Some people keep Journals, writing down important happenings in their lives, or epiphanies they have. This is kind of like that for me, and I want to remember it.
First, a little groundwork, or foundation. Do you remember a time when you were really on fire for God? A time when you just couldn’t get enough of reading the Bible, or going to studies, or church several times a week? Do you remember a time when you spent hours with other seekers, discussing the Lord and His ways in your lives? Was there a time when you would rather be with other Christians searching for the big answers about life and the clock didn’t matter, you couldn’t get enough? Did you used to go to Christian camps, Christian movies, Christian conferences, Christian Bible studies, Christian home groups, even Christian restaurants, because you just couldn’t get enough? Do you remember a time when you were immersed in Jesus, almost continually baptized by His Presence? Do you remember a time when a friend would call you, and be so excited about a new book they just read, full of new discoveries of some kind about the life of faith, and you could talk for hours about…..the Lord? Do you remember a time when you were desperate about something and God showed up, just in time, leaving you breathless and amazed? Do you remember a time when someone asked you something about life, revealing how troubled they were and how lost they felt, and somehow, out of somewhere within you, you helped comfort them and leave them in peace, and you wondered “where did THAT come from”? Did you ever “experience God” in a way so real that no voice to the contrary could even approach you?
Did you ever have a time when the bullets of life were flying overhead, ready to hurt you, but you found the ‘peace that passes all understanding’ ?
Four questions may help make this personal instead of theoretical:
- Are you growing in your spiritual life?
- Or, are you treading water?
- Are you excited by and about God, and the life you have?
- Or not?
I got a call from a dear friend I hadn’t seen for some time. Dear friends are the ones that you can “pick up right where you left off,” and time doesn’t seem to matter. He lives in another city but was here for a conference and wanted to get together, so we did, on Wednesday night!
For a couple hours we just chatted away, like dear friends do, each of us ‘remembering’ a time past that we enjoyed together. What sort of overtook us was talking about a book, and then more books, about the Lord and His Ways, and about life and its ways. We experienced that feeling so hard to describe where you get excited about how God works, and you hunger to learn more, and you each remember one time after another or one book after another or one epiphany after another…..each one and all of them Glorifying God and giving Him praise, all the while rejoicing not only in The Lord, but in each other! That was Wednesday night!
Then, on Thursday night, it was time for our weekly Bible study at church, a continuation on the study of Spiritual Warfare. It’s a 12-week video study which we completed in the Spring, but so amazing, for me at least, that I had to have it repeated a 2nd time, and invited any who wished to “come again” and re-visit this so needed study. I’ve told several folks that the study should be re-named “Essential Christianity” because the title “Spiritual Warfare” makes some folks uncomfortable, almost wiggy, and what it really is about is the Power of God in our lives, ie: Christianity!
We may live in terrible times, and certainly terrible things are happening all over the place, but we have an Awesome God, Who is able to do exceedingly above what we can ask or even think! Ephesians 3:20.
These times are really no different than the times of history, except that these times are OUR times, and WE are the ones crying out to God! We have the same questions as the ancients had, and we try the same ways they did to get God to do what we want Him to do! Until, of course, we ‘get it,’ and begin to yield, or surrender, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!
And then something happens: we have an experience; or an awakening; or an epiphany; or a happening. God shows up. Jesus becomes real. The Bible becomes like food we can’t get enough of. Church even seems worth going to!
The lesson this Thursday night was on angels, and it wasn’t goofy or weird in any way. It was Bible. It was reassuring us that God is on the job, all the time, and that He has His messengers and attendants working on our behalf. On our behalf! After the video lesson several folks shared about personal encounters with angels and you could ‘feel’ the tension in the room, as each person tried to relate, even to ‘believe’ that this could happen. I realized that my own personal encounters with God are real to me, for me, but that YOUR encounters with God may seem mighty strange! Instead, we should “rejoice with them that rejoice,” and let God have His way with each of us.
I do pray that each of you can have a dear friend to share your faith with; to search together and to ponder things with; to get excited with and remember the times when God showed up! I also pray that church can become so much a Blessing to you that you hunger for it, and can’t wait for Sunday, because God shows up!