4.15.2013

Wanting Him MORE.

Oh, the beauty and joy of a few quiet moments!  After a weekend of fun-filled activities with nephews and pastor's kids ~ and celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday this afternoon ~ my fingers are itching to write!  So much happened during the weekend, and after missing six weeks of church due to family illnesses, being able to worship and listen to the preaching of God's Word with my brothers and sisters in Christ was like a cool, refreshing breeze on a hot, humid day.  I came home feeling energized and inspired with 300 thoughts rushing through my brain  - and so excited to write about them all!  My body, however, screamed No More! so I reluctantly surrendered, curled up on my bed to watch Anne of Green Gables, and promptly fell asleep right after Anne dyed her hair green.  A full, deep night's sleep ... thank You, Lord!

It will take me several posts to record all that I want to share, so I am going to start with the one that was the most exciting and encouraging.

The youth leaders were up with sixth graders yesterday, preparing them for their transition into junior high, so we had a guest speaker.  He is a dear friend to me and Dennis, so it was extra special to sit under his teaching and hear the words the Lord had given him for our students.  The title of his talk was "One Thing."  He used passages that I have read and heard a hundred times, but this was the first time I had ever seen them all tied together - focusing on the same two words: One Thing.

One thing have I asked of the Lordthat I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.  Psalm 27
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Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10
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... that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3

Do you see it?  I LOVED this lesson and was so excited about it because it totally confirms the passion the Lord has been strengthening in my own heart - time with the Lord.  In His Word.  Talking to Him.  Sitting at His feet - and listening.

The Psalm 27 passage is the most specific.  David says there is one thing He seeks after, and that is to be in the presence of the Lord.  There are dozens of things, good things, we can request of the Lord, but being in His presence is the BEST of the good!

Look at the words:
Dwell
Gaze
Inquire

David's desire is to be physically present with the Lord.  No more "you are in heaven and I am on earth," but together, in one place.  The most perfect place.

He wants to look at the Lord.  Full in the face.  When all the cloudiness and distortion has been removed, and He can see God as He is, in the fullness of His majesty.  Can you even begin to imagine such a thing?  I can barely wrap my mind around it!

He wants to talk to the Lord.  Ask questions.  Hear Him speak.  Voice to voice.  I have always thought that God sounds something like James Earl Jones ... a deep, resonating, soothing voice of strength and gentleness ... and I cannot wait for the day I hear it with my own ears!  Imagine hearing the actual voice of God - saying your name!!!

It is a wonderful thought, isn't it?  Imagining ourselves in the splendor of heaven, looking into the face of God and hearing Him speak to us while a glorious hum surrounds us as angels sing?  Wow. But here is the thing - we do not have to wait for heaven to be in the Lord's presence.  We do not have to wait to talk to Him.  Immanuel - our God is WITH us.  We have direct access to the throne of heaven right here on earth.  Right now.  Do you believe that?  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, keeping us from the Father.  Jesus Christ died, and it was through His suffering and death on the cross that we gained access to a holy God, even while we live in these sinful, human shells roaming the earth until our appointed day comes.  God gave us the gift of HIMSELF when He sent His Son ... we can't miss this truth!  He.is.here.  He is with us.  He dwells within the believer.

Heaven?  Heaven is what every Christian longs for because it is where everything will be revealed. The God we love here - the God we obey - the God we talk to - the God we read about in Scripture - the God we trust - the God we worship in song ... THIS is the God who will show us Himself in full glory, as He is, and it is in front of this God that we fall on our faces crying out, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!  And everything will make sense.

But until that day, we have a job to do right here.  The Lord has asked us to meditate on His Word day and night, and to pray without ceasing.  We have His presence, and we have His ear.  The only thing missing from the Christian while on earth, is gazing at the beautiful face of our God.  He does not suggest it - He does not encourage it - He demands it.  Meditate on my word.  Seek my face continually.  Be holy as I am holy.  Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.  If you love Me, you will obey Me.

Is this the one thing you seek?  To dwell in the presence of the Lord?  Is it your first priority?  Before children, before exercise, before work?  If not, why?  We can all make excuses about how hard it is to be in the Word, how it is one of our greatest struggles, and how easy it is not to do it ... but the truth is, we make time for the things we WANT to make time for.  So if we do not have a desire to seek the Lord first and make Him our first priority, our prayer, in great desperation, needs to be, "Why, Lord? Why don't I want YOU like I want other things?"  And then - let Him work in us.  As long as it takes, as painful as it might have to be, to strip away all of the idols, all of the excuses, and all of the things that keep us from wanting Him more than we want anything, or anyone else.

Lord, Thank You for this message!  Thank you for Your Word!  Thank You for making Scripture so powerful, effective, comforting, encouraging ... and using it to expose the truth that often reveals a heart seeking more of self rather than more of You.  I WANT this one thing, Lord!  I want to want You more than anything else ... including my own way.  I fail often, and sometimes I even enjoy my sin, but Lord, it IS my desire to follow you and give you my everything ... even though I know my everything may cost a lot.  Teach me to trust You more.  Help me love You more.  Make me WANT You more.  

One thing have I asked of the Lordthat I will seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in His temple.

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