Some of you know that my favorite, favorite TV/movie/book series is Star Trek, primarily, the original series. I began watching it the year it began (with much argument with parental rules about bedtimes) and continue to be a Trekker to this day. In one of my favorite Trek novels, Spock’s World by Diane Duane, Spock, Kirk, and Dr. McCoy are in a discussion (as usual) about the differences between humans and Vulcans. McCoy complains about the inability to translate certain words. Spock tries to explain to McCoy that it is not a word, per se, that McCoy is trying to understand, but an concept – that Vulcans, unlike humans, have the ‘direct experience of the being or force responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Universe’ and that they ‘experience that presence directly and constantly.’ McCoy and Kirk are somewhat shocked and observe that the Vulcans appear to be in possession of what humans have been seeking for millennia.
In my reading pile just now is a book by A. W. Tozer called The Pursuit of God*. I have not finished yet, but Tozer’s premise for writing is that Christians have the ability to have that experience as well, to end that seeking. “The greatest fact of the tabernacle was that Jehovah was there, a Presence was waiting within the veil,” as he writes. Tozer goes on to say that we, our ‘selfs,’ are the veil that now hides the living presence of God from us. Tozer shows how “a loving Personality” is evident throughout the Bible – walking in the Garden, speaking with Moses and Abraham, and teaching and calling the disciples and us.
So this is a challenge for each who calls himself a Christian – to seek after that personal, direct relationship with God. We use a lot of words sometimes to describe discipleship, we often use traditions and rituals to convince ourselves we’re doing it right, but the truth is that we get in our own way more often than not. Instead of focusing on developing a friendship, a connection with God by spending TIME with him, we rush through our daily quota – read this many verses/chapters, read this devotional in the morning, that at night, prayer for this request or that. STOP! Stop and smell the roses! Friendships are built by investing, not in accomplishing a to-do list. Slow down. Savor. Get to know God, get to know Jesus, the same way you got to know your best earthly friend – by talking, laughing, crying together.
The psalmist speaks about this living God, long before Jesus came, died, and rose to live forever:
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2
So are you investing your time into developing a close, intimate relationship with Jesus, or are you merely checking off the items on your to-do list? Only one option with have eternal consequences. Choose wisely.
*The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer, Tozer Legacy Edition, copyright 1982, Christian Publications, Inc.
Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.
It’s frigid again today in New Jersey. I’m in sweats and heavy socks, the dog is wearing his new (too-big) sweater I knit him (back to the drawing board!), and nothing would be nicer than curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, in front of the electric fire, and binge watch something on DVD. Instead, I just went into the garage and backed the car out, and hauled the Christmas storage boxes into the house. Time to take down the tree, pack up the Hallmark houses and Coca-Cola train, wrap up the nativity set. Then I get to move the furniture back into place.
But even though the trappings of Christmas get boxed up and put away for another year, the message and significance of Christmas never should! What message, you ask? A simple one. It’s the message of an Almighty God that so loves each person and individual that he does not want even one of them to live hopeless, sinful, without him. So he chose to give up heaven and everything he was to be born as a human child, to live a perfect life in order to show us how to live in a right relationship with God the Father, and then willingly chose to pay the blood price for all the sin committed by each human being who ever lived or who ever will.
PAID the price. Slate wiped clean. Nothing further owed. But he not only paid the debt, Jesus CONQUERED the problem – sin and death – by rising, living and whole, to live forever. And astoundingly, unbelievably, he offers us the same eternal life – if we believe with our hearts that Jesus did all that, and accept that gift of life that Jesus offers!
A message that doesn’t get packed up in a box from January till December. A message that is for all people in all times. A message of hope, love, joy. Will you hear? Will you answer? Will you accept the gift?
“A comprehended God is no God at all. ”