My Wife Is Always Right
Twenty five years ago my wife Ceci, told me, “One day you’ll write a book titled, The Pleasure of His Company, in which you’ll teach people how to connect with God’s heart.”
My response was appropriate: “Yes, dear.” Actually, I knew Ceci was prophesying; like Mary with her promises regarding Christ, we tucked the word away until Holy Spirit awakened us to its time. I waited 20 years.
The book bearing that name now exists. It’s my most well-written book, is easily my most personal and transparent, and perhaps is my most important. Beginning May 7 and running through June 6, my Give Him 15 posts will come from this book, with added thoughts and prayers, of course. Give Him 15 will always be about prayer. There are 30 short chapters, written to be used as a 30-day devotional. You will have the written posts to follow, of course, but I’m sure many of you will want the book in order to read it at your personal pace and make notes. Some will teach it. I am NOT doing this to sell books. I simply know many of you will want one and am giving you advance notice in case you want it before we begin this journey. I am also doing it in advance, so that my staff won’t receive hundreds of orders at the last minute.
So, why use this book for prayer posts when I have several other books on the subject of prayer? Because of what God is about to release on the earth. When God was about to do something very significant in Israel, He would ask them to draw near to Him. Why? Our levels of faith, power, authority, and effectiveness will always be determined by how well we know Him; intimacy determines efficacy. Our heart connection with Abba completely dictates the degree of all productivity in the kingdom. The more we know His heart and ways, the more authority and responsibility He can trust us with. He wants partners, family, not hirelings.
Therefore, an intimate knowledge of Yahweh should be our highest goal in life and, if achieved, will become life’s greatest treasure. As we embark on this journey into His heart, my desire is that enjoying the pleasure of His company becomes your greatest reward. And I believe it will. My hope is that millions participate with us in these posts. Consider telling a friend about them.
Let’s look at my statement saying God preceded significant activity by requesting the Israelites to draw near to Him.
The actual Hebrew word He used was qadash. The way this word is translated, along with our preconceived ideas, robs us of critical understanding. Qadash is usually translated as “consecrate” or “sanctify.” To most people, these are antiquated religious terms meaning, “to be holy by not sinning or committing inappropriate acts.” However, that is NOT what qadash means. It actually means to be “set apart” or “separated unto” God.
The Old Testament word for being separated from sin (or from other things as an offering to God) is actually nazir. You can easily see the word nazarite in this word, which was a person who took a nazarite vow of “separation from” certain things and activities. It was meant to be a vow that pictured one’s devotion to God; it was not an activity which created or defined one’s relationship with Him. Religion has taken the concept of nazir - don’t do this, don’t touch that, don’t go here, etc., and defined our relationship with God according to it. Religion says - NOT that God is a Father (Abba) to love and enjoy; to the contrary, He is the Judge. And He’s a mean one, at that, just looking for an excuse to sentence us sorry humans to pain and torment. Our only hope for safety and salvation is good works, performance, righteous deeds. Eventually the concept of nazir - separate yourself from - became the religious standard.
Qadash, on the other hand, is not a command to separate from things and activities - i.e., stop doing something. Rather, it is an invitation to separate ourselves unto: to draw near someone, to devote oneself to a person, to be set aside or separated unto an individual. Whereas nazir is “stay away from,” qadash is “draw near.” God wants connection, not perfection; He wants a family, not fearful subjects; He craves relationship, not religious activity. He told Israel repeatedly, “Qadash yourselves. Draw near to Me.” He didn’t say, “nazir yourselves.” The difference is profound:
Qadash is do; nazir is don’t.
Qadash produces and enhances relationship; nazir is only a picture of relationship.
Qadash is worship; nazir is works.
Qadash is the source; nazir is the result/outflow.
Qadash is the root; nazir is the fruit.
Would it surprise you, then, if I said the word “holy” does not come from the Hebrew word nazir, but from qadash? ”Holy,” in the Old Testament is the word qodesh. Nazir - attempting, even succeeding, in separating ourselves from/not doing things we perceive as sinful, does not make us holy. Can you say Pharisee?
Holiness (qodesh) is literally defined as being separated unto God (qadash): Drawing near to Him; giving Him quality time; worship; devotion. These things describe relationship, they define holiness and they produce good works.
In the Old Testament:
Exodus 19:10 - Moses was told to qadash the descendants of Abraham for three days at Mount Sinai, before God began the process of forming them into a literal nation.
Exodus 28:41 - Moses was told to qadash Aaron and his sons before anointing them as the beginning of the priesthood in Israel.
Joshua 3:5 - Joshua was told to qadash the people for three days before crossing into the promised land of Canaan.
Joel 2:15 - Joel prophesied that the people of Israel should qadash themselves, in preparation for the incredible restoration God was about to perform, which pictured Pentecost in Acts 2.
Why am I doing a month of posts that revolve around drawing near to the Lord? Because THAT is what prepares us for revival, for restoration, for new beginnings. It is what God needs and wants - not our works but our hearts.
I believe the coming outpouring of Holy Spirit will be the greatest “presence movement” in history. It will not be built on or revolve around gifts, preaching, personalities, methods, programs, buildings, innovation, sensationalism, and hype. It will center around relationship with a person. And billions of people around the world will find what they have been looking for.
Pray with me:
Father, as we move toward an outpouring that undoubtedly brings You great excitement, we want to prepare ourselves. Forgive us for past seasons in which we have felt as though our good works could motivate You to act on our behalf. There is nothing we could ever do to earn Your love and grace. EVERYTHING You do is motivated by Your love. You ARE love, so how could it be otherwise?
We ask You to release great revelation to us over the coming weeks as we draw near to You. May we please see facets of Your character and nature that we have not seen before, and see other facets of who You are at a higher level. We cry out with our brother, Apostle Paul, whose cry was, “that I may know Him...” (Philippians 3:10). We align with the words of David, who said, “I heard Your voice in my heart say, ‘Come, seek My face;’ my inner being responded, ‘Yahweh, I’m seeking Your face with all my heart.’” (Psalm 27:8 TPT)
Our heart’s cry, Lord, is that through our response of drawing near to You, we help prepare the way for You to bring a presence movement to the earth that draws billions of people to You. So often in the past we have offered them religion. In this next great outpouring, may we offer them YOU!
We join our faith together now, and decree that the greatest presence movement in history is about to invade the earth.
As a reminder, May 7-June 6, our posts will be coming from my book The Pleasure of His Company.