“Living in God’s Presence”, Brother Lawrence (conversing with God, knowing God, Faith)

A friend led me to the Christian 17th century text “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He conversed with God as a way of living. He expressed, “the love of God was the end of all actions, it was a single motive behind all.” Prayer was constant, devotional and spontaneous throughout the day. At the core of his heart was trust. He speaks of the love of God as coming from knowing Him and that ‘knowing’ as being based upon the growing relationship formed through the holy habit of being in His Presence.

Living in God’s Presence always leads to His loving lead. His Presence pours Love and Mercy immeasurably. We only need to live with and for Him. 

The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother Lawrence, Fifteenth Letter, his final letter

GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew
how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with
indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from
Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong
light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that
it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their
bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.

Know God

Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one
desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper
and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love
of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.

Seek Him by Faith

Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favors (however
elevated) which He has or may do us. Such favors, though never so great, cannot bring
us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is
within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave
Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend
Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dearly.

Let our devotion belong only to Him

Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of
our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can
on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I
cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from
His mercy the favor to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another.

Brother Lawrence

“Living in God’s Presence”, Brother Lawrence (conversing with God, knowing God, Faith)

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A friend led me to the Christian 17th century text “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence. He conversed with God as a way of living. He expressed, “the love of God was the end of all actions, it was a single motive behind all.” Prayer was constant, devotional and spontaneous throughout the day. At the core of his heart was trust. He speaks of the love of God as coming from knowing Him and that ‘knowing’ as being based upon the growing relationship formed through the holy habit of being in His Presence.

Living in God’s Presence always leads to His loving lead. His Presence pours Love and Mercy immeasurably. We only need to live with and for Him. 

The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother Lawrence, Fifteenth Letter, his final letter

GOD knows best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew
how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with
indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from
Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong
light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that
it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their
bitterness, and become even matter of consolation.

Know God

Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one
desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper
and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love
of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.

Seek Him by Faith

Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favors (however
elevated) which He has or may do us. Such favors, though never so great, cannot bring
us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is
within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave
Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend
Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dearly.

Let our devotion belong only to Him

Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of
our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favor of Him. If we do what we can
on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I
cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from
His mercy the favor to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another.

Brother Lawrence

“God is Love”, from R.C. Sproul (love one another, authentic faith)

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“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).

God is Love from R.C. Sproul

As we have made our way through John’s first epistle, it has become clearer that assurance is the result of a constant interplay between external evidences and internal testimony. If we keep the commandments of Christ, we know that we abide in Him, yet we know that we abide in Christ because of the work of the Spirit (1 John 3:24). The Holy Spirit does indeed assure us that we belong to Jesus, but He never operates apart from the outward evidences of faith. The authentic presence of the Spirit is discerned both by His internal testimony and by our obedience to the commands of Jesus given through His apostles (4:6).

For the past few days we have studied one of these commands, namely, belief in the name of the Son (3:23; 4:1–5). Today we look at the second command found in 3:23 — love for one another.

Again John states that love is a fundamental mark of the one who has authentic faith. If the one who loves has been born of God and knows God (4:7), then the one who does not love has neither been born of God, nor does he know God. “God is love” (v. 8), that is, love is essential to God’s nature.

If we truly have become partakers of this nature (2 Peter 1:4) and increasingly reflect God’s holy and loving character, then we have no choice but to love other people, especially fellow believers. Our transformed hearts will inevitably respond to God’s call that we love others as He loves us. We will endeavor to love if we have been born of God, and we will repent when we find ourselves not loving as He has commanded.

The biblical definition of God’s love is more radical than we often imagine. The proto-Gnostics troubling John’s original audience would have thought it made God too personal.

Today many affirm the truth “God is love” but live as if the Bible did not demand us to love even the most unlovable (Luke 6:32–36).

Others recoil at the fact God reserves a special, salvific love for His people alone (Rom. 9:13). Yet if we are truly to reflect God’s character, with self-sacrifice we must love Christ’s people and strive to show love even to those “unworthy” of it both inside and outside the church.

Coram Deo

When we say “God is love” we must never think His love is more important than His other attributes. The doctrine of God’s simplicity tells us God’s love never operates apart from His holiness, mercy, justice, omnipotence, omniscience, or any other attribute. This tells us it is loving to seek justice and demand holiness, though we never do so at the expense of mercy. Ask the Lord to help you learn how to apply His love to every situation you face.