Dear Friends,

"The spiritual journey requires an intense concentration on God’s
point of view and will cause an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth
and an immense broadening of our interests in heaven." (Jonathan Edwards)

"If Christianity is not true it’s of no importance. If Christianity
is true it’s of ultimate importance. One thing Christianity is not: It
is not moderately important." (C. S. Lewis)

"Love God with all your being," (Jesus Christ – Matthew 22:37,38)

In The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, Jill is afraid to drink from the
cool flowing stream though she is intensely thirsty because she fears Aslan
the Lion (the Christ figure) who is sitting by the stream "I dare not come
and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the
Lion. "Oh dear, I suppose I must go and look for another stream then,"
Jill said. "There is no other stream," said the Lion. "On
the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
" (John 7:37)
We are spiritually thirsty people even if we don’t realize it and only
God Himself can quench our thirst. "There is no other stream," no
other source of water that will quench our spiritual thirst but Jesus. (See
John 4:1-42 for how Jesus quenched the thirst of the woman at the well).

Last month we heard Jesus say to Mary, Martha and to us, that intimacy with
Him is the "one thing needed". (Luke 10:38-42) This month we’ll
see that intimacy with Jesus is the one thing David desired and the one thing
Paul pursued at the loss of all things. David said: "One thing have
I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house
of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to
inquire in his temple.
" "When Thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my
heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek." (Psalm 27:4, 8) Values
(what we truly desire) run deeper and are far more important to a person than
any other single factor for our values drive our behavior. "Where your
treasure is (values are) there your heart (motivations, behavior) will also
" (Matthew 6:21) David was "a man after God’s own
" (Acts 13:22). What he "desired" he determined
to "seek after" – the Presence of God.

God says to all of us: "seek My face." May we be like David
in responding to this great invitation from the Lord to be intimate with Him:
"My heart (my deepest desires and motivations) said unto Thee, Thy
face, LORD, will I seek.
" God is always desiring and initiating relationship
with us ("seek My face") and wants to be known, intimately
known, (My face) as much as finite people can know an infinite God.
But we must be like David and say: "I will seek You Lord, now (not later,
some day), fully (not half-heartedly), sincerely (with my heart) and with a
fixed resolve (I will seek Your face). "You will seek me and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.
" (Jeremiah 29:13) God promises
that we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart. And unlike so many
other things we seek after that disappoint us when we get them, "He
who believes in Him will not be disappointed.
" (Romans 9:32)

Paul’s highest value was "I want to know Christ" intimately
and he considered everything else he had valued in the past or would have to
give up in the future as rubbish ("dung") compared to this. "But
whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is
more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing
Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them
rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness
of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the
righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and
the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings,
becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection
from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been
made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took
hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward
in Christ Jesus.
" (Philippians 3:7-14) We too are called by God to
live a life of self-denial. Like Paul, we need to ask the Lord what He is calling
us to "give up," even profitable things (v.7), in order to know Jesus
more intimately and therefore be conformed to His sacrificial life. (v.10) As
we "take time" from so many other activities, even good things, but
not the best thing (Luke 10:42), to grow in personal intimacy with Jesus, something
mysterious happens. God changes us to look more and more like His Son by the
power of His Spirit. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a
glass (a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
" (2 Corinthians
3:18) As we behold the Lord, gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and see the glory
of His sacrificial life (and death) we are changed by God’s Spirit. "Therefore,
I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, (we behold God’s mercy through
the sacrificial death of Jesus in Romans 1-11) to offer your bodies as living
sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
(Romans 12:1) Jesus lived a sacrificial life and died a sacrificial death. His
death alone can atone for sin but our sacrificial life can lead others to the
Savior both for salvation and for conformity to His likeness in glorifying God
by humbly serving people.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on
living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose?
I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ,
which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the
"(Philippians 1:21-24) Paul wrestled with two desires but because
he had a Biblical understanding of death (to die is gain) he was free to understand
Who and what he was living for (to live is Christ; i.e., to live for what Christ
valued, loving God and serving His people.) And as we live for Christ we, like
Paul, can die with joy as we anticipate the prize: Jesus’ "Well done,
good and faithful servant" and the eternal rewards that will redound to
the glory of God for all eternity.

"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the
time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished
the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only
to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
" (2 Timothy
4:6-8) Do you long for His appearing? Not just because life is difficult but
because of your passionate love for our Lord? The more we long for His presence
now, to behold the beauty of the Lord, the more we long to see Him face to face,
"long for His appearing," when we finish our race.

One thing I need. One thing I desire. One thing I will do: Seek His face.

Until He comes,

Len and Kristen

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