Hard questions that create thirst

I am working my way through Thomas Kelly’s little book, A Testament  of Devotion and every few pages I must pause and reflect on a sentence, a phrase, or even a question.

This morning, here are the challenges from Thomas Kelly:

Do you love His presence?

The first of the love of God, of our love toward God, and of His love toward us, are very hot.

Our real problem, in failing to center down, is not a lack of time; it is, I fear, in too many of us, lack of joyful, enthusiastic delight in Him, lack of deep, deep-drawing love directed toward Him at every hour of the day and night.

There is a place the Spirit calls and I am all too unwilling to walk. Laziness. Distraction. Call it whatever… but when I read these challenges I am stirred once again.

Apprehended by Christ

You squeeze me in from behind and in front;
you place your hand on me. (Ps. 139:5)

I read those words yesterday in the NET Bible. The NIV says this:

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.

Those words have captured me. He has laid siege to my heart. There is simply no place I can go where he is not. He pursues me… hard.

My life is to be surrendered to him.

Then these words from Romans 6 this morning in my reading:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (v. 5)

All is ours. When we are apprehended by God, the Spirit is so powerful. He has given all of heaven’s power to us. We can live in resurrection power.

There are days when I can write something like that, or read something like that, and all I have done is write it or read it. But over this past week… I have felt it. There simply is no description. All week long has been a stirring in my heart for the presence of Jesus. It would be in prayer. It would be a morning where I was up early but knew it was God and all I could do was weep in his presence.

Yesterday it was a stirring all day long, which disturbed me because I didn’t know if that stirring was an angst from a misunderstanding I had, or the stupid elections in our nation, or what. But this morning, these words have swept over me again and that stirring is still there… I am apprehended by God. He has laid siege to my heart. I am HIS. I want to be his. FULLY.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

The way is made clear. Truly, nothing stops us from living a resurrected life other than ourselves.

I can read these words on this screen… and honestly feel nothing. You can read these words and honestly feel nothing. It’s not these words. It is a stirring. It is a deep calling to deep. It is a life planted in the Word of God where the Spirit of God can then stir the waters and a cry from the deepest part of the soul has the opportunity to rise up.

My life needs a saturated presence in the written word so the Spirit can lead me to the Living Word. I need my heart stirred. I need my heart squeezed in.

I want to live a life apprehended by God.

 

 

 

Lord, deliver me from halfway measures

Lord, I follow you too often with a hesitancy. I follow you in half measures. Too often I follow you with some things but hold other things back.

You call me to unreserved obedience. 

Let not my life reflect a life embodying a “dull religion.” Let my life reflect a hunger for Christ that will not die. Let my life reflect a full measure of devotion.

It is the full measure of devotion where the life of the miraculous dwells. It is the full measure of devotion where YOU break through. The possibilities are enormous. And history can be changed. That is the full measure of devotion.

Lord, this is where I desire to be found.

Devoted hearts will find victory

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Ps. 32:8)

We cannot “will” our way to following Christ. We surrender and then determination to follow will come after devotion. 

“God does not want obedience as the fruit of our willful determination. God wants surrender as the choice of the heart. For what we long for in our heart we will pursue with the totality of our being — not simply with the resolve of our will.” (David Benner, Desiring God’s Will, p. 76)