How Do I Know I Have a Relationship with Jesus?

Yesterday my husband posed this question at his Bible study. I could not stop thining about it. Here’s my reply:

Let me re-phrase the question to “How do I know I have a relationship with God?” Now, on to definitions:

Relationship: The state of being related (allied/connected) by kindred, affinity (agreement, connection or aggregation—uniting 2 bodies into one), blood or other alliance (union or connection of interests).

God: Creator, Lord, provider, healer, living God, Holy God, peace, God of all knowledge, Redeemer, deliverer, My Rock, My Shepherd, “the Lord is there”, Lord and Master, I AM , . . .

There are various types of relationships—each with a different purpose and yet filling the basic human need to be loved. As a mother and mentor, my relationship with my children is that of leading, guiding and delighting in their successes; as a daughter, I learn honor and respect, my first loves and teachers; friends share interests and do things together; as a member of my local church, I enjoy sharing the ups and downs of daily life week after week; as a neighbor, community interests are shared; and as a teacher, mentoring and encouraging—delighting in the ‘ah ha’ moment.

While considering the broad range of relationship, it occurs to me that they are divided into two categories: 1) given (as in parent/child); and 2) choice (friends, church, career and neighborhood). Relationship with God is by choice. Currently, my primary relationship with God—my choice—is that of Father/daughter-Teacher/student. I often see God as my great, big, all-knowing and all-powerful Father—strong, a tower of refuge—who holds my hand, watching over me wherever I go; whatever I do. He takes joy in me as I do with my own children, smiling with eyes of love and compassion. I see myself as a little 2-year old in a frilly yellow dress, looking up to Him, knowing that my Father can do anything, after all, He is the Great I AM. We are walking the path of life, loving each other and I’m learning to delight in the things that He delights in, fully confident that He will lead me safely home no matter what obstacles we must overcome along the path He has prepared for me.

How kind He is to protect me from knowing everything that I will encounter in this journey called life. He holds my hand today, as we take one step at a time. For instance, last week, true to form, He is adjusting my work load to fit the need at the moment. Because I run the shipping department, work varies tremendously from day to day. When I took my mom to visit my sister for 10 days He practically stopped the orders for almost two weeks. Currently, Nathan needs an income as he is in the midst of changing careers. What is God doing about this? He is providing far more work than I am able to do on my own. He takes care of Nathan too and I, as mom, delight in God my Provider as well as experiencing first-hand Nathan’s incredible work ethic. I love how He is so intimately acquainted with me that He knows how many hairs I have on my head and at the same time He has numbered the stars and calls them by name (which, by current estimate, outnumber all the grains of sand 10 to one). Right now He is taking pleasure in blessing both Nathan and me with a fringe benefit of an improved relationship with my son.

The other aspect of relationship with God that I’ve been so enjoying is that of friendship around common interests. This may be called understanding the ways and acts of God. I take great pleasure in discovering His signature in His creation. It’s as though we’re playing a game of hide-and-go-seek throughout the day as I search for His Fingerprint in the parables of creation. He has placed clues everywhere I go just waiting for me to find them. No matter where I look, He is there; He has left His Fingerprint, and I delight in discovering it.

The story goes that one day the well-known 18th Century theologian John Wesley asked his mother, Susanna, what sin was. Her reply,

Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.” 
   — Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)

My relationship with God is one of taking pleasure in activities and discoveries that increase the tenderness of conscience, my sense of God, and relish of spiritual things. I find great satisfaction in searching for the mathematics of God in creation as He has revealed throughout nature with the Fibonacci sequence in a rose, the petals on a flower, the ocean waves and even my sense of beauty. I also delight in acquiring an elementary understanding of basic science such as electricity. It thrills me to realize the 3 (trinity) requirements for an electric circuit—a power source, something to use that power source, and a solid connection. Wow! Lord, You’ve placed Your Fingerprint there. Last week I learned about the ‘Rock Cycle” and quickly concluded that the most valuable rock is the one that has endured the most heat and pressure for a sustained period of time (because that’s just the way God works).

I am seeking God’s signature in His creation—His individuality, His creativity, His infinity. To uncover His secret messages—from the first word of the Bible, Beginning, literally translated, ”Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be destroyed on a cross” (cf. Is. 46:10, God declares the end from the beginning) to gaining insight into the nature of God through everyday objects like the parable of the pencil where the first of 5 things to learn is that I will be able to do many great things, but only if I allow myself to be held in Someone’s hand. What a joy it is to walk hand-in-hand on this journey of life with Almighty God Who is only too willing to reveal Himself every day everywhere to anyone who is willing to see His signature.

In conclusion, currently, I know that I have a relationship—connected by affinity and alliance—with God—All-knowing, Creator, living Lord and Master, I AM. I think this relationship would best be described as my mission to discover the Fingerprint of God, then taking time to Selah (pause and stand in awe and wonder of my Friend and Father) revealed in His Book of Nature.

Your turn–how do you know that you have a relationship with God?

 

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The creator leaves his mark on his creation

Behind every piece of artwork, musical instrument, song, tree, mountain and person there is a creator. The more complex the creation the more we can learn about the creator behind it.

Take Raphael’s Sistine Madonna for example:

What can you learn about Raphael from just looking at his artwork? What kind of thoughts do you think dominated his mind? Why do you think he chose to be a painter? Do you think he spent much time learning to paint? How did he perceive Jesus and Mary? I hope you took a couple minutes to answer some of these questions about the person behind the painting. Look closely at the cherub angels on the bottom of the painting–what do you see in the caricature he portrayed of them? What time in history did he live? What continent did he live on?

What about this recently created painting? Ask yourself the questions from above about the creator of the butterflies painting.

The creator will always leave his mark on his creation.

What can we learn about God by looking at His creation? A good place to start is Genesis 1, the creation account. It appears to me that God has provided all of creation for us to learn about Him from–that is if we are willing to accept that He is the creator of heaven and earth. He tells us that He created light and darkness/heaven and earth, the sky, vegetation and plant life, the sun, moon and stars, birds of the air and fish of the sea, land animals and people. Can’t think of a thing that He didn’t create. Therefore, it stands to reason that we can learn about God by closely looking at just about anything. If we go back far enough, or delve deep enough into our subject, I believe we will be able to learn something about God and/or a Biblical principle. Job 12:7-10 tells us:

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?

I love Psalm 32:7, “You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. Take a minute to pause and think about it. We can turn to Him in trouble and He will surround us with songs of deliverance.

Consider Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

What can you learn about the creator of this clay lamp used in Bible times? The creator leaves his mark on his creation. The creator used primitive tools to create a functional light. A degree of beauty was attempted through the carving on the lamp, but functionality was of greatest importance to this creator. Paint was not used. Clearly, the creator of this oil lamp was most interested in providing a simple source of light.

Why would you want to know about the creator of an object?

What can someone learn about you by looking at your schoolwork? Your artwork? Your room? Your friendships? What you do in your free time? Do you like what others can learn about you by examining various parts of your life? What small change would you like to make?

Challenge for the Week:

Take 15-20 minutes this week to carefully observe a small portion of creation in nature, a person, the sky or water. Ask God to show you something about Himself in it. Take the time to slow down and think about it. Ask God to reveal something about Himself or a Biblical truth in what you are observing. If you prefer, you could find something that interests you and ask God to teach you about Himself through it. It’s good to ask other people–family, friends, parents, siblings, experts–to help you with this. Or you could do an Internet search or find a book to learn how a thing works and what you can discover about God as a result. Selah.

Here are some ideas to get you going if you need a little boost:

  • Branch, John 15, good branches must be pruned > we must go through trials
  • Tree, Psalm 1, time with God = healthy tree/man
  • Wheat, Jn 12;24, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. > I must die to my selfishness in order to bear much fruit for God.
  • AntsProv. 5:6, Go to the ant you sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise. > they teach us to beware of laziness. This could become a great investigation for anyone.
  • Dog, God gives everyone a companion/friend or Prov. 26:11,“As a dog returns to his vomit, [so] a fool returns to his folly.” > Don’t continue in foolishness.
  • Cow, Gen. 1:26-28, Man is to take dominion over the animals. A cow provides milk, meat, labor and clothing for man.
  • Birds, Mat. 6:26, Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
  • Rose, a beautiful flower yet it has thorns. We must endure trials and hardships before the beauty and aroma of Christ can penetrate our life.
  • Wind, though I cannot see it, I can feel it. An exercise in faith.
  • Water, I have often thought of a drink of water as a special smile from the Lord as He delights in satisfying my thirsty soul.
  • Rainbow, God is light. The rainbow is light broken up into colors. Each color can represent an individual. I have no right to complain if my friend is “blue” and I am “orange.” We need all colors to make up the light.
  • Cat, God likes to give us textures and companions.
  • Horse, God loves grace and beauty.
  • Mountain, Majesty of God; How great thou art!
  • Rock, Jesus is the chief cornerstone

Lord bless and keep you,

Cindy
God’s Fingerprint Detective

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God speaks through Parables, Metaphors and Analogies

God is speaking to us in many ways every day. Today we will look at just 3 ways He communicates with us:

Parables–short stories that are used to teach a truth. For example, the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15:8-9:

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’

Metaphors–Something used to represent something else. For example, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God. God isn’t literally a fortress, but when we say that He is a mighty fortress, this phrase conjures up in our minds something big, safe and strong that we can run to and be safe. That’s a pretty good picture of who God is. Other metaphors would be that God is the potter and I am the clay or the Lord is my shepherd and Jesus Himself said that “I am the light of the world.” What other metaphors can you think of?

Analogies–Similarities between things. Luke 13:18-19 Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed

He said therefore, “what is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.

Matthew 7:24-25 tells us that everyone who hears and does what Jesus says will be like a wise man . . .

who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

The reason for this blog is right there in Matthew 7:24-25: so that when the rain falls, the floods come, and the winds blow and beat on you, that you do not fall because you have been built your inner house on the rock of Jesus Christ.

This series of posts are part of a series of lessons titled: Selah: In the Beginning,

סֶלֶה Selah: Pause and calmly think of that. The actual translation is unknown. The word selah occurs 71 times in 39 Psalms and 3 times in Habakkuk for a grand total of 74 times in the Hebrew Bible.

Psalm 66:4, All the earth will worship You, and will sing praises to You; they will sing praises to Your name. Selah.

A challenge for you this week is to think about becoming God’s Fingerprint detective–to understand some of the ways that the earth worships God, and sings praises to Him. We will explore some ways in the weeks ahead. Until next time, may God be gracious to you and bless you, and cause His face to shine upon you–Selah (Ps 67:1).

Cindy
God’s Fingerprint Detective

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