'Passionately Connecting With God'
by Travis Wiginton
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As I was thinking about 'PASSION' for this week's paper, there were two devotionals in 'Our Daily Bread' dealing with 'PASSION'. I felt that was an 'underlining' from God.
Also this week, we heard the word 'PASSION' in a conversation with friends who were talking about someone they knew, who claims to be very 'Passionate' about something. As we listened, we realized that 'Passion' can sometimes be mis-guided, so we hope that this paper can help draw us closer to Jesus' example and the Word of God.
Let me share a few thoughts by one of Daily Bread's authors, Anne Cetas:
"Passion is connecting with God. Sometimes our relationship with the Lord is 'side by side' rather than 'face to face'. Important, but not intimate. Do you ever feel that way?
You talk to the Lord a little bit, read His Words in the Bible, but don't sense a passionate connection with Him."
She quoted Scotty Smith who wrote:
pursues us in our restlessness...
receives us in our sinfulness...
holds us in our broken-ness".
A major league baseball player announced his retirement saying,
"All of a sudden, that PASSION wasn't there anymore. Physically, I think I could still do it. But something that I had loved my whole life and had such a PASSION for....
became a major job for me. It is not like it used to be."
I wonder if this is a picture of many people today, even Christian folk?
My Christmas paper dealt with 'Never lose the wonder of it all', but let's add...
'Never lose the close passionate relationship and fellowship with the Lord'!
We MUST recapture the fervor that fueled the earlier days in our Christian life.
Even when a church seems to have landed on 'high center', we must ask ourselves
(as a part of the body of Christ),
"Am I a part of the problem (low PASSION) or solution (higher PASSION)?"
Our Risen Lord praised the Church in Ephesus for 'faithful service' and 'perseverance'....
but added "Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works".
Here are some good Scriptures to help us move from 'low to higher' PASSION:
1) Luke 2:49: Jesus at 11 yrs. of age said, "I must be about my Father's business".
It was full time for Jesus and should be for us, too!
I don't necessarily mean 'vocational'....but ALL of life!
Vs. 52 tells us: "Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man."
He never lost His PASSION for God.
2) In John 4:4: Jesus said "I must needs go through Samaria".
Jesus had an appointment by God to a lady who needed His fellowship and care.
Filled with PASSION for her Savior, she went back to her village and many came to see
(and know) Jesus through her witness.
3) In Matthew 4:17:
Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand".
Later in Luke 13:3-5: "Except you repent, you shall perish".
4) Matthew 8:21-22:
"One of his disciples said to him, "Lord allow me first to go and bury my father"...
but Jesus said unto him, "Follow me and let the dead bury the dead'.
His father was not dead at the time, but Jesus was emphasizing the thought that 'His Will and Way are to supercede all other relationships.
5) Matthew 5:43-48 teaches the 'Passion for love' for any and everyone, no matter 'who' nor 'what'. Jesus fought hard against the Pharisees who put emphasis on the Law...
to the neglect of Grace.
Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught 'Salvation by Grace through Faith and not of ourselves...it is the Gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast'.
6) Matthew 16:24:
"If anyone will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." The Cross is the Passion of Christ.
It will not mean much to us until...we accept it not only by 'lip of confession'...
but also by 'a life of Christ-likeness'.
John 15 is a great chapter on 'I am the Vine...you are the branches'.
In preparing this paper, God gave me 'key words' for Victorious Christian Living...
In TOUCH with God:
A great old song says, "He Touched me and oh the Joy that fills my soul"
In TUNE with God:
God gives a song even in the night, no matter what we face. (Job 35:10)
In all things...and keep on pressing the Upward Way.
TRUTHFUL in Prayer:
Our prayers will not mean much to God...until they mean much to us.
TRUSTWORTHY in Discipleship:
Be all that you claim to be....
Know the Promises....and claim them!
Jesus summed this up in Matthew 28:18-20.
Read it and be BLESSED, follow it with PASSION.
'Love Divine All Love Excelling'
"Love Divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
Come, almighty to deliver,
Let us all thy grace receive;
Suddenly return, and never,
Never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.
Finish then thy new creation
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee,
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise!"
Words by Charles Wesley (1707-88)
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Thank you once again for sharing this beautiful article on passion with us. Yes, we must feel passion as we connect with Him, if we are to truly connect with Him. Both of you show much passion in your work as you put out these monthly articles. Thank you SO much! I love you both, your friend, Sharon
It is only through the great love and mercy of our Father that he made me choose to have your great consoling messages forwarded to me! I thank you very heartily Pastor, my prayers are ongoing for you both my precious brother and sister. May our heavenly Father bless you daily...For you are part of the joy of the Lord in me...Amen