The Whole Affect

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I have always had questions… Lots of questions… Especially when it came to Jesus, God and Holy Spirit… But one question continued to surface, in particular, over and over again after I gave my life to Jesus in 1983, at a Bible Study, in Auburn, Alabama… called “Rats” ...

It was at that point that I realized that just going to and sitting in church didn’t make me a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s made me a hamburger… It was in one of those Monday nights that “I Surrendered All” … or so I thought…

 

I plugged in immediately to a wonderful church in the area… and then the questions really began… In my heart I would tell The Lord, I wanted EVERYTHING that He had for me…pretty much on a daily basis…but something was missing…

 

Like any new Christian, I was encouraged  to read my Bible every day and pray… I was given tools, books and teachings on how to do that… and like everyone else, I thought, I became a “Good” Christian… I could check off the box… every day… I had read my Bible and prayed…Until the day came that I didn’t have time to “participate” in these habits… something important had come up… or  I was required to be somewhere… or do something that I had no control over… or just didn’t “feel” like it… Then the feelings of “Good” Christian changed to “Not so Good” Christian… And, I will say that I lived in that mind set for 30 plus years…but still….

 

Something was missing… 

 

Through those years, my feelings about myself and my “worthiness” would be up or down… depending on my performance as a “Good” Christian… Now there were a lot of other indicators that I used to decide if I was “Good” or “Not so Good” … like getting angry and having a complete melt down… or spending too much money, eating too much… the list would go on and on…

 

What was missing?

 

 

Doesn’t the Bible say in Ephesians 2:8-9, (NASB)…

 

            “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,

              It is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

 

Hmmm…Isn’t it grace through faith… NOT works... At least that is what my Bible seemed to say… But  my BIG question was… What is missing in reading my Bible or praying?... Something obviously is!! Did I think that I was doing it for God?  Maybe to win His favor?? … or … did I think in my mind that I must have been doing it for myself? In my heart, I knew I wasn’t feeling more connected to God… I was doing what I was “supposed” to… and praying… Does He even hear me? Do I really have to do this to be a “Good Christian”? I guess… maybe… to have my needs and desires met? My prayers answered?... But it all seemed empty…

 

We are all made for connection… every one of us… I was desperately wanting connection with The Lord, but had no idea how to get there… And to be quite honest, I am still learning…

 

About 12 years ago, through a REALLY tough series of events… that I actually thought was going to “kill” me… but in all actuality… saved my life spiritually… I heard Kim Walker Smith, sing “How He Loves Us”, and somewhere in one of her live recordings of this song, she stops and says something like this…

 

“His Presence, His Love is so thick and tangible in this room tonight… and there are some of you here who have not encountered The Love of God, and tonight God wants to encounter you and wants you to fee His Love, His Amazing Love…without it these are just songs; these are just words; these are just instruments. Without the Love of God, we are just making noise… but the Love of God changes us, and we are never the same, we are never the same after we encounter the Love of God… we are never the same after we encounter The Love of God… And right now if you haven’t encountered The Love of God…AND YOU WOULD KNOW… BECAUSE YOU WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN… and if you want to encounter The Love of God right now… you better just brace yourself (as I can feel His Presence all over me as I am typing this!)… because He is about to just blow in this place… and we are going to encounter The Love of God….Right Now…….So God…right now I speak to all the hearts, and I ask God that every heart be opened, right now, every heart be opened, every spirit be opened up, to You, God,

to You, and a Love Encounter, a Love Encounter from You tonight, a Love Encounter from You tonight…”

 

 

 

And to be quite honest… my life completely began to change… COMPLETELY… I had “done” all the right stuff… followed all the rules, participated in all the “Christianhabits… NOT because I WANTED to… but for some unspoken religious “rule” … I HAD to!! It was expected of me…  And, for the first time ever, I realized that I did not really KNOW the Love of God... as in Ephesians 3:19 (AMP)…

 

 

      “…and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of

       Christ which far surpasses {mere}knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled

       up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest

       experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God

        Himself].”

 

The scripture above is what I actually began to pray for myself, as well as my entire family… I began the journey of “Knowing” Father God over knowing “about” Father God… and there is quite a difference between the two… I can know about certain people… like George Bush or Donald Trump…

I can know the color of their hair, or I can get an idea of where they live, their favorite colors etc., through doing a web search… BUT, I do not personally “Know” them… I haven’t spent time with either of them, sitting down with them for coffee and asking them personal questions that only those closest to them would dare to ask… finding out what makes them tick… what brings them joy… or what brings them sadness… or what are the desires of their hearts…

I don’t actually “Know” them…

 

On that day, about 12 years ago, something supernatural happened in my heart… I realized that I didn’t actually “Know” Father God, as my oldest son would say, through something like a

Covenant” relationship… How a wife “knows” her husband… or a husband “knows” his wife… I didn’t actually “Know” how much Jesus loved me… But, at that moment when I heard Kim Walker Smith sing “Oh How He Loves”, something in my heart shifted… I knew that when she said… If we really knew the love of God, we would be different… our lives would have changed… and I wanted THAT!!! 

 

Thus, began an incredible season of “getting” to spend time with Jesus… as opposed to “having” to… getting to read my Bible, getting to worship Him... just Him and me… getting to pray and spend time with Him… Actually “Connecting” to His Spirit… What had once been a chore, became a complete joy. No more of the checking off the “to-do” list… Or every day to feel “Good” about myself…

 

 

How about you? Are you tired of checking off a list of things that you “should do”… where Father God is concerned? Are you ready to “connect” with The One who loves you completely?  Who delights in you totally and wants to “Know” you and your heart intimately!

If so, repeat this prayer out loud…

 

Jesus, I thank You so much that you love ME!!! I thank You that you desire to spend time with

Me… that you want to “Connect” with Me!! Please forgive me for living my life based on performance and following “rules” over getting to really “Know” You intimately… Please forgive me for believing the lie that I am required to check off the list of things I should do in order to please you… and be “Good” … and I forgive those who unknowingly taught me those lies… I come out of agreement with those lies… And I come into agreement with Your Truth…That You LOVE Me and desire to spend time with me… and that you actually enjoy ME!

 

I don’t know about you...but in the past, whenever I try to be more healthy in a single area of my life, the rest of the areas of my life tend to lack any kind of improvement and sometimes take steps backwards!  For instance, when I’m training for a 26.2 mile marathon, I’m so focused on making sure I get all of my running and workouts in...that I can really slack in the amount of sleep I get or in how healthy my eating is.  I’m so focused on the running, that the other areas fall behind.

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