I hope that you have gotten a fresh touch of Patriotism and the 'cost of your freedoms' during the past week, as we celebrated USA's 229th birthday. Now, I hope that this paper will help you get a 'FRESH TOUCH FROM GOD' concerning your Christian life! Of course, patriotism and the Christian faith demand (and deserve) more than a 'touch' for it takes constant vigilance for them to grow.
The Statue of Liberty, with open arms, has welcomed millions to the freedoms of America. Likewise, the Cross of Jesus Christ welcomes anyone through repentance and faith to the freedoms we have in Christ. Both take steadiness in convictions and actions to keep them flaming! Too many rely on a 'now and then' dose and not a steady flow.
By the way, we thank God for our rights as citizens and Christians, but what about God's rights?
Calvin Miller (past Prof. at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Tex.) wrote:
"If God is too small and impersonable, it is because we give Him only the religious space in our lives. As we allow God to be in charge of more of our world, then I believe our understanding of His immensity will grow! We may celebrate Him wherever we are. Let us widen our definition of 'intimacy'. For years I met God ONLY at church or in some quiet corner of devotion. How pitiful if we keep Him ONLY as a little devotional guide....or as a doctrinal statement! We had better let God grow!"
God does not change, but we need to change and enlarge our concept of God.
This comes through a fresh touch from God. Don't forget, God places in our hearts a hunger for Him and His love and close fellowship. Many acknowledge that hunger, but it remains a 'longing we do not know how to satisfy'.
So what's the problem? The purpose of this paper is to help us.
1) WHY DO WE NEED A FRESH TOUCH FROM GOD?
A. W. Tozer helps us here with these 3 headings and I have added a few comments:
This is habit without passion. A rut is a grave that is open on both ends.
If God is dead, the church is the graveyard.
If a caterpillar could talk, it might say, "I'll just stay a caterpillar". But by a miracle of God, a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly.
So, which will it be....the rut of a caterpillar.....or the miracle of a butterfly?
One way is so boring, but God's Way is so BLESSED.
This is repetition without feeling or understanding. This is ritual without revival or renewal. There is very little passion here if we only know the 'message of Christianity', but not personally the 'Christ of Christianity'. The depth here may only be from the voice-box out....and needs to go 10" deeper to the heart and soul of a person!
Without this, it too, like the rut, is a boring existence.
A little boy did not know that the pastor was visiting his mother when he ran into the house, holding a dead mouse. He said, "Mama, I ran over this mouse with my tricycle, then hit it with my baseball bat". About that time, he saw the pastor! Then he said, "......and God called him home!"
Many times we may know the right words, but it must be deeper than that.
Decay, no growth, very little life, no good root system.
Ephesians 3:17 says: "We are to be rooted and grounded in love"
Colossians 2:17 says: "We are to be rooted and built up in Christ".
It's sad to see crops with no roots, as they can not withstand the drought and can not produce. Make sure that YOUR roots go down deep in God's Word and that you have a close relationship and fellowship with Him.
Maybe the words of this old song will help:
"Down in the human heart,
crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that Grace can restore,
touched by a loving heart,
awakened by kindness,
chords that are broken will vibrate once more."
I had vocal chord cancer in 1991 (which is a difficult diagnosis for anyone, but especially for a preacher). But with the help of caring physicians and the Cancer Management Center (and God's healing processes), my vocal chords were able to vibrate once more...as it says in this song. We praise God for this every day!
II. HOW DO WE EXPERIENCE A FRESH TOUCH FROM GOD?
Two great scriptures: Isaiah 6 and Psalm 51 must be studied, to see how God did it in David and Isaiah's lives.
a.) In Isaiah 6: 1, there was SPIRITUAL CONTEMPLATION of God's Holiness when 'he saw the Lord high and lifted up'.
We need to see God high and lifted up, but also 'present and powerful' down here and within us.
How big is YOUR God?
H.G. Wells said, "God created man in His image and man has been returning the favor ever since (by creating God in man's image)."
b.) Isaiah 6:5 says, "Woe is me for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts." There was CONVICTION FOR SIN and when we really see God more clearly, we also see our sins more clearly and how they are against God.
Peter said I Peter 1:15-16, "Be ye holy as God is holy."
c.) Isaiah 6:6-7: CLEANSING FROM SIN followed the conviction and Isaiah said,
"Lo, He has touched me and my sins are taken away."
Your sin is in you...until it is on Jesus (I John 1:9).
The same things that saved you, are needed every day.
Acts 20: 21-22 says: "Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ".
For one to say, 'I'm not so bad' is like me saying, 'I'm not so bald".
I can spread out what little hair I have left and it looks 'fair'... but not from above!!
God sees that I am bald...and He sees our sins, as they are.
Please don't 'grade' your sins, but confess ALL of them, for all sin is against God.
d.) Isaiah 6: 8-11:
The rest of the chapter deals with COMMISSION FROM GOD for us to 'go'.
Verses 9-10 deal with the COMMITMENT Isaiah made (and we need to make),
"Here am I, send me!"
Verse 11 talks about CONTINUING faithfully until the end.
Please read and study Isaiah 7: 13-14 and 9: 6-7 about the Coming of the Messiah. This prophecy would not have been possible without Isaiah's experience with God in Isaiah 6.
Later in Isaiah 12, he affirms 'God is my salvation, my strength and my song'.
Also, for further study, see David's testimony in Psalm 51 about his experience of a 'fresh touch from God'.
God wants you to enjoy a 'fresh touch from Him' ....BEFORE you serve Him.
The inner life must develop WITH God, for the outer life to demonstrate God!
The Greek word for 'man' is anthropos, meaning 'a being with an up-turned face'.
Remember, God loves you as you are, but He refuses to leave you that way!
In the Christian's life, the difference between 'mediocrity' and 'excellence' is how we treat the high and holy impressions that come to us.
However, you won't have enough of these without quiet times of devotion.
"God created man in His image and man has been returning the favor ever since (by creating God in man's image)." We've certainly all been guilty, at one time or another, of putting God in a box. But if we will just praise Him and thank Him and daily reach out for that fresh touch, He is so faithful to reveal more and more and more of His holiness to us and the fact that He is greater than our hearts could come close to conceiving. What an awesome God we serve. And what a blessed encouragement to press in for that fresh touch.
Oh Travis, what a powerful and much needed admonition for us all. It seems the church as a whole has become stagnated in our growth because we sure do not measure up according to Eph. 4:13-till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. It does not seem as if we have grown up into Him who is the head-Christ-We have a lot of growing to do! In His love, Sharon