Benefits of spending time apart with God
If there is one thing children of God must do, as the end of the year draws near, it is to carve out a time of introspection before God. This is the reason many churches have Retreat programmes or conferences at this time of the year. A Retreat usually should be a moment of unforgettable encounter. Spectacular and abundant blessings come upon those who gather to the Lord at such a time. (Ezekiel 34: 26; I Corinthians 2:9, 10).
The Lord has made all things ready. He has provided in abundance all things that pertain unto life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). Therefore, when we take time to be in His presence, He bestows abundant salvation, healing, deliverance, holiness and power. He saturates our lives with heavenly blessings. He brings an end to the tyranny of the devil in the lives of such people. Therefore, this opportunity should not be wasted on end of year activities, business and commercial engagements, and marriage ceremonies, things that preoccupy people at this time.
Those who followed our Lord Jesus Christ and spent time apart with Him in Retreats snow us the sterling quality of great commitment in their lives. Their commitment as outlined in our text was praise worthy as: (i) They followed the Lord on foot out of the cities (verse 13); (ii) They were in the desert place outside the conveniences of their homes (verse 15); (iii) They made grass their seats (verse 19); (iv) The passage suggests also, that regular meals were not served; (v) Children and youth were in Jesus’ Retreat in the wilderness.
The sacrifice and focused disposition of these retreat participants induced the compassion of Jesus and He healed their sick. It follows from the foregoing that the Lord expects every sincere seeker to demonstrate the same commitment by (a) residing with Christ at the camp (not off and on); (b) looking away from normal temporary inconveniences; (c) giving full attention and obedience to the word of Christ; (d) being focused on their individual needs and praying for God’s touch; (e) if need be, individuals may decide to wait on the Lord. If all Christians will adhere to these scriptural advices, they will not miss the Lord’s visitation, and definitely they will not be like the unstable Thomas in the Bible. He was nowhere to be found when Jesus came visiting the disciples (John 20:24-25).
The Saviour’s compassion reached out to the participants who attended His retreat in the wilderness. The all-sufficient God healed all the sick and provided for these diligent seekers (Hebrews 11:6; John 6:37). At every such gathering, the Saviour usually promised that He would be mightily present to meet all the people’s needs through His compassionate love. He healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, saved the penitent sinners, revived the lukewarm and did not overlook anyone who in faith called upon Him. Those who enjoyed such benefits offered by a time spent apart with God come to Christ in full assurance of faith (Hebrews 4:15-16; Philippians 4:19) and seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13).
For the Lord to supply abundantly “all your need according to His riches in glory”, there must be divine-human partnership. It is expected that you cooperate with God and His appointed servants who will be sent to convey His love to you (2 Chronicles 20:20). The Lord expects obedience to His word and various instructions that will bring the blessings of God to you. Obedience brings blessing. Disobedience attracts the wrath of God. Whatsoever the Lord says to you, do it. Make up your mind to spend time apart with the Lord as the year-end approaches, and the blessings therefrom will usher you into a new year of great possibilities.
Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 14:13-22, Mark 8:1-9; Matthew 14:13; 15:32; Mark 6:31-33; I Kings 10:1-6,13; Acts 8:26-39; John 12:20-23; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Psalms 63:1,2; 27:4,8; Isaiah 45:19,22; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 14:14; Psalms 78:38; 111:4-6; 145:8-12; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:40-42; 6:33,34; Luke 7:11-17; 15:17-22; Exodus 3:7,8; Deuteronomy 30:1-6; Matthew 14:16-22; Mark 3:1-5; Exodus 15:26; 2 Kings 5:10-14; Job 36:11; Isaiah 1:19; Jeremiah 7:23; John 2:1-11; 9:1-7; 11:39-44.
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