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Consideration of Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

In His Presence examined — The Church needs to Change (Part 5)

When I wait upon the LORD He renews my strength (Isaiah 40:31) . Hallelujah!

What about everything else that needs doing in life?

Following on in the Series “Church needs to Change”, I address the second point on the list, that of engaging with GOD’s presence.

I Corinthians 1:29 says, “that no flesh should glory in His presence”.

Basking in GOD’s presence is a glorious experience: a spirit to Spirit encounter as ours meets with His.

But is it for its own sake? As we spend time with the LORD and when He chooses to anoint us by His Holy Spirit, is it only to draw closer to Him? Is it not also to walk under His direction, to offer solace to others, or healing, or words of wisdom… as and when He may direct us?

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist asks, “Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.” Amen.

Our Walk is Revelation

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha, but it was Mary who sat at his feet, whom Jesus defended against Martha’s criticism that her sister did not help with the practical household duties (Luke 10:38-42).

I have been “sitting at Jesus’ feet” of late — or to say more accurately, I have been spending a lot of time reaching out for GOD’s presence, and receiving. But it has meant I’ve had little else on my agenda. Indeed, I didn’t even post a newsletter last week (as those who usually receive it will be aware). Am I being distracted? Or perhaps it is simply that the LORD has my full attention, at last.

It is difficult to navigate the matter of seeking GOD’s presence. Society is busy and offers plenty of duties and distractions. Covid-19 Lockdown across the world has offered GOD’s children time to spend with him. How have we spent that opportunity, or what, in this regard, can we do going forward?

Day Jobs, Family Ties, Responsibilities and Choices

Paul of Tarsus built tents for a living. He did receive some payment for his preaching and teaching, but by and large, he supported himself — he had a day job. He encourages all who can to work, to be self-respecting and self-sufficient, and in turn to support those who cannot work.

He has also written to us about family ties being a blessing, though singleness he sees as better, being without the distractions of spousal obligations (1 Corinthians 7:34-38).

We all have our responsibilities, yes, and we can make our own choices. There is, after all, “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)

But…..

Luxury of the presence of the Holy Spirit

But my current thinking is, we cannot afford to ignore the opportunity of GOD’s presence in our lives. Spending time with the LORD and resting in His presence is a luxury; it is a luxury we must take. How else can we grow and walk continually “according to the Spirit”? How else can we become more like our shepherd, Jesus?

When I rest in His presence, I find my experience sometimes daunting, sometimes sleepy, sometimes like a wave (or waves) of His glory pouring over me. Sometimes I sense peace, other times I gain wisdom. Always it is a bit scary yet totally lovely. I do it for the sake of intimacy with Him, and then I seek to encourage others.

Baptism of Holy Spirit

We all must work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling,” as Paul writes (Philippians 2:12). But our journey needs to have encounters with GOD personally, sometimes through His word, but also through the intimacy of His Spirit.

Jesus prayed. He did nothing His Father did not direct him to do. He is our model.

Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) And he said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me.” (John 15:26)

Jesus departed so that the Spirit might come to us. He told his disciples, “…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

We need the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives

Let us no longer engage in our journey without the Spirit of GOD… not only as He resides in us through the act of our salvation when we made our commitment to Him, but also through His repeated anointing, infilling and indwelling, to lead and guide us.

Questions remain

I am aware I’ve not answered my own question about how we use the anointing He brings. I believe it is all dependent upon Him. As He engages with us, He’ll let us know where we walk and when, how we proceed with others. Nothing is meant to be in our flesh, not by our will but by His.

I think we are to wait as long as we can, listening, abiding, allowing Him to fill us.

As for me, as I manage to live in His presence, then my next steps will be directed by Him. That too will no doubt be daunting, exciting, peaceful and enriching. For in His presence “is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

May we all drink deeply of Him, abide with Him, and grow in Him, Amen.

 

 

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Reflections and Poetry

Intimacy: Seeking the Presence of our Creator GOD

I read the Bible, I read books, I am inspired by music too.

But most of all, I seek His presence

Yet push him away, I do.

That’s a little ditty that describes my heart versus my behaviour.

Seeking Intimacy

If I could spend all my time with the Father, I feel sure I would. And yet, when time and stillness are available,
I realise I have yearning but also hesitation. I do seek Him, but I don’t always give all my attention.

Why do I hesitate? He comes gently, carefully, peacefully. And yet, I am afraid, even quivering a little as He draws me to His presence.

I am discovering, as I meditate on scripture and am inspired by others who share their experiences*, that although I have been encompassed by His presence in the past, I am still learning about Him and know Him so little.

“I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23) comes to mind and I wonder, does he think that of me?

I look up the scripture in its entirety, “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness.”

The Word gives me solace.

In our walk with Jesus

There is total surrender when we commit our lives to Jesus. We say the words but to what degree do we practise “total surrender”?

We are imperfect, made perfect in Jesus’ sacrifice for us, so this isn’t to lay a guilt trip on anyone, and in fact I’m sharing in the way that I am, personalising this, because I want readers to have the sense that it’s okay not to be perfect, even though we are called and are responsible to give our all.

We can rest assured his work is finished and his salvation sure. And yet, I don’t want to take this for granted.

The days are closing in

There seems to be endless speculation on the timing of Jesus’ return. Some say we will first be raptured, others say we go through the tribulation just like everybody else, as witnesses to the reality and goodness of GOD. What seems to be agreed is that these are unprecedented times and as the world and its systems and human beings spiral out of control, we who love Jesus hope there will be an end to the way things are. So whatever an individual believer’s End Times theology, I think most readers will be on the same page: the world is in bad shape, we are called to witness goodness, and must not take that call for granted; time is short!

And in our remaining short time, we are to mature into His likeness and to witness to others His goodness and truth. I believe we can no longer do this without the manifest presence of GOD: His Holy Spirit working in and through us, not any longer.

For centuries, it seemed the gifts and callings for the Holy Spirit were dormant. There may have been pockets of outpourings and a peculiar few anointed, but by-and-large the traditional denominations operated outside of the manifestations of the Spirit until Azusa Street (1906-1915) in California and the birth of the Pentecostal movement.

Now now now now, we need the Holy Spirit and we need Him fully. True surrender, as I understand it, is to allow Him to fill us to the brim and to operate in His call. The anointing comes to us for ministry and His presence fills us. We need the Spirit to operate in signs and wonders, to build the body of Believers and to surprise and delight others to discover GOD for themselves.

The Cost of Intimacy

But it does cost. I am learning that to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me requires courage and patience to wait for Him. It isn’t just allowing Him to fill me when His circumstances permit, but to ask for Him to dwell in me always, then yielding when He does, seeking to live in His presence always, placing the illusion of control at His feet.

It isn’t romantic. It isn’t fleeting. It’s always. And for an independent person like me, that’s hard.

But without Him, am I even on the narrow road? Without willing to surrender fully, am I truly available? Am I truly committed? Taken literally, if I have committed to give Him my all, then what does that look like?  And am I doing all I can to live for Him, for my Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith?

What is our need

I write this today out of compulsion to yield and to encourage others to yield to Him. GOD will not give us a serpent or a stone when we ask for bread. Jesus is the bread of life. But he returned to the Father in order to send to us the Holy Spirit: comforter, presence and power of GOD, not only for salvation but for anointing as well, to live as Jesus did whilst on the earth, and to be as Jesus was whilst on the earth. I certainly cannot fulfil this call in my own strength. I need His Spirit, not only to dwell within me but to be ignited within me, leading me, transforming me, inspiring me to “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Will we surrender?

Taking everything into account: the cost of surrender and the reward of His presence, can we do anything else?

As David the shepherd wrote long, long ago, “He restores my soul;… He leads me in paths of righteousness… For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me… You anoint my head with oil [of the Holy Spirit]… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (excerpts from Psalm 23)

My prayer

Oh Father, lead me into Your way everlasting,

Amen.

 

* Most recently, I’m in the process of reading Terry MacAlmon’s 30 Seconds in His Presence… will change your life forever! as shared with me by a dear sister and prayer partner. Graham Cooke is also someone whom I also find inspiring — urging us to draw closer to Our LORD Yehovah GOD, Creator of this whole entire spectacular universe.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Reflections and Poetry

Fresh Beginnings: a reflection

FI am seeking a still and deeper relationship with Holy Spirit…. not funky or flakey, but real, deep and true. I am seeking to walk in the Spirit 100% of the time.

I’ve experienced moments, and once a 5-day blessing of GOD’s Holy anointing upon me — not because I’m more worthy than anyone else, nor less, but simply because I asked and He granted it to me.

This is September. It is a time when autumn prepares for winter by means of the hibernation of animals; leaves fall from deciduous trees to allow them to be dormant for winter. But it is also the season of new beginnings, such as for educational institutions in my neighbourhood and country. And for me — perhaps in part because I am a former teacher — this season is also for me more about beginnings than endings.

I am seeking GOD’s Holy purpose for me for this season. I am searching for a deeper identity with Him. I am holding on to Yehovah, Father, Creator, so that the times — which are darkening — do not darken me.

I will find fulfilment as I spend time in the Word, spend time in Worship, spend time in stillness with my GOD. I will find because He promises: He is present, and in His presence is fulness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)

What will you seek this new season? What will you search for? What will you hold dear?

I encourage you not to wait one more moment, but to contemplate: to seek Him and allow Him to envelope you with His presence and His love, so that you can be that whom He has created you to be.

It is September 2019. We have much to learn and much to do. The master teacher, our Yeshua/Jesus will show us the way, when we wait and trust and follow his lead, for “He who waits upon the LORD shall renew his strength; he shall mount up with wings as eagles, he will run and not be weary, he will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Blessings…