A Loving Desperation for God

When is the right time to become desperate for more–for all–of God?  While it certainly is the right time to seek Him with absolute diligence when we face a trial of enormous potential consequence (cancer, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.), the most critical time for becoming desperate for God–for all of God–is when we do not feel like it.

When we have become numb to the things of His Spirit and His Word, this is the most critical moment that requires a self-awakening and a self-discipline to stir up the fire within us before it goes out completely under the burdens of life.

The Psalmist describes for us a beautiful picture of being desperate for God:

“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?”

( Psalm 42:1b-2 )

Picture with the Psalmist a deer that has spent its day in the heat and maybe even has run from a predator at one point, and nearing the end of the day it is more than ready for a deep drink of refreshing, cool, life-sustaining and life-restoring water from any of the number of brooks or streams available in its territory.  Imagine the joy and the refreshment that the deer enjoys even as it approaches a water source, smelling the aroma of the fresh water even while still a mile away.  Its anticipation begins to refresh it even before the first drink is taken in.

Our lives have their own challenges and predators.  Sometimes we become so engaged in the battles of life that we forget to drink and hydrate our lives frequently throughout the day with the living streams of God.  Without a steady inflow of the waters of His life our lives become parched, thirsty, and eventually even numb to the thirst that our souls so desperately need to have quenched.

In the second verse the Psalmist asks himself when will he “appear before God.”  This reference includes the idea of appearing before God’s Face, a face-to-face meeting which brings to mind the kind of relationship that Moses had with God.  Moses would meet with God face-to-face (so to speak) as a friend meets with a friend.  Their relationship was very special.  This is the kind of relational encounter the Psalmist is asking himself about, when will he drink deep of the waters of God and present himself before God with a loving desperation to know Him more, and for God to know him more in a relational way?

The bottom line is this: out of our love for God, let us all cultivate a loving desperation for God, not only a desperation to know about Him, but to know Him personally.  Through the Cross of Christ we may approach our Heavenly Father with utmost confidence (Hebrews 4:15-16).  As you anticipate approaching Him in the minutes or hours to come, can’t you already smell the aroma of the fresh streams of God’s living water that flows from His Presence?  Like the deer anticipating its water, let us anticipate our time of face-to-face with God.

See you at the altar, my friends.

#PastorsTip

The Fires of Life & Death

I have found that there are two kinds of fire that exist, and each of us will face either one or the other. But, it is our choice as to which fire we will walk in.

The first fire that we face is the Refiner’s Fire, or the Refining Fire of God. This fire is not about final judgment, it is about purifying our lives of habits and patterns of sin so that we can live in greater freedom and walk more closely with our God.

The second fire that we face is the Fire of Torment, or Hell’s Fire. This particular fire is not for purification but is instead for punishment. Scripture speaks of the fire that does not go out and that torments those who have not undergone the refining by fire that brings holiness and a new life with Christ.

No one chooses this second fire directly (they would have to be insane to even consider “choosing” 1 or 2 seconds of it). It is however entered into by the choices made in this lifetime.

Our rejection of Christ and His incredible free gift-offer of forgiveness and new life with Him results in an eternity in hell, a place where God’s Presence just simply is not manifest. In effect, those who did not want to live in the Presence of God while on earth get to live their eternity without the Presence of God, which literally is hell.

You might be reading this and some of my previous postings which reference these “hell fire and brimstone” aspects of our encounters with God, and wondering what on earth am I targeting these subjects for?

You might be asking me where God’s Grace is in all of this.

Suffice it to say, God’s Grace is RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW! God’s Grace does not wink at our sins and our shortcomings and our little “mistakes” of adultery, drunkenness, lying, cheating, evil suspicions, and the like.

His Grace is an attribute of His Patience and Mercy. His Grace extends to us an invitation to walk through (with Him, hand-in-hand!) periods of His Refining Fire so that our lives can be restored more and more into the image that He originally created us to look like… Himself!

There are two kinds of fire that we will face during our eternal existence. This life on earth we can walk with God, hand-in-hand through His Refiner’s Fire that purifies us. This fire has a beginning and an end… a very happy and joyful ending!

Or, we can wait until we physically die and enter into the Hell Fire that has a beginning, but no ending, and there is no one there to hold our hand.

Tough words, I know. Wow, DO I KNOW! I am walking through the Refiner’s Fire even as I write this, but I cannot express how deep my love and appreciation goes to my Heavenly Father for not only His refining of my life, but for His Presence with me in the fire, the fire which will soon finish its work in this phase of my growing and maturing life in Him.

Please, join me in the Refiner’s Fire of today. Let’s avoid that other fire…

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