“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

“Like a Dance that You Called”, a worship poem from L.Willows (Miracles, Faith in God, Prayer)

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Something; a miracle,
wondrously Yours.
Waiting, forsaking,
our motions; enthralled.
Heart mine, fully captured,
like a dance that You called.

This is One prayer
in the midst of many more,
lifted towards wonder,
towards horizons that pour.

Gifts from Love’s bounty,
such Promises kept.
Fullness in the keeping,
lives given; times wept.

Heart mine sweetly softened,
Carved like your clay;
Here for Your sweeping
in miraculous Day.

We gaze at your beauty
and mystified, sigh.
Praying to Holiness
These humbled hearts cry.
Waking to witness,
we come-
You know why.

Something; a miracle,
wondrously Yours.
Hearts fully captured,
Like a dance that has been called.
This is One prayer
for us all, for us all.

© 2020 Linda Willows

Jeremiah 32:27 –“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

Matthew 17:20 –He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Mark 9:23 –And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Psalm 86:10-12For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

“Tomorrow’s New Mercies” from L.Willows (hope, new mercies, faith)

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Today, the love of the Lord was good. His mercy filled my life.

I feel grateful for many moments that caused me to smile and reflect on His love. There were helpful people that came along surprised me with sweetness. And there was also a moment when my sense of security was shaken by some unexpected news.

About an hour before that I almost lost my equilibrium because someone had been ill-tempered with me. It took me by surprise. I recall that I actually ordered my heart to remember that I needed to respond with calm and forgiveness; to witness the space between us alter. It did. I envisioned that Christ loved her through my heart. (I did not have the capacity on my own, my heart was shutting down) It was His mercy. I felt His Love filling my heart at that moment and moving out to hers.

God’s Mercy pursues.

She began to shift. In some moments I noticed that her tone of voice changed and she was almost humming. I enjoyed being with her. I thought to myself that I must have misunderstood her, something might have been going on in her own life beyond what I could understand at the moment that she had been angry. Christ knew her heart. He loved her is just the way she needed to be loved. His mercy found her ‘in the moment’. 

Sometime later as I relaxed and assumed that all was well, the same woman had the task of giving me some unfortunate news. I was so grateful that she was kind. Everyone was extremely kind. I was the one that needed to be flooded with God’s love. I was momentarily shocked and mumbled that I had no answers.

I actually said, “Could God have some time with this?”

They looked at me rather surprised but not really. We were all believers but I don’t think that they realized how much I believed that God is faithful to us.  I realize that we are living out the details of our lives and these were some real-world details. I was the one that would suffer in this situation, just me. So the issue of trusting God and relying on His mercy was on my heart not with the good folks that I was with. I felt that God was also in charge of time and place as well. He may wish to show the answer to this tomorrow.

Now it is the end of the day. I review all that happened. I have no answers but I call to mind that the Lord’s love is constant. If I look back in the past year there were so many times that I faced more difficult moments. I prayed earnestly for His help.

He was always walking with me. He heard every word. I have become convinced that God hears the smallest sighs of our hearts. He even knows when our breath suspends in fear. God is always beside each of us.

At the end of this day, I have no answer but I have hope because I have seen how merciful He is. When I rest, I will know peace because tomorrow the Lord brings new mercies. It can be hard to fathom after some difficult days in difficult times but it is true with God.

His mercies never end. They are new each day just as the fullness of His love for us is. We cannot take from yesterday or borrow from tomorrow.

The bounty of what God gives to is poured from moment to moment, it is born of His blessed Love.

Tomorrow will be merciful because God is.

Tomorrow the Love of the Lord will be good. There may be “moments”, but He is with us. His mercies are new every morning.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
—Lamentations 3:21-23

© 2020 Linda Willows