm 51:4 again. You see David had stolen somebody's wife, made her pregnant and killed her husband. And yet, here, he says he's sinned only against God. What about Uriah? The poor faithful husband who is killed simply because he has a beautiful seriously? David isn't saying he hasn't sinned against others at all though. What he acknowledged was that until he fixed things with God he couldn't fix things with the people he'd wronged. A restoration of his relationship with God was the only way he could restore his relationship with others. This was such an eye opener for me. Until I learned to be bare, naked, honest, INTIMATE, with the Father, I couldn't be truly intimate with anyone else.

Let's flash back to the Garden of Eden. God would come down in the cool of the day to hang out with His buddies Adam and Eve. He'd talk with them, laugh with them, make plans together, share some food, and just enjoy being with them. After the whole forbidden fruit...ummm..let's call it  "incident", Adam and Eve felt for the first time a fear of intimacy with Him. For the first time, they were afraid to see Him, talk with Him and be with Him. Are you hiding behind bushes of church work or busyness or blowing in tongues or the religion of Christianity? Are you afraid to sit down and be yourself with Him? Do you feel the need to hide yourself and present a more sanctified, holy version of you to Him? You don't have to! 

Apart from the fact that, frankly, He sees all the cover ups and knows that you're hiding, Jesus died so you could go back to the cool of the day, sitting in the shade having some juice with Him kinda friendship. 

And when I started being intimate with Him and as a result, other people, I was used to touch and change lives, to be a light and salt, to bring hope and healing, in more powerful ways than I ever dreamed. 

So will you become intimate with Him? Its scary. Its hard to be honest with Him about the weaknesses we have and to sit with Him and let Him work with us on them. Its hard to just sit with Him and make plans with Him together and chat. Its not easy to get to the place where you can be with him talking for hours just like you would with other friends. Talking with Him and not at Him. Its uncomfortable, but you'll love it. Will you get intimate with Him? He's waiting for you. He longs for you so much. He yearns to have an intimate relationship with you. Will you be honest with Him and be intimate with Him? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Restoring the distorted image of the Father

“The purpose of revelation is restoration, the renewal in us of that likeness to God which man lost by sin.”
Stephen Neill

'The creation of man and woman was the part of God’s creative process which reached its pinnacle when God formed two perfect beings that were in His image. Adam and Eve were created to resemble their Creator.

In nature, form and appearance Adam and Eve reflected their Father’s purity, goodness and holiness. But when sin entered this perfect world, God’s perfect image was not reflected in this world of sin, in fact it became distorted. Try as God might to show His earthly children what His heavenly image was like, we find that all through the Old Testament, as we have studied the lives of some of the best people in the Bible as well as the worst, too often God’s children got the picture of God wrong in their minds. They didn’t get the clear and correct picture of what their Father was really like. In fact, much too often, they followed the lead of surrounding nations who made up gods to their own liking, that fit their way of life, and it was these false gods that our heavenly Father’s children chased after, even wished for.

As time went by, there was such a false view of God by nearly everyone, that many of God’s children no longer reflected their Father. They were more like the rusted out car in the barn. And when people saw the piece of dilapidated metal, they thought it was worthless --- and what’s so tragic – is that when these people who were rust-buckets said, “But I’m God’s child,” the “heathen” laughed their heads off and said, “You are telling me your God looks like you. Forget it. We can do better than you with our shiny, golden idols. We like the looks of our gods better than the God you reflect.” Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like the confusing message, some people, who call themselves followers of Jesus, give off today?

With this terribly distorted picture of God being the only message the world had, God sent the most precious gift heaven could bestow – He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to earth. And it was Jesus, God’s Son who in His own words told His followers, “If ye have known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14: 7, K.J.V.). Through this gift of God’s Son, our gracious Father began the restorative process that once seemed impossible. When the Son came, He brought the vision of His Father, for He saw us as we could be, not as we were. When our Father looks at us, the eyes of our Creator see us as the perfect image created in His likeness, not the old beater, left by the side of the road like a piece of rubbish or left to rust in a barn.'

As we walk with Him and become more like him, the distorted image of the Father we have been presenting will be replaced by His real image and likeness. To a lost and dying world, we will become the lights and salt we were meant to be if we will be restored into His image and His Likeness.

Quoted text From Dorothy Valcarcel,

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Becoming like You

“The purpose of revelation is restoration, the renewal in us of that likeness to God which man lost by sin.”
Stephen Neill
I have come to realise that one of the most important parts of this walk with You is in me becoming like You. As I walk with you, I grow to become like you. I pick up the way you talk, the way you think, the way you respond, the way you love. All of the things I ask for, I can get by being deeply intimately involved with you.
For me, not becoming restored to Your likeness is a failing I cannot have. So Father, help me to walk with you. I want to walk in deep intimacy with you, so I can learn how to build intimacy with others. I want to be the light you made me to be. Walk with me Lord! Walk with me.