Reflect on your relationship with Jesus today!
What are you obsessed with? Money, looks, sex, power, pride, technology, etc. I just read an article from The New York Times entitled “To Deal With Obsession, Some Defriend Facebook. Here is the link to the article.
It really got me to thinking about the purpose of this group and the reason why I wanted to start it sometime ago. This culture, our culture is obsessed with everything but God and our relationship with Him. As a pastor I am always telling the people I minister to, to focus on Jesus and spend time getting to know Him. I have to confess that I am hypocritical.
For example, I look at how I spent most of my day yesterday. Everything I did was all about me. I did not humble myself at all to really listen for God yesterday. I spent the morning organizing my office, so it would look nice. I then went to lunch and a basketball game and to the Las Vegas Bowl and then came home and drank hot chocolate, took a shower, and went to bed. I was obsessed with me yesterday.
Think about yourself for a moment. What are you obsessed with? Do you wake up in the morning looking to be obsessed with Jesus Christ? We are approaching a new year. This is the time when we make resolutions to be nicer, lose weight, read more, and spend less money.
If we followed the Greatest Commandment given to us by Jesus Christ as our resolution, how would our lives change? How would the lives of the ones around us change? Jesus says, “to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” To take it a bit further and look back in the book of Deuteronomy 10 the title of the section of scripture is “to circumcise your heart.” In verse 12 it goes onto say, “what does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.”
Cut off the part of your heart that is causing you to obsess and refocus your heart and fearing God, walking in His ways, loving Him and serving Him fully. Make that your obsession.
For that is the cause why there are so few contemplative persons to be found, for that few can wholly withdraw themselves from things created and perishing. – Thomas A Kempis
The sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. – Blaise Pascal
To practice the presence of God, the heart must be empty of all else, because God wils to possess the heart alone; and as He cannot posses it alone unless it be empty of all besides, so He cannot work in it what He would, unless it be left vacant to Him. – Brother Lawrence
It has been a while since I have written. Honestly my alone time has been scarce and some of it is my fault. We have been extremely busy in the past few weeks. We have been hanging out with friends a lot, travelling, and just relaxing. However, I have not made time to be alone with God.
There have been several issues in my life and in the life of my youth that have come up lately. Therefore, I chose one day last week to fast and also during the lunch hour to hike up a small mountain overlooking Lake Mead and just spend that hour reading scripture and praying.
It was hot (approximately 105 degrees and I started to get eaten by ants), but I weathered the elements and prayed for my relationship with God, my family, and the problems of my youth. I am happy to say that all of the prayers that day were answered. I just took a little time to sacrifice the normality and pleasures of my daily life and spend it with God. He honored that time of worship.
Mark 8:34 says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I chose one hour of one day to do this and look how God worked.
What if we were disciplined enough or motivated enough to do this daily? It is what jesus says to do. Make it your joyful desire to deny yourself (pride is bad), take up your cross, and follow Him.
I have begun to re-read The Confessions of St. Augustine. In book one, in the first paragraph he says, “Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee?”
Powerful words spoken by a man whose life, thoughts, and speech changed history.
This is a great reminder for each of us pursuing intimacy with God. Augustine reminds us that we should wake up to the delight, to the joy, to the sweetness of the Lord. Our connectedness to the Father should be so “tight” that when we open our eyes in the morning (which is a blessing) our first thought is the joy of the Lord.
He also reminds us that “Thou madest us for Thyself.” God created us for Him. God created us to worship Him and He created us with a purpose. To worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and to fulfill that purpose we must be seeking those “desolate” places to pray. We must be seeking that time of silence before our God, so that we can sufficiently complete what we are called to do.
He tells us that “our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.” This hits the point of The Silent Project. We live our lives to the fullest. We get preoccupied to the fullest. We get busy to the fullest. We get restless to the fullest. Our heart, our soul, our mind will continue to be restless, until it “repose” in Him. Repose has similar meanings to “heschazo.”
Here are the three definitions of repose as given from Answers.com: 1)the act of resting or the state of being at rest, 2)freedom from worry; peace of mind, 3)calmness, tranquility.
In agreement with the saint, we must rest in Him; we must not worry, but find peace in Him; we must seek calmness and pursue tranquility in Him. Unless we take the time to be alone with the Father and ask Him to fill us up with Himself and remove us from ourselves, then we will fail at these aforementioned truths.
Another definition of repose is to lay down. Are we ready to lay all of us (fears, selfishness, pride, worry, doubt, etc.) down at the feet of Jesus? When we get intimate with the Father through times of silence and we fully rely on Him our lives will be changed.
As it says in the book of Luke, “Hear and be healed.” Listen to what He has to say and be healed of whatever it is that you need to be healed of.