Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
My husband has been traveling for more than a week now. He arrives home today. This is not a new thing. Over the years, he has been away on business many times. I am not sure why this time was a little different. Perhaps, it was a little longer than usual. Things were a busier, chaotic and more hectic. Our routine disturbed for more than a day or two. We talk and text every day. If I need him, he is available. What is missing? His presence is missing in our home. Our daughters each have indicated that they are ready for Dad to come home. When he is here, they don’t seem to pay attention. As teenagers, self-gratification generally keeps them from human appreciation for as long as there is data on the cellphone, Wi-Fi in the house, and food in the pantry – life is good and it happens that we are overlooked or ignored. On the phone with my husband even knowing that he would arrive home today, I still became a little teary. This is not my nature. He instantly could hear the catch in my voice. I know my husband loves me. I know that he misses me. Even though we communicate every day, it is not the same as communion together. I desire his presence in my life. I have come to appreciate it. I need it. We are life partners. We live in covenant. If his presence is gone, I long for it which leads me to wonder about the Lord.
This morning when I woke up rather than arguing with the alarm, I felt urgency to get into the Presence of the Lord. Not just a quiet time with prayer and Bible study, but to sit in His Presence and feel His Closeness. I want to hear His Voice. I want to know His Comfort and abiding peace today. I wonder if sometimes our time with the Lord becomes as practiced as our worship in church. Are there times that we take for granted that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords chooses to live in us and abide in our life? Could it be that we feel entitled to the new life because we forget about the undeserved grace that we have been given? In some cases, it is not entirely God’s People’s fault. Preachers from perfect pulpits teach of a love that comes without a price for there is no sacrifice, no blood, no cross and free grace. Without repentance or a change of heart, I cannot live in the Presence of God. The Lord will not live in my sin. It is in the separation from the world and stepping out of the darkness into the Light of His Love that I have this profound privilege of Presence in my life.
Ephesians 2:10-12 (NLT) God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
The promise of His Presence was completed when Jesus died on the Cross and released His Spirit to live among us and more importantly inside of us. This would be the moment that all things became possible to those who believe. Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. The day we celebrate the impartation of God’s Spirit to all mankind. This was the moment everything changed for us. The Spirit of God that lives in us seals the promise of redemption. He makes every promise possible and probable to those who choose to believe. He is our guide and teacher. The Holy Spirit gives knowledge, understanding, discernment, wisdom and conviction that allows us to live above our means according to the riches of His Glory. Because of Jesus Christ and our faith invested in Him, not just verbally but actively, we have been given the privilege to come boldly and confidently into God’s Presence. I can walk right in without knocking demanding an audience with the Lord and it is perfectly acceptable.
In the Old Testament, people desired the Presence of God but when He arrived they scattered. Moses knew the importance and relevance of God’s Presence. He considered it an absolute necessity. (Exodus 33:15-18) Moses was required to “go into” the Lord’s Presence. The Israelites had the Lord’s Presence and undivided attention yet chose to ignore Him and consistently rebelled against the One True God. (Numbers 14:21-23) The entire book of Leviticus is about preparing a place for the Presence of God and maintaining it. It is instructions on entertaining the God’s Presence in their midst. Finally, Deuteronomy 29:15 is clear that God’s Presence was not just for them, but for us too as the future generations expressed in this text. God desires an ongoing audience with His People. The only difference from the Old Testament to the New is that the Presence of God moved from external to internal. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 it is duly noted that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Everything changes now for those who allow the Holy Spirit to live and breathe inside of them.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
Our oldest son was the kind of kid who from the earliest age was going to grow up, move away and conquer the world. From the age of probably eight or nine, his sense of adventure made him express a constant desire to be free of the boundaries set forth by his parents. Just after high school, he deployed for a year to Kuwait. Once he returned for a few years, he followed his wanderlust. Venturing out on his own, he decided to move to Texas to pursue a job opportunity. During that time, we didn’t hear from him much. From the time this young man was born until today at 26 years of age, he is my precious first born child. I love him fiercely. I still long to protect him though he is grown and a master at arms. The love of a parent reaches beyond touching and doing to a deep sense of longing that keeps our heart and mind set on our children when they are with us and even when they grow up and move away. God instills this in us because it is the way He sees us.
When God created us inside our mother’s womb, His Full Intent was for us to be His Children. So when we are born into natural living, He begins to pursue us relentlessly with His Goodness and Unfailing Love. (Psalm 23:6) But just as quickly as our birth is noted by the Lord, the enemy notices it too. In the wild, predators will wait for pregnant animals to give birth to either attack in their weakness or eat the young. Think about that for a moment. Is God birthing a promise in your life? Are you laboring in purpose on the verge of breakthrough? The pressure you feel are forces colliding as the enemy tries to take when the Lord intended for you. Stay in the Presence of the Lord and He will protect you, your promise, and every bit of your newfound potential. God’s Presence in our life does not exempt us from heartache or hard times. It is the Presence of God that sees us through until the trial or test has past and God’s Glory is poured out in our life. (Job 1)
God’s Presence surrounds us long before we choose to accept Him as our Savior and Lord. It is not a matter of entering the Presence of God but allowing His Presence to live in us by creating a life that is conducive to Him. We can walk in the Presence of the Lord each day. (Psalm 56:13) It was His Longing for it to be that way all the way back to the first two people in the Garden of Eden. The promise of presence fills our life with joy no matter what circumstance or situation we are in. (Psalm 16:9-11) His Presence is our shelter and safety in the midst of the storm or any other day that we see fit to remain there. (Psalm 16:19-20) Without His Presence, church is just a building. (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) God’s Presence interrupts religion to produce a relationship with Jesus in our heart and mind. (I Kings 8:10-11) The invitation of presence allows us to live in His Righteousness rather than rebelling in wrongdoing. (2 Chronicles 29:10-11) To those who choose righteousness will find that their religious duties are replaced by radical obedience in the areas of love, faith and hope. All things will be possible for those who decide to live in the Presence of God each day.
Hosea 6:1-3 (NLT) “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”
My relationship with Jesus Christ has produced a desire to avoid sin at all costs. Yet, still thanks to my flesh, I sin every day more than once, of course. When I come to the Lord and repent of my sin even the hidden ones, He swings wide the door of His Presence and my life is better because of it. Presence is intimacy with God. When we repent and the Blood of Jesus covers our sin, we also can clothe ourselves in Christ just as God covered Adam and Eve in the Garden. (Romans 13:13-14) It is yielding our entire being to the Great I Am and inviting Him to live inside of us as a welcomed guest not a tolerated intruder. I can be myself. In fact, the Lord desires our honesty. He knows everything already so why lie? Repentance makes way for refreshment in our life. (Acts 3:19-21) It is to humble ourselves to a greater power at work in us. (I Corinthians 1:28-30) When my husband arrives home tonight, we will all be overjoyed. Yet today just knowing He is coming home is enough! Is it enough for us to love the Lord and seek His Presence just knowing that He is coming back? To allow His Presence to work in us and through us today means that we must put on Christ. When we desire His Presence enough to seek it, it is to achieve a new direction and excellent destination compared to our own way. The Lord promises to make good of every detail of a true believers life who has answered His Call. (Romans 8:28) I desire this to be a reality in my life but can only achieve it living, breathing, walking and staying in the Presence of God today so that He can have His Way in me.
Psalm 89:14-18 (NLT) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king.
Today as I stand in the Presence of God, I must repent. Many times, I make more of this thing called righteousness and justice by adding the components that I feel are necessary to get there. Jesus just says, “Come.” God is pursing us today with unfailing love and truth…nothing more or less. To accept these two things means taking hold of the grace we have been given, putting our faith in it and holding tight to the anchor of hope enduring until the end. What have we made of it? Where is the Presence of God? Why is not in our churches? Why has He left our homes? Can we get Him back? Of course, we can. Mercy is new every morning so that we can be refilled, refueled, restored and renewed by this Gift that yields a heavenly supply. Do not allow the enemy to trick you into thinking you have to change a thing…Jesus will do it for anyone who gives their life to Him. He will make us strong when we finally succumb to and admit our weakness thereby accepting fully His Grace as enough.
Yesterday, we had a prospective buyer come to look at our house for a second time. They are making a decision between two houses before writing a sales contract for one. I got a call at work for a last minute showing. I was telling our oldest daughter good-bye as she would soon be heading back to New Hampshire. Work was a bit overwhelming. Not to mention, I am volunteering and coordinating a Grand Opening for our church that is this weekend. On top of all this, I need my husband to come home. Rushing home to prepare, I just needed Jesus to come and cover me. I have prayed over our house before showings. I have walked the perimeter of our property anointing it also and praying. I have scrubbed, cleaned and organized to be sure our house shows well. On my way out, I laid my hand on the doorpost ready to pray like every other time. Nothing. Seriously…I bowed my head begging my spirit girl to rise up. Nothing again. Finally, I heard a still small whisper and the words, “Let Your Will be done…” So I spoke the same adding only – “In Jesus Name, Amen.” I think that we have to run out of reserves, become a bit overwhelmed, and even highly emotional so that the Lord can move us out of the way and penetrate our life with more of His Presence. After all, it is His Unfailing Love and Kindness that makes Him want to move in closer. Our flesh will not allow it but in the stillness of brokenness – we wait for Him. (Psalm 37:7) I need His Presence to take over my life. I get in the way. He allows me to run dry so that He can fill me again. Absence indeed makes the heart grow fonder. Lord, I miss your presence and long for more of it today. Thank you Jesus for Your Presence.
Psalm 26:8 (NLT) I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells.