Sometimes while reading scripture, a certain word or phrase “jumps off the page.” This is the Holy Spirit sending you a message. Jesus likes to fire up our Holy Spirit to send messages. As He said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27), identifying Him as our shepherd who cares for us. We discussed this phenomenon in an earlier Blog of last June—“The First Responder.” Well, it happened again!
While reading a few days ago, the phrase “Near One” grabbed my attention. It comes from Psalm 75:1 in the Passion Translation (and similar content in the New King James).
“God, our hearts spill over with praise to you! We overflow with thanks for your name is the ‘Near One’”
Jesus used that phrase when discussing the happenings in His future return to the earth and the parable of the fig tree in Luke 21:31. He wants to be near us! And we benefit from pressing into Him to bring him nearby. Fortunately, there are many ways for believers to come closer to the Lord. Here’s a brief list of some of the ways to get closer:
WAYS TO GET CLOSER TO JESUS
- WORSHIP: Immerse yourself in worship music at home, at a concert, in your auto, or at a church. Many times, I have started the day with music playing and then turning it up high in my pickup truck on the road! There are so many types of media today for playing worship music including CD, DVD, Blue Tooth or other players, TV and Auto music, mobile phones, and your own instruments! And the best of all—tune up to iworship423.com on your phone or computer.
- READING THE WORD: The Bible gives us a chance to feel closer to Jesus by reading His history, methods, and directions while He was on earth. The stories of Jesus talking to groups or bringing healing or another kind of miracle. You can imagine being one of the disciples and seeing Him in person. The scriptures that show His powers and compassion include John 13 to 17 plus chapter 20 (final talks with the disciples before the cross). Also read Luke chapter 4 and the beginning of The Acts—chapters 1 through 3. You might have some other favorites that speak to you!
- QUIET TIME: Finding a time and place for quiet time with the Lord is becoming increasingly difficult in our society. But those who want to be closer to the Father and the Son, find a time. It could be morning or evening or even in the middle of the night. Many pastors and prophetic believers find the “fourth watch” (3 to 6 AM) as ideal just as Jewish “watchmen[i] on the wall” did in the Old Testament. The fourth watch is the “revelation watch” because many messages from the Lord come at that time.
GOING TO CONFERENCES AND WORSHIP EVENTS
There is something about a large group of believers coming together and praising God and/or learning about His Word. There are so many Psalms that speak about praise, singing, playing instruments, and worshiping our Mighty God!
You can gain faith and strength by seeing and feeling the sense of togetherness in a large gathering of people that believe like you do! It is another way to get closer to the Lord! See Psalms 96 to 101 (97,98, 101, and 108 by King David), and the “Great Hallel” that start with “Hallelujah” a strong word of praising God.
We have memories about leading college students to large events like Passion Music’s yearly events led by Louie Giglio and worship leaders like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Crowder! Many of our first song sets on iworship423 came from these worship leaders. In the year 2000, we traveled to Memphis, Tennessee with 20 students to be part of Passion’s “One Day[ii]” that drew nearly 50,000 students and others for the outdoor concert. Watching and feeling the presence of the Lord in the crowd and in all the times with the students was glorious. We had lived in Nashville previously and some of our local friends hosted the students! Our college worship leaders were able to meet and even play guitars with well-known worship leaders. So, twenty+ years later, we know that many of the students join us in remembering this amazing time with the Lord. If you haven’t been to a conference like this, we hope that you will experience this in the future.
We will continue in the next Blog to discuss some other ways to get closer to Jesus. May “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).[iii]
[i] The watchmen were guards that watched from the walls surrounding their town for any enemies coming in the day or night. They were often assigned a segment of time called a “watch” that was about 4 hours long. Remember that the Jewish day was marked from dusk to dusk, not midnight to midnight as in most of the world.
[ii] See Psalm 84:10—“Better is ONE DAY in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Not only was the conference a great One Day, but on another Passion conference several years later, we were “doorkeepers” and guides as volunteers for Passion.
[iii] This is “Aaron’s Blessing” from the Book of Numbers that the Lord told Moses to use to bless Aaron and his sons. As I have mentioned before, this blessing was given by my grandfather (a Lutheran pastor) to use at the end of each of his church services. So, we have a copy of this blessing as a picture (in English and in Hebrew) on a wall of our home.