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Ignite the Journey: Connection

Join author Randy Wilhelm in the latest "Ignite the Journey" blog post series. Get ready to reflect on your own growth journey and gain insight on how to navigate obstacles and seize opportunities.


A Personal Journey Toward Abiding with Jesus


In the rich tapestry of my life, each thread that's intricately woven represents my experiences, relationships, and the defining moments that shape who I am. Journeying through various seasons—be it of joy, sorrow, triumph, or defeat—I've come to recognize not just my own brokenness but also the profound beauty and strength that lies within my imperfections. 


It's through this very acknowledgment of my flaws that I've discovered my true identity in Christ. Embracing the understanding that I am deeply loved by Him, despite my shortcomings.


As a husband, father, and entrepreneur, my faith journey has been a testament to the transformative power of connecting with God amidst the complexities and challenges of life. This divine connection has served both as my anchor in storms and my compass during moments of uncertainty. It has helped to guide me through turbulent waters to find a sense of stillness and peace.


God’s guidance is always near through the seemingly lazy river of daily life. The question, "Hey, what church do you go to?" is often posed in my presence. Sometimes it is out of genuine curiosity. Other times, albeit inadvertently, the question carries a hint of judgment. This query, while seemingly straightforward, unravels layers of meaning about belonging, belief, and our spiritual paths.


I've come to realize that “church” transcends the physical confines of a building. Church embodies the collective heart and soul of those who call it their spiritual home. It's a reflection of the values and culture those who attend choose to adopt as a community of believers, showcasing how to treat one another and engage with the broader community.


In my church community, we've been deeply exploring the essence of what it means to "be with Jesus." This journey invites us to walk alongside Him, to truly abide in Him, drawing inspiration from the vivid imagery in John 15:4-5 (NLT):  "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."


This passage has laid the foundation for my life's endeavors. By teaching me the profound truth that apart from Him, my efforts, achievements, and failures lack genuine meaning. Admittedly, I've struggled with the concept of abiding; it's been an area of weakness for me.


Recently however, I've embarked on a transformative journey to learn and practice the principle of abiding. To do so has brought unparalleled clarity and peace into my life. During those serene moments of prayer, in the quiet stillness before dawn, I've felt a deep connection with God. Been reminded that I am not the vine but merely a branch, drawing strength and nourishment from an Everlasting Source.



Prayer has been the lifeline in my relationship with God. It's through prayer that I've navigated the intricacies of dealing with family, friends, challenging clients, leading a team, and making impactful decisions. In the times when the weight of these responsibilities threatened to overwhelm me, prayer offered solace and guidance.


I often find myself in prayer, laying my fears and frustrations before God. Each time, without fail, He has met me in my moments of brokenness, providing comfort and assurance. 


Through these intimate conversations with my Father, I've been able to calm the whirlwind of my thoughts, finding solace in the truth that "He is God" (Psalm 46:10). This deep, abiding trust transcends mere intellectual understanding. It's a heartfelt assurance that He is in control, fully aware of my needs and desires, and covering me in His unconditional love.


My faith journey has illuminated the understanding that connecting with God extends beyond the confines of prayer or church attendance. This connection manifests in my daily acts of love, kindness, and integrity. It influences how I conduct my business. The ways I am led to nurture my family, and to foster my friendships. 


Ultimately, my identity in Christ shapes every facet of my life. It urges me to live out my faith with authenticity and courage as a pilgrim on this voyage of life. My connection with God flourishes as I am willing to be vulnerable while embracing my identity as a beloved child of the King.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

To all who love Jesus, who acknowledge their brokenness yet understand their worth in Christ, I invite you to delve deeper into your own relationship with God. Let's transcend the superficial inquiries of life and instead ask one another, "How are you abiding with Jesus?" For it's in this abiding presence that we discover our truest selves, deeply connected to God and shining His love in every aspect of our existence.


Some Practical Steps to Abiding with Jesus:

  • Start your day in prayer, immersing yourself in the scriptures. Let this be a time of openness and stillness, listening for His guidance.  Building the practice and desire to abide with Him.  

  • Allow God's Word to permeate your thoughts and actions, guiding your decisions and shaping your day. Meditation on His teachings can profoundly transform your outlook, aligning your life more closely with His will.

  • Keep a gratitude journal, noting daily the blessings you're thankful for with prompts like, "Thank you, God for…" This practice not only cultivates a heart of gratitude but also deepens your love for Him, not for what God has given, but because God knows you, sees you, and loves you as His own.


PRAYER

Lord, I ask for the grace to truly abide in You. To walk alongside You every moment of my life. Help me to draw strength and sustenance from our relationship. To recognize that apart from You, I can do nothing. Teach me the beauty of dependence on You, that in acknowledging my weakness, I find Your strength. I pray for those like me who have struggled to abide, and who find it difficult to stay connected in the busyness and challenges of life. May Your Spirit guide me back to the stillness where I can hear Your voice, feel Your presence, and be reminded of my true identity as Your beloved child. Pour down Your blessings, granting me a renewed desire to seek You, and to find rest in Your love. May my life bear much fruit as a testament to Your grace and glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Randy Wilhelm: A entrepreneur at heart and devoted Jesus follower, Randy excels in launching and guiding others to create ventures that do well by doing good. Co-founder and former CEO of Knovation, he's impacted over 90 million students with innovative digital content. Married for 36 years to an incredible partner, father to five, and grandfather to two, Randy strives to integrate family and faith in every endeavor.
















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