God Desires

In my pursuit of Christ, it has not ever been a stretch to acknowledge what God is capable of. In short, anything! I have a track record and stories to confirm the magnificence of God and His ability. Nothing is impossible for Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). What could be more exciting or revelatory? What could be more assuring than knowing God can do it? Whatever it is, God can do it. But will He?

Over the last fews years, I have started a new meditation focusing less on what God can do and more on what God desires to do. I recall a key moment in my exploration of divine healing where my eyes were opened to this deeper Truth. Truth — the capital “T” kind — is remarkable. What makes it remarkable is the progressive revealing of its depths. I never doubted that God could heal, that he was able to heal. In fact, I almost took it for granted that God heals the sick, the lame, the deaf, the blind. Of course He does! He’s God. Yet, in all those years of nearsighted acceptance of this Truth, it never occurred to me that He wants to heal.

incense-smokeWhat a difference it makes to distinguish between the ability of God and the desire of God. This seemingly minor exchange of words—ability for desire—is radically transforming my meditations, my prayer-life, my understanding of healing, my relationship with Father God, as well as my outward mindset.

The deeper I dive into this new notion of God’s desire the more certain I am of God’s love for me and the stronger my trust in Him becomes. It is as if in this meditative dance, our embrace strengthens and the space between us lessens. And as our spirits mingle in the delight of God’s desire, I find myself craving not only more of Him for me, but more of Him for others. How my heart breaks for those who feel excluded from God’s blessing! Who confess God’s ability but fall short of recognizing His unrestricted desire. It applies to all. Just as a parent desires the best for their child, when well-behaving or misbehaving, so God desires.

His desire to heal, to create, to bless, to prosper, to speak, to dance, to inhabit praises, to be present must not remain a secret or unrevealed Truth. The difference between seeking God for what He can do and seeking God for what He desires to do, is knowing who He is: Love. He doesn’t heal because He can. He heals because He loves. He doesn’t create because He can. He creates because He loves. And so on and so on.

Now, when I pray, I pray with the growing confidence of God’s love for me and for others.  Instead of pleading with God, “God, I know you can do it so please just do it,” I thank Him. “Thank you, Father God, for your love and your blessing. Thank you that you desire my health, my healing, my provision, my (insert need).”

Lastly, as I meditate on God’s desire, I also meditate on an equally profound promise. He chose me, and appointed me that I would go and bear fruit, and that my fruit would remain, so that whatever I ask of the Father in Jesus name He may give to me (John 15:16). Because He loves.

Experiment in Meditation

A few years ago, while serving with a missionary family in a Buddhist community, I received an in depth, crash course in the local Buddhist traditions and customs at a well-regarded monastery. It was there that I first encountered the discipline of meditation. Prior to this, I was loosely aware of meditation as a Christ-centered, spiritual discipline, but hadn’t yet fully embraced the depths of stillness. Though I learned to meditate from Buddhists, I assure you my heart and focus is fully committed to Christ. I can’t help but laugh! What lengths and distances God takes us to reveal Himself! Some of my greatest encounters with the Living God, indeed my first, were on the other side of the world, far from home and what is familiar.

In fact, from my first experience with Christ (a story for another day) I learned that God was in pursuit of me long before I began my journey in pursuit of Him. Over the years this truth has solidified within me and Philippians 3:12 has become my close friend.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12 NASB)

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (Philippians 3:12-14 MSG)

What does this verse have to do with meditation? Mediation is a form of pursuit. I have recently re-engaged in an exhilarating experiment in meditation that I began several months ago. Exhilarating because any endeavor to pursue greater intimacy with God is exciting!!! Can meditation, quiet, and stillness be exciting? Isn’t meditation the antithesis of such energetic emotion? Perhaps I am abnormal. I hold such anticipation when I prepare to enter meditation, which is simply an exercise of stillness with God-ward focus, because I expect the Presence of God. It is a holy exercise whereby I not only set aside time and space for God’s majesty, but I set aside myself. I quiet the world so that I can hear the voice of God. This is my purpose. This is my pursuit. It is a sacrifice that I believe is well honored and my experience confirms it. After all, what is meditation except entrance into what Jesus calls the inner room?

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NASB)

Call it whatever you like, but give it a shot. Find a place of stillness both physically and mentally. I sit in the 7-point meditation posture that I learned from the Buddhists. It keeps me alert and allows me to focus my breath. Start with a 5-minute exercise where you quiet your mind and body and focus all of your being on God. When I first started, I would recite scripture to help me focus upward. Don’t be dismayed if you find it difficult to focus on God the entire 5 minutes. It takes practice! Our minds are excellent wanderers! Do what you can and wait for God’s response!

An Image of Worship

Arms outstretched.
Awaiting Your Presence.
This is my expression of worship.

Head bowed.
Eyes closed.
I’m on my knees.
This is my posture of worship.

You caress all of my senses.
How can I stand?
I dare not move.
Consumed by the flame of Your glory.

Tears streaming.
Heart engaged.
This is my offering of worship: all of me.

Vehicle of Prayer

I sit this morning in my prayer closet with the crisp air’s embrace, the sweet chirping of birds in the garden and the delightful smell of frankincense. This is a gift. For me alone, I imagine, it seems the world has only just awoken. The celebration of God’s glory has begun and all the earth cries out His praise. I sit in awe.

Ever watch the fruit of incense make its way ever so gently and purposefully upward? I’m not sure I can call that a pastime, but I can easily lose awareness of my surroundings as I watch the smoke flip and twirl about, rising higher and higher without hesitation. The Bible and the pages of history and cultures long past and present take care to include the burning of incense. The Bible refers to the fruit of incense as a fragrant offering to the Lord. The Holy of Holies, in fact, housed a “golden altar of incense” next to the ark of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4). Burning fragrant incense was part of the levitical priests’ duties. They were to burn it in the morning and at twilight.

When I think of incense, I remember it as the vehicle of prayer. The book of Revelation paints this picture:

3 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. (Revelation 8:3-4)

Regardless of the emotion behind my prayers, whether it be desperation, urgency, thanksgiving, or joy, I know they are carried upward into the hand of God, my Peace. This is a gift. I sit in awe.

Perspectives, 6

Brother Lawrence, whose life of devotion continues to amaze me, writes a letter describing ever so briefly “the method by which [he] arrived at that habitual sense of GOD’S Presence.”  I pause here. I have been elevating Bro. Lawrence’s life of devotion and wondering if I will ever be able to match it. I’ve even commented, “if I could be half the man that Bro. Lawrence was. . .(except that I’m a woman, of course!).” An all too familiar phrase that elevates one by de-elevating ourselves. Trap! Wrong perspective. . .especially considering the title of this blog series: “Perspectives from Brother Lawrence.”

On the 6th blog of this series, I pause to meditate on the title of this collection of writings regarding Bro. Lawrence. Practice of the Presence of God. The key word, of course, is “practice.” I desperately seek what Bro. Lawrence references as the “habitual sense of God’s Presence.” With great joy, I am discovering that this is not a supernatural gift or an experience for the few. On the contrary, it is a discipline that requires practice. And, if I may add, patience! With practice, the Presence of God becomes a Divine Habit, if you will.

Bro. Lawrence shares from his own experiences in developing such a Divine Habit,

I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily.

What I appreciate most in this confession is his humanity. My mind wanders from the Presence of God all the time!! Sadly, I have a tendency to beat myself up when it happens. Not Bro. Lawrence. He simply recalled his mind to focus upward and continued in his practice.


Father, I seek you most earnestly. Teach me to practice the Presence of God by Your grace. Be ever before me in all that I do. May my mind linger on you giving praise, glory, and adoration for all things come what may.

Perspectives, part 4

I truly hope to encourage you with the encouragement I received this morning in my devotional readings with Bro. Lawrence. How can one small chapter seem to  contain a lifetime of wisdom? How does one take it all in?! I wish I could breathe it in in one large breath, but I cannot; my lungs are far too small. Even if I spend the next week or more in the “Fourth Conversation” with Bro. Lawrence, it will not be enough to grasp in its entirety. Truly devotion is a lifetime study!

My spirit is in pursuit of the Divine Love. From the early days of my journey, Psalm 27:4 captured my heart’s endeavor:

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate/inquire in His temple.

I pray to never lose sight of this great endeavor, that is simply to be in continuous communion with God, a magnificent obsession. Yet, how often during the day do I forget and find myself bogged down by things of the world! This morning I read of Bro. Lawrence’s great endeavor:

“his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD. . .”

Prayer and devotion are a lifestyle. I know this in my head, but to exercise it in my heart and life is another matter altogether. But, that is the goal—to never leave the presence of God. He is not some far off reward that we receive in the afterlife. Quite the contrary! Jesus preached the Kingdom of God Among Us. He taught the availability and the accessibility of God now. I say let every breath exhale praise and inhale His presence. Let everything we do, no matter how small, be done in worship. “[T]he end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshippers of GOD we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”



Consume my heart, soul, and mind. Fill every part of me today and teach me to look ever upward. I want to know Your Presence more than ever before. You are my greatest desire.

Children of God

I wonder if we sometimes take it for granted that we are “children of God.” More rightly spoken, that we can be called “children of God.” In order to understand the value and worth, the great honor and privilege, the humbling magnificence of such a claim, one must intimately know the Father. Otherwise, it is simply a phrase without depth or meaning that one bystander might state in passing to another.

The Apostle John knew what it meant to be a child of God. He knew Jesus personally and therefore knew the Father. He exclaimed, “see how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). How great a love!! Can we even fathom such a love? The truth is, we cannot. Our finite minds cannot comprehend the love of the Father, the triune God, without the grace and power of the Holy Spirt. Even then we barely touch the cusp of his infinite love for us, which is more than enough to sustain our hearts and minds on the journey to Christlikeness.

To be called and known as a child of the Most High, the Creator of All, the Lord and Savior. . .what a sweet gift! Yet what fear accompanies it! I reference the fear of the Lord, that awesome understanding that He is God and I am not, and that my life is for His pleasure and will to be done vice my own. So I pray raise me as Your own, dear Father of the Stars. Fill me with Your wisdom and instruction. As the psalmist sings, “make me know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4-5).

Come in!

Song of Solomon 5:2 “ I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one!

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Thoughts of the Cross

When I sit in the silence of my prayer closet, I discover in great surprise each time that I am not alone. The Most High, the Maker of the Heavens and of Earth, the Magnificent Lord of All draws near. How can it be? The Greatest of Greats in my weak and humble state. Breathe deeply. Every breath is not only by the grace of God, but is a gift of His presence–an intake of His Spirit into mine. From the beginning He breathed life, His Spirit, into humanity. Into eternity. He’s still breathing.

When Jesus breathed His last breath on the glory of the cross, I breathed my first. His Life became mine while mine became His, purchased by His pain and suffering–the Passion of the Cross. What a divine mystery! The miracle of the Gospel of Jesus, my Lord.

From the anguish of the cross, He looked deep into my soul and professed His love to me amidst my rebellion. How could I resist those eyes, those tears of love? Together we weep. I weep for His pain; He for mine. I weep for His love; He for mine. I weep because I am unworthy of Him; He because He sees my worth to Him. I weep because He chose me; He because I chose Him. My tears are tears of freedom–the beginning of life and life to the fullest. This is why He came (John 10:10).

O Lord, I profess to You. . .You have my full attention. I devote my life to your apprenticeship. May Your beauty be ever before me as You bring me into deeper intimacy with You.