LOVE 1 Cor. 13:4-8

–is patient
–is kind
–is not jealous | does not envy;
–does not brag | boast
–is not arrogant | proud,
–does not act unbecomingly | is not rude
–does not seek its own | not self-seeking,
–is not provoked | easily angered | irritable | resentful
–does not take into account a wrong suffered | keeps no record of wrongs
–does not rejoice in unrighteousness | does not rejoice at wrongdoing | does not delight in evil
–rejoices with the truth
–bears all things | always protects
–believes all things | always trusts
–hopes all things | always hopes
–endures all things | always perseveres
–Love never ends | fails

Finally.

Prayer = Peace?

If we’re real about our Christian life, the results of prayer and Bible reading rarely brought or bring peace. It can feel like a wasted effort, dry, and at the very least, disconnected. Put simply, prayer is a conversation with and listening to God. When we drop the “I need” list that often is a desperate plea to have God fix things and people in our lives, we are met with the realization that he is already at work and we can live in a trusting relationship with Him.

Identity Revisited

We’ve been Framed.

The Fall and your past are effecting you.

  • God created you in His image.
  • Satan framed Adam and Eve.
  • Our life in a fallen world can seem cruel from a loving God.
  • Then Jesus enters the frame.
  • We need his help to connect the previous wounding and negative beliefs.
  • The picture becomes more clear the more we are in union with God.

Jesus Makes It Possible

Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible to reunite with God in relationship, just as He intended in the Garden. He promised abundant life on earth. Really? Yes! Really!

This abundant life is to rest and trust in our Created Identity. Before understanding this concept of Created Identity, we read the list of statements and scripture that talks about “Who I am in Christ.” This often does not connect in an authentic way. We know intellectually it is true, but it often does not feel true in the depths of our soul. This means that we can find it difficult to go before God in a relational way that made it possible to talk to God about anything and everything. Some would say that our Identity is both Created and who we are in Christ, however, if we look around it is obvious that our foundational created Identity is vital to being able to live out who we are in Christ.


Spiritual Relational Practices

To maintain union with God
  • Silence and Solitude: Talking & Listening
  • Hearing God through Scripture
  • Gratitude: Being Thankful
  • Worship: An attitude of the heart
  • Awareness of God’s Presence

“Bring God In” to places… events, worry, control, feeling overwhelmed, confusion, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other areas you may think you must fix or do to better yourself.

Silence and Solitude: Talking and Listening

Too often in Christian circles, we spend much time in prayer, telling God what we want him to fix, change, modify, make different, make better, make less painful, or simply relieve our suffering. This is not relational. A relationship looks different. It is walking with God in the cool of the day; talking, listening, sharing, honoring, being real. It is also expressing anger, frustration and disappointment, and wanting to stay connected to pursue holiness.

Hearing God Through Scripture

Of course, we hear God through Scripture, he inspired men to write what is written there. However, how many times do we sit in the Word? It may only take one passage to hear what God may be saying specifically to us about our relationship with him. Do we simply sit and hear how much he loves us? This is difficult to do. Silence is sometimes so loud it is unbearable.

Read out loud. Sometimes hearing it through our own voice is helpful. Read it out loud a few times, then sit and wait, and listen. You will know his voice.

Gratitude: Being Thankful

Sometimes our perception of God is that he is tired of our failings. However, scripture makes it clear that God understands our human condition, which is why Jesus came, died and was resurrected. When we see and feel his love and compassion for us, we will have nothing but gratitude and thankfulness for his grace and mercy. We love John 3:16. Wow, what an amazing sacrifice for us. In addition, John 3:17 is where God’s grace and mercy is evident. He didn’t come to condemn us. As you continue to draw closer to him and find yourself trusting him more, this lack of condemnation will be personal for you. You will know, down to your core, his deep love for you.

Worship: An attitude of the Heart

Part of your Spiritual Relational Practice will be worshiping God. He is worthy of our praise. This often coincides with our Gratitude and Thankfulness. Jesus made us worthy of being in the presence of God. We can approach the throne, not only with our prayers but also with our worship of the one who created us and gave us our identity.

Awareness of God’s Presence

James 4:8 says, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Once you learn the depth of God’s love for you through these practices, you will continue to be aware of God’s presence in everything you do. It will take time and practice, like anything worth pursuing. However, these practices make John 10:10 more tangible in your everyday life.