What do we need to do differently individually and collectively to seek the face of the Lord for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
Well, I was frankly in the words of my generation ‘gob-smacked’! What?! There I was thinking that I was being a pain by ‘keeping on’ - trying to remind people of these principles for the last couple of years or so at every opportunity - and here we were after all this time with one of the team leaders (and a much-respected colleague) who couldn’t remember what they were! It was a lesson at a number of levels but the simplest one was that in the jumble of life and all that we have to respond to, we can’t remind ourselves often enough about what is really important.
In this respect Mary keeps coming back to mind; Luke 10:41-42 where Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her’. (In sitting at Jesus’ feet and seeking a deeper relationship with God she was not only 'letting down’ her sister by not helping her, but also breaking a cultural norm about the role that she was expected to take given the circumstances of the day). It causes me to think about how difficult it is for us to abandon our normal patterns of behaviour to seek the Lord’s face.
How important does something need to be to cause us to make real changes to the way that we live? Let’s think about something that we might do that breaks our own cultural norms or current behaviours in response to the Lord telling us to ‘seek His face’; Psalm 27:8 (ESV) ‘when You said, Seek My face’, My heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek’. (Our minds do readily respond to the Lord sometimes, don’t they? It’s easy to mentally get that God wants us to seek His face or to be convinced of a biblical principle. It’s quite another to alter the way that we behave or radically change something in our lives to enable us to respond to what the Lord asks?
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I guess if we can tick the boxes:
√ asking what we desire, and it being done for us and
√ bearing much fruit to the glory of God the Father
… then there is no need to be alarmed? But if we are more like; ‘without me you can do nothing’… then are we really abiding?
Often the bible’s answer to things that are not right, is to seek the face of the Lord. In the New King James version, the word ‘Seek’ appears 310 times not including all of the related words like ‘inquire’; these are not all referring to ‘seeking the Lord but a good many of them are. There are a number of Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) words that are translated as ‘seek’.
In Psalm 27:4 David seeks after the Lord with delight: ‘One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire of His temple’.
In Jeremiah 29:13 the prophet is answering a question as to why the Lord has not answered: ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart’.
I suspect that Mary’s heart was seeking in the manner of Psalm 27 – with delight she was seeking the face of God and establishing her relationship with Him.
In the Laodicean church of Revelation 3 the Lord is urging people to seek His face because He was revealing to them the massive gap between where they thought they were and where they in fact were in His sight – miserable and poor and blind and naked.
In the early 1900s, when God was pouring out His Spirit in a new way in churches in different places, three Godly men quite independently declared that in ‘about 100 years’ time’ there would be a similar outpouring. They said that the difference this time would be that it would not be identified with any one person/individuals and that it would be global. In response to this I am reminded of Daniel. Once he saw through prophesy that the years of exile were ending, he sought the face of God to make that word a living reality.
So here are three reasons (not the only ones) for us to seek the Lord for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit:
- As Mary and David, with a deep hunger and delight at knowing the Lord – for the sheer love of Jesus and wanting His name to be honored and lifted high.
- Because we know that something is wrong and are desperate for the Lord to move in power for the sake of the church and those who have no knowledge of salvation at all.
- If we hear (as Thelma reminded us not long ago) the sound of ‘moving in the mulberry trees’ and recall God’s promises to pour out His spirit when His people rise up and seek His face and are convinced that this is the time of our visitation, then we will seek His face for a fresh outpouring.
I think that this message is coming to us again and again through different people not just so that we will understand it but so that we will live in it. What do we need to do differently individually and collectively to seek the face of the Lord for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit? We need to remember that God rejected the Jews of Jeremiah’s time because they did not seek Him earnestly and in truth. Sometimes we need reminding again and again so that we determine what’s important and change accordingly?
Me with a quenchless thirst inspire,
A longing, infinite desire,
And fill my craving heart.
Less than Thyself, oh, do not give,
In might Thyself within me live;
Come, all Thou hast and art.
(Charles Wesley)Author: Chris Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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