So to start off with I just want to point out the very obvious fact that it’s no longer the pre-Christmas time of waiting that Advent posts usually accompany… My untimely post is partly due to the fact that I haven’t had time to write the last couple weeks, but it’s also somewhat purposeful.
Advent means “time of anticipation”, or “waiting upon arrival of”. While we’re no longer awaiting the arrival of the birth day of Jesus, I’ve recently had it impressed on my heart that we actually await something much greater on a daily basis: Intimate encounters with Jesus. I was challenged by the question of whether I really eagerly desire that. Today I’d like to give you a window into what’s been going on in my heart and mind over the last weeks leading up to Christmas.
God has been reminding me of my first love. He’s been taking me into deep and intimate worship time, alone with just me and God. If this is not something you’ve made a part of your alone time with God, I’d love to start with encouraging you. Do it. You will be so incredibly blessed. Not just talking to God, not just asking God for things, and not just reading your Bible. But resting in worship of your Creator and Saviour. Reflecting again on who Christ is and what He’s done in your life. Being newly in awe. Newly revived in intensity, desire, and love. A reawakening to the fact that He is worthy of ALL your affections. All of your time. All of your money. All of your resources, talents, and gifts… Everything. He is worthy, worthy, worthy.
These are some of the things you would find in my prayer journal if you peeked in. Things I’m sharing with you purely with the intention that you get a glimpse into the intimacy that you too (if you don’t already!) can experience in your relationship with Jesus. It’s more than religion, more than doing good things or being a good person. It’s more than obedience. And I believe it starts with being revived in your love for Christ. Here are some glimpses into things God has reminded me of this month.
He is Almighty. All powerful. Creator of the expanse of the Universe. Powerful enough to part oceans, to bring sight back to blind eyes, to raise the dead, and to calm raging storms with the simple outstretching of a hand.
He is the giver of true peace. Peace that takes anxieties and stills them. Peace that wraps comfort around chaos. Peace that is totally beyond human understanding.
He is Fullness. Giver of everything needed to thrive, not just survive. The full embodiment of truth and grace. So full of love that we cannot grasp its height, depth, width, and vastness. The giver of all-sufficient strength in times of weakness.
He is my joy. Joy that isn’t dependent on circumstances, but rather joy in hopeful anticipation of all that is promised as a child of the King. Joy that allows me to act and react differently than the rest of the world in times of difficulty, pain, or heartache. Supernatural joy that is so different from temporary, fleeting happiness found in this world.
He is Perfect. Faithful. Holy.
Light in the darkness. Truth in each circumstance. Breaker of chains. Rock in whom we trust. ALIVE, conquering fear. Source of hope.
Worthy of all my praise and adoration.
I kept coming back to this last point time and time again. He is SO worthy to be the primary object of my adoration.
I love how one of my favourite author/speaker/bloggers, Ruth Chow Simons, worded it recently in a post:
“What we treasure determines how we are transformed. Some of us are scheming ways to reset everything tomorrow- eating habits, physical activity, schedules, goals, and outlook. But our course will always follow what we treasure most, so let’s start with our hearts. Lord, grow our love for You in 2018. Help us to treasure your Word, that we may live upon it, and in turn- so cling to the Word, that we can’t help but treasure it.”
All I can say is Amen to that!!!
I was challenged once again to think on what I treasure most. Not just asking how do I spend my time, but rather, how do I spend those precious “in between moments” where I have minutes that can either be spent on social media or in God’s Word? Not just asking in how many ways do I serve, but rather, are all of my motives out of love? Not just asking do I spend “enough” time with God, but rather, do I find that this time can never be long enough? I was deeply challenged by this.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
If you haven’t heard of the Well Watered Women Ministry, I highly encourage you to check them out. This month they’ve posted a challenge for the new year, which they call “Word before World.” The resolution to daily be in the Word before the world. To lay aside excuses and struggles, and instead to bring God your desire, trust, and surrender. He knows each of our life circumstances. He knows where we’re at in our faith journey. He knows what the daily distractions look like for us. But He so desires a holy longing in each of us to know Him more. To taste of His goodness and never walk away unchanged.
God very quickly turned this message that He placed on my heart into a personal resolution for this new year. My Resolution is twofold: First, Abide. Second, dig deeper.
I was tempted to add more to this. Those of you who know me know that I have a tough time editing down (insert eye roll). I turn any type of list into ten+ items rather than just simplifying. It’s something God actually convicted me on as I started compiling a list of resolutions for the new year. I felt Him saying to me, “Jen, stop. Simplify. What do you really feel me placing on your heart for 2018?” I knew immediately. Abide, and dig deeper. Everything will flow from this. The giving, encouraging, hospitality, leading, getting out of comfort zones, loving others, sharing the gospel…all of it will flow from being rooted and grounded in Christ.
Fill up…pour out…fill up…pour out…fill up. This is Christianity. A constant cycle of necessary filling up and commissioned, consecrated pouring out. Purpose-filled life. The recognition that the Kingdom is already here on earth in the form of you and me. Being Jesus to people. Seeing the needs and seeing the pain of this world through the eyes of Jesus and having the natural and organic response of pouring out love because you simply can’t do anything else. You’re totally and completely consumed with love for your Saviour, totally empowered by His love for you. Activated by His grace. It sounds simple, and in some ways it is…in a lot of ways it’s not. But the simple part, I’m realizing, is that it all starts with a love relationship with Jesus.
My sincere desire and prayer is that you join me in this resolution and prayer for the new year. I’d love to encourage you to stop after each point and really reflect and pray over it yourself. See how God is wanting to speak to you and lead you.
Lord, may your love leave me unchanged each time I encounter it. I truly desire for your love to transform me and renew my mind.
Revive my love for you and allow me to see with new eyes how worthy you are of my all.
I want to treasure your Word above all else. Show me any idols I might be placing before You.
Take me deeper into your Word each morning. Give me a longing each day to turn to your Word before going into the world.
Remind me in each moment of the day to Abide in your love. To draw from your grace and depend fully and completely on YOU to pour into me what I need for that exact moment.
You are worthy, worthy, worthy.
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.
You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honour and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
“I seek you with all my heart…I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in your law. My soul is consumed with longings for your law at all times.” Psalm 119:15-18
Be blessed my dear friends. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for 2018 for all of us! Let’s go into the new year with great expectancy for what’s to come!