God desires us to walk ever so closely and intimately with Him.
I'm going to keep this short as this word by Evangelist Todd Bentley is a bit longer and rich in revelation to draw you closer to the Lord.
As you read through Todd's word, you'll discover how you can fan the flames of intimacy with the Lord! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Deep, raw hunger for intimacy with God is only satisfied through expression. However, many find it difficult to express this desire or any other things of the heart. The psalmists did this very well, and I believe this is why the psalms are so popular. They not only provide is with models to follow, but they also inspire us to voice our own deepest feelings and aspirations.
Psalms express heart cries, wonderings, longings, thanksgiving, and praise, and satisfy the innermost yearnings to do what we were created for—worship the King. They take us from the heights to the depths, and we can feel God Himself cry with us. It's as if the psalms give us a kick-start because they help our emotions come to the surface as we identify with the cry of the psalmists. With this in mind, let's examine two particular verses that were composed with great sensitivity by a priestly family, the sons of Korah.
The first verse is found in Psalm 42:1,2, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God...the living God..." The word "pant" means more than just breathing rapidly and heavily. It also means to yearn eagerly.
Do you yearn eagerly for God? Are you thirsty for the living God? The second verse found in Psalm 84:2 also describes an intense longing for God's presence. "My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (emphasis mine).
Listen. It's time to know Him and be known by Him! God is issuing a personal invitation to you (Revelation 3:20). God is looking for a response. He is welcoming you to come into His presence to spend time with Him, alone, so that your love and passion for Him will reach new heights. If you are willing to say yes, He will fan the flames of desire for intimacy with Him.
Rekindle the Spark
"Follow the footsteps of God's people, His flock. Look for the footprints of the "God chasers"—those who have had prophetic histories and destinies."
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that when we really desire His presence, He will cause awesome things to happen and will release even those things we're not expecting. Isaiah the prophet said, "Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence" (Isaiah 64:1). Yes! Oh, God, tear open the heavens and come down! Isn't that what we all want?
The heavens opened over my own life in 1998, and God indeed caused great things to happen, things I hadn't expected, as well as things I'd asked for. Today, I carry my open Heaven with me; I live and minister under an open Heaven, and God continues to surprise me day-to-day. I believe God's favor came upon me because I pursued His presence and nothing more. I desired Him alone, above all else. I sought His presence, not the blessings that His presence brought.
Today, people often pursue God for increased benefits, and sometimes that's their motivation for their time in the secret place. However, that's not a hunger for God, that's a hunger for the fruit. Yes, there are many blessings in that place, but we'll only see the face of God and receive His kiss of love when we desire Him alone.
Perhaps God is revealing that your love relationship with Him is alive, spontaneous, and passionate. That's great! You might even be thinking, "How can I take that fire that I already have in my heart and make it an inferno?" Alternatively, God may be revealing that your level of desire and passion for Him is weakening. If so, God wants to arouse and awaken your love for Him. He wants your passion to strengthen.
Understanding God's Love for You
"When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine..." (Ezekiel 16:8)
Although this message from God was spoken to the inhabitants of Jerusalem through Ezekiel (the prophet), it's still a significant now word for us today. It reveals, so well, God's heart of compassion and love toward us.
God wants you to know that He sees your vulnerability and He is covering you with His love and protection. That's the bottom line. You are loved! You are covered! And His love for you is whole-hearted. By that, I mean His love isn't just talk. He doesn't just whisper empty words into our ears! God is good! He backs up His words with actions, confirmations, and evidences of His love that we can see or perceive. He wants the same from us; He doesn't want us to love on Him with just a lot of talk and no action, or no passion and emotion either. God wants us fervent in spirit. He wants us to be fiery hot! The word "fervent" means that it's like an erupting, boiling volcano! Are you an erupting, burning volcano—fiery hot?
Kindle the Flame
The Father has created a holy and intimate place in the spirit that the world cannot penetrate. It's called the secret place of His presence. It's reserved for us, true Believers in Jesus Christ, and it's a place of freedom where our love for Jesus can intensify our intimacy and cause overflowing, life-giving joy! I'm continually in this place of intimacy, and my cry is, "God, make me fiery joy! I want to be like John the Baptist. I want to be a burning, shining lamp (John 5:35)!"
Listen. God not only wants to brand all Believers with His fiery touch, He also wants to impact lives deeper than we ever thought possible. He wants to fan the flame in our hearts! So it's time to ask God for new passion, new fire, and the gift of holy hunger.
In my life, this holy hunger caused such a passion in my heart for the one thing that is far above anything else, and that is God's precious presence. Like David, my deepest cry to God is, "My God, please take not thy Holy Spirit from me" (Psalm 51:11). I've wept as I've prayed this prayer hundreds of times: "God, please, I've received such an outpouring of Your grace; if that were gone, if Your Spirit lifted from my life, it would all be over. Please take not thy Holy Spirit from me." And He hasn't. (Photo via Unsplash)
Stoke the Fire
We can choose to stir up our love for God! To stir up our love means to raise up, to excite, to rouse, arouse to action. We become as a musical instrument warmed up to play. Did you know that the love and passion that you have in your heart for Him needs to be warmed up? The question is, how do you warm up your love or arouse your heart for Him even more? In Song of Songs 2:7b, Solomon writes, "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases." It's as if he is saying, "Don't let love come alive in your heart until you are ready for it. It's going to cost you. Love will cost you; so don't awaken love until you are ready. If you are not ready to abandon yourself to Him then don't awaken it."
How many of you are ready to be lovers of God? You see, it's our choice whether we're going to love God. It's our choice whether we're going to be passionate and hungry. We must choose whether we're going to let our love be aroused for God or not. Bottom line—we choose.
Steward the Flame
To steward means to responsibly give away or share the blessings of God. With God's Spirit resting upon my life, I've learned how to steward the flame in my heart. By that I mean, I cherish His presence in my life and I want everyone else to experience God's presence, too. This is my prayer for you! When we choose to have our passion stirred up, there's going to be the expectation that if God imparts a holy hunger into our hearts, we're going to have to steward it. The question is this: Do you know how to be a steward of love? Do you know how to be a steward of passion? Do you know how to be a steward of the desire and the hunger that you have in you heart for Him? It's going to take time, passion, sacrifice, and commitment.
God doesn't want dull lovers or insensitive stewards of His blessings. He wants us fiery hot! But so much of the Church today is lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16). Many know very well that they aren't hungry or desperate enough for God's presence in their lives. Yet, they barely realize that it is only by the grace of God that His love can come upon their hearts and supernaturally empower them to love the way that He wants them to. So how do we awaken and stir up love? Listen, we can't love passionately unless we're intoxicated with the influence of His affection.
My prayer for you is that you would receive a "holy hunger" for intimacy with God. I believe God is going to pour out this gift according to your measure of hunger – according to your desperation. Holy hunger goes hand-in-hand with God's desire to help you stir up and awaken your passion for Him. God deserves our love more than anything in this world. He is worthy.
8 Steps to Keep the Fire Burning!
Listen, at this very moment, Jesus Christ is preparing a place for us in our Father's house. We're going to be with Him forever (John 14:2-3). Therefore, it's time to make ourselves ready, even as a bride would get ready for her wedding day and her husband-to-be.
The story of the Shulammite bride in the Songs of Songs is filled with imagery and intimacy. The confidence of the bride and the spouse in each other gives us a valuable insight into how to fan the flames of desire and stir and awaken our love for God. Below are 8 actions we can take to keep the fire burning!
1. Rise Up!
"My beloved spoke, and said to me, 'Rise up my love, my fair one, and come way.'" (Song of Songs 2:10)
God is the initiator. He speaks to us. Having said that, though, we still need to get started by responding to Him. So in that sense, it starts with you. How hungry are you? Set a time to meet with God. Set a place. Rise up! Purpose this in your heart and say, "God, You are my God! Early will I seek You!" Don't wait for the grace to pray. Pray for the grace to pray. Rise up and say, "I will stir myself up to take hold of God."
There are times when the presence of God comes and it's like getting four hours of the glorious Holy Ghost! Then there are other times when you need to purpose in your heart to rise up and pray four hours, because you're hungry. So sometimes it just starts with you. Be disciplined.
2. Remember God's love for you.
"...We will remember your love..." (Song of Songs 1:4)
Something happens in our hearts when we remember visitations, when we remember the promises of God. We are stirred when we think back to those days in which we really were experiencing the "rapture of love." Remembering God's love for us is so important, because in the remembering, our hearts are touched once again with God's faithfulness toward us. This helps us to trust Him, and to stir up and awaken lost love.
3. Be a steward of His presence.
"God is looking for a response. He is welcoming you to come into His presence to spend time with Him, alone, so that your love and passion for Him will reach new heights."
We need to allow the presence of God to touch us every day. I call it soaking or marinating. More, Lord! We need to allow ourselves to be touched daily by the glory of God. Sometimes I'll wait every day for a whole hour for His presence to come. I'll just lie on the floor and fill up with the Holy Spirit. Spending time with the Holy Spirit and soaking in His presence is crucial to our love relationship with God.
4. Be redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
"I am dark, but lovely..." (Song of Songs 1:5)
The Shulammite bride is saying (about herself), that she is dark but lovely. Being dark symbolizes sinful desires. She goes on to say, "Don't look upon me, because I am dark..." (Song of Songs 1:6). It's as if she is saying, "I am dark. Don't look upon me, don't judge me." There is shame, guilt, and condemnation. But the flip side is that she is lovely. I believe that once Jesus Christ has redeemed us we become lovely (1 Peter 1:18-23).
5. Pursue God first and foremost.
Then in her next breath the bride says, "My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept" (Song of Songs 1:6b). The "vineyard" can represent numerous conditions; for instance, ministry work can sometimes rob us from taking care of our own "vineyard." To paraphrase: "They made me the keeper of the vineyards (ministry). They gave me all this responsibility but I'm burned out. They gave me all this work, all this ministry, but my own vineyard I have not kept. Because of that, I am ashamed because I'm not looking after my own spiritual life with God. I feel abandoned because somehow the Church has rejected me even though I've been working so hard."
There is something wrong with this picture! Pursue God. Don't pursue vineyards. Then, God will desire your beauty and He will draw you aside with Him so that He can awaken and renew your "first love" for Him (Revelation 2:4).
6. Rest in God and be connected to the Body of Christ.
"Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions?" (Song of Songs 1:7)
Here we see the bride's earnest desire for him. It's as If she was saying, "Tell me, O You whom I love. Even though I am dark and even though I am burning out, I have a hunger for You. Can You please tell me where I can get some revelation? Can You please tell me where You feed Your flocks the manna of Heaven?" Isn't that the cry of the Church today? We want to know the place of revelation even like Job, who had the friendly counsel of God waiting at his tent (Job 29:4). We want to hear the voice of God and have visions, dreams, encounters, experiences, and visitations. People have asked me how I receive revelation. They want to know, "What book did you read?" Hey! I find a place in the spirit where "He feeds His flocks" and I go there.
Here are two keys that reveal where revelation is found. The first is found in Psalm 23:2: "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters." The second is in Song of Songs 1:8: "If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feel your little goats beside the shepherds' tents."
Follow the footsteps of God's people, His flock. Look for the footprints of the "God chasers"—those who have had prophetic histories and destinies. Find out where they walked. Be inspired by the stories of Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Esther, and Ruth. Read about other great saints used by God like Smith Wigglesworth, Kathryn Kuhlman, Aimee Semple McPherson and others. Find the footprints of the flock.
You see, God wants to give us a revelation but we need to rest in Him (Hebrews 4:9-11), and also be connected to the Body of Christ (Hebrews 10:25), beside the Shepherd's tent. The revelation of God's love for us arouses our love and passion for Him. (Photo via Unsplash)
7. Follow the footsteps.
"[B]ut imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:12b)
Something happens to us when we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Let us not forget the heroes of the faith from days of old and in modern times. As we imitate or try to be like Jesus and the great men and women of God, our love and passion for God is stirred. Let's not miss the forerunners, the men and women of God who spur us on!
8. Catch the little foxes!
"Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." (Song of Songs 2:15)
If we went to awaken love, we need to catch those little foxes—the subtle areas that distract disturb and hinder us from resting in the secret place. Many Believers are not caught up in the big things, but rather the subtle areas that dull their love for God. I call these little foxes "the intimacy robbers." Intimacy robbers are those conditions that try to make our love for God grow cold. The devil knows how vital it is to rob deep intimacy with God from us. He knows that in the secret place of intimacy, Believers discover the essence of true worship, and how their devotion to God causes their hearts to be ravished with love for His creation. If the devil's schemes remain uncontested, he can keep us out of the secret place of God's presence by pushing those little foxes into our circumstances.
Set the World Ablaze
As our "love life" with God matures, we realize He is ever mindful of the multitudes of people who are lost and dying. They need to be reached with the Gospel by Christians whose hearts are aflame with God's burning love.
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; it's flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame" (Song of Songs 8:6). Love—its flames are flames of fire, a most severe flame!
Friends! God's fiery seal of supernatural love comes upon our hearts to empower us to love a lost world with the very love that Jesus has. It's a mature, fiery, passionate love, full of flames of fire. Do your part. Kindle, rekindle, stoke, fan, and steward the flame. Feel His fiery, hot, intoxicating love on you today, and allow it to consume you with a holy desperation for one thing only: to know His fullness! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Fresh Fire USA
Todd Bentley: Healing evangelist, revivalist, and author, Todd Bentley is the founder of Fresh Fire USA. As a teenager, Todd, an alcoholic and drug addict, had a dramatic, life-changing encounter with the saving, delivering power of God. Today, Todd and his Fresh Fire team travel the world to lead the lost into the miraculous, delivered and set free, and launched into the reality of intimate relationship with Jesus. The passion of Todd's life and ministry to the nations is souls and to see others experience the transferable, tangible anointing of the Holy Spirit.
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