In the Father’s House

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He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely. He invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun. He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight. He invites us into the study of his wisdom, where we can learn and grow and stretch . . . and ask all the questions we want. He invites us into the workshop of his creativity, where we can be co-laborers with him, working together to determine the outcomes of events. He invites us into the bedroom of his rest, where new peace is found…

–Richard Foster,
Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

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Finding God

5ebd1769bf115773ad83803b29ea4bacOnly in love can I find you, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in you, since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.  –Karl Rahner

In contact with Life

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Christ’s communion with His Father was the life-center, the point of contact with Eternity, whence radiated the joy and the power of the primitive Christian flock… When the young man with great possessions asked Jesus, “What shall I do to be saved?” Jesus replied in effect, “Put aside all lesser interests, strip off unrealities, and come, give yourself the chance of catching the infection of holiness from Me!”

–Evelyn Underhill

The hiddenness of God

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God, who is everywhere, never leaves us.
Yet He seems sometimes to be present,
sometimes absent. If we do not know Him well,
we do not realize that He may be
more present to us when He is absent
then when He is present.

–Thomas Merton

Joining the conversation

2014-01-01-looking out-crop-windows on right-640x480Take the Gospel in hand. Here is a letter God sends you in friendship today. Let no person, no pretext, stop you from listening to this Word, from joining in this intimate conversation.

—Servias Pinckaers

 

Image: Jeremy Sutton

Sin is Relational

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Divine goodness is not just perfect, it is more than perfect. It spills out beyond itself like sunlight. It is agape, generosity, altruism, self-giving, self-sacrificial love. God seeks intimacy with Man . . . “Your creator shall become your Husband,” says Isaiah (54:5). To that end, He makes covenants, to prepare for the fundamental covenant, marriage.

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No pagan ever suspected the possibility of such intimacy, even with their finite, anthropomorphic gods: that is, the relationship scripture calls “faith,” or fidelity. And therefore no pagan ever understood the deeper meaning and terror of “sin” either, for sin is the breaking of that relationship. Sin is to faith what infidelity is to marriage. Only one who knows the wonder of marriage can know the horror of infidelity.

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That is why Jesus . . . took sin much more seriously than any pagan possibly could, and why He paid the ultimate price—His own life—to save us from it.

–Peter Kreeft
The Philosophy of Jesus

Art: Benjamin West

Easy to live with

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Unfortunately, many Christians cannot get free from their perverted notions of God, and these notions poison their hearts and destroy their inward freedom . . . Their idea of God rules out the possibility of His being happy in His people, and they attribute the singing and shouting to sheer fanaticism. Unhappy sods, these, doomed to go heavily on their melancholy way, grimly determined to do right if the heavens fall and to be on the winning side in the day of judgment.

How good it would be if we could learn
that God is easy to live with.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

–A. W. Tozer
The Root of the Righteous

Turning to Reality

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Prayer means turning to Reality, taking our part, however humble, tentative and half-understood, in the continual conversation, the communion, of our spirits with the Eternal Spirit; the acknowledg-ment of our entire dependence . . . For Prayer is really our whole life toward God: our longing for Him, our “incurable God-sickness,” as Barth calls it, our whole drive towards Him. It is the humble correspondence of the human spirit with the Sum of all Perfection, the Fountain of Life. No narrower definition than this is truly satisfactory, or covers all the ground.

–Evelyn Underhill
(1875-1941)

His passion is to share

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No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Mt. 11:27 NIV)

Jesus is not another in the long line of religious leaders dispensing divine advice and direction. What is unique about Jesus is his knowledge of the Father. I don’t mean mere intellectual or academic or theological knowledge. I mean personal, experiential, relational knowledge. He knows the Father. He sees the Father’s face. He lives in communion with the Father in the Spirit. The shocker about Jesus is that he has no interest whatever in hoarding his exclusive communion with His Father: His passion is sharing.

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Mark it well, Jesus crossed all worlds to come to us, and he did not come to give us a religious manual to follow, or to leave us with fresh insights about a distant God. He came to give himself to us, and all he has and knows.

He crossed all worlds to establish
a personal relationship with us,
to include us in his own relationship
with his Father and Spirit.

He came to share his soul with us, and thus his own knowledge of his Father, his own peace, his own assurance and hope and joy, so that we could know what he knows, so that we could taste and feel and experience the life he alone lives with his Father in the fellowship of the Spirit.

–C. Baxter Kruger
Across All Worlds

He still walks in the garden

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A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.

–A. W. Tozer
(1897-1963)

Image: Thomas Kinkade

A place to pour out His love

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The whole raison d’etre of the universe lies in the fact that God will not be alone, that he will not be without us, but has freely and purposely created the universe and bound it to himself as the sphere where he may ungrudgingly pour out his love, and where we may enjoy communion with him.

–Thomas Torrance
Trinitarian Faith

Fellowship with God

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Of communion with humans,
God can never have enough.

–Mechtild of Magdeburg
(1207-1282)

Published in: on 09/09/2013 at 3:11  Leave a Comment  
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Friendship with God

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There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and I am glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough).

There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.

–James I. Packer
Knowing God

Banqueting with the King

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The eternal purpose of the Father is to bring us into existence, and not just into existence but into His house. And not just into His house but to His table, and not just to his table but to His right hand. And not just to His right hand but into conversation with Him, and not just into conversation with Him, but into face-to-face fellowship with God the Father Himself.

–C. Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 07/24/2013 at 4:07  Leave a Comment  
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Face-to-face fellowship

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The eternal purpose of the Father is to bring us into existence, and not just into existence but into His house. And not just into His house but to His table, and not just to his table but to His right hand. And not just to His right hand but into conversation with Him, and not just into conversation with Him, but into face-to-face fellowship with God the Father Himself.

–C. Baxter Kruger

Published in: on 06/07/2013 at 5:09  Leave a Comment  
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Knock boldly

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When you stand before His gate, knock loudly and boldly. Do not knock as a beggar knocks, but as one who belongs to the house. Not as a vagabond, who is afraid of the police, but as a friend and an intimate acquaintance. Not as one who is apprehensive of being troublesome, or of coming at an improper time, but as a . . . [son] who may rest assured of a hearty welcome.

–F. W. Krummacher
(1796 – 1868)

 

Infinite attention

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God has infinite attention
to spare for each one of us.
You are as much alone with Him
as if you were the only being
He had ever created.

–C. S. Lewis

Friendship with God

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Our union with God–his presence with us, in which our aloneness is banished and the meaning and full purpose of human existence is realized–consists chiefly in a conversational relationship with God while we are each consistently and deeply engaged as his friend and colaborer in the affairs of the kingdom of the heavens.

–Dallas Willard

Firmly in fellowship

Within the last century, the term fellowship has evolved into a construct that Christians use to talk about feelings of closeness to God at a given time. It’s a framework for relating to God that, unfortunately, we tend to develop from our interpersonal relationships. If we’ve sinned against a friend, family member, or coworker, we feel that our relationship with them is strained or broken until we apologize, are forgiven, and then restored to previous communication.

In the Scriptures, fellowship with God is not described in this way. Instead, a person is either in fellowship with God and therefore saved, or out of fellowship and therefore lost.

In the ten instances of the word fellowship
in the epistles, not once is there
a moving “in and out of fellowship” with God
based on recent performance.

Of course, we still mature spiritually. And when we sin, consequences hit us. We can’t escape the laws of the land. We also can’t escape the reactions of others. If we sin against someone, we may experience difficult circumstances and our own disappointment with our choice. But we shouldn’t mistake these earthly consequences for moving out of fellowship with God.

Our fellowship is stable and certain. God’s face is always toward us. When we sin, he’s there every step of the way to help us learn from our mistake. How arrogant it is to assume that we could escape sin alone, while out of fellowship, in order to get back in!

If we buy the lie that God sits in a swivel chair, ready to rotate his face away from us when we sin, then we proclaim a God of conditional love and conditional fellowship. But this is to ignore the work of Jesus, who on the cross cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was out of fellowship with his Father so we would never be.

–Andrew Farley
(emphasis added)

At the heart of God

At the very heart of God
is the passionate disposition
to be in loving fellowship
with you.

–Richard Foster

Published in: on 12/30/2011 at 7:44  Leave a Comment  
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Continuous interchange

The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.

–A. W. Tozer


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