But I want to never, ever forget that He is also my God, my Judge, and the ONE who disciplines me when I need it. In short, I want to know all these aspects of the Lord, whom I call my FATHER!
With that in mind, allow this word of the Lord to instruct you as it did me. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
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A Thief of Intimacy
Hearing God has been easy for me. I love His voice and always enjoy what He has to say, but I wonder if in the familiarity (at times), I've begun to finish His sentences, assuming a conclusion due to familiar filters, or even listening without fully gazing into His face to wait for Him to finish. We can become so familiar with hearing someone close to us that we are not actually listening. Hearing and listening can truly be two different things.
We often see this in marriages. We can easily become so familiar with our spouse that we only half-hear what is being said (with our backs turned in busy activities) and begin to assume the full meaning. Familiarity is easy and comfortable but it also robs us of depth and intimacy. There can be assumptions and carelessness that come with familiarity.
I am not speaking into any particular issue, or to any one person in particular, but merely to myself and anyone who can relate to this. When I first began hearing the voice of God and feeling His presence, I would tremble when He'd speak. The awe of intimacy would take my breath away and cause me to listen attentively. I would listen, ponder, meditate and tremble at His word. The same is true with my husband. In our first years together, when he spoke, the entire world around me stopped and my greatest pleasure was his voice and listening to what he had to say. I loved to look into his eyes, watch his every move and truly listen to everything he was saying to me. (Photo via Pixabay)
As the decades married to my husband have gone by, I often find myself assuming that I know his every move, his looks and what they mean; and the first three words of almost any sentence can lead me to a quick conclusion. This can create the bad habit of stopping the honor and respect of attentively listening. This familiarity can make me careless or even inconsiderate because it lacks honor, intimacy and humility. His look may not have meant what I assumed at all, and if I don't take time to ask and listen, then I will "hear what I hear" through familiar assumption. If I finish the second half of his sentence in my mind and stop listening, then I risk the wrong conclusion and may interpret something he has said wrongly. This is a risk and reality in any long time relationship. Familiarity can be a thief of intimacy.
Do we do this with God as well?
Breaking Out of Familiarity
From the very first day of 2021, I felt the fear of the Lord come to break me out of familiarity with Him where I have (at times) forgotten the depth of intimacy. It has been a time of being emptied of "me" in order to find Him in a new way. Sometimes I want to find something to fill that emptied place (because this season is unfamiliar and uncomfortable), yet I feel a deep caution to remain emptied so that the fullness of Christ can reign in me. I don't think I'm doing this "emptying" process very well, but even my lack in this unfamiliar way only leads me again to a greater "emptying."
God is not trying to hurt me, but He is preparing me (and many of you) for the days ahead, because my familiarity and half-hearted hearing will not serve me well in the future. I must have a renewed intimacy that empties "me of me" to make room for the fullness of Him. I must learn to listen to God's voice, while looking into His face and trembling at His beauty, majesty, power and wisdom.
It feels like I am going through a reset or personal reformation that is breaking me out of the familiar and taking me to a place of "awe." This is not anything that I can do in myself but seems to require me to get still, silent and completely dependent on His grace to awaken me from the fog of familiarity.
Surrender has taken on an entirely new meaning. Waiting and listening are required while resting, and yielding is necessary.
The only work for me is "willingness and waiting," so that I do not run back to the familiar. At times I want to comfort myself with what I knew before and how I functioned before because it became easy. It is strange and new but necessary to walk in greater authority and oneness with Him. (Photo via Pxfuel)
Purim: A Time of Preparation
As we are approaching Purim (February 25th and 26th), which is the celebration of the salvation of the Jewish people as told in the book of Esther, I have been thinking about how Esther had to leave everything familiar (her childhood home, Mordecai and her daily routine) to be prepared as queen. I also think about how she needed to be prepared to risk her life to save her people.
Bravery and courage are not built in familiarity or comfort, but in the unknown. She would have to trust Mordecai's counsel and the steps of the Lord fully. This would not be a time to assume or act hastily. She had to be emptied of her natural responses and of the "ordinary" to do this extraordinary thing that would save the entire Jewish race—even her own life.
We are in a similar time and we are being prepared by being emptied of all that is familiar. We are being prepared to walk as the King's Bride (queen) and to risk everything to find favor in His sight. We need to know when to act and when to wait, when to conceal and when to reveal. Carelessness and assumption can be costly if we do not learn the fear of the Lord that releases the favor of the Lord.
It's time to leave the familiar and allow the deep places to be forged in our lives. It's time to be emptied in order to see the fullness of God revealed in His Bride.
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Jeffrey and Kathi Pelton live in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Jeffrey is a writer, teacher and book editor. Kathi is an author and prophetic voice to the Church. They walk with nations and individuals to see God's original intent fulfilled. Their ministry, Inscribe Ministries, was founded upon the verse from Habakkuk 2:2 that says, "Then the LORD answered me and said: 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.'"
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