Main thought: to examine how our proximity with God determines everything else we do. †
Our Proximity with God
Main Entry: prox∑im∑i∑ty
Etymology: Middle French proximitť, from Latin proximitat-, proximitas, from proximus
: the quality or state of being proximate : CLOSENESS
Have you ever noticed how big a mountain may appear from a distance but once youíre right next to it you realize how all consuming it is in its size?† For instance, Mt Denali in Alaska from a distance can be seen towering well above all of the other mountains around it so you know itís big, but when you truly get the full impact at the hugeness of the mountain is when youíre at its base. At a distance you can see the mountain in its entirety, but once youíre at its base it totally fills your senses and your vision is consumed with the magnificence of it. From a distance you realize itís incredible, but at its base you are consumed with its grandeur. In the same way, our walk with God can be just like that.
There are many people who behold God from a distance by looking into His Book of liberty and see the mightiness of God and realize He is God but are still at a distance from Him. Than there are those who hear and see Him by the light of His Word and say to themselves that seeing Him from a distance is not good enough for them and so they learn how to press in to Him right to the very base of His all consuming presence. These are the ones who will know how to sing when all of life around them is falling away, why? Because they have been to the base of Godís presence and know that nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the might and grandeur of God! No wonder Daniel was willing to continue pressing in with the threat of his life present by bowing to someone other than the one that the decree stated in his day;† Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) Or like the other great men of faith and passion for God in the following example; 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Praise God for those who know how to press in to the base of His Infinite Presence! These are the true heroes of faith. Not those who clothe themselves with the fatness of Godís blessings and stand behind pulpits of comfort and ease and preach about God, but those who are daily learning how to empty themselves out for God and others because they have tasted of the wonder and beauty of Who God Is. Praise our Lord for those who have heard His voice and have responded by going to foreign mission fields to empty themselves out so that others may live and see the beauty of Godís love. Praise Him for those in our own nation who are giving of their time, finances, and prayer on behalf of those in this nation who are hungry and thirsty for life. Praise Him also for those who are standing in the pulpits of this blessed nation and are also learning how to empty themselves out before God and others in ministry throughout each week.
What this world needs more than anything else today are not expert teachers of His Word, but expert doers. May our Lord fill to the fullest those right now who are empty, broken, and sick due to answering the call of His love to give of themselves! Their reward and fullness of joy is awaiting each and every one. How I stand in gratitude for those on the front lines of Godís love! How God is looking for us in this blessed nation to stand in the gap for those who have heard His voice to go and to stand by them with our finances and our prayers. For those who lack the fire of service I say draw near to the base of the mountain of God for He is One Who knows how to stir the sleeping soul into one aflame with His love. What inspires a mountain climber to climb? The mountain itself! There is joy of overcoming a great challenge that is only known by those have taken it head on and have overcome it. Christ, The Great Overcomer, did just that! He didnít skirt around the issue of the requirement of Godís Holiness that blood must be shed for the remission of sin, Hebrews 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Whole Chapter: Hebrews 9 In context: Hebrews 9:21-23) but took the challenge head on and poured Himself out on our behalf that we may live through His sacrifice. Have you ever watched with pride and joy your child throw all of themselves into trying to accomplish something but you knew it would be easier if they went about it differently? I feel that God is like that with us for He is well pleased when we commit all of our hearts into what we do for Him even if it may be slightly off the mark. Heís not so concerned with the physical results of our work as He is with the character building of our hearts. Those near to the base of Godís presence know this and that it is He Who produces eternal fruits within us. There are things that are seen at the base of the mountain that are not seen afar off.
It seems that we can perform everything that God says to do and still miss the mark if our hearts are not near to His. Love, Godís Love, truly is the most important thing in all of creation. Not the amount of head knowledge, the amount of experiences, prestige, possessions, works, self denial, etcÖ but the amount of hungering and thirsting to know and love Him! At a distance from Him itís easy to think that those other things are really most important to Him, but they arenít. Itís through pressing in to Him that the fullness of His presence fills the heart. We must not learn how to be content with the bread crumbs falling from his banqueting table; Matthew 15:26-28 26 And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27 But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, (1) your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once. But we need to learn how to press nearer and nearer to Him. The way of salvation is free but the way of growth in Him is only for the hungry of heart. Many of us will see those around us whose lives are filled with the joy of the Lord or with incredible peace and victory and wish that for ourselves. And yet, that same joy, peace, and victory is for every one who is willing to press near to the base of Godís presence. Each depth of joy and height of delights will come through a greater and greater emptying of ourselves; 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (Whole Chapter: 1 Peter 5 In context: 1 Peter 5:5-7)
Have you ever wondered what you would do if you happened upon a treasure of incredible worth? I sure have and about what I would do to secure my find so as to protect it so that itís full value would be safe and enjoyed thoroughly. Iíve imagined myself going to incredible physical efforts to secure it. Many of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that we have nothing and never will have and so the fire in our hearts to try has died long ago. But, the good news is that wealth beyond our wildest imaginations is available to every heart that truly hungers and thirsts for it. This wealth though is reserved only for those who have what it takes to go for it and that realize that the fire within their hearts to seek God does not originate from their own talents or abilities. Godís heart searches for those who are mountain climbers rather than those who are mountain viewers. His fullest joys wait for such as these. He will reward each person according to how we have used that which He has entrusted to each one of us. Of course God is everywhere but He only reveals the deeper levels of Himself to those who will draw deeper in and ever nearer to His Heart. The all consuming presence of God is for all who will come and drink of His infinite goodness and greatness. For all who thirsts He says come and He will give to drink living waters that flow from deep within their innermost being unto His Glory, Honor, and Praise. Heavenly Father, teach us not to dwell on yesterdayís mountain tops today but ever teach us how to press nearer and nearer to Your heart not for what You can do for us but because of Who You are that our joy may be full in You. Whether we live a hundred years here below filled with health and wealth or in a state of poverty and pain, let our every thought be of love to You from Whom all things exist and to Who all things will return. In Jesus Glorious Name, Amen
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