Recently, as I was packing to go on a trip with our family, I was reminded of a time when I was also packing and learned a significant lesson.
My nightstand could pass for a shelf at Barnes and Noble.
At any given time I have 5-10 books stacked up that I have started to read or want to read.
Years ago, as I was packing for our family vacation, I was grabbing a stack of books to pack. I love to read when I have downtime, even if I was vacationing with 3 small children. I had big reading goals.
While I was shoveling books into the suitcase, I felt the Lord nudge my heart with the words, “You spend a lot of time learning about me, I wish you would spend more time with me.”
The impression of those words pierced my heart.
However, it was not the kind of piercing that felt condemning, or guilt-filled in any way, but with anticipation, a longing, a joyful excitement. These words were true.
The truth is, I can learn more about Him from being with Him for 10 minutes than I can in reading 10 books about Him.
Consequently, those words impacted me so much that I began to unpack my many books, and packed my journal and my Bible. I let go of my ‘to do ‘ list with the intention of using that time to be with Him.
Just as I felt Him speak to me in such a personal way, time with Him is just as personal and unique as each of us are.
What does time with God look like?
- For some of us, time with God may look like attending church on Sunday.
- Perhaps the time you set aside to
read your Bible or focus on prayer.
- It may be time with a friend where you are encouraging each other.
- Time with God may be sitting in your bathroom enjoying a few moments of peace before “mom?” is sung loudly and little fingers appear under the door.
- You may experience being with Him while you are in a crowded room
. Orlike me, you prefer to be alone, worship music blasting, your Bible, favorite pen and a journal.
There isn’t a formula to how each of us experiences God. We can even say yes to one, none or all of the things above.
An amazing thing about God is that He is with us when we feel Him, and He is with us when we don’t.
That day packing for vacation I felt His desire for relationship. To connect in a personal way not just in the ‘knowledge’ format that I was currently pursuing.
After returning home from that vacation, I came across a scripture from Joel that was really fun to unpack in light of my experience.
“Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the temple porch and the altar.” Joel 2:17
In order to understand the context of this passage I want to take a closer look at these three words; weep, porch and altar.
The word weep means intercession, rising up prayer, and it means weeping. tears of grief or joy before God.
The priest would go to the altar in the Holy of Holies they would be in the presence of the Lord.
That was their with time.
The altar was the place of intimacy, worship, and intercession. It was a place with just the priest and God. The priests would receive revelation and strategy from God. Next, they would go to the ‘porch’ to share it with the people.
People would gather on the porch and wait to hear what the Lord had said. Then, the priest would come out, and tell the people what had happened at the altar and bring revelation.
The altar was the secret place; the porch was the public place. On the porch, you see the evidence of what happened at the altar.
It is important for us to have balance between the porch and the altar.
I can easily allow myself to get so busy that I neglect my time at the altar, my time with God. When I allow that, I begin to feel depleted on the porch.
Looking at our lives, where is our porch?
It is at the porch that you take action, where you share and give out of what the Lord has given you. The place that you lead your family from, where you handle financial decisions, it is where we implement change, take action in life, and voice your dreams. It is any place where you have the influence to share the love of Christ with the people who are watching.
As I previously discussed, for each of us, our time at the altar (with God) looks different.
It is wherever you worship, pray, cry out, exude joy, and practice stillness. It is the place that you return back to for refreshing, refueling. In addition, it is where you can break before God.
Where do you meet with God?
The good news is that we are New Testament people! As believers, the Bible tells us that we are a holy priesthood.
We don’t have to be a special “High priest” and we don’t have to go to the tabernacle or the temple to meet with God. The veil is torn, there is no separation, and we can meet with God anywhere.
Who stands at your porch waiting to receive what you have gotten from the Lord?
Perhaps it is your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your friends, people in your church. They will experience the benefits of your time with Him.
You have your own way that God relates to you. Remember that the way that works for you may not work for someone else.
Reclaimers, our prayer this week for you is that you identify the way in which you meet with God. That you experience Him there and that you get to experience what it is like to give away what He gives you on the porch of your life.