Friday, July 16, 2021

In His Presence

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In His Presence
Have you experienced the presence of God? Perhaps you have not thought about it. Perhaps you think of God only in terms of an impersonal and awesome monarch. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth” (Psalm 96:9). There are many Scripture verses describing God as almost unapproachable and scary.  Yet there are also many that talk about a God who is Spirit and personal, visiting us. He is “Immanuel,” God with us. This photo taken by Douglas F. Frank, my cousin and landscape photographer gives a sense of the presence of a great being. I am thinking or God not a spaceship here. 

Who or what is God for you, perhaps nothing. If you answered the later perhaps you are just not thinking or perceiving anything other than yourself. Romans 1:20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” In the beginning God created heaven and earth and the 100s of millions of galaxies. The “Big Bang Theory” fits just fine with this. It was no accident if you don’t consider yourself God. I believe those who contend to be Atheists just worship themselves and have missed the very presence and power of God for them.

King David in Psalm 139 writes that there is nowhere that we can go from the presence of God, in darkness and light, to the ends of the earth He is there. Psalm 18 is a little awesome speaking of the earth trembling and the mountains quaking at His voice, as He soared on the wings of the wind. I love the eternal thoughts of Psalm 16:11 saying, “In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand pleasures forever more.”  Descriptions of joy in His presence take some of the fearsomeness of God away.

I write a lot and usually from a perspective of nature and creations beauty. I love to see the soaring Rocky Mountains of Montana and Red Woods and Pacific Ocean in California. As I write, I can hear the dawn filling with Cardinals and Robins, migrating geese and cranes. As I write I can hear the thunder of the waterfalls and roaring of the waves on the Lake Michigan shores. Writer, Pastor and Author, Chuck Swindoll has penned many books. My favorite is his shortest, Intimacy with The Almighty. This little book speaks of finding God in Silence, Solitude, Simplicity and Serenity. As humans we live in a world full of sirens, horns, planes and trains. People yell and fuss with voices and devices. But God whispers like He did on the mountain for Elijah the Prophet in 1 Kings 19:12, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  We need to slow our pace and listen for God. In the still of the night He speaks. He comes to us through prayer, His word the Bible, through other godly people and circumstances.

God speaks through His Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the Trinity. In John 14:20 Jesus says, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” Before that Jesus says we need to abide, dwell, remain in Him and Him in us, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me(John 15:5). You see, God has not left us as orphans; He has sent His Holy Spirit, a person. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18). What an incredibly beautiful truth from Scripture and Jesus Himself saying that God will be with you and live in you by His Holy Spirit. He is the Counselor, Comforter, Convincer and Convictor. He is the One who guides and illuminates His word and our paths if we will let Him. Is this mystical, perhaps? But I believe it is true because I have experienced His presence many times.

I have experienced the Holy Spirit lifting me off the basement floor in a long embrace when I was praying for the love of the father that I never received as a child. I have experienced His healing power over depression while leading a church in disarray. His warm healing balm came over me in worship, bringing peace, clarity and joy. An even greater healing when doctors had told me that I was dying from some unknown blood born virus or cancer overwhelmed me. While I prayed aloud Psalm 103, praising the God who forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases, the warm oil of His healing wrapped me from head to foot bringing instant and complete healing. Yes, in His presence is fullness of joy.

Do you know Him? Have you put down your worries and work and contemplated the presence of the Lord God Almighty wherever you go? I suggest reading the devotional by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Peace in His Presence. Each daily devotion speaks of God’s presence with you always. God promised, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you(Hebrews 13:5). I included the first thought about money because many tend to worry or even be obsessed with money. Any obsession or interest that is above or more important than God will block Him out. Did you know that un-confessed sin in your life will cause your prayers not to be answered as Psalm 66:18 tells us?

We all worry or find ourselves in difficult circumstances that cause us to lose track of God. But He says through Isaiah the Prophet, ‘“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God”’ (Isaiah 43:1-2). There are some 7,500 promises of God in the Bible. Some are conditional, requiring our actions such as Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” God is guiding and leading us if we will trust Him to do so.

God is real and has made us in His image and likeness because He loves us and wants a personal relationship with us.  Ask Him and He will come into your heart and you will know that He is God.

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