Tag Archives: God with us

Living in the Presence

Psalm 84

The Old Testament Jew had to physically go to the city of Jerusalem in order to be in God’s presence. God dwelt only in the Temple Solomon built. If you wanted to be in His presence, you had to go to Him in Jerusalem.

It couldn’t have been easy for the elderly or sick to travel over desert and mountain. It probably cost more money to make the trip than most people could have afforded.

Some parents today dread a two day road trip to Grandma’s with a few toddlers or teens in tow, even driving 60 MPH in air conditioning, a movie playing in the back seat, on paved roads and a McDonald’s every few miles.

Imagine a road trip on foot with whining kids, on hot, sandy paths with the sun blaring down, and rations of food and water on Daddy’s back. Bed time could have been on mats at the side of the road or perhaps a room in an inn in a town along the way. But if they wanted to be where God was, they had to make the difficult trip to Jerusalem. They had to go where God lived.

The writer of Psalm 84 longs to enter the courts of the Lord. In fact he wanted it so badly he said he was faint with longing. His whole being, body and soul wanted to be able to praise God to His face. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a sparrow that could build its nest right there at the Temple, to live close to God’s presence continually.

The writer of Psalm 84 would be blown away at the privilege we have after the cross.

We no longer need to go to God. HE CAME TO US! We don’t have to go to church, much less Jerusalem, to praise God face to face, to whisper in His ear, to walk with Him who is closer than a brother.

Of course, we know from Scripture, that privilege is reserved only for those who repent of sin, and receive God’s gracious forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. We live in God’s house, our bodies His Temple. I’m not sure we get the entirety of that truth.

Because sometimes we don’t even acknowledge Him, much less praise Him. It’s like that married couple who have been together for so long, they can go to a restaurant, enjoy a meal together, and not speak to each other the whole evening. They love each other. They are used to being in each other’s presence. But the old adage can be true: familiarity breeds contempt. (or at least apathy). The couple has grown comfortable with silence.

Does that describe your relationship with God? Are you so used to having His Spirit indwelling your heart you are comfortable with the silence?

I hope you’ll read Psalm 84, especially verses 10-12 and ask yourself if it describes how you view God’s presence in your life. Are you as passionate about being in the presence of God as the author of the psalm is?

I pray that you, and I, will walk with God today with the excitement of having Him with us. May we speak, think, act, with the blessed knowledge that our Holy God has come to us, to live with and in us in a real, vital, and amazing way.

Go with God today. Live intentionally in His presence. And rejoice for the privilege!

Exodus 3 Heaven Came Down

God spoke to Moses from a bush that looked like it was on fire. Amazingly, it didn’t burn up. But what I saw in my study of this passage today has my heart soaring. It wasn’t just God’s voice in that thorny burning bush. It was God Himself!

vs 8: So I have come down to rescue… (emphasis mine)

It was the same fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt. God’s Presence was right there in a visible way.

Like Jesus.

Jesus wasn’t just born. God came down! John 1 tells us the Creator God came to His own…” And we have seen Him, “who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (vs 14 emphasis mine)

God Himself came down from heaven and called Moses by name. He was that personal. He called Samuel by name, Zaccheus, Mary, Saul (Paul) by name. He called me by name. And He’s calling you.

I have the wonderful hymn by John W. Peterson running through my head this morning. To think that God, Creator, Almighty, the Great I AM, left His throne above to live and die for love of me. I am overcome.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross my Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.

 

September 21 – My People

Zechariah 1-7

“Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know the the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.” (2:10-11)

God tells Zechariah that Jesus will come. God in flesh and blood would live right here on planet Earth with us. As a result, people from all over the world would join themselves to Jesus and become “My people.”

No longer an exclusive Jewish club, God’s people would include Asians, Greeks, Romans, Africans, Americans… Me!

My heart rejoices. Thank You, dear Jesus!

——————

I would like to thank you all for praying for Landon these last couple of days. They have changed his diagnosis from HUS to CIS, with salmonella. He has developed a fear of anyone medical and they have to sedate him to try to get an IV in him. He also is not urinating, and his right kidney is somewhat smaller than his left. His parents are meeting with an urologist today.

Please continue to pray. Although he woke up hungry this morning, (that in itself is an answer to prayer) he is still fighting for his life. His parents are exhausted. Let’s lift them up, asking God for strength and wisdom as they deal with this emergency. Landon’s mommy is pregnant. I’m praying for that little one as well.

Thanks again for praying with me. May God be glorified.

The Son of Man

I was reading in Matthew this morning where Jesus called himself the Son of Man. (12:8) I was reminded of an explanation I heard last night from Dr. Nabeel Querishi, an associate of Ravi Zacharias about that very thing. He explained the title, “Son of Man”,  in a way I had never heard before. If you haven’t heard of Ravi Zacharias International, I highly recommend you check out this ministry.

Dr. Querishi said that grasping the truth of the Son of Man is one of the things that helped him to leave the Islamic religion and accept Jesus as his Savior. Here is what I took away from what he shared:

The Jews often referred to themselves as Children of God or Sons of God. Their humanity was a given. It was their identification with God that made them unique among men.

Jesus, by calling himself the Son of Man, is saying he is God. That’s the given. It’s his identification with man that makes him unique. The ancient Jews knew what Jesus was saying. In no uncertain terms Jesus was telling them he is God. And, as God, he was walking right there among them in a human body.

That thrills me! I’ll never read the words, “Son of Man” the same way again.

I thank God for that truth. The Creator of the universe, Almighty God, came to earth fully God and fully human.  And calling himself The Son of Man assures me he understands me like no one else can.

Dear Son of Man, thank you for loving me enough to put on human form so that I can know you identify with me. I am humbled and grateful for this truth. May I live my life, knowing who you are, and sharing you unashamedly. Jesus. God with us. You amaze me.

September 29

Matthew 1:1-25; Luke 2:1-40, 3:23-38

I can never read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth without hearing the voices of little children. When my nieces and nephews were first graders they took part in their school’s Christmas tradition. The teacher helped the students memorize Luke 2:1-20 every year and the first graders would recite it together at the Christmas concert. Dressed in their white robes and big red bows, their little voices would rise and fall, pause and crescendo at just the right time. Twenty years later they could still recite these precious verses. And I can say with thankfulness my nieces and nephews grew up to love the One who was born in that manger.

Jesus was God at conception. We saw how Elizabeth’s baby reacted to being in his presence before he was born. Today we see where Simeon and Anna recognized this baby would change the world.

What about us? When we read about this baby do we step back and say, “Ah, isn’t he adorable?” like we do when we’re standing in the checkout line behind a stranger’s newborn in a stroller? Or do we gaze into his face, study the shape of his head and the color of his eyes like we do when we look at our own newborn or a grandchild? Do we try to see ourselves in the shape of his nose or chin? How personal is the baby Jesus to you?

This baby does what no other baby can do. He loves you totally. This baby in the manger will grow up to suffer and to die a horrible death because of that love. This baby was born so that you can live. You.

I’m not sure we can grasp the extent of the true meaning behind the birth we read about today. Our holy God who demands holiness of us became a human being so that he could fulfill all of his own demands. He loves us that much. And all he asks of us is that we love him, too. Accept his grace. And live eternally with him with in glory.

I want to see myself in this baby’s face. But not because he looks like me. I want to look like him! 

Dear God, as we consider your Son as an infant today, I pray that we would have a personal connection, understanding that Jesus was born that day because of love for each of us. For me. Thank you for this baby, God with us. It’s an amazing truth I pray we will each hold on to as we recognize how intimate our relationship with you can be. You came to change the world, it’s true. But my prayer is that you will change me. May I look like Jesus, walk like him, talk like him, so others will know him, too.