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You Surround Me

Do you know of the 17th-century monk Brother Lawrence and a compilation of conversations and letters between himself and his bishop called "The Practice of the Presence of God?" I first came across this little book in 1979 when I was a youth pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. It altered my life. I've kept this book close all these years as a reminder and help in returning to God's presence.

Although Brother Lawrence was a monk with very humble duties, he had formerly been a servant to the monastery's treasure and had been very clumsy. He believed that to be saved; he would have to be punished for this clumsiness. Thus he sacrificed all of the pleasures in his life to God. However, God gave him nothing but wholehearted satisfaction rather than punishing him. He would tell the Lord endearingly and often that he felt deceived because his Christian walk had thus far been so pleasant and not filled with suffering as he had anticipated.

Brother Lawrence insisted that to be constantly aware of God's presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with him throughout the day. To think that we must abandon conversation with Him to deal with the world is erroneous. Instead, as we nourish our souls by seeing God in His exaltation, we will derive great joy at being.

Another thing he mentioned was that our faith is too weak. Instead of letting faith rule our lives, we are guided by our petty, every day, mechanical prayers, which are constantly changing. The church's only road to the perfection of Christ is faith. The dear brother remarked that we must give ourselves totally to God in both temporal and spiritual affairs. Our only happiness should come from doing God's will, whether it brings us some pain or great pleasure. After all, if we are truly devoted to doing God's will, pain and pleasure won't make any difference to us.

We also need to be faithful even in dry periods. It is during those dry spells that God tests our love for Him. We should take advantage of those times to practice our determination and surrender to Him. This will often bring us to maturity further on in our walk with God.

Brother Lawrence wasn't surprised by the amount of sin and unhappiness in the world. Instead, he wondered why there wasn't more, considering the extremes to which the enemy is capable of going. He said he prayed about it because he knew God could rectify the situation in a moment if he willed it. He didn't allow himself to become greatly concerned.

To succeed in giving ourselves to God as much as God desires, we must constantly guard our souls. In addition to being involved in spiritual matters, the soul is engaged in the things of this world. However, when we turn our backs on Him exposing our souls to the world, He will not so easily answer our call. When we accept God's help and guard our souls according to His desires, we may commune with Him whenever we like.

Wow, that strikes a chord in me! We have bold and confident access to the Father, yet when we accept His help, there is peace and humility that opens us to profound revelation.

I want to suggest an activation for us. Brother Lawrence writes, "When we are willing to accept God's help and guard our souls according to His desires, we may commune with Him whenever we like." This comment made me desire to check my surrender and turn my trust in all matters to Him. I can have a blind spot in trusting the Father with aspects of my life. When I finally notice these, and generally, these moments are prompted by the Spirit, I can easily turn the matter over to God and trust again.

Would you take five minutes to let the Spirit guide you through a conversation? First, connect with God. Focus on the moment, put away whatever is in front of you, and connect with Him. Second, ask the Spirit to show you any areas where you may not accept God's help. And third, let the Father bring you back into a place of perfect trust.

Here's a link to enjoy this time with some music:

Now it's your turn. Did you enjoy your time with Dad? Did the Spirit guide you into a conversation? We want to hear from you. In the comments below, please write us and let us know what the Father was speaking to you during your time of listening. Until next time activate your voice.

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