Tag Archives: presence of God

Taste and See

The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.

Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.

Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?

Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]

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Mail Truck

Recently I noticed something. Mail trucks and vans do not have license plates. I never knew it. For some reason, I never looked for their license plates. I happened to be stopped behind a mail van during my travels and found myself staring at where the license plate should be and thought to myself, who knew?!? I missed it and yet I see mail trucks every day. I have seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of mail trucks.

Whether you have good vision or failing vision, you could miss something like that if you aren’t intentionally looking. In the same way, when you are going through your day, you can miss how God is moving if you are not living intentionally. This means recognizing that you are living continually in the presence of God. This means keeping your eyes fixed on Him and following His leading. This means not being overly busy or drowning in the ungodly.

God brings people into your path. Surrounding you are the unseen angel armies and the visible beauty of Creation. Given to us is His Word and the Spirit of God is poured into us the moment we declare the name of Jesus. Too often we declare the absence of God—we question if He is truly active and moving in our lives. With our attention elsewhere, we miss seeing Him move. We instead have our eyes focused on where we expect Him to be, despite knowing we do not think or imagine as God. Today, take time to sit in the silence. Breathe in. Listen to the quiet. Get away from the noise. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and awesome way. Then be continually aware of His presence as you go through your day. Continue your conversation with Him throughout the day. Expect Him to move. Enjoy the God who is with you always.

“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 16:8 [NIV]

Forever in Your Sanctuary

Forever is a very long time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 61 about a request: “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary.” This is not a simple request. This request is for a sinful man to spend forever with God, Holy God, in His presence.

Despite it not being a simple request, it is a request that can be met. There is a possibility for you and I to live forever in His sanctuary. To abide with Him, we must accept the Son. To abide with Him, we must have the desire. The Bible promises that when we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4).

Thankfully God sent His Son to pave the way for us to be able to come before God as unblemished spotless ones. Because of the blood of Christ, we are cleansed and we are righteous. We are called children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). The wages of sin is death, but we accept the free gift of God, eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Forever we live in Your sanctuary!

“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! Interlude” – Psalm 61:4 [NLT]

Close Embrace

I was sleeping so well. All of the sudden my eyes were wide open. It was National Dog Day. But that wasn’t why Max woke me up. A storm with lightning and thunder was in our midst. Max was having an anxiety attack. My overweight dog was in big baby mode. I called him onto my bed and held him in a close embrace to calm him down. He has a special storm jacket or thunder jacket. I call it a storm trooper jacket because it’s the only way he is a good trooper through storms.

As I lay unable to sleep with my panicked canine, I considered the close embrace of our heavenly Father. When we embrace someone closely, eventually we let go. We start to feel hot. We want to change our position. We cannot spend all day in one place. We have things to do. Sometimes it is a challenge embracing anyone at all. But with God, it’s different. The embrace is never-ending. Forever, we are in safety with the close embrace of God.

God “takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV). The psalmist said that God covers us with His feathers, that under His wings we find refuge (Psalm 91:4). Today, consider the close embrace of God. Nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Settle close to Him for refuge. Enjoy His presence. Appreciate the close embrace.

You Have Done Nothing

We do not think like God thinks (Isaiah 55:8). That being said, there are many times when we are unable to grasp what God is doing and we become frustrated. We may even cry out to the Lord, “You have don’t nothing,” just like Moses did.

Moses was upset with God. He was angry because his requests of Pharaoh, requests that were refused, brought about consequences. The Lord had Moses go before Pharaoh and it continued to bring trouble. But Moses couldn’t see what God was doing. He only saw the consequences. This caused him to claim God did “nothing.”

Perhaps today you are crying out these same words—You have done nothing. Perhaps you feel abandoned. Perhaps you wonder where God is even at right now because you cannot see Him moving in your life. Remember, even when you do not see God’s presence around you, He is alive and active. He continues to work everything out for His good purpose. Keep your heart open to hear Him. Dive deeper into His Word. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Trust in His faithfulness.

“Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, ‘Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!’” – Exodus 5:22-23 [NLT]

Away from Presence

God is holy. He cannot face sin because of His holiness. Because of the sinfulness of mankind, many times we read in the Bible that the people were without the presence of the Lord. The people were unable to be in the presence of God because they were unclean. Once a year, one person could enter the inner part of the Temple to approach His presence. Even Moses was not allowed to look upon the face of the Lord because he was a sinner, just like you and me.

When reading about Jonah, we note that he was asked by the Lord to go share a message to the people of Nineveh. He gets up and flees to Tarshish. But it doesn’t just say that he goes in the opposite direction from where he was commanded. It says he flees “from the presence of the LORD.” When the men on the boat are trying to discover the cause of the storm issues, they recognize that he is running from “the presence of the LORD.”

Every time we sin, we are keeping ourselves from fully being in the presence of the LORD. Yes, things are different today. Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose on the third day. If we believe this, we are saved. If we believe this, we are children of God. If we believe this, we can approach God. The veil is torn. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon us. But still, if we sin, we are keeping ourselves from fully being in the presence of the LORD. Do you want that? Do you desire to not be fully aware of His presence? If you want to hear His still small voice, if you want to be aware of Him—to recognize Him moving in your life and in the lives around you—turn from sin and fix your eyes on Him. Take a step towards God and experience the awesomeness of the presence of the LORD.

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD… Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.” – Jonah 1:3,10 [ESV]

Press On

Today’s passage gets me to consider how God restores. We serve a God of restoration. Consider this—after two days He revives and then on the third day raises up. Does this remind you of anything? Earlier in the passage, it speaks about returning to the Lord. We read that God has torn and struck down. This is something that is done to prune, to grow, to stretch God’s people and produce what is meant—what is better. We read that in doing so we are healed and bound up.

The passage continues to say that we are raised up so that “we may live before Him.” I love this. Earlier Hosea speaks about being led astray, not having a knowledge of God, being far from God. Now this passage says that we will live before Him. We go from being far from Him, away from Him altogether, to being right before Him—in His presence! How awesome is that?!?

Understand friends, that our God restores. He takes that which is broken and He binds. He takes that which is dirty and cleanses. There will be breaking. There will be pruning. But there is also deliverance. There is also restoration. There is healing. Let us press on. Let us press on to know the Lord. His Word helps us to recognize Him more, to understand Him more. His Spirit reveals and reminds. Press on.

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:1-3 [ESV]

Ephesians Study: Love of Christ

 

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]

 

17 –          Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love

18-19 –    Strength to comprehend…

BREADTH – extends to all

John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD

LENGTH – everlasting duration

Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD

DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin

Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive

Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us

HEIGHT – raises to glory

Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence

Know the Love of Christ that…

Surpasses Knowledge

Fills you with all the fullness of God

 

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

Bible Study Questions:

  1. We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?

 

  1. What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Exiting the Cave Outline

Exiting the Cave Basic Review of 1 Kings 17-18 Main Passage 1 Kings 19

  • There’s a great and strong wind.
  • There’s an
  • There’s a fire.
  • There is the sound of a low whisper – a still small voice.

How do you recognize God’s presence? Desire the Presence of God “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 [ESV] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and He with Me.” – Revelation 3:20 [ESV] Desire to Know God To recognize God, you should know Who He is “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [ESV] God wants you to know Him and to love Him – that’s a RELATIONSHIP Desire Leads to Readiness “Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a [ESV] You cannot predict how God will be present from past experiences. Each moment is we should be ready for Him with great expectation but not by placing Him in some prepackaged box. If you box Him in, you’ll miss Him. Desire More of Him & Less of You “Why climb the mountains or go down into the valleys of the world looking for Him Who dwells within us?” – Augustine If you believe in Jesus Christ and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit it means that God dwells within. That means the Spirit of God dwells within you. You don’t have to ask for the Holy Spirit once you have obtained – you simply ask “More of You, less of me.” Each day. Every day. Listen. The Holy Spirit will help you, comfort you, remind you, teach you, empower you, assure you, strengthen you….

Super Moon

It was so awesome to take the kids outside and glance up at the incredible Super Moon. How could one not look up at that amazing sight and not feel God’s presence among us? As I grew up, I spent a lot of time paying careful attention to things—to nature, to the stars, to the complexity of the human body, to how things work and how things grow. We think of things in a simple manner because we see things so often, but if we would consider things as if we only first laid eyes upon them, we would be in continuous awe. Even our own eyes are phenomenal. God is so awesome.

So we can feel God’s presence when we look at nature, but we can know He is present in other ways as well. Prayer is a way I feel God’s continual presence. Through Jesus alone we are able to approach the Father. He listens to each prayer. When I pray I feel a great peace and I know He is faithful and will always answer. You can feel God’s presence through people too. I’m blessed to have seen Jesus through many different people through the years. There’s other ways to feel God with you—signs, wonders, dreams, etc. The list goes on and on.

At the end of the day, there’s only a problem when we are blind to His presence. We can only be blind if we are too self absorbed and self centered and we miss it. You are able to close your eyes and miss Him but it doesn’t mean He is not there. He’s always there. I pray you never neglect the opportunity to live fully in the presence of God.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” – Psalm 139:7 [NKJV]

 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11 [NKJV]