Intimacy with God

Dear friend,

You asked, what does it mean to be intimate with God? How can I love God??

To be intimate with God simply means to be close to Him, to have a connection with and be familiar with Him. First, to love God we have to know His love for us. He is the Author of love and so true love, real love actually comes from Him and can’t be found outside of Him. God’s love for us is an agape love. Agape love “is a completely unselfish, give-based form of love. This type of love can love a person despite any physical or emotional challenges.” This means that no matter how messed up we are, He still loves us. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 explains God’s love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Second, to love others we have to know God’s love for us. This kind of love is hard to give to others unless we have first received and been filled with this love from God through His Holy Spirit. When we are born again, we are connected to this agape love, but our past beliefs about love keep us from experiencing this love, the real love of God. “We may be afraid of intimacy with God because we do not understand how He operates. Sometimes, we are filled deep-down with bitterness and unforgiveneness that prohibits the Holy Spirit’s ability to have access. Like blockage in a drain, the Holy Spirit is blocked and prevented from reigning and ruling. His love is there, but we can’t experience it because we aren’t able to let it flow freely in our lives.”

“…..love is both the problem and the cure.” The primary goal is to be connected to God, who created you and loves you. “In that love, you will find peace, wholeness, and the ability to function in healthy relationships.” If you seek the Lord with all your heart, you will find Him.

Being intimate with God is, like I said earlier, to be close to Him and to be familiar with Him. He wants us to come to Him and be real with all our sin, grief, and despair and lay it all down at His feet. That is where our hearts will be healed and we will experience the power of forgiveness. In turn then, we will have the power to love and forgive others. So, God wants the real you. Not you trying to be ‘good’, not you putting on a fake smile again, not you trying to hide your flaws and weaknesses but just YOU. You, the way you are right here, right now. He wants you to come to Him and be open about what you’ve done, what’s been done to you, and how you’re feeling. God, as a good Father and as our Creator, has formed us and designed us with His own hand. Who we’ve become isn’t who we’ve been created to be but is what our sin or someone else’s sin has done to us. And God wants to take all the sin, pain, and the damage away so that we can be who he designed us to be. That is His heart’s desire for us💜

Pray for a revelation of God’s love.

-your sister

*Quotes from the Christian Codependency Recovery Workbook

Abundant Life?? What Does That Even Mean?

What does it mean to live an abundant life like Jesus talks about in John 10:10? He says, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” I have wondered about this often, especially a year ago as the Lord was showing me more of Himself and His promises for me. I was in a dark place in life, although I had already experienced breakthrough and freedom in a very powerful and real way. I still struggled to believe God’s Word and to stand on truth. I really, really wanted truth, life, and freedom. So, as I read John 10:10, I wondered, what does “abundant life” even mean??

I assumed that an abundant life wouldn’t be full of disappointment, heartache, and hardships but rather imagined a life of joy and radiance, love and beauty. I envisioned myself, once I’d have gotten hold of this abundant life, to be young and free, happy and blessed, living a good, rich life in a pretty house, with no financial worries, a huge circle of awesome friends, wonderful relationships with my family, a wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes, no fears, no failures; I’d just not really have anything to worry about. My life would be all beautiful and glamorous, reflecting the beauty and glory of God.

But I still struggled and I felt depressed and I didn’t really have a job even, much less a whole new wardrobe full of awesome clothes or whatever you could wish for. I simply wasn’t joyful and radiant the way I hoped to be. I had amazing encounters with God, reading about Him, worshipping Him, journaling, and talking to Him but something just wasn’t “working”.

Now, a year later, the Lord has been showing me what the problem is. What my problem is.

“I feel so lost when I look at different areas of my life. My failures, my mistakes, my ‘problems’, my inability to live up to my own standards for my life.”

“Come to think of it, I really think, actually, that it’s my very own selfishness that screws me up most in life.”

Those are two excerpts from a journal page I wrote a few weeks ago. One of my most quoted sayings is, “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of what it’s supposed to be.” This has proven to be very, very true. I’ve always had a longing for something better so in a sense, always being dissatisfied with my life knowing it should have been, could have been better. This has kept me from staying in my comfort zone and has created a deep yearning in my heart for the things of God. I’ve longed for wrong to become right, broken to be healed, and for messed-up to be redeemed.

I’ve come to a point though, where I’ve been expecting life to be stress-free, glorious, and easy. Things that went wrong should never have happened. Things that were happening now, I expected to be perfect.

Accept life for what it is…

Avoiding problems hasn’t helped at all. Avoiding problems is not just physically staying away from them but mentally trying to get away as well.

This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness. –Psychiatrist Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
  
Living an abundant life far exceeds the American Dream. Some of the things I described earlier may come as a result of obedience to Christ, good stewardship, and responsible living but abundant life is not limited to those things. Problems will always be a part of our lives here on earth and situations will never be perfectly ideal. Life just isn’t perfect. Abundant life is possible though! Abundant life is in Christ! Life is more than a physical thing; it’s more than my heartbeat. It’s definitely more than what I do, what I eat, and what I wear. (Matthew 6:25) Jesus is life!!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what situation we are in and how difficult life is, we have been given LIFE through Jesus Christ! In Him, we have all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Think of all those who have given up their entire life, lived through dangerous situations, and died for the sake of Christ. They had nothing to look forward to in this life yet they were alive in Christ. They were peaceful, radiant, and joyful.

So keep your eyes on Jesus and praise Him for abundant life that far exceeds the pleasures and comforts of this world!

Rejoice always!

Love, your sister in Christ,
Nancy💜
  
  

Desiring Greater Things

Hello awesome friends!

It’s a beautiful summer day and  I’m itching to just be out, doing some type of field work, working and sweating like a good ole Mennonite. Instead, I will sit back, chillax, and share with you a really cool truth from God’s Word.

A few weeks ago, as I was slotting asparagus at Shore Fresh, I thought about a whole host of things (typically, since there isn’t much to do other than think). One of my thought trails was about my desire for something greater, something better. I’m always wanting more, always wanting different. Not only that,  I forever have a bunch of awesome ideas and ginormous dreams. Sometimes, it’s enough to send my mind spinning. That day in the barn was one of those times. I just wasn’t sure what to do and where to go with my ideas. I became so restless. I tried to tell myself to stop thinking so much,  which probably wasn’t such a bad idea, but it didn’t work. My mind wandered off to Psalm 37:4. “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”.

Hmm….but like, not for real… I desire a lot of crazy things and some of those aren’t even always good. That I usually only realize after something didn’t work out or I didn’t get what I wanted. The verse says, though, that God will give me what I desire!

(Confused)

Ah, I felt so discouraged and miserable because looking back on my life that’s not exactly true. Not at all true, actually!

I thought about it for awhile and suddenly the real message of that verse dawned on me! It says, “He will give you the desires of your heart”! Your DESIRES will come from Him!!!! Not everything you desire will be given to you but, rather, the things you desire will be changed by Him! He will plant His desires in your heart and your life will revolve around what He wants rather than what you want. Sooo, how do you come about this awesome transformation? The first part of the verse!! “Delight in the Lord…” Spend time with Him, read His Word, do whatever you do to get to know someone better. Sit at His feet and bask in the warmth of His presence and His love!

Jesus loves you and wants what’s best for you. He also wants you to want what’s best for you. Allow Him to know your heart and change you.

Love and hugs!!💗

Nancy Guenther