But if from thence ye shall seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou search after him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.~Deut4:29
When we moved to the island we came from a well established fundamental Presbyterian church that taught strongly from the word to a very small, very eclectic, very struggling church that didn't always have a Pastor. We learnt early that if we were going to continue to walk with the Lord & grow in grace then much of the responsibility for that growth was going to fall on our shoulders. There was no *church* church. There was no minister. There were no regular services, no bible studies, no prayer nights.
It has taken 20 years to shake of the expectations of a lifetime of establishment church but we have learnt we are the church & the responsibility for our relationship with God is ours alone. Ours were the only children in church Sunday after Sunday, year after year ~ when we did have a service.
We devised a collection of *helps*: tapes & CDs, commentaries, radio programmes, Christian literature. For years I rose at 6am, parked my car just so, so I could pick up the only Christian broadcast preaching that reached the island & for an hour & a half I sat in my car listening to some of the best preaching available anywhere! Denomination ceased to matter. A starving man does not question the source of the food before him. Often it was the only outside input I received for weeks on end & I meditated on it from day to day. Fellowship was irregular at best. We were thrown back onto the family ~ as the Lord Himself warned Dearest we would be. It has made us a little odd. It has made us extremely critical of any preaching we hear. We have had to survive a spiritually hostile environment unsupported by strong church structure & we do not tolerate poor preaching well. It weakens the people of God. It destroys congregations. It blasphemes the name of God.
At first our choices were very traditional: the hymns we knew & loved; a few stray choruses we felt were biblically sound. Later Liddy bought contemporary Christian music. As I reverted more & more to my natural inclination towards meditative prayer, I often chose Celtic Praise & worship music. Then, picking a CD at random on one of our rare trips into Koorong I found Messianic worship music. That first CD, Ancient Words, changed my perception of worship music forever. There is something about it that speaks profoundly to my condition. It is scriptually sound, quoting scripture, the psalms, traditional Jewish prayer & song. It naturally turns the heart towards God. So each time we've been into Koorong I've looked for something similar ~ with no luck. Miles of contemporary stuff. Miles of traditional stuff. Hip Hop. Screamo. Heavy Metal. Messianic? I might as well have asked for the moon.
Then today, on the off chance, I scanned the racks of music & voila! I Am. And it is as wonderful as the first CD I got. It is a double CD & I have been plugged into the most glorious music all evening. And preparation of the heart is the first step. I have been looking for a good book on the practice of holiness for some time. Holiness, without which none of us will see God. The most charismatic of Christian disciplines. So I picked up Francis Frangipane's book Holiness, Truth & the Presence of God. Not sure. Don't know Frangipane but scanning the contents I think this will be good. Will let you know. And to help along on the journey I got Jentezen Franklin's Fasting
See, there's a number of things going on. Of course there's Liddy & prayer, closeness to God, is becoming more important the further she goes geographically. Prayer is the lifeline but there are Spiritual principles that hinder prayer & spiritual principles that aide prayer. Holiness is an aide. Then, spiritually I've sort of been on hold. Things have still been happening but not so intensely. Now Liddy is almost gone & I sense a shifting of the Spirit. It is time for the next thing to evolve. Then I have a son I am disciplining. This is not teaching the fundamentals. Those he has but as the Lord begins to work deeply in his life he needs deeper teaching & my vague, well the Lord led me like this, isn't quite going to cut the ice. I need to be able to formulate my thoughts & ideas better & get a better grip on the scriptural foundations that undergird my thinking. Sharing I'm not so good at. I waft along going where I think the Spirit is directing & I can get a terrible shock when someone asks me to stop & explain what's going on.
Fasting is a key element also & although I have practised it irregularly on & off for years I feel the need to get a better grip on how to explain why I do it, how it works, why it works as it does. Yeah, I am excited. Journeying with God is always full of unexpected surprises. No idea why we are going where we are but I am looking forward to the journey ~ difficult bits & all because the end result will be so worth it! So I have something to occupy my mind & get my teeth into besides Liddy's imminent departure!