Monday, July 29, 2013

Living In His Presence

Psalm 55:16-17 As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice.

Psalm 139:7-8 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

Psalm 140:13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; the upright will dwell in Your presence.

Today there is a lot of focus on having a Quiet Time or using a Daily Devotional, and this focus is an important part of our spiritual life. Getting alone with God is something talked about and modeled in Scripture, including by our Lord Jesus Christ. While these terms may be of a more recent nature, they are solidly representative of biblical practice. We read repeatedly in the Psalms and Proverbs about hiding God’s Word in our hearts and meditating on it. We read about being still before God and waiting on Him. We read about knowing, understanding, and obeying His commandments, ordinances, and statutes. Setting aside this time with God sets an important foundation for our day as it brings us before the One who is to direct our steps throughout that day.

But there is another aspect to this, and that is the rest of the day when we are likely not alone with God which represents the overwhelming majority of our time. It is here that we are to be constantly mindful of God, of His Word, and the leading of His Spirit. It is here that we stop momentarily to praise Him and thank Him, to pray to Him for those things which come to our mind, and to seek His continual guidance. This is the part of our walk that is commonly referred to as “Practicing His Presence.” There are numerous writers who have prepared devotionals to help with this and others who have written wonderful books about their own discoveries in the process or how they have learned to value this majority portion of their daily walk with God.

It would be a poor analogy to say that we fill our tanks when we sit down and spend time with God and His word, and then we run off that full tank throughout the day. While there is a functional truth to this in that we do need that special time to learn and grow before God and to focus on Him alone worshiping Him as our true God, this by itself falls far short of describing our walk with God. This is because there is the additional and equally great truth that as we move through our day God’s Spirit continually empowers us, intercedes for us, and directs us—even making alive the Word which we had earlier hidden in our hearts.

It is in His continual presence that we are called to live whether that is alone with Him, shared in corporate worship and study, or walking through the routines of our day. God is everywhere present all of the time, being constantly attentive to us. His Spirit has been given to us as a full-time resident, even making our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit. And as we live and grow as Christians, we build into His body—the church and we reflect to the world our Savior whom we serve as His ambassadors and His light.

Sure, there will be times when we lose sight of God in our days, but the amazing thing is that He never loses sight of us. While we may be walking and doing what we know as right and good, others then see through us the working of our God. This is practicing His presence. While there are certain commonalities that should run through us as Christians, there are also the unique differences that make us each a special and unique handiwork of God intended beforehand to accomplish His purposes according to the special skills, talents and gifting which He has so generously given.

Psalm 119:1-11 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes! Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments. I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly! How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

 Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/29)

Come to me continually. I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul. Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wander. An anchor on a short rope lets a boat drift only slightly before the taut line tugs the boat back toward the center. Similarly, as you drift away from Me, My Spirit within you gives a tug, prompting you to return to Me. As you become increasingly attuned to My Presence, the length of rope on your soul’s Anchor is shortened. You wander only a short distance before feeling that inner tug – telling you to return to your true Center in Me.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:19

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 1 John 2:28

Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”” Matthew 22:37

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