“His presence” or “God’s presence”—I use those terms a lot. And sometimes, the way I use them begins to sound like I’m talking about the supernatural, or some sort of super-power. Well, that is pretty much right on target.
Consider a few verses from the Bible — starting in the Old Testament. And yes, I’m mixing Old Testament Scripture with that of the New Testament, … in fact, I’m doing it on purpose. I want to encourage you NOT to think of the Bible as two different books—The old Testament and the New. It is all the Word of God. Think of it as a single collection of 66 books—with the individual books (of either testament) not always in chronological order. And note how Old Testament Scripture prepares the way for New Testament events and lessons.
…. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). [Is 7:14, NIV]. So, beginning in Isaiah (about 750 BC) we read Isiah’s prophesy of the birth of Jesus and the fact that this child would be known as, “God is with us”. …An interesting choice of words. Assuming we all know the meaning of the word “is”, it becomes quite a statement, and says a great deal about God. God IS with us.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Mt 28:18-20, NIV]. That was a jump forward in time by about 860 years, Matthew records instructions he and the other disciples received from Jesus. Read them carefully. The key points (for this particular post) are these: 1.) Jesus has not just some authority, He has all authority and, 2.) Jesus is with His disciples (that means all His followers), always and forever. (Remember that “God is with us” from Isaiah?)
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! [Ps 46:10, NKJV]. Yes, we are back to the Old Testament where we find this Psalm which was written by the sons of Korah (Temple assistants). It gives us some more interesting traits of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit. Evidently we find Him when we are “still”; even though He is a very Big Deal—“exalted among the nations” and “exalted in the earth”.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today, nor our worries about tomorrow—nor even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rm 8:38-39, NLT] Here we find Paul writing to Christians in Rome—about 50 years after Jesus death and resurrection. So we are in the New Testament again; and I’ve got to ask you, “Is not God someone you want on your side?” I certainly do. The important point is that first sentence. But the sentences following the first one really drive the point home. We accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, …He considers it for “keeps”.
It’s only appropriate that we finish where we started ≈2,765 years ago, in the book of Isaiah. …For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior. There is none but me. Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God, there is no other. I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word. Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me. [Is 45:21-23, NLT]. Please read that again. God is saying that everything He has told us in the Bible is the Truth, …period. And, He says the time is coming when everyone on this planet will bow-down before Him and declare that He is the one true God. And, that is also true!
Folks, those of us who are Christians have God living in, and through, us. We quite literally live in His presence. God shares His Love, Grace, Power and all of His other characteristics with us through His Presence. He will never take that away from us. Only we, using our own free will, can impede what God has planned for us. And, what a shame it is, when we do. “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” [Jer 29:11,NLT]
When God wants you to do something for Him (or for yourself), yield to His Presence. He WILL equip you to do it. I’ve accomplished things in my life I never thought I would be capable of. I’ve survived situations that should have resulted in my death. I have no supernatural powers, …but I know who does. And, I give God the glory for it.
Work at living in God’s Presence. Where do you find it? All around you. You will find it in nature, in the heavens and on the earth. You will find it in prayer and in God’s Word. And, I suggest you try finding it by being absolutely quiet, not reading, not praying, not thinking about anyone, any problem, worry, or plan. “Be still…”, and God may just find you.
In Christian love…