Walking In His Shoes Part 2: Intimately Connected To God
On Sunday 3rd July at our morning service, we continued our series Walking In His Shoes with the topic 'Intimately Connected To God'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
A few years ago my garden fences blew down and as I set about repairing them I realised that mending fences is really hard work which takes quite a few tools and lots of effort! It occurred to me that “mending fences” (relationally) is also hard work– you have to be willing to take some action and bring some tools to bear, like forgiveness, humility and willingness to accept some blame.
But the best relationships are really worth investing in – none more so than our relationship with God.
In the four accounts of Jesus’s life, which we sometimes call the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s stories about Jesus, in the New Testament part of the bible) we can often read about how Jesus would take the time to go off to some quiet place to pray – to be in communication with his Father. After all, good relationships are completely dependent on communication!
Jesus’s followers (disciples) seemed to notice this because they asked him how they should pray, and we can find Jesus’s answer in Luke’s story, which you can read here
Jesus taught his friends how to maintain an intimate relationship with God and he showed by his own example that it’s important to make it a real priority, to set aside a time and a place.
He taught them to address God as “Father” and yet at the same to recognise that when we’re talking to God we are in the presence of someone very special (verse 2 – hallowed be your name. Some synonyms for “hallowed” include: holy, sacred, blessed, revered, reverenced, venerated, honoured, sacrosanct, worshipped, divine, inviolable.
Thirdly, we should pray that your will would be in line with the Father’s (verse 2 – your kingdom come, and in Matthew’s account, “your will be done”)
Fourth, to ask for His provision and His forgiveness (verses 3 and 4) and to remember too that God is a good and loving Father who wants to give good gifts to his children (verses 5 to 10):
It’s within our grasp to have an intimate relationship with the creator of the whole universe, and to know him as our good and loving Father! If you’re open to the idea that God exists, then we should understand what that means and just how awesome it is!
When I was mending my fences I thought of a friend I’d had a difficult time with. I realised that if I valued my friend – and I do – then I’d better work hard at mending the relationship. I’d better get the communication going. The fences weren’t going to fix themselves. I’d have to gear up with the tools (forgiveness, willingness to take some blame and a real desire to fix things because I knew it’d be very hard work and it’d take a long time). In other words I’d have to take some action to get the conversation flowing again.
Now God’s a lot more forgiving than either me or my friend, but we still need to decide to take action. We need to set aside a time and a place for conversation. So the challenge is to commit to a little more action and a little more conversation – with God. A little more conversation, a little more action please. Set aside a time and a place… to talk with God.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, ask yourself these great questions: What’s important to me? Who do I want to be? And why not ask God to help you with those things? What are you afraid of? What’s to lose? Why not try asking God to help with your friends, family, health, finance, your mood, the person you most want to be…. We should storm the gates of heaven with our prayers, with that shameless audacity Jesus spoke of. But always remembering that God is sovereign – Your will be done.
Like a well-made fence, God’s love is always surrounding us and always protecting us. We take it for granted – and it will always be there even when we never even think about it, quietly surrounding and protecting us. But we get the most from it when we invest in it, when we recognise it’s there and we work hard to keep the relationship in good shape.
We need to find a time. We need to find a place. We need to put the tools to work – and we will be rewarded! You know, when I rebuilt my fence I ended up with some new tools and some new skills – and, I’m happy to say, a restored friendship. Don’t be at all surprised if your time spent with God rewards you far more. With new tools of wisdom, insight and understanding, and new skills of practical applications in your life and in your family’s.
Let’s humbly ask for the Father’s help and entrust ourselves to him as a child to a loving parent. A loving parent who also happens to be the creator of the universe! Just see how he repays our faith. Come to him, as a child, asking for help and see how your life improves as you align your thoughts and prayers and life with His will.
So remember this week - a little MORE conversation, a little more action. More conversation with God – setting aside a time and a place. Mend the fences of your broken prayer life – get your priorities fixed. Get yourself fixed on God. And see how he will fix you.
Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. What are the important things in your life that you could talk to God about?
2. What does it mean for us to be able to speak to God as our good and loving Father?
3. Do you accept that God wants to delight in us as His children and how might our talking to him be shaped by that notion?
4. When and where might you find time to read the bible and pray, on a regular basis?
6. How do you define yourself – by your occupation or hobbies? Or as beloved child of God?
7. Who do you want to be? Dare you ask God to help?
8. What needs to change in your life for you to connect with God?