As the time approaches when we will again be reminded of the history- tilting event when God Himself entered our world and our humanity to turn history around. From then on nothing would ever be the same again. And surely it is a time when we also are reminded of personal memories which seem to come into more bright focus now.
It is also a good time to take stock of our lives and especially, considering the nature of our blog, our spiritual lives as represented by our living relationship with the Creator of the universe through His Son Jesus, by the Spirit. And I am finding myself weighing up the progress we are making with this which is OUR blog, yours and mine, dear reader.
For many years I have been more and more convinced of the need, if we are to grow as Christians and enjoy an open relationship with God through Him, the need to hear Him speaking personally to each one of our hearts. Most of you will have experienced moments when you felt God had just spoken to your heart personally, sometimes in a sermon, or during bible study or even your quiet time. Especially at our conversion we can often testify to a particular word which seemed to wake us up and make us come alive. The question is though, is that your regular experience when you are in communion with God? For many their experience slowly tones down to reading a passage, or a devotion, or listening to a sermon and it just goes into the bank, as it were, to join all the rest of your knowledge of the scriptures, theology etc.
If that is your experience and you are growing I am not decrying that. However I believe that God wants to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with each one of us. He has promised clearly that “if we draw near to Him He will draw near to us”. Now under the Old Covenant, if an Israelite wanted to communicate with Yahweh, he would have to take a sacrifice to the temple and through the priest, who would do the sacrifice, enquire of God. There always had to be an intermediary. One of the promises of the New Covenant, which I think is often overlooked, is “No longer will a man teach his neighbour or a man his brother, saying” know the Lord”, because all will know me. (Heb 8:11). Furthermore Jesus described the work of the Holy Spirit He would send as, guiding us into all truth. There are a number of other references to God speaking through His Spirit. We therefore have personal access to God through this way of reconciliation which Jesus has opened up for us and do not need an intermediary. But how does He speak?
Earlier this year I spent a month working through Psalm 119. Virtually every verse mentions God’s Word. The psalmist uses different words to describe it, like commands, precepts, word(s), law, statutes, promise, decrees etc, but they are all referring to God’s Living Word, because that is what they promise, real life, wisdom, perseverance, joy, hope, guidance etc. But what struck me over and over was that The Word, as powerful as it is, has nevertheless no power in itself. Its power lies in the fact that this Word gives us access to the God of all creation, in whom all the power lies. It is the avenue to Him and His personality, His mind, His desires for us etc. That is where the power lies, and access it by faith.
Now to today. We are being buried under a vast monsoon of information, especially through the digital media. My inbox is flooded with messages from websites representing, John Piper, Paul Tripp, Tim Kellerman, Christianity Today, Sermon Quotes etc etc.I have an unlimited no of bible translations each site offering me daily devotions, there are canned sermons by the dozen on You Tube. It is so easy to be buried under all this and to lose the very contact with the One of whom it is all about and to spend your time listening to all manner of people’s comments, teachings, ideas etc without actually hearing God Himself speaking to you.
Over the years I have tried to encourage the members of my Bible study group to dig into the scriptures for themselves, by setting questions directing them to seek answers in the text. During the study we have encouraged discussion as we shared what we felt we each had gleaned from the passage, helping each other to understand, with me gathering the ideas together in summary at the end. I sought a way to continue this adventure after “lockdown” occurred and so decided on starting this blog.
My aim, from the very beginning was not to produce another bible study or devotion, but to seek to stimulate you readers to dig into the scriptures in such a way that you are meeting personally with the Lord and not feeding on second-hand food from me or anyone else. I had initially hoped to provoke a discussion, as in our studies, but clearly this platform has not lent itself to that. So I have slowly evolved into opening my heart and soul to you all and inviting you into my inner room where I meet with he Lord. Hoping in this way to share some of the excitement, joy, wonder etc of my time with the Lord, so that you will be stimulated to follow suite and seek a deeper communion with Him in your own style.
So in the next day or two I will publish a general guide, with some tips on how to get the most out of your quiet time. I in no way mean to lay down rules and rotes. This should be as individualized as each one of us is. The last thing we need is to find a new form of bondage. So I will simply give a series of things I have found helpful which you can consider using to enrich your time.
Let us move into 2021 with excited anticipation and be prepared to take a deeper step in faith.
- God's Commission
- Hallelujah - the New Age has come.
- Damascus, a Turning Point.
- The Glory of the Lord.
- Has the Church forsaken God?
- The Value and Necessity of Salvation.
- The spirit of the Pharisees, Lives on in the Church.
- The Mystery of Wisdom vs Knowledge.
- Wisdom, humility and understanding (listening).