Tag Archives: intimacy with God

How to Meditate on God’s Word

Bible meditationMaking a regular practice of meditating on God’s Word was not always a part of my devotional life.  For many years, I consistently read the Bible, and I learned a great deal that way. Sometimes, when I was intrigued by a particular verse, I did a little study — looking it up in other translations, perhaps checking out the meanings of a few words in Strong’s Concordance, maybe seeing what commentaries had to say about it. But meditate on it? Not so much.

Why? Because I didn’t know how. It was one of those things nobody ever taught me. Then, a couple of books came my way, which helped me to see that I was missing a very important component of how God wants to interact with us through the Bible.

The Art of Praying the Scriptures, by John Paul Jackson
The Healing Journey
, by Thom Gardner

I like to make things as simple as possible, both for myself and others, so what I share today won’t be as detailed as their methods, but if you would like to go deeper, I highly recommend both books.

So, how do I personally meditate on God’s Word?

I ask God to give me a verse or passage. 

  • Once I’ve asked, I may hear from the Lord right away, or I might need to keep asking Him for a day or two.
  • He then brings a verse or phrase from Scripture to mind. If I don’t know where it is in the Bible, I locate it in a concordance or by searching for it in Google.
  • Or, in my regular course of reading, a verse just comes alive to me. Either way, I know that this is the verse or passage God wants me to meditate on.

My process:

  1. I write out the verse in a notebook I keep just for Bible meditation purposes.
  2. I read it aloud several times, and think about it.
  3. As I do that, a particular phrase from that verse may seem to be particularly meaningful, so I focus on that part.
  4. I ask God if He would like to bring a picture (which is a mini-vision) to mind which goes along with the verse or phrase, and then I wait for His response. If I receive a picture, I either try to draw it or describe it in my notebook.
  5. If God is not already flooding me with thoughts about the verse (usually He is), I ask God to speak to me about the verse. I write down whatever He says, or whatever insights He gives.
  6. At this point, I frequently start to remember other Bible verses which go along with my meditation verse. I write those down, too, and I explain in my notebook how they fit with the verse I started with.
  7. I ask God to show me how to apply the verse to my life, when applicable.
  8. I thank Him for what He is revealing to me.
  9. I may pray the verse back to Him, if that seems to fit.
  10. I try to remember the verse throughout the day. As I do that, God may give me additional insight. If He does, I return to my notebook and write it down.
  11. I go back to the verse the next day and think about it again, to see if the Lord has additional revelation for me in it.
  12. I sometimes repackage what I have learned by restating it in a FaceBook and/or Twitter post. That solidifies it for me, but it also inspires and blesses other people.

Twelve steps might seem like a lot, but they are only general guidelines. You don’t have to check them off point by point. I do this very informally, and all the  steps may not happen each time. The important thing is to commune with God over short pieces of Scripture so that you are thinking about Him more and growing in knowing Him better.

The amount of time I spend on a particular verse or passage varies. It may be one day, or a week. I sense in my spirit when the mission has been fully accomplished. Sometimes I come back to it again many months later.

I do not meditate on a single verse in place of reading the Bible in larger chunks. Consuming bigger portions of the Word daily is also important. I usually incorporate Scripture meditation into my morning prayer time, while reading at length in the evening works well for me. Everyone is different, so use whatever method is best for you.

Do you have additional suggestions you would like to share? Please comment!

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, by Lee Ann Rubsam

Friendship with God

abrahamI have been praying a lot lately about being the friend of God. I long for the day of Jesus’ return. I want to see Him “receive the reward of His suffering,” as the Moravians put it — multitudes of believers being caught up to Him, and then the day when He rules with complete honor upon the earth as the Supreme King of Kings. But in the meantime, I hunger to know Him, as much as I can, as close as I can, for Who He is.

The Bible says that Abraham was “the Friend of God” (James 2:23). I prayed, “Lord, I want to be Your friend, like Abraham was.” But then I backpedaled. Who was I, to ask to be like the great patriarch Abraham, the special friend of the Most High? So, I said, “God, I know I can’t be as close to You as Abraham. I’m not that special, but I still want to be one of Your lesser friends.”

He stopped me there, and showed me how wrong that thinking was. You see, we humans are limited in our love, our time, and our preferences for people. We feel a greater affinity for some than we do for others, and those are the ones we give our time and deepest affection to. However, God is unlimited in His love, time, and preferences for His children.

It is true that Abraham played an extremely pivotal part in history. Most of us would probably feel insignificant by comparison. But God does not base His friendships on people’s accomplishments. He does not invite those who bear seemingly more important roles to have a closer place in His heart. He does not parcel out His affections in pieces or percentages. Each of us can be His dear friend — and there are no lesser levels in His eyes. All it takes is desiring Him, pursuing Him, loving Him with all our heart.

This is hard for me to grasp. We’ve been told repeatedly in the Church, sometimes overtly and sometimes in subtle ways, that God has “haves” and “have-nots” in His family. But that is naturalistic thinking, a holdover from how our fallen world operates. The truth is, if we have not, it is because we ask not (James 4:2). The Lord longs to give every one of us so much more of Himself than we could possibly imagine. We can each be “the Friend of God,” on just as deep a level as Abraham enjoyed.

What does that look like? I suppose it is unique for each one. It definitely involves obedience. Abraham was obedient, in that he did not even withhold his only son from the Lord (Genesis 22:1-18). Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). Friends don’t do things which they know are hurtful or hateful to the one they love. Friendship also involves intimate time with Him, where He has our full attention. It means we trust Him, thinking the very best of Him — believing Him to be and do what He says of Himself.

I am so thankful that the Lord is giving me greater revelation of what it means to be His friend. I hope sharing these thoughts will inspire you to pursue friendship with Him, too.

Being Jesus’ Friend

I’ve been thinking some new thoughts, and I’m going to share them with you in their raw form.

You know, we sometimes have pretty rigid ideas of what prayer is.  We think we have to either be repenting, worshiping, or asking for things for ourselves and others  (and thanking God for the answers).   Additionally, maybe we get the concept of listening to the Spirit so that He can guide us.  If we’re REALLY spiritual, we might even “soak” — so that we can receive really cool supernatural revelation.

But I got to thinking:  I wonder if Jesus ever wants us to just be friends with Him without having some huge purpose attached to it.  Maybe you’re thinking, “Duh!  Where has this woman been?  I’ve known this for years!”  (Well, good for you.  I’m having a higher revelation moment for me.  Can’t help it if I should have thought of this years ago.  It’s just coming now!)

What started my wheels turning was a story that James Goll told, about how for twenty years, God woke him up every night at 2:00 a.m. — not to intercede, not to worship, not even to receive prophetic revelation.  He just wanted Mr. Goll to “watch” with Him.  So he got out of bed, every night, and sat in his favorite chair for a short time just to do that — watch with Him, be with Him.  For twenty years.  Mr. Goll didn’t do or say anything during those nightly visits.  As I understand it, he didn’t receive momentous revelatory information, either.  He was just being with Jesus.

I got to thinking about how common it is for people who are in ministry to only have friendships that are all about ministry.  If they’re not pouring into someone they want to bring up higher in the Lord, they are intent on useful connections to bring themselves up higher.  Probably due to being too busy too much of the time and having so many people wanting something from them continuously, they don’t have a mindset of nurturing  friendships with people who do not have an obvious purpose in the scheme of ministry as they see it.

And I began to wonder if I’ve been like that with the Lord way too much — spending my time with Him for all the clearly purposeful stuff, like  intercession and much-needed revelation — guidance for my life, what to teach, how to pray.  But then there have been the times I have said, “Tell me what’s on Your heart, Lord,” because I know that listening to Him is … well … ministering to Him (there we go with that purposeful stuff again!).

Now, I understand that all of the above types of prayer are aspects of being God’s friend.  And the last part — listening to know His heart, just because I love Him — that’s starting to sound like really intimate friendship, isn’t it.

But I think there is something more yet that He would like.  Real friends spend time with each other without having to see an obvious accomplishment coming out of the time spent.  That is a hard concept for purpose-filled people to get hold of.

In Gethsemane, Jesus took his three closest friends aside with Him and said, “Watch with Me.”  A little later, finding them asleep, He asked them, “Could you not watch with Me one hour?”  Yes, He added that they should watch and pray so that they would not succumb to temptation.  And most of the time this passage (Matthew 26:37-41) is used to exhort us to pray diligently for a minimum of one hour a day, once again, to get a job done.  Whole books have been written on that subject.

But there is something about that word “watch” that keeps pulling at me.  And something about real friendship with Jesus being entirely about time with Him without having to have any purpose at all, just because we love each other.

Savoring the Sanctuary of His Presence (Part 7)

In previous posts, I spoke about the corporate worship setting at great length.  But what about our personal worship, just Him and us? 

And there was also Anna, a prophetess …. She was very old … who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. – Luke 2:36, 37 

And the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. —  Exodus 33:11

Here we see an old woman and a young man with something in common that set them apart from everyone else: they loved the sanctuary of God’s Presence.  They loved ministering to the Lord’s heart by lavishing themselves on Him.  They did not go in and out of His Presence: they stayed there — because they wanted to be wherever He was.

In Anna and Joshua’s day, the Lord’s Presence rested in the structure where corporate worship was conducted.  (By the way, there are still physical places in our time as well, where God has been so sought after by true worshippers that His Glory-Presence continually rests tangibly in the building.)   But we have something that Anna and Joshua did not have.  Jesus promised that when He ascended into heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of believers (John 14:16, 17), and that we ourselves would be the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The Lord is still looking for people who desire not to depart from His Presence.  Worship and awareness of Him can be a lifestyle.  We do not have to step out of dwelling in His glory.  We all do step out of it and into natural-man ways from time to time, but we don’t have to.  The goal is to stay there.  It is what Jesus referred to in John 15 as “abiding in Him.”

Some of us think we have to go from one great conference to the next to experience wonderful worship, miracles, and glory manifestations.  But Jesus wants us to learn how to tap into dwelling in a state of worship, having communion with Him throughout every day, not needing the hype that is part of some corporate worship gatherings in order to be satisfied.  We are to find our complete satisfaction in Him, not in the tools that are used to facilitate worship.

Corporate worship is wonderful, and I dearly love being in that setting, but we must somehow learn to go beyond only experiencing God’s touch in that way.  Pure worship flows out of relationship with Him.  And since we are the temple of His Presence through the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can stay in the sanctuary of worship all the time, beyond what Anna and Joshua had.

Previous: True Worship (Part 6)

You may also like Lee Ann’s 2016 article series on worship,
Making a Place for God’s Presence

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Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

 

 

True Worship (Part 6 )

John 4:23 tells us “… True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him.”  God is still looking for people who will give Him the true worship He longs for.

True worship is not fervor over how uplifting or how exciting the music is.  We can be in performance-based praise settings that appeal to our senses, make us feel good, or get us dancing to the driving beat, and think that is worship.  Really, it is not much more than music executed so well and with such energy that it pleases our flesh.  This is the only “worship” experience many have ever known.

I once had a vision that illustrated this type of attempt at worship.  Jesus was standing outside two huge oaken doors leading into a ballroom.  He was waiting in happy anticipation for the doors to be opened so that He could come in.  Everyone on the other side of the doors was rejoicing and dancing because of Jesus, but they forgot to throw wide the doors and announce that He had come.  Perhaps it was not so much that they forgot; maybe they didn’t know they were supposed to.  So Jesus continued to stand and wait, and all the while people were rejoicing about Him without having Him present among them.  It was like celebrating at a wedding and forgetting that if the bridal couple is not in the room, the whole celebration is without meaning.

Essentially, the problem in this kind of scenario is that the “worship” is about us — are we enjoying the music, are we feeling good, do we get a “high” from the worship experience.  When we shift from it being about our satisfaction to what satisfies the Lord, that’s when we come into true worship.  We have then “opened the doors” to Him and He can make glorious entrance among us, reveal Himself to us, and truly fellowship with His people.

This is what the Lord longs for.  It is what we are really longing for as well.  True worship provides genuine satisfaction for both the Lord and His beloved people, and it lasts beyond the momentary experience.  Anything less may give us a temporary thrill, but we end up feeling empty when the excitement is over.  We need to entreat the Lord to bring us into true worship and to keep us there.

Over the last few posts, I have put a lot of emphasis on worship in the corporate setting.  Next time, I’d like to delve into personal worship.

Previous: Worship and the Holy War (Part 5)
Next: Savoring the Sanctuary of His Presence (Part 7) 

NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

 

The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 2)

Yesterday I talked a little about Elijah’s intimate relationship with God being a “throne room experience.”  It was in the throne room, where he stood before the Lord, that Elijah received how to pray, what to decree, and the powerful answers to those prayers and decrees.  Today, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to “stand before the Lord.”

What is standing before the Lord like? In detail, what is involved? I have pondered these questions a great deal, and I believe the Lord has given me some understanding on the subject:

1.)
  It is standing at attention before Him in His throne room as His servant,
a.) watching for the least gesture of His hand or the least eye contact,
b.) knowing what He wants and moving to do it.

This requires an acute sensitivity to Him. Psalm 123:2Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a  maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God ….

2.) It means having face-to-face relationship with God (intimacy).

3.)  It means to be one who is invited into His war council room, to take counsel with Him for His strategies.

4.)  It is a place of honor, and is not to be taken casually. Although it is every believer’s potential privilege, not everyone achieves this kind of intimacy with the Lord.  It is not an easy place to come into. It requires a total abandon of all self into the Lord’s hands. It involves painful refining at His hand.

I began to wonder just how close to God Elijah stood. Was he standing at a distance in a massive palace, just one attendant among thousands and thousands, waiting his turn and hoping to be noticed and called upon? At first glance this may seem like a foolish question, but since I desired to stand before the Lord like Elijah did, I desperately wanted to know how close I could get! As I pondered my question, God simply spoke to me, “Put your hand in Mine.” Mentally I obeyed, putting my hand in the hand of the King on the throne. And then He quietly said, “This is how it is.” I suddenly understood what Elijah had experienced. He did not receive his revelation in an impersonal manner from the Lord. He took the hand of the King, gazed intently into His eyes, and they communed over the plans of God. Awesome! It was an entirely new idea for me. It has revolutionized my intercessory prayer life.

Notice that Elijah never said, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I have stood.” His words were, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.” It is always a present tense expression of his relationship with his God. I believe that Elijah not only phrased it in the present tense; he lived a present tense experience of continually being in the throne room. That is where God wants to take modern-day believers as well. It is possible to come to the place of being so continually in the Lord’s Presence, that it is as though we never step out of the throne room. We commune constantly with the King of Kings. I’m not there yet, but I’m convinced that that’s what God desires – here on earth, not just after we die. It’s a goal to reach for, to hunger after, to get as near to as we possibly can.

So, where do we start? Once again, it is the way of the Diligent Seeker — “… he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) I’m on my way. Would you like to come along?

Previous: The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 1)

Lee Ann’s book, Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

  Full Gospel Family Publications

Character Building for Families

The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 1)

For many years now, my heart’s cry has been to see and hear in the Spirit as accurately as Elijah and Elisha did.  Elisha seems to have been more of the seer, while Elijah was the one who knew the voice of the Lord.  I love His voice — more than just about anything.

One of the phrases Elijah used repeatedly was, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.” Standing before the absolute Potentate of the entire universe — what an awesome privilege! Yet, it is the place God wants every New Testament believer to have.  Throne room access was purchased for us by Jesus’ blood, but very few of us have it as an experiential reality in our lives. Why? It is about relationship. Although Elijah lived under the old covenant of the law, he managed to tap into what God desires for the Spirit-filled believer today. Elijah knew experientially, vividly, what it meant to “stand before the Lord.” What did he have that so many of us – even baptized-in-the-Spirit, tongue-speaking, faith-declaring believers – are lacking?

Elijah was a diligent seeker. Hebrews 11:6 says, “… he [God] is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Elijah went after his God with his whole heart. He listened to the Lover of his soul with intensity, because he loved God’s voice. What do you think Elijah did during the years of the drought he had prophesied, while he sat by Cherith Brook (1 Kings 17:5, 6)? He didn’t just think, from morning until night, about the next meal of bread and meat that the ravens would bring. He spent time with God, interceding for his beloved people Israel and listening to God’s heart.

God holds up Elijah as an example for the rest of us:

James 5:16The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth fruit.

Elijah did not begin his life as an intercessor and listener at Cherith. The time spent alone with God there was an extension of what was already Elijah’s way of life. He already clearly understood what it was to stand before the Lord. We know this, because when he first appears in the Bible, a virtually unknown prophet, he tells King Ahab that he comes in the authority of one who stands in the Presence of the Lord. (1 Kings 17:1)

Sometimes people get a wrong idea of what decreeing things is all about. They use Elijah as an example of decreeing and receiving. They say that because we speak, our innate authority as believers makes it happen. I think there might be a little more to it than that.

God did not hold back the rain for three and a half years just because Elijah spoke it. Elijah’s decree was established because he was in intimate communication with God, and he knew that it was God’s directive that it was not to rain until Elijah said so.  He had his decree from the throne room, where he stood and received God’s counsel.  He spoke what he had heard from God.  This is why some folks decree right and left, and nothing happens.  They didn’t get it from the throne room; they just thought it was a good idea.

Jesus Himself said, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things. … for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:28, 29) Jesus also said, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father….” (John 8:38) I think that is what Elijah also experienced: doing and speaking what he had seen and heard in the very Presence of God.

I am suggesting that when Elijah said, “The LORD God of Israel … before whom I stand,”  what he was talking about was knowing experientially what it was to stand in the actual throne room of heaven, and it was from that experience that he derived his prayers, his strategies, and the amazing decrees that he so boldly pronounced (and which God backed up with thunderous answers).

Elisha also knew what it was to stand before the Lord. He referred to his relationship with God in the same words as Elijah had used before him, which is not surprising, since he received Elijah’s mantle. No doubt during the years that Elisha served as a prophet-in-training, Elijah poured into him all that he knew about having intimacy with God.

I believe Jeremiah and Samuel both “stood before the LORD,” as well.  God promised it conditionally to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 15:19“…and you shall stand before me.” The condition for Jeremiah to get to stand before God was that he needed to repent of questioning God’s faithfulness and truth.  He needed to repent of doubt.  He needed to “take forth the precious from the vile” in order to be God’s mouthpiece — which meant separating out of his life wrong speech and carnal ways of acting and thinking, but especially the speaking part. (See Jeremiah 15:15-19.) Samuel must have “stood before the LORD” also, because “the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19) This involved prophesying and decreeing.

Next time we’ll talk about how “standing before the Lord” applies to blood-bought, New Testament believers of our day.

Next: The LORD God … Before Whom I Stand (Part 2)

Lee Ann’s book, Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God

BeforeWhomWeStandsm

leeannrubsam.com
Full Gospel Family Publications
Character Building for Families