Saturday, 2 July 2011

Spending time with the Lorvr of our Souls, a devotional

 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.   
[Revelation 3:20]

On the face of it, that sounds like a great verse, it's very encouraging to know that God wants to have a relationship with us and that if only we will let him in  he will come and fellowship with us. . When you look at where this verse is placed, however, it puts a slightly different slant on it.

Jesus is writing to the 7 Churches in Asia. Think about that, he is writing to a Church, where you would expect that he would be already in the hearts of at least some of the people and yet he says these words:
 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.   

The trouble with this particular Church was they had become lukewarm. Noone likes lukewarm water do they? Hot water can be useful if you want to make a cup of tea and cold water is good to drink but lukewarm water tastes yucky! 

Sometimes we can let things distract us from our relationship with God, worldly pleasures, sin, work, even work for God can distract us. The Ephesian Church, the first Church Jesus dictated a letter to, was a very active and doctrinally pure Church, but they had a problem and Jesus pointed it out to them:

But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].   
[Revelation 2:4 AMP]

God has been teaching me something lately. He is more interested in having a relationship with us than in anything we can do for him. Isn't that an awesome thought? some people would be more interested in what we could do than in our own company but God's not like that. He wants us to know him, and that is the best and most important thing we can do even if we won't know him fully until we meet him face to face.  Yes we must serve him and do good works but they come secondary to our relationship with God. That has to be our total focus. We shouldn't let anything, not worldly pleasures or sin or even working in the Church or reaching the lost be more important to us than our own personal love relationship with the lover of our souls.  Jesus gave us a warning that I think we need to heed:

 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will
say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?'  Then
I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
[Matthew  7:21-23]
That shows me that all the good things we could do don't mean much if we don't have that personal love relationship with our Lord.  When our relationship with God is going strong, other things will follow. He will give us work to do and he will help us do that and we will do it to please him and he will be pleased, as long as we don't let our love for him lapse.

So how do we focus on knowing God? Well, if you were in love with someone and they sent you a love letter  wouldn't you want to read it? God's letter  to us is called the bible. It is the word of God, the living and active word of the one who loves us. If we read his word with an open heart, he will show us things about himself and about ourselves in the pages of this awesome book. God isn't interested in a one-way conversation however, our part is called prayer. Prayer is not just presenting God with a list of things we need or even with things that others need, it is talking to our father and our God. Sometimes when I pray I imagine that Jesus is sitting right beside me and I think about what I would say if he was. Actually though he isn't sitting beside me he is listening to every prayer from you or I with his complete attention. In one of her books, Beth Moore gives us an image that I love,  it is of the Father God leaning over the edge of heaven listening attentively to the prayer of his child. god isn't bound by time as we are so he can listen attentively to your prayer and mine though we may offer them at exactly the same moment. 

when I pray, I usually start by confessing my sin  which is a good idea and I am also reminded of a verse that says:

 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying:

      ‘By those who come near Me
      I must be regarded as holy;
      And before all the people
      I must be glorified.’”
   So Aaron held his peace.
[Leviticus 10:3 NKJV]

Which teaches me that we need to treat God with reverence and respect as well as with love.

  There is another thing that I do. I sit quietly and empty my mind of all thought, which  takes practice and sometimes I still fail, and ask the Lord if there is anything he wants to say to me. Sometimes he will speak to me and I treasure those moments.  We each have to find the ways of drawing close to God that work for us, some people might take a walk in a quiet place, some people might sing or play an instrument, others might read a devotional, or a good Christian book, whatever it is God makes a promise to us: "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. " [James 4:8a] If we make an effort to draw close to God then he will also draw near to us, isn't that great? I pray that all of us will make time for God today.
Father I pray you will help us all to learn this lesson. Knowing you and loving you is the most important thing of all, so help us to make more time to be in your presence, praying, studying your word  and learning to love and know you More. Help us all to understand the importance of this. Bless all who read this I pray. I praise you Lord and thank you that you want us to have a relationship with you. To you belongs all the praise and glory and we honour you. Amen.