Friday, June 24, 2011

Encountering God

Last Saturday our Pastors invited us over for dinner at their home. It’s been wonderful getting to know them outside of church and growing in closer connection with them. It’s so refreshing to be a part of a church in which your spiritual leaders not only lead…but also show their true authentic selves and desire to do life with their church, who they view as a family.

Last Sunday, the message touched on Christians running the race set before them and how Paul was such a great example of that. I only took one note the entire message and it read: “There is always something that wants to pull you away from the priority that you want to live”.

How true is that.

Dele and I sat there both relating to the message as it seems that while although our intentions are good {of wanting to run the spiritual race set before us}, there are so many “things” constantly getting put in front of us…it’s like we stay in the “ready” position…all day. Can you relate? For me, there are multiple tasks that I take on, and sometimes more than one at the same time…the house has to be cleaned, the bills have to be paid, errands need to be done, appointments needs to be scheduled, grocery shopping needs to be done, meals need to be made, laundry needs to be done, my husband needs my attention, my child needs to be happy, friendships need tending to...the list is long.

But truth be told, even with all that there is to do, there ARE pockets of time in the day that time with the Lord CAN happen. We just chose to do other things with that time. Life is not so much at full-speed that we can’t take twenty minutes or so to connect with God – to just stop, and give him our undivided attention – whether that be together as husband and wife or separately. Some days we find the time/make the time, and some days we don’t.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (TNIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…

I also read the same scripture in the New Living Translation, and found it to be perfectly worded for today’s modern time….

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…

Just as with any race, it requires commitment….it takes discipline…it takes training yourself into a daily habit that will bring about the results that you are hoping for. If I want to be close to God, then I need to purposely {and purposefully} put myself in the way of having an encounter with Him.

This week, my husband and I are doing just that. And it feels AMAZING to be in/feel the presence of God and be saturated by His love.

I’ve shared that the church we attend is a branch of a larger church that is about an hour from us, in another city. They are hosting a conference called ENCOUNTER that has taken place the last two nights, and it concludes its third night tonight. Last night was phenomenal. It was our first time attending there and wow, it is an amazing church! There were probably 500 people that attended last night’s conference; we all gathered together to have our lives enriched by seeking the Lord in one accord and with open hearts, wanting to be touched by His presence. The guest speaker last night delivered a powerful - yet real and direct – message…and unexpectedly, Dele was used last night, as he called on him to pray for a young man. How awesome!

Had we not have gone to the ENCOUNTER conference last night – had we said we were tired from the long day we had and chose to just relax at home – we would have missed out on God depositing some great things in to us – and Dele would not have been used as a vessel that God worked through. But we made attending this conference a priority…even if it meant that things went unattended as the time came to get ready to go. The house wasn’t perfect when we left; there were dishes in the sink, clothes on our bedroom floor, and make-up and hair brushes and mouthwash that [after they were used] didn’t go back in their rightful place in our bathroom. But such is life. Our hearts were more concentrated on the expectancy that we had for the night ahead.

Whether attending a conference that is an hour from our home, or encountering Him within our four walls, when God is my first priority, I just feel so good inside. This week we have been running our race. We’ve stopped for water a few times - but we’ve kept on going. And let me tell you...having an encounter with God beats doing the dishes any day.


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