“Let the Encounter Begin!”
Gretchen Rodriguez, Redding, California
Many are hearing the call to greater intimacy with the Lord. We are those who yearn to encounter His love, hear His voice, and live in His abiding presence. Most importantly, we long to know Him. This desire is a God-given gift. It is an invitation of love from the heart of the Father that has the power to transform us at our core.
If we accept His invitation and nurture this divine relationship with renewed passion and zeal, God will escort us into His chambers of holy fellowship. This is the place where everything changes. When the Lord becomes our priority and we pour ourselves into knowing the Person who is love, fear is dispelled, and misguided mindsets are healed.
Getting to know anyone, even the Lord, takes time, intention, and desire. Even if you have walked with the Lord for decades, there is always more to know, always a deeper relationship to experience. We must become as intentional about knowing God as God was when creating and redeeming us. This longing to know Him comes from Him. Our Father loves to whisper secrets to those who are close enough to listen, so we must come closer and open our hearts to hear. (Photo via Pxfuel)
Learning to Listen
We were created for uninterrupted communion with the Lord, but what do we do if we’re struggling to hear or have lost perspective? The answer sounds simple because it is. First, we must believe that He loves us and wants to speak. Jesus is the Shepherd who said that His sheep hear His voice.
“My own sheep will hear My voice and I know each one, and they will follow Me.” (John 10:27 TPT)
Second, we must learn to listen. When we connect our faith to what Jesus said in the above Scripture and learn to rest, His voice becomes clearer. Even if we’re in a beautiful season of connection with the Lord, we can grow in our ability to discern His voice. Listening becomes effortless once we’ve learned to quiet our internal noise.
How to Silence Our Souls
One of the ways we silence our souls in order to lean into the Spirit is through fasting. Fasting fine-tunes our spiritual senses. When we’re so emotionally clogged that we struggle to feel the Father’s love or cannot discern His voice, fasting helps to declutter our minds. When Jesus told us to fast in Matthew 6:16, it was an invitation to a lifestyle of encounter.
“When you fast, don’t look gloomy and pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable and disheveled. Believe Me, they’ve already received their reward.” (Matthew 6:16 TPT)
He was giving us a key to a naturally supernatural life. He didn’t say if you fast, but when you fast. As we push aside the plate and draw near to the Lord, we’re declaring that God alone satisfies the deepest cravings of our starving souls. It is our response to His invitation for holy intimacy. We are setting aside time to be with the One we love. (Photo via Piqsels)
Finding True Rest
Hebrews 4:11 in the Amplified Classic tells us to “strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves].” Finding peace is vital, but true rest cannot be experienced outside of Christ. That is why you must diligently pursue Him and release every care as you turn away from all that distracts.
What a joy it is to set aside the lesser things like food, social media, television, or whatever steals your focus and enter the rest of God. When you do, grace for the fast is imparted. Regardless of how long you fast or what you choose to give up, remember that God looks at the heart. He sees your longing to know Him, and as you make Him a priority, He will bless you.
If you’re looking to encounter the Lord and be transformed, fasting has the power to lift heavy burdens, free you from oppression, bring healing, and invite the glory of the Lord into your life (see Isaiah 58).
Let the encounter begin!
Gretchen Rodriguez is a writer, dancer and ballet teacher. Her heart burns with one main message: Intimacy with Jesus and discovering the reality of His presence. She co-authored Prayers on Fire, 365 Days Praying the Psalms, The Divine Romance: 365 Days Meditating on the Song of Songs and Ever-Present Love: 365 Days Discovering Jesus in the Gospels, with Brian Simmons. She and her husband invested nine years as missionaries in Puerto Rico, along with their three daughters. They now make California their home.