This is a reflection of rendezvous, holy communication, and mission. Of separating from the default consensus and securing quality time in the presence of the Lord Jesus; through prayer, through his word, and in being about those issues that are dear to his heart. It’s about venturing beyond the boundaries of the status quo and dwelling continually in heavenly places. Of abiding in the realm of the everlasting; even when our physical setting is contrary, or, even hostile to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not a frantic pursuit of experience or seeking a dose the warm fuzzies to carry us through the day, but an authentic dwelling with the Lord Jesus who is with us always. It’s a place of complete separation from what we once were, and an embracing of what the Lord is desiring to do; both in us, and through us.
It’s a quest that few of our contemporaries will even remotely understand and it begins at the moment our name is recorded in the book of life. When time seemed to stand still as we consciously turned from what we had always been, in true repentance, and believed on the Lord Jesus. A new birth, transpired, the writing of ordinences against us was blotted out, and a new work was launched. The things which we once depended on for amusement begin to lose their appeal as we now had an authentic relationship with the Author of life. His word, which beforetime may have seemed like a collection of fragmented ideas tied together with old English terminology, now begins to flow like life giving water in a dry and thirsty land. We quickly discover that the Lord satisfies our soul as nothing else can. His peace fills our heart as we partake of a life that we previously didn’t even know existed.
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall fine rest unto your souls.”
The hour that I first believed transpired in September of 1983. It was, and still is, incredible to know Jesus as Savior and Lord as opposed to knowing about him. Time given to prayer became….almost an adventure….and 29 years later, I still don’t quite know how to describe it. During those early days, I would venture outside late in the evening. The fields surrounding our house became my open-air prayer closet. Beneath a canopy of heavenly bodies which seemed to stretch into eternity, I found sweet communion with the Lord Jesus…..without distraction and oftentimes without a particular list of requests. In those first few months, my scriptural understanding was at a minimum as was my level of spiritual maturity. Yet these times with the Lord were priceless and they established a pattern that continues to this day.
In the secret place before the Lord, we can be real. He sees our thoughts afar off and understands every aspect of our status. Jesus truly is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. In Isaiah 9:6, a number of names are given which describe his nature; one of which is “Councellor.” He understands the elements of our situation that we are not aware of and sees the bigger picture that we may not be taking into account as we observe the flow of events from point-blank range. A contemporary cannot do this. Those in our ambience can offer advice based on the parital (and oftentimes biased) information that we provide. They can be helpful if they are grounded in truth and walking in the Spirit, but this will not be a complete remedy. While we need to admonish and encourage each other, none of us can see the end from the beginning; nor do have a comprehensive understanding of every aspect in a situation. Ultimately we need to be grounded in truth and atuned to what the Spirit is saying to us. (Jeremiah 33:3 comes to mind)
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
There have been times (especially in the past three years) when I was so overwhelmed by the myriad of complexities in my life, that prayers would end up sounding like a mixed bag of scattered thoughts and not-completely-thought-out requests. No earthly councellor could address such a fragmented situation. Yet the Lord understood every word, every time. We can cast every care upon him; knowing that he, not only has the remedy, he truly has our best interest at heart. As I was typing out the above verse, the word “minds” became a focal point. The Lord will keep our hearts “and minds” in the midst of situations that would cause most of our contemporaries to have a complete meltdown. This truth is all the more important as the days are fast approaching wherein we shall witness “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” This swerves into the another primary reason for diligently seeking quality time with the Lord Jesus.
In this present season, my favorite prayer closet is still available. I arrive home from work between 12:30am and 2:30am. I exit the truck and survey the ambience. Usually the only sounds are the gentle breeze making its way through the trees, the occasional burst of howling from the coyotes in the distance, and the owl that presides over the patch of woods to our west. The presence of the Lord is incredible and my thoughts are instantly in heavenly places. I want to just “stay in this place for the rest of my days,” however, such a desire is not obtainable in this temporal realm. The time is approaching, when everything familiar will be dissolved and our faith will be tried in ways that we may have never considered before. In the pre-dawn hours of may 23, I had a dream. In this dream, I was in a line of people which seemed to meander through what looked like a maze. The line was gradually moving forward until finally, I was near the final bend in the line.
Around this final bend, there was a gillotine. I was in a line of people who were to be beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. As I was inching ever closer to the final moment, apprehension began to build. I awakened and knew that this dream had a dual purpose. First, it was a reminder of what is coming upon the earth. “and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;” (These words are found in Revelation 20:4) The dream lined up with bible prophecy. Second, the element of apprehension at such a critical moment was a personal wake-up call. I need to engage in spiritual preparation on a deeper level. I need to take advantage of every starry night and every available moment to draw closer to Jesus. I need to likewise be busy concerning the issues of eternal significance. We all need to be doing these things.
Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
There are a lot of aspects to this topic which haven’t been adequately addressed, however, I must be going for now. My prayer is that this will encourage any who pass by to draw closer to Jesus and seek his perfect will. To abandon every attachment to the temporal realm, and be about the Fathers business while there is still time to do so. As Leonard Ravenhill once observed, “after only five minutes in eternity, all of us will wish that we had done more for the Lord.”
Psalm 63:5-8 “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”
Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. Please check out the following posting: An Angel of the Lord Led Us This is a retelling of a dream which informs us of things to come while revealing the need to be atuned to the Lords leading. he will never leave us, nor forsake us.
Blessings always in Jesus name.