8 DAYS OF ENCOUNTER
January 6-13, 2019
James 4:8 NKJV
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Galatians 5:22-23 NASB
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The #8 in Scripture represents a new beginning, a place of starting over, where second chances await. Our earnest endeavor during these eight days is to encounter the living God—to know Him and make Him known. But also to cultivate a vineyard that will reproduce the fruit of the Spirit in its various varieties in due seasons. From the walk in the Garden, to the close encounter at the Burning Bush, to the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace, and the stranger on the road to Emmaus. God has been seeking for those to encounter His manifest presence. He never originally intended for rituals, routines, or ceremonies to be the protocol to His presence. God has always desired for us to know Him where deep calls to deep and seeing Him face to face. It would be appropriate to say that God seeks for us to “experience experiences” with Him intimately!
The law of physics reveals: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The same is true in the realm of the spirit world. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (Jam. 4:8). It is when we encounter His manifest presence that worldly pleasures fade, earthly treasures fail, and things one considered gain become losses when weighed against knowing Him.
To encounter God we must come away from the superficial, natural, and normal ways into a focused, intense, and sustained time of drawing near to Him! Here is where Henry Blackaby wrote: God is must glorified when we are most satisfied with Him.
When Jesus proclaimed “It is finished” on the cross the veil of the temple was torn top to bottom. God again is inviting us to experience Him, not through religion or second-hand relationship through another person, but spirit to spirit and face to face. We have long believed we were waiting on Him to draw near and visit us when the truth is He is waiting for us to draw near to Him. Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glory of rulers to search a matter out. For the next 8 Days we will search out the mysteries of God and be found of Him to be bearing the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is proof positive that our HEARTS, RELATIONSHIPS, and CHARCTER are ground, good and fertile, poised to produce much fruit and have fruit that will remain. This perpetual encounter will create new pathways where our pleasure becomes eternal treasure in reward. As in most things, you will get out of these 8 days what you put into them! Get focused, stay intense, and finish well. It’s time to experience experiences with God! It’s time for a close encounter of a divine kind!
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
Keep your HEART with all diligence. For out of it spring the ISSUES of life.
Out of the heart springs the issues of life. The issues of life are the issues of the heart. If we would get our heart right everything else would fall in place. To this end God searches: The eyes of the Lord run to and from through the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him (1 Chron. 16:9). Martin Luther taught that reformation of a nation begins with the reformation of the heart. He contended that the mind was an essential element in proclaiming the gospel but one would do well to look to the heart first. The heart is the well from which the mind draws. If the well be polluted then the mind is compromised.
Today we plough up the uncultivated ground of our hearts and implant the Seed of the Word in good, noble ground to experience 30, 60, 100-fold increase. It is the heart that bears most fruit where God the Father is most glorified and we are most satisfied with Him. It’s time to pull weeds and plant seeds and nurture our hearts to bear the fruit of the Spirit with all diligence—for out of it flow the issues of life!