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15 July -“Pickled” -(Soaking pt 2)

To soak something is more than a five minute quick dip. It means allowing it to become saturated and full of what it is soaking in. If you take a cucumber and place it in vinegar and spices for a few minutes, then eat it, it still tastes like cucumber. But if you take that cucumber and soak it in that solution for a couple of weeks it no longer tastes like cucumber – it has become a pickle! It has taken on the flavor of that solution.

Soaking in God’s presence involves becoming saturated with God, much like that cucumber soaks and becomes a flavoursome pickle. We “soak” and take on God’s flavor or nature which is of love, kindness, patience, self control, goodness, faithfulness, joy, gentleness, perseverance and peace.

This essentially is what “soaking” is. When we soak in God’s presence, we enter into a place of rest where we wait upon Him. In the past people may have referred to this as tarrying. This is where they would spend long hours waiting on God. Many times however their waiting was more a form of pleading and begging. But we don’t need to do that. He invites us to come, without toil or pleading. We can be focused on rest and receiving by faith, as opposed to striving and crying out to God.

Here are some thoughts on how to soak:

A point to remember though,  soaking is not about how much we can accomplish by our own efforts. It’s about God’s working and accomplishing things for us and in us.

1. Wait on God.

Take as much time as you can. (Try to give yourself at least 20 minutes to begin to relax and receive.)

Something happens when we wait on God. Who He is, starts to get on us and in us. There is an exchange that takes place when we soak. His strength for our weakness, and His ability instead of our inadequacy, occurs because we spend time waiting on Him.

The bible says it this way: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

2. Just relax

One of the main barriers to encountering God is that we are simply trying too hard. A top tip is “just relax”. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Literally translated this means, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The way to know God is through peace and stillness.

3. Sit or lie down. When we lie down in God’s presence it is a statement of surrender and a position of rest. Too often we think we can’t stop and rest because we have to be doing something.

But when we stop and finally relax we get to the point of realising “what can we do anyway to add to what God has already done?”

Psalm 23 is a great description of how God wants us to lie down, to rest and soak in His presence. “He makes me lie down in green pastures”

4. Restoration and Revelation: This is the fruit of soaking in God’s presence. He loves revealing the secret counsel of His heart; dealing with issues that need to be addressed and bringing wisdom to our situation and needs.

In this we may even find ourselves responding physically or emotionally. We might laugh, cry, or shake as God’s presence and power touches us. The Holy-Spirit might give us a vision or bring a memory to our mind that He wants to heal and restore us from. Often we enter into a deep rest or may fall asleep. But even if we don’t feel anything happening, God will still be at work in us if our hearts are open to Him.

In soaking we find confidence and strength, and an increased desire to spend time in God’s presence. We receive the victory over problems.

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15-17)

Prayer: Lord help me to learn how to rest and soak in your presence. You never meant for it to be difficult, but actually invite me to come.

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