(Old Post from 2007)
This past week I found myself with two of my good friends in the hills of Malibu desiring to find God through new and challenging ways and boy was I challenged. The practice of spiritual disciplines, the desire to find God, to hear his voice has become a real, and passionate part of my life that has been dormant for longer than I care to admit. The passionate pursuit of our Heavenly Father to share in our lives, to guide us, to pick us up, and to restore us after we have fallen has become so real in my life over the course of the past couple of months.
During this retreat, the discipline of shutting out the noise of the world and the noise of my head was the hardest thing I have ever tried to do, and the realization that we, in our bodies and in our strength, do not have the capacity to achieve total silence, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit He can help guide us to the point where it is His voice that comes through with clarity. The practice of silence and solitude was, by far, the hardest exercise I have ever undertaken – achieving a minute was a success, but more importantly it was the exercise of the discipline that held the greatest reward.
As part of the retreat, we studied the scripture of Ephesians 3 relishing in the wonders of God’s grace. Below are some thoughts that were given to me during this time:
God’s grace given to us because God loves us. For Paul, God has revealed to him, the bounty and abundance of this rich gift called grace. Paul, undeserving of the gift of Salvation on the road to Damascus, received it because of God’s love and grace and has called Paul to carry this message to those beyond Israel so that unification among the body of believers, whether Israel or the Gentiles, may exist.
Who are the least as he (Paul) refers to? Himself being in that category – a humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord spoke and called Pual to share the good news message, the riches of Christ. Can we search and find God’s grace or does He just give it when he gives it?
The wisdom and revelatory work of God, His grace, is to be known to all and Paul was chosen to help, enabled by the Spirit, to guide the journey of revealing this to the Gentiles.
The facilitation of faith, Paul’s encouragement to the Gentiles, is to approach the throne of Christ humbly with confidence that we are to be free to express whatever is on our hearts and minds and despite Paul’s own suffering, He encourages the believers that even his imprisionment will give God glory.
Paul prays that the message of God’s grace will dwell within our hearts, that the mystery of this unmerited act of freedom will cause God to be glorified and that His Spirit will guide and direct.
Understanding teh concept of grace is knowledge, but inviting and exercising grace to the saints is the act of love. It is through the understanding of how far God’s reach of His love extends is to how far we are to show grace. The Spirit filled in us provides power for the change of heart.
We are, but humans, who can only think so big, and Paul encourages us that God is much bigger than we can ever dream of and we are to ask for the big providing it is the Spirit that provides what we need and how much. God is good!
In all my years as a Christian, I have never pursued after God the way I am pursuing Him now. The desire to help those who may need help and to encourage those who need encouragement is in the front of my mind as I pursue a more intimate walk with Him. May we walk in His love and grace and drink in the moments of life that help us become more like Christ.
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