Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thoughts from Ephesians – Part 4

So far we have covered 2 of the 3 Key Words in Ephesians. We talked about our position in Christ is to be seated in Heavenly places with Him (verse 2:6). We also talked about how our life in this world is to be a reflection of the fact that we are seated in Heavenly Places with Christ. When we come to this realization we should "WALK" (verse 4:1) accordingly. Finally, we will cover the third key word which relates to our position, or attitude, towards the enemy which is to STAND (6:11). 

Let's look at Our Attitude to the Enemy: "STAND". Ephesians 6:10-11  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  (11)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is our attitude toward our enemy, Satan. It is expressive of our place of triumph. The Christian experience begins with sitting, and leads to walking, but it does not end there. Every Christian must learn to stand. Each one of us must be prepared for the conflict. We must know how to sit with Christ in heavenly places and we must know how to walk worthy of Him down here, but we must also know how stand before the enemy. No Christian can hope to enter the warfare of the ages without learning first to rest in Christ and in what He has done and through the strength of the Holy Spirit within, to follow Him in a practical, holy life here on earth.

"STAND FIRM" - In context it conveys the idea of digging in (the Roman sandals had spikes for this purpose). It was a military term for holding one's position. Hold your ground. Don't give an inch of territory to the enemy. That is the picture. From a practical standpoint one stands firm by living the obedient, Scripture–dominated, Spirit–empowered life - the Spirit in such a state is not quenched or grieved and strengthens the obedient believer to stand firm. 

Our power for standing, as for walking, lies in our having first being made to sit together with Christ. This is very important. The Christian's walk and warfare alike derive their strength from their position in Christ. If he is not sitting before God he cannot hope to stand before the enemy. This is what the Apostle James was talking about in James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." I suspect that we've all at least heard this verse before (at least the second half of it anyway). What an awesome promise that the devil will flee from us if we resist him. But the key is that word "submit". This word (G5293 hupotassō) means subordinate, put under, subdue unto, be (put) in subjection (to, under). That word has with it the thought of obedience, but as you can see it much more than obedience. We are in subjection to Him, we are under Him. This can only be derived from sitting with Him in Heavenly places and passing under His watchful eye continually. Jesus said in John 14:30, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." Jesus knew that the enemy was about to test him but was confident that the enemy had nothing that he could use against him. If we submit ourselves to God and allow Him to deal with the areas that are in our lives, we can have the same response, "The devil has nothing on me. My Father in Heaven has taken care of all of my impurities." When we are constantly in His presence we have tremendous strength and confidence for the battle that is ahead. I don't want to give the enemy anything to use against me or give him any reason at all to try and hang around in my life. That is why it is so important to submit ourselves to God continually. This is well worth remembering and understanding.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE DEFINED: Constant struggle between the flesh and the spirit, between good and evil, between hope and despair, between faith and unbelief, and between carnality and spirituality in a believer. Spiritual warfare is waged on three fronts: personal, corporate, and cosmic. In all three cases the war is waged against unseen enemies, principalities and powers, and evil in high places. Many people think that Christian's are supposed to be passifists, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are in a battle. Unfortunately, this truth has often been misapplied. The true strength of a Christian in battle is not our own, but His. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." We can parade, picket, and protest until we are blue in the face, but that is not where the real battle is fought. We do not fight this battle with picket signs, guns or even kung-fu. This battle is fought and WON in the Heavenlies. 

However, God does not leave us empty handed. We are given armor. We are given all the equipment that we need to win this battle. We are given, "The Armor of God". The Apostle Paul describes this armor in Ephesians 6:13-18, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  (14)  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  (15)  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  (16)  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  (17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  (18)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." We are literally to clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God.

Let's just take a brief look at each of these pieces of our armor. There are much more in-depth studies out there, but this will just serve as an appetizer to a much fuller study on your own time. First, we have the Girdle of Truth which is used to cover our loins. The loins spiritually represent our inward parts. The loins are the place of strength and life.  2Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Truth and Integrity hold everything together - Isa 11:5, "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."

We also have the Breastplate of Righteousness - The breastplate is a protection for the vital organs of the body. If the heart of a soldier is wounded, it affects every other part of his body. Spiritually, we must do everything possible to protect our hearts from the attacks of the enemy. Pro 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Mat 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Zep 2:3  Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.

Gospel of Peace - The protective sandals which the Roman soldier wore were a very important part of his gear. They kept him from becoming lame by protecting his feet from being pierced by stones or thorns (spiritually speaking, the works of the flesh). Thus the peace of God prevents us from becoming spiritually lame (cf. Heb. 12:13), and also enables us to put Satan under our feet (Rom. 16:20). Our feet give us stability, poise, and balance. They also mobilize us and take us where we want to go. Therefore, we should always seek to bring peace wherever we go. Isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"

Shield of Faith - In olden days, every troop carried shields, because the most common offensive weapons were arrows, spears, or darts. The primary means of defense was the shield. The darts of Satan's armies are subtle words of doubt that are hurled against the saints.

Helmet of Salvation - The battle also rages in our minds. Therefore, we need to put on the helmet of salvation whereby our mind is protected from all the tormenting thoughts that the enemy is capable of sending our way. The pressure against Christ's mind was so great that He sweated great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. I encourage you all to take a look at Philippians 4:4-8 for a further study on the battle of your mind.

Sword of the Spirit – Word of God - The sword is our only weapon of offense. We must use it. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Our weapons are not natural. Our weapon is the rightly divided truth of the WORD of God. Consider Jesus in Matthew 4. The enemy attacked Him and tried to get him to give up. Jesus, although All-Powerful, did not engage in an arm-wrestling match to defeat the enemy. He did not command an angel from Heaven to come and destroy the enemy, although He has every authority to do so. Instead, Jesus used the same weapon that He gives us….the WORD of God. "It is written."

Finally….Praying always! The power of prayer is phenomenal! Prayer changes things. Therefore, we are exhorted to pray without ceasing, meaning that our life should be a life of prayer.

The three words from Ephesians, SIT, WALK, and STAND have really impacted the way I live my life. I trust that they have been a blessing to you as well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thoughts from Ephesians – Part 3

So far we have talked about the first key word from Ephesians, "Sit." We looked at how sitting describes our position with Christ in the heavenlies. We also looked at sitting in relation to being content to sit in the presence of our Heavenly Father and get our direction from Him. Today we will move on from sitting and discuss the second key word from Ephesians, "walk." The Christian experience, just like the human experience, doesn't begin with walking. You don't see many babies walking after they have been born. First, first they learn to sit and then they learn to walk. As we have previously stated, "Sit" describes our position to Christ. Now we are going to see that "Walk" describes our life towards man. It is the expression of our life in the world. Walking is the practical outworking of that heavenly position here on earth. As a heavenly people, we are required to bear the stamp of that "heavenlienss" upon us in our earthly conduct. When someone sees our actions do they see someone that is seated in Heavenly Places with Christ? When someone hears our words do they hear the words of someone that is seated next to Christ? It is a very sobering thought to consider that we represent Christ with every word and deed. What a terrible thought to think that I have somehow besmirched the great name of the Lord of Hosts! How do we avoid this? How do we walk in a manner that reflects that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly Places?

Well, in the epistle to the Ephesians, Paul describes 3 ways that believers should walk. We are to walk "in love" (Eph. 5:2); we are to walk "in the light" (Eph. 5:8); and finally, we are to walk "circumspectly" (Eph. 5:15-16). Whenever I read scripture, I often think to myself, "What does all that mean?" and, "How can I apply this to my life?"

What does it mean to walk "in love"?

First, we must know what love is…because it isn't what one might think based on what we learn from the movies. "Love" ( the Greek word used here is "agape") describes the love God gives freely, sacrificially and unconditionally regardless of response -- love that goes out not only to the lovable but to one's enemies or those that don't "deserve" it. "Agape" speaks especially of love as based on evaluation and choice, a matter of will and action. This love is not sentimental or emotional but obedient and reflective of the act of one's will with the ultimate desire being for another's highest good. Since it is unconditional, this love is still given if it's not received or returned! "Agape" gives and gives and gives. It is not withheld. "Agape" love is commanded of believers, empowered by the Holy Spirit, activated by personal choice of one's will, not based on one's feelings toward the object of one's love and manifested by specific actions (see 1Cor 13:4-8 for a detailed list of these actions. "Agape" love speaks of a love called out of one's heart by the preciousness of the one loved, a love that impels one to sacrifice one's self for the benefit of the object loved. It is the love shown at Calvary. The prototype of this quality of supernatural love is the Father's love for sinful men as manifest by the Son's sacrifice on the Cross. So walking in love, or walking in "Divine Love" is consistently doing, desiring, and praying for what is best for others...even if they are ungrateful, complain, or others would deem them undeserving.

Now we move on to - Walking in Light - EPHESIANS 5:8: "for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light". Darkness describes the character of the life of the unconverted as void of truth and virtue in intellectual and moral matters. When we are saved we are called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9). I've met a lot of people that have a hard time getting over their sinful pasts. They've done things that they aren't proud of and it is very difficult for them to accept God's forgiveness. We must always remember 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We are to leave our past in the past! Look forward and walk in His marvelous light! John 12:46 says, "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." We are not to abide in darkness or abide with darkness.     We are commanded to walk in the Light. 1John 1:5-7 says, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Walking in the Light is not fellowshipping and continuing to abide in darkness. This is a somewhat controversial topic, as many people ask, "How are we supposed to save the lost, if we are not to be around them?" Well, I don't really subscribe to the complete forsaking of the lost and excluding all forms of darkness mentality. John is referring to those that claim to be walking in the light and yet continue to walk in darkness. In other words, they claim to be Christians, but are continuing to live sinful lives. There are also those that are Christians, but have no Christian friends. They spend all their time with unbelievers and fellowship with them only. This is a dangerous. We need the fellowship of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters to encourage us and help us along the way. When we do not have that it becomes very difficult to stand firm and continue to make right choices. While I would say that it is not wrong to have unsaved friends, I would certainly caution against developing relationships with only the unsaved. Our relationships with the unsaved should be with the motive of seeing them get saved.

Finally - Walking Circumspectly - EPHESIANS 5:15-16: "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." See to it that you walk circumspectly (akribos - accurately, diligently, carefully). Walk warily, exactly or diligently. Our English word circumspect is from the Latin (circum- = around + specere = look) and conveys the literal picture of looking around or figuratively being cautious. One who is walking circumspectly is one who is surveying all circumstances and possible consequences before acting or deciding. A great word picture! The idea of "akribos" is that our walk is in strict conformity to a standard, and as such calls for carefulness against any departure from what is proper to a believer's walk. How does one accomplish this charge to be careful how we walk?[Soft Break]By not walking unwisely, but wisely, as those who are continually redeeming for themselves the precious time God gives, by understanding His good and acceptable and perfect will and by not being filled with wine but being filled with His Spirit. The present imperative commands one to continually pay especially close attention to how they walk. "Be constantly taking heed how accurately you are conducting yourselves." We need to remember that our heart is more deceitful than all else and that the enemy of our soul constantly prowls around and his desire is for our soul. To walk circumspectly is to walk in the light of our exalted position and privilege as beloved children of God. To walk in an unwise manner means to descend from the high plane and privilege to the profane practices of the fallen world. To walk wisely is to redeem each day, "buying up" every precious moment God gives.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thoughts from Ephesians (Part 2)

Yesterday we started a theme word study from the epistle to the Ephesians. The three key words are: Sit, Walk, and Stand. Our first theme word was taken from Ephesians 2:6, "Sit". According to Ephesians 1:20-21 and Colossians 3:1, Christ is seated in Heavenly places at the right hand of the Father far above all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every other name that is named. If God raised us up to be seated with Christ (Eph. 2:6), then where are we seated? This is our position in Christ. To be able to WALK and STAND, we must remain in our position in Christ. As we will find out later in our study, one must learn to "SIT" before one can WALK and STAND. The first part of learning to sit involves recognizing that we are seated in Heavenly places both now and into the future. Understanding this should change our perspective on what we call "important" it should prompt us to begin seeking things that are above and not the things of this earth.

Before we move on to walking, there is one more thing that needs to be mentioned about "Sitting" and that relates to the attitude of resting in His presence. Believers have to be content to sit in the presence of the Lord and rest. There is nothing more satisfying than resting in the Lord's presence. Christ does not command us to "Sit Down" like one would tell a 5 year old. Christ has invited us. We have been raised up and placed next to Him. This is a position of fellowship. We are invited to sit in the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. What an awesome invitation. Hopefully, we all pray every day. As part of your prayer life, you have probably experienced the presence of the Lord on many occasions. Isn't it wonderful?

However, too many Christians have a prayer time that more resembles a "Wish List". Consider the following example. "Dear God: thank-you for this wonderful day and the life that you have given me. God, please bless mom, dad, gramma and grampa. Help me on my job. Please provide 'this or that'. Be with my wife today at her job. Help my kids at school" and the list goes on and on concluded conveniently with the customary "AMEN" ('Cause it is really not a prayer unless you say "Amen") J And then you're off about your day. In that type of prayer, when have we allowed God to speak to us? When did we say, "God, what do you want me to do today?" and then waited for His answer?

Learning to "Sit" in the presence of the Lord is developed by the typical prayer time. We have to first understand that we need God for more than just "stuff". God loves to provide for His people and it delights His heart when we go to Him when we need things, but a relationship is much more than that. Relationship is communication and communication goes both ways. Think about Joshua in Exodus 33:11, "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." Joshua was invited to the Tabernacle with Moses. He was invited to sit in the presence of Almighty God. He saw the relationship that Moses had and desired that for Himself. He was not content with Moses' relationship; He wanted one of His own. So, as Moses departed, He lingered. He sought the Lord Himself. He had a love for the presence of the Lord.

We have the same invitation. We have been invited into the presence of Almighty God. How are we responding to that invitation? Are we giving God a list of requests? Or are we seeking Him for His direction?

Try this little exercise: Try to fit into your prayer time a certain time for just sitting and listening to what God might say. Try to sit still in the presence of the Lord and not say anything. Don't think anything…just sit with and open spirit and see what might happen. Start off with 5 minutes…them move up from there. This takes time to develop but over time you'll find that your time of actually speaking is reduced and your time of listening is increased.

Do you have an appreciation of just sitting in the presence of the Lord? Do you get your direction from His presence?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thoughts from the Book of Ephesians (Part 1)

I've recently been meditating on Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. At our church, I recently preached a series of sermons from this wonderful treasure of scripture entitled, "Sit, Walk, and Stand." These are the three key words that are brought out in pretty much every study of the epistle of Ephesians. These three key words in Ephesians relate to our POSITION IN CHRIST: "SIT" (verse 2:6), our LIFE IN THE WORLD: "WALK" (verse 4:1), and finally, our ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE ENEMY: "STAND" (verse 6:11). The life of every believer is governed by these three aspects. What is our position in Christ? How do we walk that out in relation to the world and our earthly surroundings? And finally, how does that relate to our attitude towards the enemy?

If we understand our position in Christ, then the other two aspects will fall into line. So…Today, let's look at the first of these three words, "Sit"…found in Ephesians 2:6. Actually…if we want to know our position relative to Christ, we must first know the position of Christ. Fortunately, we have to look no further than the book of Ephesians. Paul writes, in Ephesians 1:20-21, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Where is Christ? These verses plainly state that Christ is seated next to the Father in Heavenly places. This is His rightful place as the firstborn of the Father and heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). After His resurrection, Christ is exalted and sits at the right hand of the Father. After His resurrection, Christ said to His disciples in Matthew 28:18, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Phil. 2:5-16 says that He has been given a name that is greater than any other name! He has complete authority over Heaven and Earth. Now that we know where Christ is, we must understand how we fit into the picture.

Let's look at verses Ephesians 2:4-7, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

There are three experiences that a believer has in union in Christ:

1. God made us alive with Him (Ephesians 2:5) - Literally it reads that God's love and mercy have "made us alive together with Christ," expressing the intimate union we have the Lord.

2. God raised us up with Him: (Ephesians 2:6) - We have been raised up, or resurrected, in the likeness of Christ. (Romans 6:5) - Not only that, but we have been raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places, far above this earth.

3. God seated us with Him: (Ephesians 2:6) - The believer, by virtue of his union with Christ, is enthroned in the invisible world of spiritual reality where Christ reigns supreme. Because we are made alive in Him, raised up us with Him, the result is that we are jointly seated with Him

We were once dead in sin, but now we are resurrected and are to sit with Him in Heavenly places! This verse speaks of the spiritual position the believer has in Christ and His authority. Sitting in heavenly places with Christ is both a present and future truth. It is a position—seated in heavenly places—that is a reality now so that we may claim throne rights over our adversary, the devil. This is a wonderful truth, but also a very difficult challenge. This involves a completely new way of thinking. It is hard to comprehend that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly Places whilst here on this earth. Fortunately, Paul elaborates for us in Colossians 3:1-2, "If [SINCE] ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Since we are risen with Christ and seated with Him, we must be Heavenly minded at all times. Being Heavenly minded is seeking things above, not of this earth. Christ exhorted His disciples to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness"…this is being Heavenly minded.

Recently, we were privileged to have the President of Zion Fellowship International, Dr. Brian J. Bailey, come to visit our church and teach at the little Bible School that we have here in Virginia. Dr. Bailey taught on the subject of the Second Coming which is a subject that he quite literally wrote the book on. He was one of my teachers when I was in bible school and the spiritual father to my spiritual father, which I guess makes him my spiritual grand-father. Anyway, it was a blessing to have him here and have him share the wonderful revelation that God has given him regarding the subject of the Second Coming of Christ. We took the privilege of his coming as an opportunity to invite many people outside of the church to come and sit in on the classes. We had a family drive almost 2 hours just to hear him teach. Unfortunately, not everyone capitalized on this tremendous opportunity and I was greatly saddened. One particular story, which I will share now, broke my heart. This morning I went to breakfast with our senior pastor and his family. During our time of fellowship he shared to me how he had invited a pastor of another church to hear the teachings of Dr. Bailey. He shared with the pastor personal experiences of the anointing that is upon Dr. Bailey when he preaches and the very specific revelation that the Lord has given him and invited him to come and be a part. His response… "That sounds so nice…but that day is going to be so nice. I prefer to be out on my motorcycle." Are you kidding me?!?! I don't know this pastor and I'm sure he's been invited to lots of different services, but how do you pass up an opportunity to be in the house of the Lord and hear anointed teaching to go out on a motorcycle ride? This is just incomprehensible to me? I have nothing against motorcycles and I'm sure they're fun, but that is a temporal thing. This is exactly what being Heavenly minded is NOT! This is not seeking first the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness.

I have noticed this dangerous mindset in many Christians. God is an afterthought. Church is something you do on Sunday and that is that. Christians are so overcome with temporal things that they lose sight of the fact that they are seated in Heavenly Places next to the Lord Jesus! If Jesus were standing in front of you, would you tell Him, "Hang on Jesus…I know you wanna talk to me right now, but it is way to nice to be inside. I'm gonna go for a ride on my Harley!" Or how about, "Jesus, I just got free pass to play Pebble Beach…I can't turn this down…catcha later." We must live our lives with the understanding that God has raised us up and seated us next to Christ. What are we doing with our lives? How are we going through each and every day? Do we live with the understanding that we are seated with Christ? Do we seek Heavenly things? Do we pursue the Kingdom of God with all our strength? Or…do we get so overwhelmed with the pleasures of this world that God becomes an afterthought?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sick Day Frown Turned Upside Down

I'm sitting here in bed and I'm not really feeling that well. My wife and I have been sick for the last few days and it always makes things a little more difficult. It is amazing how something so simple as breathing properly through your nose can be taken for granted. Then as I was sitting here and starting to feel sorry for myself, I was over come with the sense of how blessed I really am. So...instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to list my blessings and be thankful for them.

My beloved wife, Ashley: She is the most beautiful woman in the entire world and everything I could ever have dreamed of in a wife. Her love for the Lord and her tender heart for others are the most attractive things to me (along with her beautiful eyes, captivating smile, and intoxicating laugh). She is my best friend and I can't imagine my life without her in it.

My church family, Zion Christian Assembly: or Sion Assemblea Christiana :) We are truly blessed to be in a church that loves the Lord and desires His best with all their hearts.

My job: This one is hard to be thankful for sometimes. Nothing works patience, longsuffering, meekness, temperance, faith, love, peace, and even joy (on occasion) in me more than my job. I learn more things about myself in those 8 hours each day than I ever thought was possible.

My God:  This one will take a while..."I am my beloved's and His desire is towards me." This verse, taken from Song of Solomon 7:10 is the end result of a very long journey for the Shulamite woman. I've studied this book many times in the past and understand it allegorical implications. However, even after all of my years of academic studies, I never really "got it" until recently. Yes, I know that God loves me, but feeling and experiencing His love for me on a daily basis is something that I could never really wrap my head around.  "His desire is towards me" yeah...I know. But what does that really mean? The Hebrew word used here is: teshûqâh pronounced tesh-oo-kaw'. It means, "stretching out after; a longing desire." God has a longing desire for me! Wow! I thought it was supposed to be the other way around! Yes, of course, I love the Lord and I desire to know Him and be with Him...but He has an intense longing desire to be with me! That is pretty awesome! I'm not sure that a lot of Christians really ever "get" this. They know they love the Lord and they walk in obedience to Him, but somehow something is still missing in their lives. Part of what is missing is that they don't quite understand what it means to know that God loves them and His desire is towards them.  Consider this: Mankind was originally created for fellowship with Him. Genesis 3:8 paints this picture for us. We read of God coming and walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day looking for Adam and Eve. There is a sense that this has been part of a regular routine. God walked and talked with Adam and Eve on a regular basis and in Genesis 3:8...He was looking for them! There is a part of God that longs to be with His people and fellowship with them. Recently...this just finally "clicked" like a light bulb! God's desire is towards me! Everything that I go through, every trial, every blessing, every sick day, every healthy entire life is orchestrated by a God that loves me and desires to fellowship with me.  All I have to do is respond to Him and He will lead the way. What an awesome God!

Anyway, on a sick day that started out with me feeling pretty lousy, I now feel refreshed and have a renewed understanding of how truly blessed I am! God is so good!

So...if you're reading you know that God loves you? Do you know that His desire is towards you and He longs to be with you?