Have you ever been desperate to hear from God? We have all been there. Our desire to press in to hear God's whisper is often what pushes us either to go deeper or to throw our hands up and walk away. Once while praying, I asked the Lord why I had not heard His voice in a long time. He spoke to my spirit and said, "Pat, I have gone to another level, and I am waiting for you to get here."
You see, it's not enough that we come to the altar. The journey doesn't stop there; the journey with God actually begins at the altar. After the altar, it's time to go to the secret place, because it is there we will hear His whisper. Have you ever heard God whisper? When you do, it will change your compass and put wind in your sails! God's whisper is deep calling unto deep (Ps. 42:7). He will show Himself powerful in the gatherings of His people, but make no mistake: It is in the secret place that He reveals Himself to His beloved sons and daughters.
So how do you get to that secret place? How do you find those intimate moments with the Father? How do we hear from a very personal God who desires to speak with us and lead us and longs to minister life to us? Here is a key we have found: the way we position ourselves impacts the volume of God's voice. The surroundings we choose to be in either position us closer to God or farther away. When God calls us deeper in Him, we must put away all distractions and allow our faith level to rise. As Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Friends, there are times when God will whisper and other times when He will shout, and even times when He will literally bump into you. He has His reasons for everything. Perhaps God is quiet because, as our dear friend Glen Berteau once said, "The teacher never talks when he gives a test!" We have gone through many seasons when God's voice was quiet. In those times, we have learned to live by faith and not by sight, and that it is in the quiet of the night or in the cave of isolation that God whispers His secrets. The amazing accounts from the life of the prophet Elijah tell us that a believer needs more than radical confrontation and God-pyrotechnics. We have found that it is in the blandness of our daily walk that we become firebrands of the kingdom.
The God of the worship service can be even bigger in the intimacy of the secret place. We praise God for the churches that believe in creating an atmosphere for a God encounter through dynamic worship, but we also hope that they teach the pursuer that seeking God is bigger than a church setting or a song set. We must be careful not to become a Saul generation that loves worship more than the Word simply because it soothes our demons. God expects us to be different and to "worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24b). He is a God whose mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).
Have you ever wondered why you see people radically touched at the altar by Jesus, but after a short amount of time they seem to go backward in their walk with God? Perhaps it is because they never learned to love God past the goosebumps and praise-a-thons. The altar must be strapped to us, not left behind between weekly Sunday morning church excursions. How are we to be crucified daily if the altar is locked behind the pristine doors of a sanctuary, being touched more often by the vacuum cleaner in the hands of the church janitor than by the people of God. Our altar must be a place where the flame never goes out, where the imprint of our life decreases and the fragrance of God increases. We must not get so good at going to the altar and forget to take it with us. We must be willing to embrace times of isolation.
Oftentimes isolation is a sign that God is being selfish with you. Our quietest seasons can be the most intimate, when God is doing His greatest work in us. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we should walk in them." We were created for His work! Yet we experience times when God is quiet, just as the great men and women in the Bible did. Take time for the secret place, draw close to Him and listen for His whisper.
Adapted from Rebuilding the Altar by Pat and Karen Schatzline, copyright 2017, published by Charisma House. More than ever we all need to embrace the altar, totally surrender to God and encounter Him. When we do we will never be the same, and neither will our homes, churches and nation. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of Sept. 24, 2017
This week, seek God in isolation (the secret place) so that you can be open to hear His voice when He whispers. Pray His will in the Spirit as there is much need. Remember the areas suffering great losses due to natural disasters and terrorism at home and abroad. Especially pray for Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and nearby islands, as well as Mexico and our allies. Continue to pray for the president and those working with him to protect and preserve our freedoms. Ask God to pour out His Spirit in our nation, heal our land and bring revival here and around the world. Read: Ephesians 2:10; Lamentations 3:22-23.
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