Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

The School of Intimacy
Michelle Passey
There are many times in life when we are faced with hardships and trials, and we find ourselves suddenly face to face with the loss of a job, death of a loved one, divorce, troubled kids, sickness and so on…when we are faced with such things it can become easy to slip into a place of despair, hopelessness, depression and even anger. Sometimes the pain and grief can be so overwhelming it becomes difficult to do everyday things and even breathing seems like work. I have been in such a place myself. The grief was so deep and the pain so great that even my skin hurt. I found out that my mom had passed away and then a few hours later I found out my father-in-law had passed away as well—both on the same day. That was one of those times I found myself face to face with grief—grief like I had never known before. My heart was broken, my loss was great and I had no idea what to do with all of this pain. After all the dust settled, and the memorial services had all taken place and family and friends went back to living their lives, I found myself having to deal with the intense pain. God quickly reminded me of a little conversation that He and I had had the morning I found out that my mom had passed away. What He had said to me was, “I give and I take away, but Michelle…. what will your heart choose to say?” I told the Lord that despite all of the pain I was in I would praise Him. So, that is what I did, and something supernatural started to take place. I was no longer overwhelmed by my pain, but overwhelmed by His presence. I was in the presence of the Comforter, sweet intimacy was taking place between me and my God. I like to call this season in my life “the school of intimacy.” It is not always easy to praise God when we are troubled, in fact it is very difficult… at least it is for me. So, today let’s look together at God’s school of intimacy, and how it can help us when the storms of life occur. Sometimes we need to tell our souls what to do, our souls don’t always feel like praising God. “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is with in me, bless His holy name” (Ps 103:1).

1) When we are faced with depression and despair praising God will focus our attention on His character and His attributes (Ps 42:5-8).
a) The result of this is His peace (Php 4:4-8).
• When we are able to focus our attention on God, we begin to move from crisis mode to seeking His presence, wisdom, guidance, comfort & healing.

2) Praising God will bring confusion on the enemy (2Ch 20:20-25).
a) Oppression is broken. “And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much” (Ac16:25-26).
• We gain from praising God in the midst of the battle.
• What the enemy meant for evil, God meant it for good (Ge 50:20).
• Praising God will enable us to escape the depression, oppression, fear or any other prison the enemy may be trying to put us in.

3) When we speak or sing praises to God we are reminding ourselves of who He is.
a) By doing this we are putting to practice Philippians 4:4-8.
b) God is our strength, refuge and help.
(Ps 28:7) “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.”
(Ps 46:1) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”
(Ps 73:26) “My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength and my portion forever.”
(Ps 91:2) “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’”
(Ps 73:28) “But as for me the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge.”
c) God is our hiding place.
(Ps 32:7) “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble”
d) The God who sees.
(Ge 16:13) “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees;’ for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’”
e) The God who hears.
(Ps 65:2) “O You who hear prayer, to You all men come.”
f) The Lord who heals.
(Ps 147:3) “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
(Jas 5:16) “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
(Isa 53:5) “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.”
(Ps 22:3) “God inhabits the praises of His people.”

4) When we praise God, His presence comes, joy is released, and our heads are lifted above our enemies. Our hearts are changed, maybe our situation has not changed, but we have changed. We notice that we are filled with a knowing that if God be for us who can be against us. There is a deep faith in God and we are no longer moved by our circumstance.

I mentioned earlier that I like to call my seasons of trials and hardship the school of intimacy. I’m sure by now you can see why, but I would like to share a few personal encounters that I have had. When I had made the decision to praise God in the midst of my darkest time. I found that as soon as my knees hit the ground I was sitting in the lap of Jesus. I was welcome to stay there for as long as I wanted. It was my choice to leave. Sometimes He would stroke my hair other times He would cry with me. Sometimes He would even dance with me. There were times when I would go to be with Him and the oppression was so heavy on me that I could hardly breathe, but…as soon as His presence would come all of that would lift and the heavy weight of His presence would be what was now taking my breath away. I would hear Him sing songs over me. The visions I had of Him where vivid and the words He spoke to me brought my soul to life. His presence became more real to me than my pain. Now let’s apply this to our own lives.
• Make a decision to praise God in your darkest time.
• Exchange our oppression for His presence.
• Allow His presence to become more real than our pain. 

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