12 Jan 2015
Dear Praying Friend,
Do you desire more joy, more of a significant sense of internal fullness, a greater, more prevalent anticipation of the awe inspiring hope of heaven in this New Year? If your answer is yes as is mine, let us together "Draw near to God."
We were created in the image of God and thus we find our greatest joy, our most powerful sense of completeness in His presence. Have you recently spent time in His presence, focusing completely on simply dwelling with Him? If you have you will surely agree that this is a place of indescribable joy. This is a place of joy that is both deep and powerful. We are reminded of the shining face of Moses, the evidence that he had been with God. Others who saw this "glow" on the face of Moses were greatly distracted by this forensic evidence of the love and power and righteousness of God.
While the external glow could be seen it was simply a passing shadow compared to the preeminent completeness of being in the presence of a God who is love. This external sign was surely simply a soft and smoky reflection of the lingering internal sense of God's love and acceptance. Today this external and internal glow is readily available to each of us at any time we are willing to pay the price of painstaking heart preparation.
What is this price of heart preparation? While it is difficult to specify, perhaps we could illustrate it in this way. Let's say you have a meeting that has been scheduled tomorrow morning with the Governor of your State. The meeting is on your mind as you retire this evening. Your alarm makes its nasty noise at five AM and your first act of preparation is to awake. If we are to come into the presence of the CREATOR of the Universe we must first wake up. We must remove ourselves from the mental morose of the mundane and advance to the alert awareness of the opportunity to meet with God.
As we become fully awake our next appropriate step of preparation is the mental movement of ascribing honor to the person with whom we will soon seek companionship. To be well prepared we need to see ourselves as we actually are (dust) and our Governor as high and lifted up, worthy of all of our honor and praise.
After our attitude has been properly calibrated, we are ready for our shower. This is where we pursue our much needed cleansing of body, heart, and soul. This is the place of searching carefully for the dirt of sin that so subtly sneaks into our lives. It is here that we seek the drenching shower of the cleansing living water that with the wash rag of confession and the soap of repentance thus we can experience for a time complete cleanness.
Having successfully completed our shower we now advance to detailed grooming activities that complete our preparation. We must prepare hair and teeth and perhaps eyes and such, here is our choice as to just how much. As we make these preparations we are intentionally taking steps to become more presentable in the presence of our Governor. Cleansed hearts are those ready to engage in hallowed worship. In like manner to putting each hair in its place; our minds must position our thoughts in such priority as to come to the place of intense and active worship.
As our worship progresses fueled by the Spirit, we are now nearly ready to enter into His presence.
Psalm 15:1-5 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend; In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the Lord; He swears to his own hurt and does not change; He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
It will no doubt be helpful to find a quiet place to meet with the Lord. The Bible tells us that Jesus went to a quiet place.
Mark 1:35 (NASB) In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Moses’ place to meet with the Lord of necessity was constantly changing since much of the time during the forty plus years in the wilderness they were on the move. However he was able to address this issue by providing a moveable tent of meeting.
Exodus 33:7 (NASB)
7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.
The name of the tent itself suggests that this was a place to meet with God. How do we know we have met with God? In my limited experience there are two ways …. First there is the witness of the Spirit. This is difficult to describe, but if your eyes are open it is impossible to miss. It is like the wind, while you cannot see it you see things move when it is present.
Secondly, God is a determined communicator. God speaks. We have the record of His spoken word. We have the evidence of his speaking to the prophets. From the Garden of Eden to today God is a God who speaks. He spoke with Jesus. He spoke with Paul. He spoke with Moses and Job and Daniel and hundreds of others. If we come into His presence fully prepared and authentically desiring to know how to serve and obey and worship Him he will most likely speak to us.
The Governor has an agent. In much the same way as the world’s powerful men and women have aides, the Creator of the Universe has an agent, and this agent abides within our hearts. Our final step is to ask our indwelling agent to usher us into the presence of our King, our Father, and our Lord.
There is no formula for entering into the presence of God. What we have attempted to illustrate and illuminate are some principles that may encourage and even perhaps assist you to find your way into His presence. Whatever steps, actions and attitudes you employ, the price you pay is the best bargain you will find this side of heaven.
2 Chronicles 7:(NLT)
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.