Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Further Still

“And He went on further still,
and fell on His face, and prayed….”
Matthew 26:39
Have you ever felt God calling you “further still” with Him? It is those times when He is ministering to you so personally and so deeply, and gently calling you to go further in your relationship with Him.  Trusting only Him in the raw pain of betrayal or hurt. 

These Gethsemane seasons of “further still with God” are places where it’s just you and Him as He beckons you to step into deeper levels of intimacy and trust. As you pray and search His scriptures, you listen for and hear His still, small voice. During these “further still” seasons with God, He matures your faith, broadens your trust, and reveals intimate treasures from His heart to yours. It’s a beautiful time when you crave and desperately need less of the world and more of Him.

Extended time in prayer with our Heavenly Father brings clarity and comfort during these seasons. Just as Jesus was called further still with God, He labored in prayer. "The betrayal and arrest of Jesus was preceded by an extended time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He stepped out of the garden to present Himself to His enemies, Jesus had been alone praying and agonizing for hours." Anne Graham Lotz

I have been in those “further still” seasons with God. He calls me out of my comfort zone into unfamiliar, but prepared and safe places. Whether it is presenting myself to my "enemies" or charting new ground with the Lord, He calls me to bravely trust Him and His perfect plan.

During those seasons, He tenderly lifts my head so I fix my gaze upon Him alone. My husband lovingly gives his counsel to me, and my sisters in the Lord pray on my behalf. I am so thankful for my husband and friends, yet I know that as God calls me “further still,” I am the one who has to continue stepping forward with confidence and trust in Him. No one can do that for me. He reminds me to look to Him alone, to seek to please Him and not people.

It is a time of His refreshing and necessary cleansing. In his book Reflecting His Image, KP Yohannan writes, “You see, when it is only God and you, you are more apt to face your pride and your sins. With everyone else we argue these things away and look wonderful and smile. But when we are all alone before God, we face ourselves, and the cleansing and purification will take place. We become less phony the more we are with the Lord.”

Is God calling you further still today? Our Heavenly Father is completely faithful and entirely trustworthy. He stands with His strong and loving arms opened wide beckoning you to take steps of faith in your walk with Him. Though the place you step may be unfamiliar, remember He has gone before you. He wants you to see more of Him – His flawless character and His amazing love. He has a heart full of treasures to unearth for you.
"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid...for I myself will help you,' declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
Isaiah 41:13, 14

© 2011 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.

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