Tag Archives: intimacy with God

Growing Intimacy and Union

2017 was a year that was marked by a season of one thing. Busyness.  Early in this decade of excavation and journeying to become good soil, I learned that busyness kills intimacy with God. This past year, I was blessed to be a part of some cool things as I and some brothers launched a new men’s boot camp modeled after Wild at Heart. What a fruitful time it was. In the midst of all of that, I was finishing a Masters degree in Counseling and continuing my full time work at a company I have been with the last 12 years. This was most definitely a year of busyness.

With the exception of a few posts and my personal journal, I intentionally did not write much this past year. There was no room for it. I was honestly, barely making room for God in my day-to-day and at times, felt stretched so thin. On top of the busyness, there was other warfare going, especially early in the year. In a span of 3 weeks, I took a baseball to the face,and my middle son, the next week got a concussion, and then the next week  a seizure caused by low blood sugar. He is Type-1 Diabetic. My Bride, Amber, and myself, were at our limits at that time.

Despite the challenges with the warfare and season of busyness, God showed us some beautiful things. It helped Amber and me reconnect on a deeper level in our marriage, particularly in how we deal with warfare together. We’re still learning here, but God has certainly delivered us and shown us how we have matured through how we handled it, bring it to the feet of Jesus and bringing the cross of Christ between us and what the enemy was trying to do.

With the busyness, I believe Abba has lead me to realize, not just from reading, but from experience, just how much busyness kills intimacy with Him. Just after Thanksgiving, my friend Dallas, issued a challenge to seek one word from God, that will help set the tone for the coming year and beyond. I pondered that, and by the next morning, the word was obvious. Intimate.

So what does intimate mean? There are 3 definitions I found.  1. Closely acquainted, familiar, close. 2. Private and personal. 3. A very close friend.

So what to do with that? Well, it was obvious to me. Learning to walk more intimately with God and using this time to learn and practice spiritual habits or disciplines that will help cultivate greater initimacy. In conversing with God and meditating on this word, I realize how God used used this year to really show me how busyness has disrupted initimacy with Him. As  Jim Winney said, “When I am busy, the Father is quiet.” This became so true in 2017. I see it from years past as well, but didn’t really have the context or knowledge to deal with it.

liveintheday-01So now that we have begun a new year, where does this leave me? I now realize just how much continued work that I have to cultivate this greater intimacy. I look forward to sharing this journey, or at least, what should be public. As I heard from an interview that Dallas Willard gave, we need to continue cultivating an interactive relationship with God. That is essential in this “with God life.” The enemy’s number one purpose is to separate us from God  and the madness and hurriedness of this chaotic world is trying to do the very same thing.

I love the way God continues to work. If we keep our hearts open to Him, He can use any circumstance in a way that pulls us back to himself. As I’ve written before, this is a continued decade of excavation and He I using all of these moments to uncover unyielded places of the heart and His faithfulness and continued molding and shaping is pretty awesome to see and live out. It all leads to union with Himself.

Advertisements

We Were Never Meant To Fight Alone

Life is a constant battlefield that continually tries to make us slip up.  Everywhere we turn, there is a new battle to be fought with an enemy that tries every single day to take us out.  Do you recognize this?  Do you see the battle that is before us?  It’s very real.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at all the pain, suffering, and sorrow that is going on this world.  Look at your life.  I can guarantee you that every single one of us has had to deal with struggles of all types.  Some seem so small, while we more readily recognize the major things that come along.  Either way, we are in constant battle.  There’s no use denying it.  It’s real.  God reveals it in His Word through his 66 book love letter that shows everything God does to restore the hearts of man to Himself.

In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge shared that, “Any movement toward freedom and life, any movement toward God or others, will be opposed. Marriage, friendship, beauty, rest—the thief wants it all.”  From A.W. Tozer, Eldredge added, “So, it becomes the devil’s business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave clothes. He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage. . . we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead.”

This war and daily battle is real and the closer you draw to God in your faith, the harder the enemy will push at you to try to take you out.  William Gurnall added that, “It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.”

With this battle that is going on, even when I recognized it, I used to try to deal with it alone.  Living life as a lone ranger, I never shared my struggles with people, except maybe my wife.  But even with the ability to share with her, that wasn’t enough.  I found that I needed more.  I needed to build real, solid, Christ-filled connections with others that also recognized this battle and with whom I could do life and reach out too for prayer and added weaponry in the arsenal of God.  We are not meant to fight through our battles alone.  Yes there are things that require complete solitude and one-on-one connection and intimacy with God.  God made us for intimacy and closeness with Him, not to just wander the world aimlessly.  We also need others to do life with.  For men, we need other men that we can connect with and live out the masculine journey of our lives with.  Women need the same connection with other women for the feminine journey.  I’m so grateful that God opened my heart to this reality.

This year, God has allowed me to make so real connections with other men.  Not just surface level friendships, but real, Christ driven connections.  You want to talk about a game changer.  I’ve written about the awesome guys I connected with at Wild At Heart.  That was just the beginning.  Getting to continue those friendships, is something I look forward to.  Now with that, I can already see the enemy trying to infiltrate and pull us away.  It becomes easier and easier with time to go back to what you were used to and if we are not careful, the enemy will set up shop in those agreements that we just have too much going on, or we’re busy this month, how about next month.  This includes me.  I’ve been guilty here too.

I had lunch today with a gentleman that ran across this blog through Ransomed Heart ministries Allies Network.  It was great to make this connection and prayerfully we’ll get to hang again and be able to do life walking in this ministry and message that we both believe in.  That being said, it was a huge reminder for of just how important it is to keep those connections.  We need those friendships.  Proverbs 4:23, God tells us to guard our hearts above all else.  This will determine the course of our life.  Having those friendships and real masculine connections enables me to better guard my masculine heart and keep the enemy from taking me out.  I can’t do it all alone.

Don’t deny the battle that we face.  It is very real and if we are not careful, the enemy is there to take us out in an instant.  Don’t try to go through the battlefield alone, either.  Recognize that we are made for intimacy with God and with each other.  We need people in our lives to walk in the faith.  I liken it to games like Call of Duty where you can earn your way to be stronger and withstand more.  Connecting with and doing life with people gives you added strength to the armor that God has given us, should we accept it.  I’m not saying just make friends with everyone because then the armor can get weaker the more you stretch it out.  You have to keep it tight.  Even Jesus had His 12 boys and then His inner circle from there of Peter, John and James who got to witness the transfiguration.

You need that round table of men, or women for you ladies.  I may be a broken record in this, but I cannot not talk about it over and over, because I feel it is such a central part of our faith and being able to stand strong and resist the devil.  It can’t all be done alone.