As we wrap up celebrating Christmas and start setting goals for the new year, I am humbled to recount past blessings, recognizing the many times God stepped into my life to make adjustments and improvements, as well as comic relief and confidence. I am humbled remembering that before Jesus walked on the Earth, let alone on the water, He was in Heaven with His father and gave all of it up to come be with us. Why? Because since the creation of man and woman (Genesis 1:26), God has desired a relationship with us.
To some, that might sound unusual – how can you have a relationship with the Divine? You can’t have a phone call, go on a walk or chat over coffee with Him.… My answer is similar to how I respond to “why can’t God just tell me what to do?” You need to build into this relationship. And when you do, it’s amazing.
My divine friendship began in high school, so I have many journals filled with my challenges and His blessings. I sit in awe as I re-read these entries and see the pieces God is weaving and revealing in His orchestrated providence. He unconditionally pursues me, and when I am in a season of intentionally pursuing Him, I am most connected to Him (similarly to how I am most connected and in love with my husband when we spend quality time together). Here are a few experiences, that I can now see, of God pursuing me.
Sometimes, all God asks is for us to pray:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.” Colossians 1:9.
Last week on Christmas Eve, I was reminded of the invitation to be a prayer warrior when an unexpected phone call rang. It was from Mr. Mark, the bus driver from our former school. He wanted to let my family know that his heart is doing great and that his cancer is still in remission. He is celebrating Christmas with his children and over 15 grandchildren! As typical, he was super exuberant and joyful. What made this wonderful news sweeter was a year prior I received my first out-of-the-blue call from Mr. Mark. I had never talked faith with him. Honestly, we never had much of a conversation, as the bus stops are pretty quick. Mainly just lots of big smiles, shouts of ‘have a great day’, and some inquiring about his health pre and post-chemo. Yet in those exchanges and our waves, a friendship blossomed. I believe God led Mr. Mark to call me, so I could offer for my family to pray for him. But instead of four people praying for him, thanks to group messaging, I was able to share these prayer requests with a hundred moms in our community. Guess what? Many families adore Mr. Mark and stormed the Heavens with prayers for his safety and healing. What a blessing it was that he shared his thanks and good health a year later with this same community.
*How can we use intercessory prayer to provide glory strength when others need our Father’s strength, as well as to build up our own prayer life? (Ephesians 3:14-19).
Sometimes, like the shepherds, we need to race after God:
And the Shepherds hurried off and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. (read Luke 2:10-17).
Reading my journal recently reminded me of a season I was nudged to become bolder in my witness of Jesus’ love. I had been reading the Old Testament daily when the prompting occurred and within days an opportunity arose. I was having coffee with a business acquaintance and she challenged me to provide proof of Heaven. She wanted to know that she will see her recently deceased dad again. I knew she grew up in church, but I still started with the only Truth necessary: salvation and eternal life. At the end of the coffee, both of us in tears, she commented that she thought her dad had spoken through me, directly in response to a note she received about keeping her dad’s faith alive. In our follow-up emails and shared scripture, I explained God has talked with me: through nature, mission trips, friends, music, a vision of my Grandpa, and scripture. It was her response that emphasized the importance of building confidence in our witness and emboldening our voice.
“I was reading some of these scriptures with one of my best friends — her brother was killed in an accident about two weeks after my dad’s funeral. It’s been a blessing in disguise to have someone to grieve with. But I want you to know that your thoughts below touched more than just one person. We’ve only met once, but Kristie you’ve already made quite an impact on me and those around me. Thank you.”
*How can we be more like the Shepherds, eager to be in the presence of Jesus Christ? How can we talk more about what He is doing in our life?
Sometimes, like the Magi, God’s path will take us on a less-than-direct route:
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (summarized Matthew 2:9-12).
A few years ago, my father-in-law was in the hospital with pneumonia. Prior to visiting, we were asked not to talk of Jesus or politics. As my children and I were there, the hospital Chaplain came in and asked if he could pray blessings over him. It was the Chaplain’s first visit since my father-in-law was admitted a few days prior. He prayed straight from the heart about the Holy Spirit. The Chaplain then asked if we could all place hands of healing on my father-in-law as he anointed his forehead and palms. It was meaningful and moving. Many had tears in their eyes. As he was leaving, the Chaplain looked at my children and me and said, “The presence around you is beautiful. You shine the Holy Spirit and it drew me into this room. Thank you for inviting me in.”
Wow. We were asked not to speak of Jesus, yet He made His presence clear. The Holy Spirit, though invisible, won’t be hidden or quieted. The Magi also understood something spiritual was happening and they were drawn to it.
Speaking of the Magi, my husband’s friend Phillip has his birthday on the Epiphany, my husband has his on Christmas. There have been years of friendly banter of which day is more important: The birth of Christ or the 12th day after Christmas (January 6) celebrating Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. How blessed are we that God came to earth: to live among us, and from His very birth, He offers salvation not just to Israel, but to all. So, when asked what’s the true meaning of Jesus’ birth, you can confidently say “because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1: 21, also see Isaiah 7:14.
*How can we intentionally pursue a relationship with God? Trust me, He is pursuing you! We have another week before the Epiphany. Please join me in receiving God’s Divine invitation of friendship: ponder how you have been pursued by the Most High, and decide how you can prioritize time to get to know Him (Bible), interact daily (devotional books and podcasts), connect through worship music, and talking aloud to Him about your hopes and dreams. 💗
Lord, please continue to pursue me. I promise to prioritize You daily in my life. I am humbled to see how You have orchestrated friendships, Heaven-inspired conversations, and Spirit-to-Spirit connections to reveal Yourself to others. Please prompt me to journal more often, so I can continue to look back and praise the work You perform daily. And when busyness steals me away, please nudge me back to intimate, quiet times with You. Your loving daughter.
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