Drawing Near

I woke up at four o’clock this morning and recognized the invitation. The LORD wanted to spend time with me. I got up and settled into my favorite ‘prayer’ chair. I had my Bible and my iPod (for worship) and was ready to spend some time with Him. But as I sat there I couldn’t find Him. He wasn’t saying anything that I could tell. The worship music all seemed dry. My words of prayer seemed to be going nowhere. I knew He’d awakened me, but then it was like He wasn’t there at all.

I wasn’t sure what else to do, so I began to read my one year Bible. I was a few days behind and wanted to catch up. I was reading through Joshua as he dispersed the land to the tribes of Israel. Good stuff, but I didn’t find God there this morning. Next was a passage from the book of Luke. Very good stuff. It blessed me, but I still didn’t find Him. Then I came to the reading from Psalms.

As I began to read through the Psalms that David wrote, something suddenly happened. The words began to burn in my heart and I began to speak them to God as though they were my words. I wasn’t just reading words off a page, they were coming from my heart.

These were some of the words:

With all my heart will I praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. (Psalm 86:12-13, NLT)

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15, NLT)

Three Psalms came pouring from my heart this morning. And as I drew near to Him with the words of David now burning in my heart, I found Him drawing near to me.

Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding California says to read through the Psalms until you find the cry of your heart and then pour it before the Lord!

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matthew 15:8, KJV)

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV)

With my whole heart have I sought thee… (Psalm 119:10, KJV)

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you… (James 4:8, KJV)

The Heart

I had an interesting experience today as I ministered to a man who had just had heart surgery. As I visited him in the ICU he began to share some things with me that he had seen on the news that had upset him. As he spoke of these things I noticed on the monitor that his blood pressure began to rise. The monitor began to beep as his blood pressure rose. I shared some scriptures that brought him peace and as I shared the scriptures his blood pressure began to drop.

A few minutes later he began to relate to me another thing he had seen on t.v. that had upset him. Once again his blood pressure began to rise, but then he shared how the Lord had helped him deal with what he had seen. As he shared about the goodness of God, his blood pressure began to drop once again.

Right there in the ICU the Lord brought this scripture to my remembrance.

David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of this Philistine… (1 Samuel 17:32, Amplified)

David was speaking here of Goliath who had come out for forty days and had intimidated the armies of Israel with his threats and taunts. It says in verse eleven that “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid” (KJV).

The news today is full of words that could cause a person to be dismayed and greatly afraid. However, just like David, we don’t have to be afraid. Just like David our hearts don’t have to fail us and we can help others who find themselves dismayed and greatly afraid.

What did David know that gave him such confidence when others feared?

He knew he had a covenant with God and that God was on his side (1 Samuel 17:26, David refers to this ‘uncircumcised’ Philistine; circumcision was the sign of the covenant).

The name David means ‘Beloved’. He knew he was loved. Perfected love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Also God’s covenant is based on hesed which is His unfailing love and David knew this (Psalm 23:6, Amplified – “Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life…”; the words unfailing love in that translation come from the Hebrew word hesed which was simply translated mercy in the King James).

He knew God. He had a relationship with Him from all his time of fellowship with God as he tended the sheep in the fields and from his love and knowledge of God’s Word.

I shared these things with that man in ICU and his blood pressure continued to drop as he heard these truths. I also shared these two scriptures with him.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7, KJV)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8, KJV)

We too have a covenant with God through Jesus (Hebrews 8:6). We too are loved of God (1 John 4:19). We too now have fellowship with him by His Spirit and His Word (1 John 1:3). We too can have confidence and fear not!

And one last scripture to keep in mind.

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine… (Proverbs 17:22, KJV)

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22, Amplified)