Better Together

Imagine the idea of our lives being correct. I know that can feel strange if you have had a week as I have recently. But, if our lives are correct then it’s like a piece of paper, with nothing on it. We have been made clean and white, some might say it is wanting utility, but what it lacks is real intimacy. In our world today we can talk, text, chat and even live vicariously through the POV. However, what is truly lacking in our lives a true relationship. Many people who have confessed Christ live in a relationship with Him, that has no hand-holding, no intimate embrace, no passion that burns within. 

There is no longing like new love. As we apply this passionate love to God. He stirs us to explore His depths, to pursue His riches, to seek out his touch in our life. Ask yourself, who sits on the throne, in fiery manifestation? It is God, the Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth. And Jesus Christ, who sits beside as His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into Hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven; And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Yes, there is one God. 1 Corinthians 8:6~yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (NIV) 

We are to live fully in God’s presence. So, what is the confession of our faith say? Paul writes to the people of Ephesus and says in Ephesians 4:4-7~There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (ESV) Why did you come to Jesus? Was it not to Move Closer to God? Jesus Christ’s gift offers us a better word. 

Hebrews 12:24~You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. (NLT) God is immutable, never changing, for He is perfect, and He desires that you, yes, you right there, would grow in a passionate pursuit of Him. His great gift to us is love, He wrapped us in Jesus Christ because we could not endure were it not for the mercy given. Listen as Isaiah writes foretelling us what Christ will do. Isaiah 53:3-7~despised and rejected…a man of sorrows acquainted with grief…he was despised, and we esteemed him not…he borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted…pierced for our transgressions crushed for our iniquities; on him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed. All, like sheep, have gone astray…every one turned—to his own way…oppressed…afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb…to the slaughter…a sheep silent before its shearer…(ESV) Understand that God has granted us access to Him, to His Shekinah glory. The great gift of Pentecost is the flood of His Holy Spirit filling our hearts, filling our lives. God wants to make His home in the temple of our body. 

Spinoza wrote God’s highest love is not intellectual, but spiritual and to truly know him, we must learn of Him with our soul. Understand that our eternal, deep, spirit man or spirit woman is to be living in pursuit of the One. We are to pursue God. Fredrick Faber said it is a burning fire so sweet, it was of holy madness that his words flowed out like molten gold, as he ministered the gospel.

So, are you in pursuit of God? Are you a teenager in young love today, having just given Him your heart? Perhaps your relationship with the Lord is one that has weathered many a storm in a growing love whose depths have only begun to be fathomed? The question I set before you today is: are you in the love of a lifetime? In the Bible’s most steamy letter written on the passion, love, and zeal that the Bride of Christ is to possess for her Groom (Jesus) we find the passionate beloved says to his Shulamite in the Song of Solomon 2:14~…Let me see how lovely you are! Let me hear the sound of your melodious voice. (CEV) 

Can you imagine Jesus, calling out to you saying, come, let me see you, today, let me hear your voice. I am telling you that God wants to hear from you, right not. Why not lift up your voice to Him? He is waiting for you.



MOVE

It’s moving day. Do you remover moving day? All of the boxes packed and stacked only to find out that you still had so much stuff. You were swimming in stuff. Our spiritual lives are often covered over in stuff. We kneel to pray only to rise and do. We sit to read and study only to get up and go. We push everything out for a moment of quiet reflection only to have our devices go off in a symphony of sound. Saint of God, it is time to move closer to God. 

Yes, we were born in a fallen state, short of the glory of God, our closeness or proximity lost. But as the Father draws us, (John 6:44) He kindles a fire, building a desire to reconcile our broken relationship. It is the call of the redeemed. Redemption is about undoing the foul revolt as John Milton says, the life of man upon the earth is away from his presence and like Adam, we hide from God, all the while longing for the restoration of relationship, in Jesus.

As our soul begins the journey through life and faith, we move from the wilds of sin into the presence of God. We find this beautifully illustrated in the Old Testament Tabernacle’s arrangement. Where the old sinner, now redeemed, moves through the only gate, Jesus. (John 10:9) There is found the outer courts, the place of praise. As the brazen altar of sin sacrifice is met by a life in need. Once saved, this life is now lived for Christ. We move past the moment of salvation and into a daily washing of our hands for we trod through a dirty world out to soil us with sin. So, the true value of the Lavar is revealed in the life of a believer. 

Then entering the Holy Place we’re reminded that there is a dark world about us, and the only light to be found in the light of the world. (John 8:12) His name is Jesus. He is the man from Galilee. It is here we find the spiritual food that nourishes our hungry souls, as He breaks bread with us, (John 6:35) feeding us our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) He even teaches us how to pray, how to live life before the King, like the altar of incense, a figure of unceasing prayer. Because of Christ, we have been given unfettered access to God, that we would live in proximity with God.

God has always desired for us to live in His presence. That we would be in close proximity. From the beginning, every moment, every day, the flame of God’s Presence demonstrates as a beating heart that God is alive and participating in the life of his creation. Many know God’s presence by teaching, they grasp the theory of practice, yet for many, it is knowing without a realization of the privilege we have with our sin confessed. We are positionally correct but lack the experience of truly knowing His presence. We are to move closer.

Today, I want you to move closer to God. Go through your prayer list and pray, then sit for what may feel like an eternity, with your mind focused on Christ. Yes, this is a test of resolve. Let nothing disturb you as you listen for the whisper of the Lord over your soul. Let the Lord have the lead and just be in His presence. If He gives you a need, pray. If He gives you a song, sing. If He warms your heart with His peace and joy, relish in His presence. Today, be in the presence of the Lord Almighty.



Identity — Whose Are You? — 1 Peter 2:9-10…Handout

Do you know whose you are and to whom you belong? Yes / No. As believers, we must remember the Lord is our________. Numbers 18:20~…You shall have no ____________ in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion, your inheritance …(ESV) Identity: Being, Purposefully, _____Truths.

1) Being _________. Time moves in only one direction, while memory goes in another. (William Gibson) Our past will often offer us insights into what God is doing in our lives. In the Old Testament God tells His priests I am your________ and your inheritance. 2 Peter 2:9-10~But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (NIV)

2) Purposefully _____________. John 15:16~You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—(NIV) Our true Identity is_____ found on a social platform or hanging in our overflowing closets. Psalm 119:73~Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to________ your commands. (NIV) Are you learning God’s commands? Yes / No. Don’t blame the game, bad genes, or your friends. You were purposefully chosen. Perhaps you are in a season of wrestling, like Jacob at the Jabbok River. (Genesis 32:22-32) v24~So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  v 26~I will not let you go unless you bless me. (NIV) Jabbok means place of__________. Have you emptied yourself before God? Emptying is like cleaning out a closet it is a process. Isaiah 46:6~I am the Lord, I have _________ You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You…(ESV) Over____centuries later Jesus comes on the scene and reveals in John 8: 12~…I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (ESV) A few decades later when the Holy Spirit taps Pete, saying write my people an epistle and tell them they are accepted in Jesus Christ.

3) Two Spiritual______. Spiritual Truth #1–God Gathers His_________. You are a chosen (ἐκλεκτός eklektos) people. It means picked or election. So, God picks us; gathering for himself a bride, He has chosen. Romans 5:8~But God demonstrates His own______ toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) God wants you to know he created you to be exactly what He wants. God is not stuck with us, He picked us. Spiritual Truth #2–Whose Are You? Romans 8:9~You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do_____belong to Christ. (NIV) Like Paul, Pete says we are God’s very own________. We should ask often, God, how can I use my_____, for Your glory?  Pete’s writing to a group of people being persecuted, and literally killed for their faith. Being good enough is not an option.
 
Take-A-Step:_______________________________________________________________________.