After writing the post yesterday – SEE LINK – there was a pronounced sense in my soul of trouble all through the day. A dear brother in the LORD reminded me of how oppression and discouragement often follow us when we’re most clearly walking in God’s favor and His will, whether they are from our sinful flesh, the dark shadows of worldly evils, or the Devil himself and his hosts of devils. I know I’m speaking in “super spiritual” terms, but the realities of the spiritual world have more interplay with our lives than we give credit. Fortunately, we have an abiding presence from the Living God with us at all times as believers, God’s Holy Spirit, promised to us by the Son of God Himself upon His ascension to Heaven after His resurrection.
I was reminded of this from my reading this morning in Exodus 36 to 40. One thing in particular that really calmed my soul and filled me with joy again is the believer’s hope of home as found in relationship with Jesus and fellowship with Him in His sufferings. Our abiding hope is not found lastingly in material or physical or even psychological wellness, as wonderful and comforting as these things are. Our ultimate and lasting wellbeing is found when we are emptying self for the good of others and glory of God. As we co-labor together along this path we call earthly living, we experience more joy than non-believers have when their grain and wine abound. This is not our home nor heaven. I know this is rehashing of truth, but isn’t that what we are called to as disciples of Christ? These truths are part of how we are reminded of who we are together as Jesus’ followers.
Today, I hope to step back out and into the labors of this day with you all, dear friends and siblings for eternity, and to engage the people we encounter together with this hope in our hearts. What’s more inspiring that even these promises of eternal home in our hearts is the thought of God’s very presence being with us along the journey of life on this earth. I was asked recently if I truly believe in a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. I nearly cried as I answered that there is nothing more real to me than this.
Our God encounters us, friends. We have but to sit at the feet of our Savior via His Word and listen for the Spirit’s comfort and help as we read and pray. One practice in devotional life that I think is often missing is to simply listen to the Spirit after having read the Word and let our requests be made known. This is easily critiqued as “super spiritual” or too charismatic so-to-speak, but this practice should not be first and foremost an effort to hear specific directions for the day. It should be a time of rest and calm, growing in one’s awareness that God is present with you there in your prayer closet. God is active to comfort and guide you, directing each step as it’s taken. We do need godly wisdom for decisions, and sometimes God’s will is clearly discernible from a broad planning point of view. However, it’s more important that we’re walking in obedience and joy in the process of relationship with the Savior Himself, relationship with our Triune God through the Spirit, God’s Word, and the fellowship with believers and non-believers. How is fellowship with non-believers a fellowship with God? Dig in God’s Word and you’ll find the answers, especially in Jesus’ sermons and calls for us to engage more often than we retreat from those we encounter. When we do retreat, it’s to grow in our direct fellowship with the Living God to grow in our love for Him and those we encounter until we see Him face-to-face.
Enjoy your morning, friends!
- Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
- Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
- I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
- I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
- Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.