Tag Archives: God’s Presence

July 10; Who Failed Who?

Psalms 75, 76, 77, 80

Have you ever felt like God isn’t keeping His promises? The psalmists did. They, like many of us, find ourselves in situations where God is noticeably silent or worse, absent. Didn’t God promise to never leave or forsake us, to be our strength and shield, to give us everything we need? So why does it seem there are times He reneges on His promises?

When the psalmists felt disappointed in God, they often started to remember the many ways God had been faithful in the past. God had proved His faithfulness over and over, fulfilled one promise after another. Then inevitably, they realized it was they, not God who had reneged on their promises to Him.

As I read the Bible I am reminded that God loves to bless His people. God longs to shower His children with love and joy and peace, and to enable us to enjoy His creation designed for our pleasure. But it is we who stand in His way.

The psalmists say, “Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them…,” “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago…,” “Restore us O God Almighty; make your face sine upon us, that we may be saved.”

Someone once said that if you feel like God is no longer with you remember, He’s not the one who moved. We move away from Him one sin at a time. One sin, then another, and another, and soon we find ourselves so far from Him it feels like He’s abandoned us. We forget He cannot and will not tolerate sin in any of us. And He won’t stay where sin is present.

The next time you feel like God isn’t paying attention to you, that He has failed to keep His promise to you, consider your heart’s condition before a Holy God and ask yourself this:

Who failed who?

 

 

July 8; What Have I Done To You?

Micah 4-7

When I read what God says through the prophet Micah, and apply it to my life, I am convicted and humbled. I mourn, and I rejoice.

God is once again expressing His frustration with His people (which is me). He can go over the many ways in which I am blessed, the countless times He has been faithful to me, and yet find me unfaithful and disobedient.

He can warn me about the consequences ahead, the severe penalty for sin, yet I tell myself I have plenty of time before I really need to repent.

I hear God ask, “What have I done to you, Connie? Have I burdened you? Answer me.” (6:13). And I am speechless. I have no defense.

The truth of the matter is, God has blessed me. I have everything I need in this life. I have more than I need. I have Jesus Himself! I know the One Michah describes, the Ruler who came from Bethlehem Ephrathah, who is the eternal One, the Good Shepherd. I know Him! I am His and He is mine!

May I remember God’s past faithfulness to me, may I stand with Him to defeat my enemy Satan, may I hear Him, obey Him, love Him like He deserves.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me. (7:7)

 

July 1; Reaping and Sowing

Hosea 5:8-9:17; 2 Kings 16:10-18, 15:30-31, 7:1-2; 2 Chronicles 28:22-25

God doesn’t mess around with disobedience. And He doesn’t stay where He is not honored. Hosea 5:15 says:

Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.

That pretty much sums up the history of man. And the history of me.

The Jews entertained worship of pretend gods. Idolatry was often tolerated, and sometimes became the nation’s religion. They knew better. They knew God (or should have). Their ancestors had walked with God. They knew God blesses obedience, and punishes disobedience. Certainly they had heard the stories.

Sometimes the Jews chose disobedience anyway. That disobedience was always met with disaster of one kind or another. But I think the most devastating consequence for disobedience was when God removed Himself from their presence, when He left them to their own devices.

Famines were bad. Plagues were awful. War was brutal. But life without God has to be the worse.

What we see in almost every book of the Bible is people sinning, people going their own way, and God disciplining their disobedience. Sometimes that discipline involved God turning His back on them; but He always did that with one purpose: for them to seek Him in their misery, in order to bring them back to Himself.

The Bible also reveals a loving, faithful God who forgives His children every time they (we) repent.

Galatians 5:7-8 comes to mind:

Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

I’ve found all of that true in my own life. I know what it’s like to be totally void of His Presence when I’ve held on to sin, when I reap the fruit of sin. I could put on a Christian front, but my fellowship with God was severed. That, my friend, is the definition of lonely.

I also now what it’s like to fall on my knees and beg God for forgiveness, to feel His Presence one again when I am washed by the blood of Jesus. I know what it’s like to reap the fruit of the Spirit.

So, how does your garden grow? What are you reaping? You will reap what you sow.

June 15; It Keeps Coming

I King’s 17-19

The more I read the Bible the more I realize people haven’t changed all that much since the beginning. Take the widow woman, for example. During the famine God miraculously provided her with flour and oil so she and her son, and the prophet Elijah, could eat. She didn’t do anything to earn God’s provision – except obey. She obeyed, and God kept it coming.

But then her son got sick. What did she do? She blamed Elijah and, in turn, God. “Is that why you’re here?” she asked. “Did you just come so you could kill my son?”

Elijah’s not any different than the widow, really. He asked the same of God (who had just spared his life, too, with the never-ending flour and oil). The son did not die. And the miracle came through Elijah.

Later Elijah, who had demonstrated great faith in God, who watched God do amazing things, unexplainable things, who was protected by God, fed by ravens and angels, had doubts. King Ahab was out to get him, and Elijah felt all alone. It was too much. He wanted to die.

Can you relate? We are so blessed by God. We see evidence of that every day. Some of us have witnessed extraordinary ways God moves. But when tragedy, or hardship comes, the first response of many of us is to blame God. Or question Him. Or at least give Him the cold shoulder for a time. It’s so much easier to recognize God’s blessings in the good times. It’s a bit of a challenge to see those same blessings when we are hurting

But I am reminded today about God’s great love for His children. The flour and oil kept coming for the widow and her son until the famine was over. God encouraged Elijah by assuring him he wasn’t at all alone. In the midst of trouble, God was still keeping His blessings coming.

And that’s His MO still today. I don’t know what life is like for you right now. You may be going through a really hard time. Maybe you, like the widow find yourself striking out at God. Or like Elijah, you might be feeling abandoned by everyone including God. But hear God whisper in your ear, “I’m right here.” Open your eyes to the ways He demonstrates His love for you right now while you are struggling.

Because I know, as evidenced in Scripture and in my own life, even in the darkest nights, God keeps His blessings coming.

 

 

 

 

May 31; Joy and Health

Proverbs 14-15

My prayer for you today is Proverbs 15:30. May you have joy in your heart regardless of circumstances. May you be surrounded by people who love you and love the Lord. May their smiles put a smile on your face. And may you be encouraged and strengthened with the Good News that your sins are forgiven, that Jesus is your Savior, that God is your Father, and that His Spirit lives in you.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

May 23; Stop and Worship

I Kings 7:13-8:21; 2 Chronicles 4:1-5:14

The Temple was built. The Ark of God was in place in the Holy of Holies. The priests were ready and anxious to begin doing what priests were supposed to do. But something happened that brought everything to a screeching halt.

God showed up.

For forty plus years, God had revealed His Presence in a cloud while their forefathers wandered in the wilderness. They’d no doubt heard the stories. But now, right in front of them, that same cloud filled the Temple to such an extent it prohibited the priests from getting in there to make the sacrifices. All anybody could do at that point was to keep their eyes on the cloud, and praise God.

Let’s not get so caught up in living the Christian life, in serving, sacrificing, in spreading the Gospel, that we forget to stop and worship God.

Stop.

And worship.

There will be time to do things for God. But sometimes – often – we need to just stop what we are doing and revel in His Presence, praise Him, adore Him, drink Him in. Sometimes I think we’re guilty of pushing the cloud aside, fanning the air so we can see what we’re “doing,” and we don’t appreciate the Presence of the One we’re “doing” things for.

God’s Presence is here. Do you see Him? Take some time to just stop. And worship Him!

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.