2023- Longing for Him.  Time with Jesus

(Photo: Unsplash)

As 2023 rolls in, let’s keep talking about our time with God… and how it can be fruitful and fun!  Let’s start our year in a flow of His presence…

First we can give thanks and reflect that Jesus did all the hard work!   We have very few valid excuses for not scheduling some special time with Him. 

We can make comparison to the ancient Israelites.  Three times a year Israelites would travel to Jerusalem to appear before the LORD with sacrifices of atonement and worship.  Depending upon where you lived, it may involve extended travel by foot and inclement weather to make the trip to the temple. 

It upended personal schedule. 

Your best offerings were required.

Those sacrifices were mostly animal sacrifices.  There were several other requirements, but will not detail them here.  

Men were required to make the trip 3 times per year.  Women and children could, and would come.  We see that Hannah went with her husband Elkanah, 1 Samuel 1:7.  And that Mary and Jesus went with Joseph, Luke 2:41.  

Those 3 trips are no longer required.  Jesus perfected the requirements of the law for us.  It’s great gift and so much easier to worship and serve and spend time with Him!

Under the New Covenant, we no longer follow the Old Testament festivals, Colossians 2:16.  As well, we know that the temple in which we now worship is our body in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19.  And we gather much more than 3 times per year, we are to gather in corporate worship on the Lord’s day.  And increasingly so, as we see the Day approaching, Hebrews 10:25.

So for scheduled time with God…

Are you back in person worshipping the LORD with other believers?  Unless disabled or other great barrier, I greatly encourage you to break out of any habit of worshipping from home, and gather with other believers.  May we surrender to that instruction for a greater measure of God’s presence and peace.  

Please pray for believers who won’t return.  I’m discovering it’s an area of stronghold in many believers.  

As one small example, before the holidays, I met with someone for prayer.  She was really struggling over a decision, had confusion of mind, and great anxiety.  I felt led to ask her if she had a church home.  And then ensued a great wrestling match of wills 😌.  She had strong feelings and thoughts against going back to church due to an offense she had experienced.  She felt very justified. 

I was gentle, but urged her with all I could, to return to a church of some kind that was bible-based.  She was missing regular communion, a time we are to examine ourselves before the LORD, 1 Corinthians 11:23-32.  (Some of us are sick and weak and worse, because we are skipping communion, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30).  She was missing worship, a time we are to be singing together with the saints, Ephesians 5:19.  She was missing hearing the word of God which is how our faith grows, Romans 10:17.  These are just a few foundational things, that when missing, can easily take us off path… leaving our emotions and thoughts in chaos.   

So for time with God… As 2023 begins, are you aligned with His instructions for worship, corporate fellowship, and maturing in Christ? 

And as a bonus, have you penciled in any time with God that is just between you and Him?  The pictures above represent an adventure I dedicated to Him this past Monday.  

It involved stealing away and setting up by quiet waters.  I imagined Jesus with me.  We started out on the wrong foot because I became quite frustrated when my kindling didn’t catch for the fire to start.  I had to repent from pouting and complaining 😅😁.   After, I got ahold of myself and didn’t give up on the fire, and 30 minutes later, it was dancing happily.  After that, everything fell into place and it was fun.

It’s fun to sit by the fire and read my Bible.  It was fun to talk to Jesus as if He was sitting next to me.  Fun to gaze upon the quiet waters, and feel the warmth of the winter sun on my face.  Fun to watch the flames dance.  Fun to keep the fire burning.  Fun to barbecue asparagus and fish, and roast a couple of marshmallows.  Fun to take some photos of His glory all around.  Fun to walk by the lake edge, and repeat a few scriptures over and over for memorization and deeper meditation. 

Psalm 73:21-26
21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
It was fun seeing him holding my hand as we walked and watched the sunset.  I declared that He is guiding me with his counsel.  He’s coming back for me.  He coming back for you.  He will take us into His glory!  

Time with Jesus is fun!  Make it fun!  Ask God to help you!  

What do you enjoy?  Take Him with you!  Maybe a day painting a picture as you listen to worship and talk to the Great Artist?  Maybe whittling a piece of wood into a cross and talking to Jesus about heart things?  Maybe sitting by a fire and reading a book of the bible and making notes about what you learn about Jesus’ personality?   Maybe a long walk repeating a scripture for revelation and memorization?

Oh that we would take extended time with God, not because we have to, but because we want to. ❤️‍🔥. 


The content is original to the author, Gina Williamson. Used with permission.

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