Summary: Desiring the presence of Jesus.
SOMEONE STOLE OUR TENT!
The Lone Ranger and Tonto are camping in the desert. They set up their tent and are asleep. Some hours later, The Lone Ranger wakes his faithful friend. "Tonto, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."
Tonto replies, "Me see millions of stars." "What does that tell you?" asks The Lone Ranger. Tonto ponders for a minute.
"Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Chronologically, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.
What it tell you, Kemo Sabi?" The Lone Ranger is silent for a moment, then speaks: "Tonto, you dummy, someone has stolen our tent."
We are much like Tonto. We can’t see the forest for the trees. While we have been distracted with prosperity, possessions and religious practices, "someone" stole the presence of Jesus from us. Like a receding tide that has gone out, the Presence of Jesus has departed from our Churches and our lives and we are unaware of it. We can recite all the proper prayers, doctrines and dogmas, but we can’t prophesy, "Thus says the Lord." Our mouths are silent, because our ears are deaf. We can’t hear the small still voice of the Holy Spirit because we are not intimate with Jesus. We can’t be intimate with Jesus because we never met Him personally. He’s just a picture on a holy card to many of us. We have many needs in our nation at this time, but our greatest need is to re-discover the Presence of Jesus in our own lives and in our Churches.
There’s an old saying that says: "If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy." Too busy to spend time alone with Jesus and grow in an intimate relationship with Him. Too busy to share my hopes, dreams and fears with Him and learn what’s on His heart. Too busy to allow myself to fall deeply in love with Him as He opens His life to me. Prayer is just a conversation with Jesus. The most important conversation we will ever have. No prayer - no conversation - no Jesus. So what do we do? We know we should be "religious", so we busy ourselves with Church attendance and pius practices. But our heart is not in it and the presence of Jesus departs from our lives. We feel empty, lonely and depressed. We have allowed satan to steal the presence of Jesus from us. Our tent is gone.
What’s the answer to our problem?
1. Solitude. We need a time and place in which we can meet alone with Jesus. Alone is the operative word. To grow in intimacy with Jesus, we must be alone with Him. No one else present. No distractions. In a familiar room or place, so we are not distracted by the surroundings. So we can give Him our full attention. Where we can let our emotions out. Our emotions need to be engaged when we pray. They were for Jesus.
"In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." He 5:7
Solitude is essential. We need to meet Jesus when we are at the top of our game for the day, when we’re most capable in spirit, soul and body. To offer Him the best we got. For many of us that’s early in the morning. We need to schedule times of solitude with Him on a daily basis. That’s not optional either. No time for Jesus, we die, plain and simple. We’re road kill, dead meat for the enemy.
2. Meditation or focus on the person of Jesus. This will allow His attributes, strengths and moral character to impact our own lives and change us. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he meditated on the law of God day and night. He knew how to be still and allow God to be God.
"Be still and know that I am God." Ps 46:11 "I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me." Ps 132:2
He knew how to fill his mind with thoughts of the one who is holy, pure. magnificent, awesome beyond belief, and full of love and patience. He gazed on God’s glory and was changed
"All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory, into His very image by the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Cor 3:18