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Come Away!

      A theme that resonates through the words of Oswald Chambers, who founded a college for the training of missionaries, was that before one could engage and tell a soul of the wonder of Christ, they must first intimately know and be engaged in that wonder themselves.  He taught that to seek to take the message of His Presence without first personally experiencing the depths of that Presence was an exercise doomed to failure.  In my prayer notes I have written that before He reaches the world, He must first reach His church, you, me, us.  Has He?  Francis Chan wrote that "We are pieces of clay trying to tell other pieces of clay what the Potter is like...but that the only way we may know Him is through intimacy with the touch of His hands, and the intentions of His heart."  Far too often we venture out as rough lumps of clay, and not works shaped by His hands.  We can give lots of information about Him, but little revelation from Him.  We may fervently pray for a spiritual awakening, but such an awakening can only come through face to face encounters with the risen Christ.  We want to get more of His life, but seem unaware that His Life is seeking to get more of us.
     Wade Taylor, in his wonderful book, The Secret Of The Stairs, focuses on a passage from the Song of Songs, in 2:8-9.  It is a picture of Christ and His Church.  The bride, the church, sits in her room alone, listing all the wonderful things that her lover has done for her, given her.  Her love for him is based completely on what he has done for her, not for who he is.  The scripture says that while she is doing this, he is behind the wall, listening, yearning for her to long for him as he longed for her.  Unseen by her, he moves to the latticework where he may be partially seen.  At that moment she sees him, and her heart is awakened with a new and deeper love, to which he says, "Rise up my beloved, my fair one, and come away with me."  Such is the way of Christ with us.  The walls of our self-interest and absorption keep Him in the unseen and unknown.  All the while He longs for us, and seeks to show us glimpses of Himself through the latticework of our daily lives.  Do we, like the bride, see the lover of our souls, or do we go on missing Him?

     For so long I sought to tell people of a Father I had heard so much about.  I could give them information as to who He was and why they needed Him.  I could list all the things He had done for me, and blessed me with.  Yet, in so many ways, I, like the bride, sat in a room alone, not knowing that He stood right outside that "room" deeply longing for intimacy with me, a longing I didn't really share.  I wanted to receive from Him, I even wanted to "do" for Him, but I lacked an overwhelming desire for Him.  One day, through His endless grace, I saw Him through the latticework, past the wall of my own self obsession, and began to really hear His call to "come away" with Him.  The call grows stronger.  There are still times when I let the wall obscure Him again, when I am more lump of clay than lover of His heart, but more and more I want to know Him, live in His Presence, and love Him with the kind of love He gives to me.  No longer trying to get life out of Him, but receiving the fullness of Life from Him.  Not getting information of Him, but revelation from Him.  Each day, we will either choose to remain in our "room" and all the self issues that are found there, or to come away with Him.  Stay, or come.  Which will it be?

Blessings,
Pastor O
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