Monday, September 5, 2011

It is Good to Draw Near

For some time now I have felt God's invitation to come invitation to know Him fellowship and worship all throughout the day. At times I have to just stop and kneel beside my bed, even if only for a few minutes. And some nights, like tonight, sleep is no rival for time in His presence. My body is tired but my spirit is doing cartwheels.

This morning our Pastor finished up his most recent series with a message titled Seeking God's Face in Prayer and Worship. He spoke about how the church as a whole has become quite efficient in seeking the hands of God when in need or want of something, but are neglecting the Giver Himself.

God is urging us to get to know Him. He desires that we wade out a little deeper.

James 4:8 assures us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus promises that if we seek, we will find and if we knock, it will be opened to us.

Again Jesus speaks in John 7:37 and invites those who are thirsty to come to Him and drink.

The psalmist in Psalm 73:28 proclaims that it is good to draw near to God.

To be near our Savior. To sit at the feet of Jesus. To rest in the lap of our God. To bask in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

No petitions.

No requests.

No pleas.

Just be near Him.

(A very abbreviated summary of my notes):

I. We must first seek God's face in prayer.
  • Relationship is dependent on fellowship. Jesus' relationship to His heavenly Father was directly related to his prayer life.

  • The disciples knew that prayer was key. In Luke 11:1, they did not ask Jesus to show them how to heal or how to do miracles or how to teach but how to pray. "...Lord, teach us to pray..."
II. We must seek God's face in worship.
  • As Esther prepared for her time with the King (Esther 2:12), she used oils and perfumes not of her own preference, but those that were pleasing to him. We, too, must prepare and worship in ways that are pleasing to the King, however we feel the Holy Spirit leading. It is not about our preference, but His.

  • In Matthew 26:8, Mary brings an alabaster flask of very expensive oil and pours it on Jesus as He sits at the table. Pastor James painted a picture of Mary breaking open the flask and emptying the entire bottle without hesitation. She was extravagant in her worship no matter the cost. Today, the majority of the church measures out a little here a little there, deciding how much we give God in worship. He wants us to come in our brokenness (break open the flask) and pour out everything we have on Him, no matter the cost.
It is good for me to draw near to God...Ps. 73:28

More posts on drawing near to God:
i am His
An Invitation, A Call to Intimacy
Unworthy but Invited to Come
My Soul Longs For You
Complete in His Presence

Today I am linking with Jen at Finding Heaven, Michelle at Nebraska Graceful and counting my gifts with Ann.

#66-75 of graces embraced and gifts undeserved but given anyway

66 lifting holy hands
67 knees bent
68 arms open
69 the weight of His glory
70 spiritual cartwheels
71 an invitation to come closer
72 the sound of sleeping beauties
73 staying up late and sleeping in on holidays
74 corporately reading through Matthew 1-4 on a Friday night in a little church in the middle of nowhere
75 overwhelmed in His presence and tears that flow freely

15 friends had this to say:

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging post!! It is so hard for me to fathom that the Creator of the universe would want to be near to is so overwhelming, and so blissfully wonderful when you allow these scripture verses to take root and awaken your soul to His presence and truth! Thank you for sharing ~ Much love, alice

Stefanie Brown said...

I enjoyed your list. I'm a hand-raiser during worship and, at times, find myself on my knees before Him, in the sweetness of His presence.
Thank you for sharing...
Visiting from Multitudes on Mondays...

*****Shelly***** said...

Thank you, Alice and Stefanie. It is amazing that He, the God of the Universe, desires to be near us...

Praying you are overwhelmed with His holy presence today.

Blessings, sweet friends!

Matthew said...

Thank you for these words. Being fully present with our God is necessary, right and wonderful. With young children and more than enough busy-ness, I struggle to find and take that time. Because I need it. May He continue to breathe through your words. And be well with His Presence.

Danielle said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I love the whole just being near Him! There is something so sweet about just being near Him!

Lisa said...

Drawing near to God. That has been the journey He has had me on. It required much pruning at first, but with it has come great strengthening of my soul and the birth of new fruit. Thanks for the reminder to continue to draw near to God.


Shelly said...

Matthew...I definitely understand about busyness and the necessity of being refilled and empowered in God's strength. Thank you for your kind words and visit today.

Danielle and Lisa...Yes, it is so sweet to be in His presence. And Lisa, I have also experienced much refining in this process of drawing nearer...although uncomfortable, it a small cost for such a great reward.

Happy Monday, everyone! :)

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Wow, Shelly, you've really got me thinking with this one. I suspect I always have a motive in my time with God -- a request or a plea. How often do I simply sit in his presence with the sole purpose of worship? Not often enough, I fear.

Jean Wise said...

what encouragement I find in your words. I am so thankful we have an inviting God. I think that is such a lovely word: Invitation to draw nearer. How could we refuse?

Cooking Up Faith said...

Great scriptures!! I once heard that someone asked Mother Teresa about her prayer time with God, and she said she just listened. To be still with God and just listen and be with Him is truly a two way street relationship. At times we talk and He listens, and at times He talks and we listen. I think it best if we do more listening and less talking!

Jen said...

I have been in such a similar season -- getting to know Him just because He is Him. My heart has been opened to a new level of intimacy now that I would not trade for anything.


I like the practical idea of stopping throughout your day to kneel and be in God's presence.


Eileen said...

Great words, Shelly. I think the most difficult part is seeking Him with an undivided heart. Thanks for the encouragement to put Him first always!

HopeUnbroken said...

love this. so much to think about.

Anita Harris said...

Shelly, The post was beautiful to my spirit. It IS good to draw near to God, and the promises of James 4:8 and others just sweeten the invitation to "Draw Near."
We are living in a time when many of us are feeling the pull to spend more time in His presence through worship and prayer.
May the pull never diminish-but grow stronger,everyday.