Tag Archives: God’s Presence

May 20; Living In His Embrace

Psalm 50; Song of Solomon 1-3

There is so much imagery here in the love poem Solomon wrote. I hope you’ll read it with your relationship with your Savior in mind. Today, I am filled with praise for the great love God has for me, and for the privilege of being His.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. (2:3-6)

That’s where I want to be living. I want to rest in my Savior, to be strengthened and nourished by reading His Word to me, because I love Him so much. I want to be living in His embrace.

He wants that for me, too.

May 10; One Thing I Ask Of The Lord

Psalms 9, 10, 27, 37; 2 Samuel 15:37, 16:15

I read a few of these psalms a couple of times this morning because I found myself thinking about the state of the world instead of the condition of my heart. I found myself identifying the “wicked” as those who are fighting against the Truth, people who are killing Christians, others who blatantly sin and then condemn those of us who speak against it.

Yes, there are evil people in the world. And yes, God wants His Church to defeat Satan in the worst of them. But I’m reminded God can’t change the world until He changes my heart.

The “wicked” David wrote about were flesh and blood people to him. To me, the “wicked” is Satan, my own inclination to sin, anything that keeps me from having the best relationship with God. David says this is Psalm 37:4:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

He continues to tell us what that looks like; Commit your way to the Lord. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Refrain from anger and turn away from wrath. In Psalm 9 David tells us to praise the Lord with all our hearts, to be glad, rejoice, and sing praises.

Warning: if you think Psalm 37:4 is the magic formula to getting something you want, think again. This verse is absolutely not saying that if you do this, this, and this you can rub the magic genie lamp and have that windfall show up on your doorstep. I have little patience with people, including preachers, who say if you praise the Lord, raise your hands, shout your praises it will somehow result in you getting a material blessing.

For me, the key is found in Psalm 27:4:

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Notice David doesn’t say, “One thing I ask of the Lord is that my enemies drop dead around my feet.” Or “that I will win the lottery, or beat a physical illness, or that my political party controls the nation.”

David says to God, “The only think I want is just to be with You, to gaze upon Your beauty, to seek You in Truth.”

Is that the one thing I ask of God? Is that the desire of my heart? Is that the thing that is my focus, my goal, my joy – just to have God near me? Why wouldn’t it be? There is love in His Presence. There is strength, comfort, rest, protection, joy, peace. No material blessing, no amount of money can buy what God can – and wants – to give His people who are delighting in Him, to those who are His through the blood of Jesus.

And it is from there that God and I can change the world – one redeemed soul at a time.

April 28; Home

2 Samuel 5:6-12, 17-25, 6:1-11, 23:13-17; I Chronicles 11:4-9, 11-19, 14:1-2, 8-17, 13:1-14

Our worship service this morning centered around the second coming of Christ. I will tell you it made me a bit homesick thinking about the day God the Father will tell His Son, “It’s time to go and get my children.” What a day that will be!

Sometimes I read psalms like 101 that speak of God making things right, and I find myself asking, “When?” When will slanderers be put to silence? When will evildoers be cut off? And then I am reminded that God warned us things would not be easy while we walk this earth. Evil still exists because God still wants to save evil people.

The pastor reminded us when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Comforter. God Himself lives within all of us who know Jesus as our Savior. Is there anything too hard for God?

So today, as I consider who God is, I am so grateful that He is mine, so humbled by His love, and so underserving of any of it. One day I’ll look into those eyes, hold those nail-scarred hands, and know I am home.

April 23; The Lord Be Exalted

Psalms 31, 56, 40; I Samuel 27:1-12; 28:1-2; 29:1-11; I Chronicles 12:1-7,19-22

I hope Psalm 40 is your testimony. David waited on God, and God heard him, lifted him up out of the depths of sin, and put a new song in David’s mouth. David knows how blessed are we who put our trust in God, who hide His Word in our hearts, who obey Him, and tell others about Him.

David is honest to say life was still hard for him. But even in that, he proclaimed God’s mercy, God’s love, and God’s saving power. Knowing God was in his life gave David reason to rejoice.

It does the same for me. God is our help and deliverer.

The Lord be exulted!

That’s my testimony. I pray you can say the same.

March 29; What’s Stopping You?

Joshua 16:1-19:31; I Chronicles 4:24-33

The Israelites had crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. For some, that was enough. I find it interesting, and a bit sad, that only five of the twelve tribes got busy to take what was their’s. The other seven tribes, for whatever reason, seem to be satisfied with where they were.

Some of Joseph’s descendants complained they’d have to cut down some trees to occupy their portion, and expressed fear concerning the strength of the enemy they’d need to conquer. Joshua, in reply kind of said, “Get over yourselves.”

Some of the other tribes needed Joshua to come up with a detailed plan before they followed through.

So, considering your own spiritual Promised Land, which tribe do you most identify with? Are you one who dives in, who is always learning, and growing, and serving our great God? Is your walk with the Lord everything He wants it to be as you move ahead in faith and defeat the enemy that would prevent you from enjoying God in your life to the fullest?

Do you seem to be more like the tribes who didn’t move ahead, seemingly unsure of what to do, or content with the status quo?

Or maybe you, like Joseph’s clan see the enemy and think it’s too hard to step out in faith, to do the work required to gain the land? Does the thought of disciplining yourself to be in God’s Word every day, to live a life set apart, to resist sin, to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus just too hard?

As a child of God through the blood of Jesus, God wants you to live a vital, blessed, life with Him at the center. It doesn’t just happen. You can live on the outskirts, missing out on the benefits of an active relationship with Him. But He promises to be with you, to guide you, to be your friend and advocate. God wants to bless you with Himself.

What’s stopping you?

 

February 10; Come Home

Exodus 25-27

I sometimes wish the ark had survived somehow. The description here in Exodus sounds beautiful. I’d like to run my fingers over the hammered-gold cherubim.

And the tabernacle! It wasn’t just a tent, was it? The house of God was worthy of a king. It was worthy of THE King.

God showed wisdom when He allowed the ark and tent to fall by the wayside. As beautiful as God’s temporary home on earth must have been, it was just that: temporary. It served it’s purpose. And it’s gone. I think God knew there would be those who would want to worship the workmanship. Even today there are people obsessed with the details of the ark and tent, who spend their lives looking for the ark like Indiana Jones.

Psalm 90:1-2 reminded me of something:

Lord, through all generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. (NLT)

As magnificent as the ark and tent must have been, it was never about the ark and tent. That’s where God would dwell on earth. God would dwell. I love the psalmist’s statement that God Himself is our home.

You know the feeling after a long absence, when you unlock the front door of your house and step inside. You are home. There is a sense of relief, of comfort and welcome, of familiarity. There is no place like home.

That’s what I think about the Presence of God. With the hustle and bustle of the world, fighting off Satan’s arrows all day, it’s good to come Home, to open my Bible, to be still and know that He is God, and He is with me.

I read about the beautiful ark and tent here in Exodus and see God, arms open wide saying, “Come. Come to me. Come home.”

 

January 17; Putting Yourself in a Position to be Blessed

Job 40-42

The Lord continues to speak to Job in the storm. He continues to remind Job that there is one God, and it’s not Job. Job’s reaction is:

I am unworthy. I spoke out of turn. I thought I understood You, but now I really see who You are. I’m sorry.

This past Sunday the pastor spoke about putting ourselves in a position to be blessed by God. I think Job does that here. Job emptied himself, confessed his sin, and repented. Then God blessed him.

Yes, Job received material blessings after this. But please don’t make this about material things. The pastor reminded us that putting ourselves in a position to be blessed means humbling ourselves before our holy God, recognizing sin and repenting, allowing Jesus to do what He died to do.

Then God will lavish us with the greatest blessing of all. Himself.

He’ll forgive you. He’ll break the hold sin has over you. He will walk with you every minute of every day. And one day, He’ll welcome you home.

I believe Job knew how blessed he was when he said:

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. (42:5)

Have you seen God? I don’t mean have you face-timed Him. Have you recognized God for who He IS? Have you had the experience of total surrender to the One who died to save you? If you haven’t, I pray you will do that today. Put yourself in a position to be blessed. Get on your knees and ask Him to forgive you.

Then brace yourself. God in your life is a blessing like you’ve never experience before.