Tag: God’s presence

Holy Distinction!

Scripture reading for February 13th:  Exodus 32-34, Philippians 3

Key Scriptures: Exodus 33:13-16 “”Now therefore, if I have found favor in Your sight, please show me now Your ways, that I may know You in order to find favor in Your sight.  Consider too that this nation is Your people.”  And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”  And he said to Him, “If Your Presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.  For how shall it be known?  Is it not in Your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and Your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?””

As Moses met with God, he pleaded with God to show him His ways in order to have God’s favor and presence.  God promised to go with him and give him rest.  Moses knew that God’s presence was the best and only thing that would set him and God’s people apart from all others on earth.  In His presence was fullness of joy and divine rest!

Faith confession and prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank You for making me distinct by filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  Empower me today in my upward journey by showing me Your ways and giving me favor with You and those You want to reach.

Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  

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Thankful for God’s Presence!

Scripture reading for March 28th:  2nd Samuel 11-15

Key Scriptures:  2nd Samuel 15:25-26  “Then the king (David) said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city (Jerusalem).  If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see it and His dwelling place again.  But if He says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let Him do to me whatever seems good to Him.”  

King David was reaping what he had sowed, but he had confessed his sin with Bathsheba and was forgiven.  His own son was trying to take his throne and his closest adviser had betrayed him.  David valued God’s Presence, represented by the Ark of God.  He knew that the Ark belonged in Jerusalem and trusted God to bring him back there to be in His presence again.

Thankful for God’s Presence:  Jesus, God’s Son, through king David, prayed for His own return to God’s Presence!  “I have brought You glory by completing the work You gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify Me in Your Presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.”  (John 17:4-5)

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God’s presence–blessing or curse?

Scripture reading for March 18th: 1st Samuel 4-8

I love the presence of the Lord.  I always have tears or sometimes feel all my senses are alive and His Peace makes me want to wait quietly or kneel before Him.  God’s Presence was something that men and women of God have sought.  Moses would not move without God’s Presence going with him.

The Ark of God was the place where God’s Presence rested with the Israelites.  (1st Samuel 4:3-5)   They had just lost four thousand men in battle and were aware of a need for God’s presence.  The Ark was brought into the camp by Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s two wicked sons, and the camp erupted in shouting!  They planned on taking the Ark into battle to insure victory.   More than 30,000 Israelites died in the ensuing battle!  Hophni and Phinehas were killed and the Ark of God was captured,  Eli died at this news and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth.

God had warned Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas about their wickedness and about His coming judgment! (1st Samuel 2:16-22) Sin has consequences!  Treating God’s Presence as something to be used or manipulated is never allowed.  Hophni and Phinehas had been dishonoring God, their own father, and the nation.  They had been eating the portion belonging to God and they had been having sex with the women who served at the temple.

All the noise and enthusiasm was not an indication of God’s presence with them!  The loudest and wildest worship is not always a sign of God’s Presence or approval!  We can turn things that represent God’s Presence into an idol very easily!    Passionate worship, being slain in the Spirit, dancing before the Lord, and other manifestations are fine if genuine and a response to God’s Presence.  They can bring trouble if they are not in “Spirit and Truth”.  (John 4:24)  God’s Presence was not a blessing to the Philistines either!  Everywhere they took the Ark of God, panic, fear, tumors, death and confusion broke out!

God’s Presence is Holy and special.  He must be treated with honor and respect by those who know Him!  Take time today to thank Him for His Presence with you in the Holy Spirit!   His Spirit is a gift of the Father sent to bless His children!

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Fullness of Joy

Scripture reading for June 7th: Psalm 13-18

Life is very fragile and sometimes fleeting.  Enemies lurk to trip us up.  Sickness and disease strike unexpectedly.  Economic fluctuation makes for worry and insecurity.  Relationships are sometimes fickle and our friends and close companions betray us, leaving heartache and rejection.  God’s people are not immune from these events for they live in the world that has been tainted by sin among people who are born in sin.  Thankfully, faith in God gives us revelation knowledge that results in joy in the midst of  life’s trials!

“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.  I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”” (Psalm 16:1-2)  Prayer has been a help for God’s people from the beginning.  Adam and Eve walked with God and had sweet fellowship with Him in the Garden of Eden.  The psalmist viewed God as “my Lord”, a personal friend with whom he could converse.  This Friend was the only good thing the psalmist could count on! The psalmist also delighted in those saints who also followed God.  (Psalm 16:3)

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:8-9)  God places each person where He desires.  Our “cup” is what we have and experience in daily life.  In spite of the potential for trouble, the psalmist felt secure drinking his “cup”.  He experienced joy and delight from God’s daily provision and was anticipating with delight the future inheritance that he knew was coming from Him!  Life within God’s boundaries is delightful!

“I have set the Lord always before me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:8-10)  This psalm is messianic!  Jesus Christ put His focus on God and rested secure.  He was raised from the dead by God’s power and is now seated at God’s right hand!  He is the path of Life!  “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

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Remember!

Scripture reading for February 22nd: Deuteronomy 1-4

Deuteronomy has a literal meaning of “second law” because Moses was recounting for them their past experiences with God.  This last book of Moses is a series of sermons that Moses gave in his last year with the Israelites, before he was taken to be with the Lord.  The congregation consisted of all those younger ones who were 20 years old or less when the exodus occurred, except for Joshua and Caleb.

“What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him?  And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? (Deuteronomy 4:7-8)

God’s presence for guidance and prayer is so special.  God’s people were blessed to have a living God who cares for them and answers prayer.  Moses reminded these people of God’s provision and how He met their needs when they cried to Him.  He also gave them laws that made them a great nation.  These laws made them “righteous” if they would obey them and contrasted them with the pagan nations of Canaan.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.  Teach them to your children and to their children after them.  Remember . . .”  (Deuteronomy 4:9-10a)

A key word in Deuteronomy is “remember”! As a pastor, Moses is concerned that this younger generation will let their valuable lessons learned from forty years in the wilderness slip from memory.  He is concerned about the children that have been born and will be born into God’s family.  They must be taught by the parents and these lessons passed down so that the failures are not repeated and the successes are emphasized!   If we don’t learn from history, it will be repeated!

These pastoral concerns are as real today as they were 3500 years ago.  We are a people who must remember the Lord and teach our children.  Discipleship is needed with each generation if faith is to be passed down.  Take time today to remember all that the Lord has taken you through.  Thank Him for His grace and goodness  and remember your children!

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