Solitude with Our Father

Fernan buck and doe

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? (Ps 42:1-2, NRS)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. (Ps 8:3-8, ESV2011)

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made… (Rom 1:20, ESV2011)

Lately, I have been getting up early in the morning and taking my boat to a local lake to watch the sun rise over the nearby mountains and the foggy mist rise over the waters. Of course being a fisherman, I go prepared to catch fish, but the last couple of days I have paused from my aquatic pursuit to admire God’s handiwork in everything He created and think about Him.

This morning I saw two bald eagles, some Osprey, many small birds chasing flying insects above the water. There were also a pretty buck and doe feeding at the water’s edge. I was filled with praise for our Father as I considered all the works of His hands and thanked Him for allowing me to be part of it. Then as my heart was rejoicing over all He has created, as an added bonus He told me to look for a large dark colored creature as I entered the last bay at the end of the lake. I thought, “Oh good! I will get to see a black bear this morning!” I was looking at the far end of the bay and saw nothing. Then right near me to my right stood a young bull moose! I was only about 50 yards away from him as I rounded the corner. I only had my cell phone camera with me, so I decided to see how close I could get so I could get a good picture of him. The deer got nervous and headed up the hill when I tried to get close to them earlier, but not so with Mr. Moose. I got within 20 yards of him and he just kept eating the water lilies by the shoreline.

Fernan young bull moose

So, by now you are probably saying, “What does all this have to do with a spiritually inspired blog article?” Let me quote the pertinent parts of the above Psalm once again. “When I look at… the work of your fingers… what is man that you are mindful of him…You have given him dominion over the works of your hands… all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” After my time of praise for all that my Daddy had put in place for me to see and enter into worship for Him this morning, I was feeling totally blessed. It was truly a wonderful morning to rise early, fellowship with Him, and feel the same rest that God entered into after His six days of creation were complete.

I entered into His seventh day rest and there I could feel not only His rest, but His great love and the faith of Jesus Christ working in me. Then came hope and belief that God would surely bring all good things to pass in my life even though, lately, He seems to have been taking things way more than giving.

How important it is to enter into God’s rest, dear saints, for it is here that we find all the other wonderful fruit of the Spirit working in our hearts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The business of this world and even religious activities can rob us of our inheritance in Christ. How important it is to get away first thing in the morning to be with God and preferably surrounded by His creation, away from the din of man-made noise, chaos and stress causing distractions.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35, NIV)

Harry Foster wrote in “A Witness and a Testimony” magazine:

As an experienced traveller he [Paul] would never find much difficulty in having his daily Scripture reading and prayer, even though he were surrounded by people. This is just a matter of practice. No servant of God, however, can exist day after day and night after night with nothing more than normal “quiet times” of reading and prayer; or if he does, his spiritual effectiveness will suffer. He must at all costs have time to think and times when he can quietly listen to God. He must be able to stand back from the swirl of activities, and the demands of preaching, interviews and consultations, so that his own spirit can he renewed and his mind adjusted.

The Lord Jesus got up very early in the morning and went out to a solitary place, or He sent His disciples ahead in a boat while He went up to spend hours of evening and night in the hills, and, like Him, Paul sent on this shipload of travellers and fellow-labourers (even the beloved Luke himself) and elected to tramp across from Troas to Assos, for twenty miles of sacred communion with God. It was both a luxury and a necessity. The action was so deliberate and significant that Luke gave it special mention in his records. Let us not, then, skip over this little incident as though it had no relevance to his apostleship. The hot springs, the shady oak glades, the splashing streams, were spiritual necessities to him, even if the literal beauties of nature had no appeal.

We long for Paul’s power and Paul’s success. We are ready, perhaps, for Paul’s sufferings. What about copying his example of getting right away with God? When did we last have a long quiet walk of communion with the Lord? When did we last move out from the companionship even of beloved brothers in Christ to listen only to Him? (*)

Wow, that stung! God has been cutting me off from writing blog posts and many other Christian activities so I would get alone with Him and find out just how wonderful and important it is to put my communion with Him first. I hope we all will learn this same lesson.

(*)http://www.austin-sparks.net/mags/ttm01-4.html

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28 comments on “Solitude with Our Father

  1. David Murry says:

    Michael

    This refreshed my soul so much. The simplicity of The life we may enter when we rest in Him… This helped me focus on that. Been a hectic season for me as of late.
    This ministered to me a lot.

    Thank you as always
    David

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      I am glad to hear that this helped, David. Yes, entering into His rest seems to be the key to a life blessed by the presence of our Father and His Son. You might want to read the whole article by Sparks that I quoted from. He addresses the hectic life and how Satan can draw us away from our Father and minimize our effectiveness in His kingdom with all our doings.

      Good to hear from you, my brother.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pamela says:

    Beautiful and practical, Michael. Thank you for the reminder.

    What is it about His creation, and being in the middle of it, that so particularly refreshes us so often?

    It seems so simple, pure, and undistracted to me, for one thing.

    Much love!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Michael says:

    Well said, Pamela. The simplicity of it all… no oil to check under the hood, no tires to go flat or roads to repair or water systems to maintain or food to harvest and preserve, or like Jesus said, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?” (Matt 6:26, KJ2000) Good question.

    Blessings, dear sister,
    Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Living New says:

    Oh what a picture you painted here, Michael!

    On May 12th, I had to put down my 18 year old kitty, Sunny. A very hard day. The weeks that followed would find me having much trouble sleeping. It was common for me to awaken at 2:30 or 3 o’clock. It was not lost time though, our Father made sure of that. What sweet and precious, even startling hours those were. I was not out in nature, but sitting on my couch or my desk, I could have been anywhere…a timelessness was about it. He has unveiled much to my heart of Himself in those wee hours. I am now back to sleeping ‘normal.’ But I will never be the same.

    This past weekend we went camping up the Poudre Canyon here in Colorado. We were without cell service for three days – oh, joy! On Sunday, Bryan and I drove up and up until the road ended hoping to find some service to wish our girl a happy 30th birthday. Alas, we could not get any. But what we did find was breathtaking. I will email you some pictures. At one spot I simply had to plop right down and take a seat to breathe it all in. His creation is vast, much unseen by human eyes, yet bringing glory to Him. Ahh, think of it, Michael, creation that is ‘in solitude’ without any human recognition, bringing Him glory…that is nourishing. He sees us all. And your praises were heard by the ears of His heart. Glory.

    Be well, my friend.

    With great love,
    Becky

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Becky, thanks for sharing your own experiences with the Lord. As you discovered, sometimes we can get away from the distractions of this world by rising up early when the rest of the world around us is sleeping. He has awakened me early for months, now, with no use of an alarm clock! I love it how the creatures are all out moving around just before sunrise and man is not around. I love to hear the robins singing before the sun comes up or just after a fresh rain. The beauty of it all is very conducive to worship and prayer with a heart filled with gratitude.

      One time while I was feeling cut-off by God, I was hiking, side-hilling, around on the back side of a mountain where there were no paths or roads and I was thinking to myself that I was seeing His creation where no man has seen it before. Then I noticed a bit of violet color on the ground at my feet. I thought at first it had to be something man-made because it seemed so out of place. Finally I got down on my knees and looked closer. It was a tiny four pedal flower that could not have been more than 1/4 inch square, all by itself in the dry grass. I had almost stepped on it. It was then I was overwhelmed at the fact that Father had put that there for me just so I could see how generous He is as He shared His creation beauty with me in His love. I was filled with love and praise for Him in that moment.

      Love to you and Bryan,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Fred Thoren says:

    I think this is why I like spending time out side. I know when I do I feel much closer to GOD. I know he is omnipresent though. It was almost painful around winter not being able to be out side as much.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      I agree, Fred. Winter is not my favorite time. Maybe we need to get some cross-country skis and get out away from town on them in the winter. 🙂 I know that a fresh covering of snow speaks of His purity and beauty as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for this blog. Solitude with the Father is hard to describe – but so great to experience. I like to be with people, but after a while I begin to look forward to being alone with God. Thank you also for sharing the pictures. I don’t like to eat moose, but I do like to watch them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Pat, being alone with the Father in His creation is a wonderful experience. We have a lot of moose here in northern Idaho and I never get tired of watching them.
      Good to hear from you again, dear sister.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ken Burgess says:

    Michael, this post has left me longing for the days, and nights I would spend out on the water with my dad trying to catch fish to feed his family. And later on when I worked offshore on drilling rigs or production platforms I would go onto the heliport in the evenings and stare at the heavens or lie down on the deck and just take in the vastness of HiS creation. Even in stormy weather HE would reveal HiMself to me. Time with HiM has become more precious. I do not want this to become routine but passion driven. I feel that I’m not there yet but on the way into the cosmos of HiS being where eternity surrounds HiM. I have been singing this song for a couple of days and even when I wake up in the night, it’s melody is in my spirit. I pray it blesses you as it does me. It is called, “In His Presence.”

    In HiS presence, In HiS holy presence.
    The weary can find perfect rest, the broken are restored.
    In HiS presence, In HiS holy presence,
    There’s nothing like the presence of the Lord.”

    Greet sweet Dorothy for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Good to hear from you again, Ken. Yes, our times alone with the Lord and His creation which speaks of Him, these are the best times of all. Greet your wife for both of us as well.
      Michael

      Like

  8. Allan Halton says:

    Amen. “And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while, for there were many coming and going…” (Mk. 6:31).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, for this verse, Allan. Oh, how important it is to rest in Him before we do anything else.

      Have you ever read the booklet by Watchman Nee titled, “Sit, Walk, Stand”? It was his study on the book of Ephesians. He pointed out that before we can do our Christian walk or stand against the devil, we must be sitting in heavenly places IN Christ. This is a wonderful truth that few have been able to apprehend.

      Bless you, my brother!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Allan Halton says:

        Hi Michael, yes I read “Sit, Walk, Stand” years ago. It’s still on my bookshelf. I’ll have another look at it. Just recently at the recommendation of my brother Robert I read again in “Changed Into His Likeness” (by Nee) the Chapter on Isaac– The Status of the Heir. It’s the same truth you described above. Isaac received all– simply by being born the son of Abraham.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Allan, after reading your comment, I went down and looked through my library and found my copy of “Changed Into His Likeness.” I see that the part on Isaac is only ten pages long. I will read it tonight before I go to bed. I know that I read this part before, many years ago, but I am sure that NOW I am in a place where it will have much more meaning. Nee’s writings are that way, you have to grow into them before their full impact hits you where it counts.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. So glad to hear from you Michael. I was wondering why you had not written. I had wondered how your back was doing as well. I love being in nature. I am surrounded by mountains near the Smokey Mountains and Blue Ridge. I too have been thinking much of just trying to find a trail to walk along and just enjoy the beauty around me. To get away from the noises of the general public of what’s being spoken on Social Media. I am finding myself more and more wanting to take a major break from being online. I live in a pretty neighborhood and when I go for small walks on this street I get to enjoy my cat Isaiah and my roommate’s cat Sheldon following me like dogs would.
    When I do drive a little bit away from my residence and see mounts and mounts of mountains it is breathtaking. I want to purposely get lost. I want to take pictures. I think tomorrow Saturday I will try to find someplace beautiful. I will bring a chair and just sit and listen and feel the breezes. There is much going on in the world that we have no control over. But to be at peace and not alarmed is a beautiful gift. The Lord says not to fear. There is nothing I can do to change the world. I can only change me with God’s help and His will.

    It is so wonderful to hear from you again. Been thinking about you and Susanne so much. But feeling like you two are in His Rest. Your season of rest.

    Love you in Christ,
    Stacey

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Stacey, my back is doing much better once I found out that it was a spiritual attack and prayed accordingly. I am glad that you, too, can get away to His creation and live in such a beautiful area. Keep seeking the Father and abide in His rest and love, dear sister.
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  10. A much needed reminder, especially appropriate for the tumultuous times in which we live. Noise and distractions surround us. Ignorance and evil are on the rise. Violence is daily reported in the news. It is easy to forget God remains in charge. Our souls need His refreshment, Living Water we can find nowhere else.

    All His Blessings,

    Your friend Anna ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Anna, our souls thirst for God and to know Him in a more intimate way. It is amazing that as we enter into His rest, all the tumult and chaos of this world just fades away. Imagine the frame of mind and gladness of heart that Paul and Barnabas were in as they sang praises to God as they sat in stocks with their backs flailed open in the stinking dungeon in Philippi! Their bodies might have been in a prison, but their spirits were in heavenly places IN Christ with the Father and He answered them by making their bodies as free as their hearts were.

      God bless you, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A wonderful blog post and a beautiful description of your latest experiences with God, Michael! ⭐

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Susanne. I know how often you are touched by God’s creation on your walks and bike rides and how often He speaks to your heart this way. You have been an inspiration to me. ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I liked the part where you say; “He told me to look for a large dark colored creature”. It is one thing to marvel at his wonder in creating everything the way he has and understanding our relationship with him, but when he speaks to us it thrills our souls beyond words. When he speaks not only is his immediate presence and closeness known but aspects of his pure beauty is understood. I bet when you saw the dark moose, you intensely sensed the All-Knowing aspect of your Father.

    Spending time with him must surely be one of the most satisfying things man can do, but like most spiritual enjoyment, we can’t follow our natural desires to have it. Thanks for your article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for your comment, Russ. When I started interacting with Father over His wonderful creation I went from praising Him for all the wonderful works of His hands to praising Him for speaking to my heart and increasing my joy by causing this young moose to be there to bless me. What was amazing was that he was not afraid. I motored over withing 50 feet or so from him and stopped. I think I could have gotten even closer for he felt no fear and knew that I would do him no harm as I was praising His creator for this wonderful gift He shared with me.

      I think that we can have a grateful heart to the Lord if we practice acknowledging Him as the Giver of all good gifts and watch for His hand in our lives instead of taking Him and His love for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dan says:

    My favorite place is parks.. where I spend time for devotion / renewal.

    Good photos.. I live near similar settings.
    —-
    It seems that previous post “Blessing of waiting on the Lord” and this one go together.

    Dan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Dan. I am glad you can get away from all the man-made confusion and be with the Lord. Even Jesus and Paul had to do that often. There is something about the peace and tranquility of God’s creation that flows with the fruit of the Spirit within us and hearing His whispered voice.

      Liked by 1 person

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