“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

“Believing in God”, The Gospel of John with commentary from Nathan Bingham of Ligonier Ministries (belief, near to God, hope)

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Introduction from L.Willows: I need to “Believe”; to believe with all of my heart, my mind and to live it in the hours of each day. “This world” and “this life” need BELIEF in GOD as our leading value. Without this, we have no way to measure or direct our footsteps forward. Our hearts would lean upon circumstance for hope. We have been given more. In the Gospel of John, we are reminded that by the power of faith we receive the Son of God, Jesus Christ and become Children of God. 

This is what BELOVED is about. I celebrate, with you that at every moment we are blessed in the presence of The Holy Beloved, who is with us, whose Spirit is placed within our hearts, who intercedes for us and whose Father loves us with might that we can scarcely comprehend.

Remembering this, I’d like to highlight some passages from the Gospel of John with an introduction from Ligonier Ministries. (L. Willows

The Gospel of John from Nathan W. Bingham

A special challenge to interpreters of John’s Gospel is the relation between seeing “signs” and belief.

The author places great emphasis on the unique significance of Jesus’ miracles because they reveal much about His Person and work (John 20:3031). But some passages seem to suggest that belief based solely upon having personally seen the signs is not a good thing.

In John 4:48, for instance, Jesus rebukes His hearers, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”

This passage brings to mind the statement of Thomas in John 20:25, “Unless I see … I will never believe.” Therefore, many readers have concluded that an ideal faith has no interest in miracles. The problem with this conclusion is twofold.

First, if faith resulting from miracles is not good, why does Jesus perform miracles? Second, why does John link these signs to faith in Christ (John 20:31)?

To believe in Jesus means not only to acknowledge His ability to perform miracles, but also to accept what those miracles as “signs” reveal about His Person and work.

The evangelist indicates that the written record of Jesus’ signs is sufficient testimony for those who are not eyewitnesses. This understanding is implied by what Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Paul’s formulation gives a similar relation between faith and sight: “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7; cf. Rom. 8:2425).

Faith can be produced and encouraged by the signs Jesus performed. But the goal of this faith is to apprehend Jesus in His fullness, not merely as a miracle worker.

Jesus is revealed by His “signs” as the eternal Word of God, one in glory with the Father and the Spirit.

It is not necessary to be an eyewitness of the signs; the record of them is sufficient to convey their power for eliciting and strengthening faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.

One of the most striking distinctives of this Gospel is the Prologue (John 1:1–18) that presents Jesus as the eternal Logos, or Word, the One who reveals the Father.

Christ reveals the Father because He shares in the Father’s deity. He is the One who made the universe (John 1:3).

He met the needs of the Israelites in the wilderness, and now He provides spiritual water and bread (John 4:13146:35). In short, He is one with the Father, the “I am” (John 5:188:5810:30–33; cf. Ex. 3:14).

From Nathan Bingham

John 1:12

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 1:1-51

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 5:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 10:38

But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

John 11:40

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

John 14:1

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 20:31

But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

1 John 4:16

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

1 John 5:4

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

“Here in the Midst of such Beauty, we Dive”, a worship poem from LWillows

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How this Love winds, throughout life’s line,
etching through lives, throughout all time.
The promise was given, of worth, at birth-
spoken in whispers, like a hush from deep earth.

Heaven bends to grant from gracious God’s gift
leaving such beauty, we gasp in love’s drift.

How can heart mother such moment as this,
born in time’s wonder, in the womb of such bliss…
Each of us, children; fostered and found,
fathomed by stillness in the wake of might bound.

Tender this Love as it winds through our lives
here in the midst of such Beauty, we dive.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Jerimiah 31:3

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.