Meditation Moments 46:
THE OTHER SUNDAY WAS A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY MORNING, and some friends took me to a little white chapel at Knottsberry Farm for the Sunday morning service. They sang the old hymns and the preacher gave a good plain Gospel message: It was all very good and helpful, but there wasn't anything outstanding or striking about that part of the service.
BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY STRIKING THAT HAPPENED THERE, and very few people noticed it, for perhaps only two or three recognized the slender, humbly quiet man that ushered the people to their seats. Yet he was a very famous man, a multi-millionaire and the founder and owner of the famous Knottsberry Farm: It was Walter Knott himself.
THERE HE WAS, HUMBLY, USHERING IN THE PEOPLE in that tiny little frame church, each one to where they desired to sit. And as I sat there through the service, I thought, I'd like to know better this man, who with all his wealth and fame, just wants to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord! I had met and talked with him a couple of times, but that's not really knowing a person.
IT TAKES TIME AND CLOSE ASSOCIATION TO TRULY KNOW AND UNDERSTAND SUCH A ONE. Now as I sat in the humble little frame chapel, waiting for the service to begin, I became conscious of the melody the organist was playing at that time. It was "I am Thine, O Lord," and as the words of the old hymn formed in my mind, I said in my heart,
LORD, I WANT TO KNOW THEE BETTER! SOME ARE SATISFIED WITH A PASSING ACQUAINTANCESHIP, but they never know what Christianity is all about until they really know Thee in a closer walk:
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Blessed Jesus, let it be,
I'm satisfied as long as I walk,
Yes, I walk with Thee!
"JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE!" -- AND THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT for a little while, this "closer walk." Now the secret of drawing closer to know the Lord better, is prayer and communion. It is getting in touch with the Lord through meditating on His Word.
WE'VE SAID MUCH IN THE PAST ABOUT PRAYER, BUT I WANT TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE SECRET ABOUT MEDITATION that, if you want a closer walk with Him, will surely bring you closer to the heart of God: When you take up your Bible, even before you open its pages, just humbly, sincerely -- and it must be sincerely -- ask God for help.
THE WORDS OF YOUR PRAYER CAN BE VERY SIMPLE, such as, "Holy Spirit, reveal the things of Christ to me," or "Holy Spirit, help me to get in touch with God right now. Illumine Thy Word, Lord." -- It can be very simple but it has to be sincere.
IT MUST BE A CRY FROM THE HEART, NOT LISTLESSLY NOR HALF-HEARTEDLY, but a real hungering and thirsting. So many people just pick up their Bibles and begin to read thoughtlessly. They never get much out of it because they haven't asked the Lord to illumine His Word, asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the things of Christ.
MAYBE YOU DON'T FEEL ANY HUNGER FOR THE WORD OR TO HAVE A CLOSER WALK, or for God to open to you His rich treasure. Well, if that's the case, there ought to be a heart-searching, for at the root of this loss of spiritual appetite there is generally sin, or some failure or habitual weakness.
THIS MUST BE FACED AND DRAGGED OUT INTO THE OPEN AND BE REPENTED OF, before God can open to you of His rich treasure in the Word of God. This repentance is a foundation stone to blessing in meditation!
HOW CAN ONE COMMUNE WITH GOD WITH AN EVIL HEART? Now the Holy Spirit is waiting to bless and to comfort, and to reveal the things of Christ to you! But you have to ask with a sincere heart, and repent of any known sin.
THAT IS WHY WE'RE ASKING THAT BEFORE YOU EVEN OPEN THE WORD you bow your head and pray earnestly, sincerely for God to reveal anything in your heart that will stand in the way of your having truth revealed to you from that Word.
THIS IS WHY SO MANY CHRISTIANS READ THEIR BIBLES AND ARE NO FURTHER ALONG SPIRITUALLY, NOR CLOSER TO THE HEART OF GOD than when they began to read! One of our great teachers made this statement: "I'm sure that the failure of many Christians to gain much from meditation, arises far more often from their opening the Bibles too quickly than from their shutting them too quickly!"
YES, I THINK YOU CAN OPEN YOUR BIBLE TOO QUICKLY! First you have to set your heart right before God! And it's the Holy Spirit that reveals the things of Christ to you, so you ask Him by His Holy Spirit to reveal that which you're going to read, reveal It's deep riches to you.
SO MANY TRY TO EXIST SPIRITUALLY ON JUST A FEW SIPS OF THE MILK OF THE WORD on a Sunday morning, and in some instances this is skim milk! But they never grow at all, either morally or spiritually, nor have they any great spiritual sinew, because they don't masticate and assimilate the meat of the Word.
IN ORDER TO GET THE MEAT OF THE WORD, THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO: This that I've been talking to you about. But maybe you're satisfied with your present passing acquaintanceship with the Lord Jesus Christ? And you have no great desire to draw nearer, to have the closer walk? If so, it's because you don't realize what's in store for you in Christ Jesus.
YOU DON'T KNOW THE JOYS, THE BENEFITS, THE COMFORT, THE PEACE AND REST, or you'd want to know Him better, you'd want the closer walk! Words can't describe the riches to be found in Jesus, and the closer the walk with Him, the greater the revelations of His power and glory and inheritance you will have as a Christian.
WHILE WE WERE SITTING IN THE LITTLE CHAPEL WAITING FOR THE SERVICE TO BEGIN, the organist was playing,
I am Thine O Lord,
I've heard Thy voice
And it told Thy love for me.
But I long to rise in the
arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
DRAW ME NEARER, NEARER
To the Cross where Thou
Draw me nearer, nearer
To Thy precious bleeding side.
-- These are Fanny Crosby's words, and you notice that she has the secret of the very thing that I'm talking about: To know Him better.
YOU RISE ON THE ARMS OF FAITH TO BE DRAWN CLOSER! Then she says,
Consecrate me now to Thy
By the power of grace Divine,
Let my soul look up with
a steadfast hope
And my will be drawn to Thine.
Oh the pure delight of a
That before Thy Throne I spend
When I kneel in prayer,
And I with Thee, my God,
Commune as friend with friend.
I WISH I HAD SOME NEW WAY OF TELLING YOU WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO COME CLOSER to the Lord Jesus Christ! He is come that ye might have life and have it more abundantly! And He wants you to draw closer, He wants you to have the things He has to give. He wants to give you His best, and He longs that you shall have this peace and rest and joy.
HE'S NOT HOLDING IT BACK FROM YOU, YOU'RE HOLDING BACK FROM COMING CLOSER TO HIM! He says, "My peace I give," and "Ask and receive, that your joy may be full." -- He wants you to have all this fullness, He wants you closer.
HE EVEN DESIRES THAT YOU MAY PROSPER! You read the first Psalm and you'll find that: It tells of the righteous man, saying that all that he doeth shall prosper! And He wants to give you a goodly supply of all these things.
OF COURSE, THE CONDITIONS HAVE TO BE MET! But He wants His children to have all this, not that you might satisfy the cravings of the human flesh, but that it may prove His love for you.
THE RAIN AND SUN FALL ON THE JUST AND THE UNJUST, manifesting God's love even for the sinner, but as we've said to you so often, don't you think He'll save the best in all things for His very own? Don't you think for His own children He'd do the best?
HE WANTS YOU TO DRAW CLOSER TO HIM SO YOU'LL KNOW THE ABUNDANT LIFE that He has offered and which He comes to give: A life above the common, a life above the mediocre, a life above the ordinary! But you'll never know it by having just a passing acquaintanceship with Him, never! You have to draw closer! "Draw me closer, closer, just a closer walk with Thee, dear Lord."
HE CAME TO MAKE ALL THESE PROMISES REAL AND HE WANTS TO SHOW YOU THE RELIABILITY OF EVERY PROMISE! If you've got a need today, He wants to supply that need, He says so. He promised to give you the desires of your heart if you delight yourself in Him.
ARE YOU DELIGHTING YOURSELF IN HIM? OR ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH JUST A COUPLE OF LITTLE VERSES from the Word just before you jump into bed at night? And aren't you really interested in getting the Meat of the Word and truly drawing closer?
"ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM THAT BELIEVES!" That's limitless, isn't it? Don't you believe He came for you also? That you're included in this offer that He makes? Can your faith become strong enough at this time to take hold of this promise, for this closer walk, for the abundance that He promises?
OR IS FAITH WEAK AND WAVERING BECAUSE YOU'RE NEGLECTING TO DRAW CLOSER, neglecting to read His Word as you should? Perhaps even neglecting to have fellowship with other believers? His command is "Learn of me," and that's the way faith grows strong.
HE SAYS IN HIS WORD, "THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH!" -- Beloved, in these strange and dangerous times in which we live, no other life is worthwhile but the abundant life that the Lord Jesus Christ is offering you!
THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE HUNGERING FOR! That's all that will ever satisfy you! There's a verse of Scripture that saws He is the "satisfying portion." Draw closer to Him, read the Word, meditate upon it! God bless you and keep you through this day for His Name's sake
I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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