Category Archives: #VERLANGE

He wants us even closer to Him


Today I read again that God loves us and that He has a plan for each and everyone of us. My heart is stiring with in me as I ponder on this… I can hear our Lord calling us to intimacy – we might think that we are having an intimate relationship with Him, but He wants us even closer to Him.

What is this new move of God all about? The only way we will ever know is when we stay close to Him, spend time with Him and are willing to let go of whatever is hindering us to take the next step. Yes it is all about being willing and obedient, but willingness and obedience is useless if we are not close enough to hear Him… if we can’t hear His word, we can’t be obedient to His word…

Our hearts desires needs to be focused on Him and Him alone. Not on being useful, obedient or worthy, but on Him…

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2).

We have to follow Him through this season, no matter what – for the joy that is before us… for He is the author and finisher of our faith and also the giver of it…

Hunger and thirst after Him… That you may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (Phil.3:10)…
We need to walk so close to Him that we should know, feel and experience His every move – not being followers of the movement or move of God, but followers of Christ…

May we be found in Him – walking Him, eating Him, breathing Him…

Toe


Toe ek gebore is, wou swakheid my steel
Sy Asem was sterker
Toe hartseer my siel wou neem
was Sy vreugde meer
Toe donker my wou oorrompel
was Sy lig helderste
Toe sonde my hande wou verhard
was Sy vergifnis sagter
Toe leuens my hart binne dring
was Sy Waarheid dieper
Toe selfmoord my wou wegneem
was Sy plan groter
Toe ek wou opgee
was Sy sterk-staan vasster
Toe ek wou ophou liefhê
was Sy Liefde warmer

Nog voor ek was, was Hy.
Nog voor ek kon praat, praat Hy in my.
Nog voor ek kon loop, loop Hy langs my.
Nog voor ek geweet het wat mooi is, was ek mooi vir Hom.
Nog voor ek enige iemand was, was ek Syne.
Nog voor tyd was, was Hy en my mure voor Hom.
Nog voor ek in ‘n geveg betrokke was, het Hy my klaar gered.

Ek hoort en behoort teen Sy borskas en Hy in my hart…

Nog voor ek my verlang geken het,
Het ek na Jesus van Nasaret
Verlang…

© Paula van der Merwe

Kenosis / self-emptying


If one is empty, then one is also open and able to receive what the Lord has to give.

Christian spiritual life means being animated by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ. The life of holiness to which all believers in Christ are called is one of ever greater resonance to the Spirit of Christ. That Spirit reminds us that even though “His state was divine, He did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the conditions of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross…” (Phil. 2:6-8).

If God is understood as Father, Son, Spirit toward us, for us, with us, and in us, then our response to this communion must lie in setting aside, standing apart from or above self-absorption, moving beyond self-preoccupation, self-indulgence, self-fixation. Holiness rests in becoming persons conformed to the image of God in us, being toward and for another, for others and for God. [Downey, Altogether Gift: A Trinitarian Spirituality, 106].

Our fundamental desire and motivation is for God and the fullness of love, even if we are not consciously aware of it. Since we do not encounter God directly through our senses and concepts, we are drawn to what we can feel, see and grasp. We expect these things to satisfy us, without realizing that we are drawn to them only because they point to their Creator, the One for whom we truly long. We may even find our attraction to them becoming compulsive and destructive. This destroys our freedom. We allow these attachments to control our lives. Eventually, we discover that some attachments are obstacles to our deepest motivation and desire. We want to love God with all our heart and soul and mind, and love one another as ourselves. Yet, we find our hearts given elsewhere, our souls compelled by something else. [May, The Dark Night of the Soul , 58-62].

Self-emptying is a deliberate attack on our illusions and attachments. It is a turning away from abstraction in favor of what is actually present to us. It is the realization of our human limits. It is immersion in an environment in which our capacities are reduced to nothing and we are at the mercy of God to shape his will in us. An acknowledgement of our humanity before God, that we will always be developing and in process, is the beginning of self-emptying. [Kevin M. Cronin, Kenosis: Emptying Self and the Path of Christian Service (New York: Continuum, 1999), 19-20].

Rahner describes self-emptying when he speaks of leading our life such that we forget ourselves for God, when we love him, praise him, and thank him. Spiritual life in grace means that we realize the inner divine life in ourselves; it means waiting for eternity in faith, hope, and love, bearing the darkness of human existence; it means not identifying oneself just with this world. [Karl Rahner, Spiritual Exercises (New York: Herder and Herder, 1956), 318].

Self-emptying finds concrete expression in our response to the experience of loss. This can be the loss of a loved one to death, the loss of a job or the loss of status among one’s peers. This can also be experienced as change, such as in the loss of youthful vigour and the signs of advancing age as we approach the middle years of life. [Mary Ann McPherson Oliver, Conjugal Spirituality: The Primacy of Mutual Love in Christian Tradition (Kansas City, MO: Sheed & Ward, 1994), 37]. Our children grow up and move out on their own. It is painful to let go of them and the parent-child relationship that is important to us. Yet, from the letting go, the loss of the parent-child relationship, there emerges something new. We discover a parent-adult child relationship that allows a greater depth and reciprocity than was ever possible in the more unidirectional parent-child relationship. The self-transcendence that ultimately enriches everyone involved is only possible by accepting the loss of what was. The Resurrection was only possible after the Crucifixion.

A man cannot enter into the deepest centre of himself and pass through that centre into God, unless he is able to pass entirely out of himself and empty himself and give himself to other people in the purity of a selfless love. [Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1949; reprint, New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1960), 41 (page citations are to the reprint edition)].

“Openness” is the result of self-emptying. If one is empty, then one is also open and able to receive what the Lord has to give. It is acceptance of the transcendent, a willingness to go out beyond the present circumstances. Self-emptying is not fruitful unless it is also open to other possibilities. Self-emptying/openness is generative.

FROM: http://atwstories.tripod.com/christianspirituality/id8.html
An Introductory Course in Christian Spirituality

Cronin sees kenosis as a “…resolute divesting of the person of every claim of self interest so as to be ready to live the Gospel of Christ in every aspect of living, freed from the dictates of personal preferences…,”[Cronin, K. M. 1992. Kenosis. Rockport: Element.].

I think that John said it best : He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

What is your concept of kenosis?

Intimacy and Worship


To be intimate is to be detailed, inner or close, familiar and personal. In our walk with God we have to become intimate with Him. I do not think that it is possible to have only intimacy, when intimacy becomes true (real) worship becomes part of it. As you grow deeper in your worship toward God intimacy becomes part of your worship and in this time of intimacy (closeness) with God your worship and adoration toward Him grows more and more.

In this walk with God we learn that we need Him more than anything.

We need God and oxygen, in that specific order.
(Luana Bekker)

Oswald Chambers explains it this way:

It is possible to know all about doctrine and yet not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when knowledge of doctrine outsteps intimate touch with Jesus. Why was Mary weeping at Jesus’ grave? Doctrine was no more to Mary than the grass under her feet. Any Pharisee could have made a fool of Mary doctrinally, but one thing they could not ridicule out of her was the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her; yet His blessings were nothing in comparison to Himself. Mary “saw Jesus standing and knew not that it was Jesus…“; immediately when she heard the voice, she knew she had a past history with the One who spoke. “Master!” she responded…

Have I been doubting something about Jesus—an experience to which others testify but which I have not had? The other disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus, but Thomas doubted—”Except I shall see. . . , I will not believe.” Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When His touches come, or how they come, we do not know, but when they do come they are indescribably precious. “My lord and my God!” he responded…

Peter had denied Jesus Christ with oaths and curses, and yet after the Resurrection Jesus appeared to Peter alone. He restored him in private, then He restored him before the others. “Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” he responded…

My Utmost for His Highest (August 16) (Copyright © 1935)

We are totally and utterly depended on God and the sooner we realise this the better…

…God designed the human machine to run on God Himself.
Mere Christianity (P.50 2002 Ed.)(Copyright © 1942)

Do you have a personal history with Jesus Christ – an intimate connection with Him, a knowledge of Jesus Christ which nothing can shake? Does it bring you to a place of worship and adoration?

Intimacy must flow naturally (the supernatural becomes natural), but we do not know anymore how to let it flow. The world we live in has become a cold and hard place and there is no space for intimacy or worship.

Intimacy is the process of sharing the details of life with someone close to you and worship is the way you share it in respect and by giving honour. Each and every relationship has both of these aspects intertwined into it and we need to allow it to grow in our relationship with God.

Intimacy grows as you share every aspect of your life with God – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. Do those things which you have also learned and received and heard and seen in me. And the God of peace shall be with you.
(Philippians 4:6-9.)

During this process God honours your closeness by telling you who He created you to be and your adoration toward Him explodes into worship.

This process also teaches you intimacy and worship in all your other relationships – parents and kids, husbands and wives, friends and also family.

This process creates an atmosphere of trust, respect, loyalty, honesty and integrity, which are the keys to good relationships.

It is not about knowledge, power or strength, but it is about relationship. We need to take hold of the simplicity of this gift and start living a life enjoying everything around us. Knowing that even our intimacy and worship has a purpose that will carry this message to whom ever needs to hear it.

To be able to do this you need to know Him and hear Him when He calls you…

My beloved I have given MY everything for you…

O come, come away with ME…

He calls us out (of life, religion, rejection, pain, fear…) into HIM, for “in HIM we live and move and have our being” – our very existence…
(Acts 17:28.)

…Rise up, My love, My beautiful one, and come away… Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come away. O My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me see your face, let Me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is beautiful.
(Song of Solomon 2:10-14.)

After hearing His call will you then respond and go with Him and spend some time alone with Him…

Then you shall call on Me, and you shall go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you shall seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:12-13.)

Are you seeking Him when He calls?

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones.
(James 4:8.)

Are you willing to lay down that which keeps you from seeking Him?

What is there in your life that destroys this life of intimacy and worship?

Do you have a desire to be intimate with your heavenly Father?

There is only one way to break through all of these hindrances and that is to take a step into the unknown and start sharing your whole life with Him. He is your Father and desires for you to come to Him.

Go to a place where you can be alone with Him, laugh with Him, cry with Him and talk to Him. Share your heart with Him through every pain and hurt, but also every joy and excitement.

This is how you learn to trust Him and your love and adoration toward Him grows more and more… it is then that you come to a place of true worship.

Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28.)

I pray that our Lord may guide your thoughts and decisions. May He live in your heart and hold your soul in His hand. May He grant you what you need and give wings to your dreams as you grow closer and closer to Him in willingness and obedience.

Therefore I also, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and love to all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of His mighty strength which He worked in Christ in raising Him from the dead, and He seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies,
(Ephesians 1:15-20.)

For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.
(Luke 12:12.)

Come now, and let us reason together, says Jehovah; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you
refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.
(Isaiah 1:18-20.)

Intimiteit met God


Jy kan ‘n intieme verhouding met God hê, maar jy moet eers intimiteit verstaan. Ek wil dit duidelik maak dat intimiteit nie oor die seksuele gaan nie (ek hoop dit sal ‘n paar mense in die huwelik ook kan help). Intimiteit gaan oor liefde, verantwoordelikheid, aanspreeklikheid, aanvaarding,vertroue en waarheid (egtheid).

Elke mens is geskape met ‘n “sense of belonging” wat baie dieper gaan as om te weet wie jy is en waarom jy hier is. Ja dit is waar, jy moet dit weet, maar dit is net die oppervlakte van ‘n dieper bestaan van lewe. Jy moet vertroue en waarheid ten volle kan uitleef teenoor jouself en ander mense, dus begin by self. Wie is jy en watter waarhede van jouself kan jy op staat maak. (What about me can I trust completely?) Ek praat nie van die negatiewe nie, dus gladnie iet soos “I know I’m going to fail” nie. Waarmee of waarin is jy goed, wat hou jy van en geniet jy om te doen?

Dit verg soms ‘n ontdekkingsreis wat jy moet maak. Ons mense is so gewoond aan die alledaagse dat ons nie altyd in staat is om dieper dinge raak te sien nie. Hierdie soeke na self kan in elke geval nie alleen gedoen word nie, maar jy het nodig om God te vra om die reis saam met jou te maak. ‘n eenvoudige gebed kan hiermee help:

Hemel Vader ek bid en vra dat U seblief U Heilige Gees saam met my op hierdie ontdekkingsreis sal laat gaan, sodat ek die volle waarheid van myself kan ontdek. In Jesus naam.

Sodra jy in waarheid teenoor jouself kan optree sal jy gou leer om dit teenoor ander mense te doen. Dus leer jy om ander mense te vertrou en hulle te aanvaar net soos hulle is. Hierdie aanvaarding gee dan geboorte aan liefde, dus eers liefde vir jouself en dan ook liefde vir ander. Verantwoordelikheid en aanspreeklikheid volg dan as gevolg van die liefde en waarheid waarin jy lewe.

Jesus het gesê:

…jy moet die Here jou God liefhê uit jou hele hart en uit jou hele siel en uit jou hele verstand en uit jou hele krag. Dit is die eerste gebod. En die tweede, hieraan gelyk, is dit: Jy moet jou naaste liefhê soos jouself. Daar is geen ander gebod groter as die nie.
(Mark 12:30-31.)

As jy liefde, verantwoordelikheid, aanspreeklikheid, aanvaarding,vertroue en waarheid kan uitleef verstaan jy intimiteit en is jy in staat om intieme verhoudings met God en ander mense te hê.

Ek dink ‘n mens kan Johannes 4:23 ook nou beter verstaan, want waarheid het te doen met intimiteit…

Maar daar kom ‘n uur, en dit is nou, wanneer die ware aanbidders die Vader in gees en waarheid sal aanbid; want die Vader soek ook mense wat Hom so aanbid.
(Johannes 4:23.)

Om intimiteit met God volkome te beleef, moet jy as mens iets baie dieper verstaan. God het jou lief!

Omdat jy kostelik is in my oë, hooggeag is, en Ek jou nog altyd liefgehad het, daarom gee Ek mense in jou plek en volke vir jou lewe.
(Jesaja 43:4.)

Ja ek weet dit is soms baie moeilik om te glo of te begryp dat God jou so baie liefhet en dit net omdat Hy jou gevorm het diep in jou moeder se skoot.

Dit is hierdie besef en wete wat jou hele lewe sal verander – jou wese, jou denke…
Dit is nie ‘n begrip wat jy kennis van dra nie, of met jou kop verstaan nie, dit is ‘n liefde wat baie dieper strek as wat jy werklik kan begryp en dit ego diep binne in jou sonder einde “Ek het jou Lief… Ek het jou Lief… Ek het jou Lief… Ek het jou Lief…”

Wees nie bevrees nie, want Ek het jou verlos; Ek het jou by jou naam geroep; jy is myne!
(Jesaja 43:1.)

As ek maar net die woorde gehad het om dit beter te verduidelik, want hierdie verhouding tussen jou en God is iets wat jy moet leer om te koester. Lees meer oor hoe groot rol intimiteit in jou verhouding met God speel in Intimacy and Worship.

Die langpad…


Ek was hierdie naweek by ‘n troue op Musina…
Dit was ‘n lang pad gewees met pragtige natuurskoon en uitroepe van drome en herinneringe…

Ek was diep verlore in die samevloei van herinneringe en verlange. Die oop vlaktes en dan die berge het my weggevoer tussen die groen glans en smarag beelde soos ‘n arend wat afduik en tussen die bome en plant verdwyn. Sag is die groen wat my omvou soos ‘n moskombers en dan… hard en koud is die kristal van smarag wat teen my druk en plek plek diep deur die vel sny… ‘n rooi druppel bloed wat stadig teen die koue smarag af loop en dan effens verbruin en verdroog soos die lewe daaruit verdwyn…

Drome en verlange wat saamgesmelt verander in die verfkwas van Pierneef soos die kunswerke voor my elke detail uitbasuin!

Dit is dan al wat oorbly – die rus en vrede wat net hier gevind kan word, in die asemrowende prag van Sy handewerk…

En dit alles word meer as net die moeite werd, hierdie langpad van my.

Waarheen trek jou hart?


Daar is baie wat sou sê dat verlange ‘n mors van tyd is, ander dat dit nodig is en ook die wat nie verlange kan verstaan nie..

As jy ‘n oomblik van verlange en nostalgie beleef, waarheen trek jou hart?
Droom jy ook oor dit wat was of kon gewees het met gedagtes vas genael aan ‘n plek of ‘n persoon?

Wat vir my die meeste uistaan is die soeke na Hom. Ek wil altyd weet wat HY daaroor voel of sou sê… wat beleef Hy in hierdie gedagtegange van my?

Tog is daar ook altyd ‘n verlange na Hom – asof ek iets van Hom ken en beleef het maar nie op die oomblik dit verstaan of beleef nie. Die soeke na Hom word dan verander na ‘n diep verlange – soos ‘n hert wat smag na waterstrome… (Psalm 42:1.)

En so trek my hart na Hom… ‘n diep verlange, ‘n smagting na my God!