The Lord and I

By John Thiel

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

In this study it is my purpose to bring everything that I have ever preached in the past down to a living companionship with God. The term I just expressed, everything I have ever preached, it is something I’ve appreciated from the book Ministry of Healing;

The mere hearing of sermons Sabbath after Sabbath, the reading of the Bible through and through, or the explanation of it verse by verse, will not benefit us or those who hear us, unless we bring the truths of the Bible into our individual experience. The understanding, the will, the affections, must be yielded to the control of the word of God. Then through the work of the Holy Spirit the precepts of the word will become the principles of the life. {MH 514.1}

This statement we must understand. As we hear the sermons and read the Bible, many people still do not find the true benefit of it all. . I’m hoping and praying the benefit of this will be reached out for by us individually as we are in the presence of God today. God is speaking as follows:

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD:

How did you receive those words? Was there a little niggling thought, well, they are lovely words to whomsoever God is speaking? If I read it in context it says He is speaking to Israel;

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

God was speaking these words to the children of Israel. There are some very personal words;

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

He is speaking to who? Somebody else, not me. If we would believe these words were being spoken personally to me, we would enter into a completely different experience but all too often people read these words addressed generally not specifically. .

Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Very wonderful words but sadly I see people are not taking this word in their experience. They come with a deplorable sense of guilt that tends to weigh them down when the Lord is speaking. The Lord says come unto me all ye that are labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open, I will come into him and sup with him.

Is there one here who dares not claim this promise? Is there one who will say, “I am so sinful that this does not mean me”? Put away such thoughts. {HS 141.5}

Mark the words of Paul to the Athenians, who were they? The people of Athens. They were heathen. He is speaking to them on Mars hill, the place of pagan worship, oh they were too bad.

Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

There is danger of not making Christ’s teachings a personal matter, of not receiving them as though they were addressed to us personally. In his words of instruction, Jesus means me. I may appropriate to myself his merits, his death, his cleansing blood, as fully as though there were not another sinner in the world for whom Christ died. . {GW92 470.1}

What is our danger? Not reading the Bible to me personally. As I’m reading the Bible, what does He say? I have thoughts toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil. Have a look at your life as you read these words. They are speaking to you personally. I must apply them as God speaking to me personally. I will abundantly pardon no matter what you are like or what you have done, doesn’t matter, I am close to you, I am looking for you. Are you taking my words personally as addressed alone to you? If you feel that you are weary of reading the word of God, focus on this and you will come alive because when I’m reading the Bible as we are right now, who is speaking to me?

The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. The Bible is God’s voice speaking to us, just as surely as though we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe would we open God’s word, and with what earnestness would we search its precepts! The reading and contemplation of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Infinite One. {6T 393.2}

You will be listening with such attention and diligence that you couldn’t even go to sleep because God is speaking to me, an audience with the infinite one. If you stop to think, the infinite one is speaking to you personally, speaking to me, trying to communicate His love, His power and His sustaining grace to a sinner like me? How can I go to sleep? The infinite one, I’m in the audience of the infinite one.

When Satan presses his suggestions upon our minds, we may, if we cherish a “Thus saith the Lord,” be drawn into the secret pavilion of the Most High. {6T 393.3}

Into the temple of God, into his presence as I cherish the thought that He is speaking to me personally in every item of God’s word, doesn’t that reverberate through your system and wake you up? All that is written in the Bible and amplified through the Spirit of Prophecy has one purpose in it. The infinite God, the majesty of the universe, the most High is trying to communicate His love to save us. This is the mind of God ponder upon it in the following.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Who did He give Himself a ransom for? Is anyone missing out of the word ‘all’? It makes it very personal. What is God’s personal quest? What is He urging upon us? You who are sinners who are doomed to die, I want you all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth of me, of Jesus Christ who gave Himself a ransom for the sinner who feels, this can’t be me, all.

For a long time Christians have been saying, Jesus is coming. Scoffers have been taunting “Where is the day of his coming?”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What’s He trying to tell us? Not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. This is the desire of God the majesty of the universe trying to reach you personally. As I stop to register this, what does He want?

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

He wants you and me. He wants me to come to a knowledge of truth. What is the knowledge of truth? God. To know Him, not to know about Him. Yes you have to first know about Him so you can get to know Him, but once you have come to know about Him, what does He want? He wants us to know him intimately. That is why Jesus became so intimate with us in becoming at one with us. With who? The sinner who cries out why hast thou forsaken me? Jesus the Son of God cries what out? How close does He want to come to us? Don’t see Him as speaking to another  but personally to you.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

Draw nigh to God. He is speaking to people who are double minded sinners. I want to draw nigh to you. Oh but I’m too sinful. ,  Can you see  God’s mentality? Do you get the impression that God is a lover of companionship? God is a lover of companionship. Look at the expression of His heart as represented by Jesus. Jesus was the epitome of God Himself on earth. What does He say? This is the heart of God. He is especially communicating to you and me.

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare [it]: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

What are you reading? What is God saying to you? I want you, I want to have companionship with you, He is saying. The same companionship that exists between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. They are three beings who love companionship and they have demonstrated their desire to me individually. I want to have companionship with you. The same intimacy that was the love and glory that exists with the Father and the Son. This is God whom to know  is eternal life. To know  Him in living practice is eternal life. John was a representative of this outcome and He wants everyone to have this.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

These disciples had found fellowship and now they are saying, we are telling you an experience of companionship and fellowship which we want you to have. We tend to think, well, that’s nice. Wake up, this is me. It’s for me. Unless you do this, you will not be saved. It is as simple as that. We will keep on mulling around in our own self-pity sinful negativities that keep blowing over my mind but that can’t happen when you take it personally. A personal relationship as when you read the word, it is God, a personal audience with Him. What did the word say to the Athenians? That you may feel after Him. Feel after Him? Hhmm this communion that He wants us to have, let us spend some very important time in comprehending this feeling after Him in personal intimacy.

We should seek to understand what it means to draw nigh to God. We are to come near to Him, not to stand a great way off, for in that case we shall not be able to feel the influence of His divine Spirit. {TMK 246.2}

We will not do that if we keep permitting ourselves to drift back from him.

Those who came into the presence of Christ, drawing nigh to Him, could more readily breathe in the atmosphere that surrounded Him, catch His spirit, and be impressed with His lessons. We are engaged in a serious, solemn work, and we should seek to be in that humble position, to have that teachable spirit, that the Lord can impress our hearts, and that we may feel His drawing power. We never draw nigh to God but that He is drawing us. {TMK 246.2}

The fact is He is not very far from all of us. What is He trying to do inside  of us? My brain is occupied with everything else but the intimacy that He already has in that in Him we live and have our being. . Feel your pulse and realise if that stops, I’m dead. That is how close God is to you and me. Why don’t you stop to take it in? Why don’t we cherish and pursue that? He is knocking at the door, He is in my body organism  but I am not letting Him into the crevices of my mind my heart. . There is something for me to understand to draw nigh to Him.

What does it mean? It is to enter into a conscious presence so I can breathe His atmosphere and catch His spirit. You are in your own area of life and you come to someone who has a very imposing atmosphere. You may like it or dislike it. If you like it,  you  love to get closer. Don’t get too close to any human being who is not close to Jesus. There is danger there. Get very close to Jesus feel His atmosphere, stay in it and understand that He desires your closeness. It is safe there, let Him come close. Let Him embrace you and stay there. Why does He want to come close to you? To give you eternal life. Not just to give you a good feeling but so that you will be in a humble position and teachable spirit. Unless you are close to someone you love, you won’t do as they say.

Some of the things the infinite one wants to say are not our ways but His ways. You have to really experience his closeness and love We have to  first be comforted in His presence and then that way which is not your way will be joyfully embraced. You won’t consider the ramifications of what that will mean because you are in His presence and that’s all that matters. We never draw nigh to God but He is drawing us. The very fact of being called upon to draw near is His effort. It is not you that sought me, I sought you. Wonderful God. Why don’t we say thank you instead of this caginess we hold within ourselves?

The beauties of nature have a tongue that speaks to us without ceasing. The open heart can be impressed with the love and glory of God as seen in the works of His hand. {TMK 144.4}

If you are in nature and it may be lovely nature around you  but may not sense  the presence of God. I need to pursue a deliberate communion as God draws near to me in nature and not take it for granted.

The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. {TMK 144.4}

It’s one thing to hear the beautiful sounds of nature. It is another thing to hear God and unless we open our hearts, we do the same as we do in church. We hear the words and fall asleep half way through because we don’t tune into the living presence of God.

There is a lesson in the sunbeam and in the various objects of nature that God has presented to our view. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens all invite our attention and meditation, and bid us become acquainted with Him who made them all. {TMK 144.4}

All invite our attention and meditation; what does it bid us?,  Come, I want to talk to you. Come closer, don’t stand far off He is saying to you personally. The heart of self is always there, ‘I don’t know, I’m too bad, I can’t quite except it. If only we would plunge into conscious assimilation..’

If our hearts were softened and subdued with the love of God they would be open to discern His mercy and loving-kindness, as expressed to us in every shrub and in the profusion of blooming flowers which meet our eye in God’s world. {TMK 148.2}

Not just a beautiful picture but an actual expression of God’s mercy and loving kindness so I can say thank you Lord, what can you tell me? Speak Lord in the stillness, I come to the garden alone to listen and open my heart to receive.

The delicate leaf, the spires of grass, every lofty tree, is an expression of the love of God to His children. They tell us that God is a lover of the beautiful. He speaks to us from nature’s book, that He delights in the perfection of beauty of character. He would have us look up through nature to nature’s God, and would have our hearts drawn out in love and affection to Him as we view His created works. . . . {TMK 148.2}

Why am I making such an important point? Why am I straining on this? I don’t know if you have the same problem I have, but I am prepared to be in that nature and just get on with what I’m doing and not until I stop and  reach out for God’s presence in that, then something special happens. How many times we go on in our life with our heads down concentrating on everything else but His presence. This is the reason for problems on this planet. Nature is an area where God communicates His presence so I can joy in His company and let it govern me in all its respects. Then in the study of the word, the audience chamber of the most high, as I read the word and go into nature, I am to enter willingly into an intimate fellowship.

If we come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. {DA 668.4}

The Lord does it but we often just mull on. In Him we live and move and have our being. He wants to come into a close communication with us and our hearts at times will burn within us as one draws nigh to commune with us. He wants to draw near and my heart will burn as I am reading His word.

Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before Him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength.. {DA 668.4}

You are basking in His closeness and you will receive strength not only enlightenment.

Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised. Whatever was given to Christ–the “all things” to supply the need of fallen men–was given to Him as the head and representative of humanity. And “whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” 1 John 3:22. {DA 668.4}

What is pleasing in His sight? That He wants to save you and me. As He draws near to me, do I say, that was lovely and yet  get on with my work again? I am to abide in His presence. We so quickly get distracted and are impolite with God. Have you ever tried to get close to someone and say look at this and that and they pay no attention but  are distracted from  your overtures of trying to commune with them ? How rude are you with God? God wants my full attention not for His sake, but for my sake because I’m a sinner. He needs my full attention so I can walk with him as He wants me to be saved so I shall know what to do in every given situation.

God speaks to us through his providential workings, and through the influence of his Spirit upon the heart. In our circumstances and surroundings, in the changes daily taking place around us, we may find precious lessons if our hearts are but open to discern them. The psalmist, tracing the work of God’s providence, says, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.” [Psalm 33:5; 107:43.] {CE 56.1}

You want to be a wise virgin? The sense of the ten virgins is that the five wise virgins have opened their inward parts to the closeness of the Lord. They have oil in their vessels. The other ones didn’t, they only had oil in their lamps and that went out because the oil in their vessels wasn’t there’ the close relationship with God Himself. Once we have gained this appreciation and understand how to connect and have opened our hearts to the sense of nature,  we will feel Him drawing near and we will say yes this is what I want.

Oh how much we want to hold the reigns. If I was holding the reigns I wouldn’t be preaching to you. There are many areas of my life that I need this close relationship. It is imperative to exist today. We are to set the Lord before us. Is that hard when He is constantly in our presence?

The reason why so many are left to themselves in places of temptation is that they do not set the Lord always before them. When we permit our communion with God to be broken, our defense is departed from us. {MH 510.1}

That’s why people fall apart.

Not all your good purposes and good intentions will enable you to withstand evil. You must be men and women of prayer. {MH 510.1}

You might have good intentions and determinations but all that will not succeed.

Your petitions must not be faint, occasional, and fitful, but earnest, persevering, and constant. It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. Let every breath be a prayer. {MH 510.1}

That’s being in communion with God. In today’s computer world, we can understand it well. My computer sometimes doesn’t have a screen, its dark but its online and there is continual communication available and you and I with our computer in our skull  are to be online continually. Don’t go offline, stay online and the Lord will continually flow His presence into your appreciation. You can switch on and off as that is what we do but this deep sense of the presence of the Lord must abide with me in my daily labour and then I can work well. Then I am not frustrated with the complicated situations of life as He shows me how to deal with it calmly. Every time I become irritated with something, I might burst out with something and the sweet voice of Jesus says what are you doing? If I wouldn’t be there in tune with Him, I wouldn’t even hear Him say what are you doing, He quickly stops us from going  down into a path of causing more and more reaction. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help in your work, experience and sufferings. Lord, here I am you are the  healing of my soul.

We speak with Jesus Christ as we walk by the way, and He says, “I am at thy right hand.” We may walk in daily companionship with Christ. When we breathe out our desire, it may be inaudible to any human ear, but that word cannot die away into silence nor can it be lost, though the activities of business are going on. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery, to the heavenly courts. It is God to whom we are speaking, and the prayer is heard. Ask then; “Ask, and it shall be given you.” {HP 69.5}

My greatest need is to say Lord don’t leave me, I will not let you go unless you bless me. As this is done, the Lord takes you through and you will experience what is meant in Psalms 16:11. The pleasure of the sense of a presence that is absolutely infinite that is the majesty of the universe of which nothing is impossible, nothing. For the people of Laodicea this subject is a most urgent priority. What does He say? Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man out there will let me in. This is the most urgent priority to let the saviour in. Eyes that see and ears that listen to the overture of Gods amazing love.

If ever there was a time when men needed the presence of Christ at their right hand, it is now, so that when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. {SD 167.5}

We are being judged, our sins are before him in the judgement.

Communion with Christ–how unspeakably precious! Such communion it is our privilege to enjoy, if we will seek it. {SD 167.6}

The everlasting assurance shall be yours that you have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. {SD 167.7}

These words nearly bring me to tears because I know it to be true that when you are in trouble, broken down, even your brother will turn against you but not Jesus. He waits to receive again and again, who? Even the apostate. Oh what a God. Why is it so imperative that at this very time we have such an intimate relationship? Because we are living in a disaster that is heaping upon this planet and it is the time of the plagues beginning to unfold  before our very eyes.

Psalms 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The atmosphere of being under  His shadow.

Psalms 91:2 I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day;

What a precious comfort this is when everything is falling around you that beautiful feeling that I can be safe in his arms. Who can know this experience except for those that open their arms to him.

Psalms 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, [which is] my refuge, [even] the most High, thy habitation;

He your habitation, what does that mean? To cohabitate with him and stay there.

Psalms 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

Why?

Psalms 91:14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

This is dependent upon that little word if – if we would open our ears and hearts to that close relationship. The following is a fitting conclusion

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all.

Amen.

Posted on November 6, 2011, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Love of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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