Showing posts with the label Presence of God

Walls or No Walls?

We all chose a place to live. Some might have chosen to dwell in large homes in big cities, or in smaller homes in the suburbs, while others chose a remote location with lots of land around them. Where we 'dwell' indicates a choice of where we want to live. Does our 'dwelling' provide us with protection? Most of the time, it does - from cold or heat, rain or wind. There are times when we need a 'solace' - a place to go where we feel safe, secure, and able to find rest. The 'relief' we find within the walls of our homes is something akin to the 'relief' we find when we choose to dwell in the shelter of God Almighty. Not only do we find 'relief' from the things that bring us discomfort, but we also find a place to share our most 'intimate' of thoughts, dreadful fears, and deepest of needs. To 'dwell', one must make a choice - to live 'within' those 'walls of safety and protection'. Those who live in the shel

Will you be disturbed?

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Boy, we sure understand the 'trials and sorrows' part, don't we? Look around you just about anywhere and you will see wildfires taking down whole towns, people going berserk over who knows what, and one 'bad news day' after another. This world knows very little peace - it knows of warfare, misgivings, poorly behaving people, and threats beyond measure, but very little of the nightly news tells us of the great peace mankind is experiencing. Peace is a person - when we meet that person, we truly understand peace. The person? Christ himself. The way to him? Ask him to reveal himself to you and in you. There are all kinds of ways mankind goes about attempting to find some form of peace in this world, but just as Jesus told his disciples that day, peace is not an 'earthly' thing. It is a di

Let's not trivialize God

But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand. (Romans 1:20) No good excuse - did you catch that? We don't have to see God to know he exists - we can see evidenc

Goose-bumps aren't always necessary

Sometimes we want to just 'feel' God - right? We want to know he is with us - that he is right here in this moment. We want to 'feel' his presence - that he isn't far away, but drawing near and holding us close. Is it wrong to want to 'feel' God? Absolutely not! In fact, God doesn't ask us to squelch our feelings. We aren't to rely upon what we feel, but it is not wrong to have feelings. There are times when we will 'feel' life deeply and there are going to be other times when the 'feelings' just don't come through - especially when it comes to feeling the presence of God in our lives. Drawing near doesn't always ensure some type of 'super-natural' moment with God - shivers down our spine, warm fuzzies overwhelming us. Drawing near does ensure we are right where we need to be to hear from God and to have him direct our lives - even when we don't 'feel' those warm fuzzies! I’m happy from the inside out, and

Get 're-activated' in his presence

God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax ; you’re never sorry you knocked. (Psalm 9:9-10) There are times in our lives when we just seem to feel a little "battered" by the various things coming at us - things out of our control, some brought on just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time - others brought on because we deliberately put ourselves in the place where we'd feel these repeated blows. The present "battering" many of my friends are taking are definitely not by their own doing - they are being battered by disease, the unknown of resistant viruses in tiny bodies, and the uncontrolled actions of internal processes gone wild in bodies plagued with disease. In these moments, the repeated blows seem to deal a very "heavy" and "damaging" effect on the mind, emotions, and even the spirit of those dealing with the circumstances. Bad times will come - we just cannot evade them

Drink deep

On a hot summer's day, sun beating down incessantly, humidity climbing, trees silent as even the wind has found it too hot to work, aren't you thirsty and desirous of a large, cool drink? You can guzzle gallons of iced tea or lemonade, sweat beads cascading from the glass, ice cubes clanking to the bottom as you down the cooling liquid. Yet, you aren't satisfied, are you? You want more because the demands of the heat are telling your body it needs to keep up with these demands. I wonder if our spiritual heat were turned up a little if we'd find our spirits telling us to 'keep up' with the demands of getting deeper and deeper into the things God has designed for our lives? Maybe, just maybe, we all need the heat turned up a little more in that arena - so we'd drink deep of his grace and love - not just once, but over and over again! Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drink

We can fill up in a lot of ways

8  The psalmist tells about this, for he says that when Christ returned triumphantly to heaven after his resurrection and victory over Satan, he gave generous gifts to men.  9  Notice that it says he returned to heaven. This means that he had first come down from the heights of heaven, far down to the lowest parts of the earth.  10  The same one who came down is the one who went back up, that he might fill all things everywhere with himself, from the very lowest to the very highest.   (Ephesians 4:8-10 TLB) Christ came down from the heights, but his return to those heights made possible the "filling" - not with a temporary filling of power, but with a permanent presence of himself wherever we are and go. That means everywhere you are, if Christ's presence dwells within your heart, then Christ is right there in the midst of the present moment. Many times we focus on the coming of Christ, but forget there is a "remaining" part that actually was the purpose fo


Battered:  to beat persistently and hard; pound repeatedly; to deal heavy, repeated blows; to damage or injure as by blows, heavy wear. God ’s a safe-house for the battered,  a sanctuary during bad times.  The moment you arrive, you relax;   you’re never sorry you knocked. (Psalm 9:9-10 MSG) There are times in our lives when we just seem to feel a little "battered" by the various things which impact us - things out of our control, some brought on just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time - others brought on because we deliberately put ourselves in the place where we'd feel these repeated blows.  The present "battering" many of my friends are taking are definitely not by their own doing - they are being battered by disease, the unknown of resistant growths in tiny bodies, and the uncontrolled actions of internal processes gone wild in bodies plagued with disease.  In these moments, the repeated blows seem to deal a very "heavy" and "da

The gift of laughter

Did you ever stop to consider laughter a gift?  It seems our writer of this psalm did - and it suggests God is actually honored by our laughter.  Not by our mocking laughter, but the laughter of delight, joy, and overwhelming awe. If you have ever seen a little guy shoot a free throw from mid-court and land it with nothing but air, you might have experienced this free-will laughter - delight in his success, joy in his having done what others put down as impossible, or overwhelming awe that a little guy just sank the "hoop of a lifetime".  I wonder just how many times God lands the "shot of a lifetime" in our lives and we take the opportunity to celebrate with the gift of laughter? On your feet now—applaud  God !   Bring a gift of laughter,  sing yourselves into his presence.   Know this:   God  is God, and God,   God.   He made us; we didn’t make him.   We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.   Enter with the password: “Thank you!”   Make yourselves at home, talk

We never travel alone

Lonesome:  Depressed or sad because of a lack of companionship; separate, apart, isolated from others.  There are varying degrees of loneliness - even though people are surrounded by other people, it is quite possibly one of the most "alone" times of their lives.  The presence of people never guarantees the lifting of the spirit, but the presence of God in your life does! And how blessed all those in whom you live,   whose lives become roads you travel; t hey wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,   discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!   God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and   at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!  (Psalm 84:5-7 MSG) The ideas laid out in our passage today are multi-faceted, but there are a few I'd like to explore this morning: - If God lives IN a man, there is a sense of blessing, of happiness and awareness of the deep fortune one has in being inhabited by the Lord of the Universe.  Our psalmist doesn'

Truncate this!

Face-to-face conversation seems to be a thing we just don't engage in as much as we did in times long gone by.  Today's electronic age has helped us to "connect" with each other via all kinds of social media.  We text, IM, post, and tweet.  We abbreviate, truncate, and mutilate the human language to the point of LOL while we are ROFL with our BFF.  (For those not into this "truncated" IM language - we laugh out loud while we are rolling on the floor laughing with our best friend forever!)  The thing we really miss is the "connection" which occurs when two people actually stop long enough to look each other eye-to-eye and begin to notice the things those eyes tell us! Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legi

Settling down!

How many times do we find ourselves hoping we have been able to "get on a good thing"?  Indeed, it is inevitable - we miss the "window of opportunity" by a fraction of time!  If only we had been a little quicker on the uptake!  Our passage today deals with us learning to get in on the "best" - not just the "good". Get insurance with  God  and do a good deed,  settle down and stick to your last.   Keep company with  God ,  get in on the best.   Open up before  God , keep nothing back;  he'll do whatever needs to be done:     He'll validate your life in the clear light of day  and stamp you with approval at high noon.   Quiet down before  God ,  be prayerful before him.  (Psalm 37:3-7 The Message) In the New Living Translation, this begins as, "Trust in the Lord and do good..."  The promise is for us to live safely in the land and prosper.  I like the way the message sets out several key thoughts for us this morning.  Let'

Never been this way before!

1-4  Joshua was up early and on his way from Shittim with all the People of Israel with him. He arrived at the Jordan and camped before crossing over. After three days, leaders went through the camp and gave out orders to the people: "When you see the Covenant-Chest of  God , your God, carried by the Levitical priests, start moving. Follow it. Make sure you keep a proper distance between you and it, about half a mile—be sure now to keep your distance!—and you'll see clearly the route to take. You've never been on this road before." (Joshua 3:1-4) You've never been on this road before - I think this is the hallmark statement of Joshua's life.  He was assuming leadership of Israel just after the death of Moses.  The people are ready to move into the Promised Land of Canaan.  He has been commissioned to be the leader who will bring them in and help them settle into the land.  He had a lot to live up to and I am certain he was a little concerned that he might fai