Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
A PASSION FOR HIS PRESENCE
I was raised without a father. My parents were divorced when I was a baby. I grew up longing for a father. So great was my yearning, I was actually jealous when other kids spoke of being spanked. I wanted a dad who would paddle me, take me camping and be a pal to me. I needed someone to show me how to get along with others, how to approach girls, how to grow up and face daily problems.
Well, I never had that privilege until I was 30 years old. That’s when I was born of God’s Spirit, the day I was saved. The joy of having a Father at last was overwhelming. I was thrilled at being able to address someone as “Father.” I reveled in my new-found relationship with the Lord. It was fun having a Father who was so rich and famous.
In time however, I began to take Him for granted. I fell into the practice of thinking what I could get out of Him. I was so busy figuring out ways to pray and get the answers, it never occurred to me that such thinking hurt Him. Then one day I was studying the book of Samuel. I came to the place where it says, “The boy Samuel ministered unto the Lord” (1 Sam. 3:1). I was captured by that name, because my middle name is Samuel. As I pondered those words, the Holy Spirit began to rebuke me for the callous way I was treating my Father. From that day on, I was determined to be a better friend to my Father.
WE BEGAN TO DO THINGS TOGETHER
Some years later a verse gave me an idea:
“Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do it heartily as to the Lord and not as unto men” (Col. 3:23).
I began to see the only way I could do things “as unto the Lord,” was to do them WITH Him. But how would I start? At first, I would pray and then go to work on what I wanted to do. That went on for some time before I realized I wasn’t satisfying God’s heart. I was still doing too much in which He was not involved. There was a big difference between doing things with Him and offering some prayer before I started. Somehow the gap in between praying and doing had to be filled in with some kind of fellowship.
After that I began to talk to Him while I was doing the job. Of course, if the job required careful attention, that wouldn’t work. So I began to hum a hymn. That worked and I could feel His presence even as I worked. Of course, if the job was hard or not going well, I’d stop and discuss it with Him.
One day I picked up a new faucet at a hardware store. I needed a new one and this one appealed to me. Besides, the price was right. It seemed simple enough to install, so I figured on doing it myself. It wasn’t easy getting the old fixture out of the sink. In fact, I ran into a real snag, which can occur when you’re lying flat on your back and reaching up. I fussed for a time trying to loosen a rusted nut. It just wouldn’t break loose no matter what I did. I was about to give up and call a plumber, when I remembered I hadn’t been doing the job with Jesus.
So I stopped and apologized to the Lord and asked Him to work with me. He laid a suggestion on my spirit. “Why don’t you squirt some WD 40 on the nut and see what happens?” What do you know? The nut turned easily and came right off. Now some would say, “Sure, everyone knows enough to do that.” But when you’re doing things on your own, your native intelligence isn’t always sufficient. What’s more it was clear the Lord was using the situation to show me how foolish it is to exclude Him no matter how small the job is.
THAT WAS GOOD SCHOOLING
I learned He wants to be included in all we do. Now I want to tell you of a man who learned this long before I did. This man said:
“I’m through with this world. I’m giving it all up to become a monk.”
Sounds like someone disgusted with today’s crime and violence; someone tired of our moral squalor and political corruption. The person making that statement has been dead for over 300 years! Nicholas Herman was the man, but you wouldn’t know him by that name. He is more famous as Brother Lawrence.
Three centuries ago, this man turned his back on the world to enter a Carmelite monastery in Paris. With a longing for the Lord and a hatred for the world, Lawrence thought he’d found a shortcut to an ideal life of spiritual enjoyment. But things didn’t work out that way.
As the newest man to enter the monastery, it became his lot to scrub the pots and pans after the other brothers had made the mess. It was a detestable assignment. He saw himself as nothing more than a household slave. At first, he tried looking on it as a means of mortifying his flesh, but that didn’t work. Bitterness gradually overtook him.
THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED
In the process of complaining to the Lord day after day, he began to picture the Lord as listening to his gripes. Sensing the Lord’s sympathy, he continued his complaining. In the process, the Lord became more and more real to him. Before long he was VISUALIZING THE LORD as doing the work with him. The result? The tiresome task became less and less tiresome.
Brother Lawrence was soon looking forward to scrubbing pots and pans with Jesus. What was once drudgery finally became feasts of joy! Then it was he developed a new obsession—a passion for the presence of Jesus! Lawrence was transformed.
Brother Lawrence developed the art of VISUALIZING JESUS and it revolutionized his life. So intense was his delight in the Lord, his life radiated a glow people could see. Word of his joy spread over Europe to the place where Christian royalty journeyed to see him. They envied his joy and glowing peace.
HAD HE DISCOVERED A SECRET?
There was nothing mysterious about Lawrence’s method. In his own words, “We should establish in ourselves a sense of God’s presence,” he said, “continually conversing with Him.” The apostle Paul said the same, “Pray without ceasing” (2 Thess. 5:17). If a person truly spends time with the Lord, it is natural to visualize Him.
When I first read Brother Lawrence’s little book, Practicing the Presence of Christ, my heart leaped for joy. Growing up without a father left a vacuum in my soul, a terrible longing for a father. When I was saved, I had little theology. I didn’t know any better than to behold Jesus as my PERSONAL FRIEND and enjoy Him in my imagination. The privilege of intimate fellowship with Jesus had been available since Pentecost, when the Lord Jesus came to indwell us via His Holy Spirit. On that day a new experience became possible, one announced by James:
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
GOD IS A LOVING FATHER WHO LONGS FOR INTIMACY WITH US
Instead of going to our Father only when we want something from Him, let’s develop the habit of going to Him because He WANTS US. And then lavish our love and affection on Him. When you think what it does to His heart to have us come because we adore Him and want to be close to Him, something great is added to our lives.
Let me ask you this:
“Have you ever had time pass, say an hour or two, and it suddenly dawns on you that you haven’t once thought of the Lord? You haven’t focused on Him in any way? Embarrassing, isn’t it?” That’s sure a far cry from being a witness for Him. I’m not going to fault you for it, instead I have a suggestion; something that has brought me closer to Jesus.
HERE’S MY SUGGESTION
Take a simple task, such as taking out the trash. That doesn’t take long. Try saying, “Lord let’s do this together.” Then speak to Him all the time you are walking with the trash. It won’t take long and He’ll love the company. From there you can go to such tasks as mowing the lawn or doing the dishes. Simple jobs at first and then graduate to those that take more time. This will put you in close faith touch with Jesus and you’re going to love it.
When you get to heaven, and even in the kingdom, you’re going to find there are great jobs available for those who know how to work with Jesus—jobs that keep you close to Him. It will be fun having a job that will allow you to work alongside the Lord.
But where do we learn how to work with the Lord? You guessed it. We learn how to do that NOW. We have this one life on earth to learn how to work with Him. We can’t learn it later in heaven. The jobs will be assigned when we meet Him in the sky, when we’re all judged for our works on earth (2 Cor. 5:10).
For over 60 years my ministry has been geared to preparing believers for Jesus’ appearing and our appearing before His judgment seat. I want you ready for that day. I hope you feel encouraged and are motivated to develop a . . .
NEW PASSION FOR HIS PRESENCE!
C. S. Lovett
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