Psalm 68:3-4 (NLT) But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord—rejoice in his presence!
Not too long ago, I purchased an oversized lounging hoodie with the words “Stay Present” on the front. I bought it because it was soft and flowy ready to put on with some yoga pants and do nothing kind of shirt. The words on the front “Stay Present” caught my attention and moved in my spirit a little so with the deeply discounted sales tag, I threw it in the buggy and kept shopping. As I rummage through the closet looking for something to wear on occasion I stop and read the shirt time and time again. It’s as if there is a message for me there that I am not grasping yet I know it means something. Am I not present for my people including my family and friends? Lord, have I lost touch with reality. Have I missed something along the way? Or does it speak of a time to come when a new season of life will begin and I will be busy again…too busy and need to be reminded to stop, look and listen? Maybe I am reading too much into a clearance rack message that means nothing at all…I don’t think so.
I have a tendency to take on too much, make numerous commitments, overestimate the time allotted and not to say, “No.” I am learning that not doing is just as important as doing sometimes. In a season of being rushed, overwhelmed and definitely overcommitted, I wonder if the garnet shirt yelling at me to “Stay Present” is a reminder of some sort. A mantra to be adopted. How do I stay present when life is busy? When it is hard? When the unexpected hits? When I am overwhelmed? How do not become moved by my conditions, circumstances or problems? The Lord has provided a place for us in His Presence. It allows us to stay present in this life yet maintain our faith, confident hope, inexpressible joy and be constantly renewed by His Grace that gives sufficient power and strength to overcome and live victoriously. It is not about an actual place that we can go to, but one that may exist inside the human soul. It is internal yet infinite.
Rejoice in His Presence. To live in the presence of God is to know who I am in Jesus Christ. It is acquired by knowledge that is turned to wisdom through experience as a believer when an encounter with God every day is a top priority in our life. He is not at church or in a building. God lives and breathes in us. It is to become present with the Presence of God in us that changes everything. No longer do the things of this life and problems that come with it matter to us, because suddenly greater is He that is in us than he who is in this world. We must stay present in His Presence – no matter what comes our way.
Exodus 33:16-19 (NLT) How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.
I have heard many accounts of people who were raised in denominations and churches that did not understand or teach about the Presence of God who after one church service IN the Presence of God could not explain what or how they felt other than to say, “It was God!” Tears flowing something happens inside of them that their consciousness cannot comprehend yet their heart knows it is the Lord. The Presence of God changes everything when our perception of God meets the Person of God.
Moses had been given a tall and impossible order. In his conversation with God, he is looking for something credible to offer those who might contradict him along the way. He asked the Lord for His Presence. Why? “For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” His personal revelation was prophetic in nature. When Jesus died, He said, “It is finished.” He then released His Spirit to inhabit the heart of every man and woman who accepts Him as Savior and calls Him their Lord. His Presence lives inside of us. It IS the very thing that sets us apart from everyone else. It will be the deciding factor on Judgment Day. Will the Lord know me? Yes, if I stay present today.
What is it about God’s Presence that is so desirable? Well, first it is the very thing that makes us His Children. If that is not enough, it is characterized by His Goodness. It is His Mercy and Compassionate Love for us surrounding us, changing us from the inside out and completing us. It makes something out of nothing. It makes all the impossibilities possible. It releases growth power to our personal potential hidden in us since creation. It is our confident hope that is the light that guides through darkness and leads us through the valleys of life. His Presence truly is the only thing we have that is tangible enough to feel, hear, touch, see, breathe and live within. His Presence is possible because of His Grace and as I submit my life to His Wonder Working Power it overtakes me day by day until it is where I choose to exist.
Psalm 15:1-2 (NLT) Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
The Presence of God does not fill a building or sanctuary. The Presence of God does not exist outside of human context. If the Spirit of God moves in a building, it is because the Presence of God came with some of the people. When Jesus released His Spirit, people became the Temple of God rather than buildings. Christ lives in you. He lives in me. If God is not sweeping through our congregation, it is time for soul searching on the part of each member. We all have a part in the next Great Move of God that I believe is coming. We must welcome the Presence of God in our heart and mind allowing God to prosper our soul. We stay present in His Presence if revival is to come.
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking truth from sincere hearts. Well that is certainly not me on any given day, how about you? I do not and cannot and will not live a sinless life no matter how desperately I may desire to. How can I live in the Presence of God in such a deplorable state? True repentance. Every single day I must live to turn my life over to the Lord and give Him all the real estate of my heart. Just as I am. His Grace is enough for me. It must be my desire to love the Lord and to live in His Presence. With an intentional heart, that is intent on knowing God despite my sinful and terrible condition.
Psalm 16:11 (NLT) You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
When I am not experiencing the benefit or blessing of a promise that I find in God’s Word, I retrace the scripture before the promise to see what the steps of acquisition may be. To acquire the Presence of God in my life, there are some simple steps. First, I must accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. (Psalm 16:1) He becomes my refuge the moment I repent and call on His Name. Now, like many other people, I could stop there and invest my whole life in only knowing the Power of His Grace and its sufficiency in my weakness. But God provided more for me than just salvation, Jesus offers to be my Lord. Some people do not ever get beyond Savior to call Him Lord.
“I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” (Psalm 16:2) When a person moves from acceptance of salvation to acknowledging Jesus as Lord there is a shift in the dynamics of our life. It is the process of redemption that leads to completion in Christ. Full satisfaction is found in the holy inhabitation of the Holy Spirit as Jesus takes over our life and carries our burdens, heals our body, and leads us from everlasting to everlasting. It is in His Presence that everything changes. To repent yet not redeem the potential of God for our life is like holding the winning lottery ticket worth millions or more but never going to the lottery office to claim our prize. It may be worth a fortune but the paper it is on is only representative of its potential. Wasted potential is unfortunate when God has promised the Kingdom to you today.
And so begins the adventure through acceptance and acknowledgment, our lives are lived in pursuit of His Presence. If God is there, I am going. If He is here, I am staying. If He turns, I am turning. To live in step with Jesus every step of the way, I will go where He goes. Life with the Lord is an adventure. There is never a dull moment. We will still be hard pressed. There will be days like that. Bad things will happen to good people. Life is still not fair. We do not need fair because now we are favored. To transition our life from what we see, feel and touch in this life, to experience what we know and Who we know makes all the difference in the world. We must pursue the Presence of God and stay present at all costs.
Ephesians 3:11-12 (NLT) 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.
I have been given the profound privilege of entering the Presence of Almighty God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Not cowering but with boldness and confidence, I can enter the Presence of God each day. What better way to honor the sacrifice of His Only Son, then to accept His Invitation to come closer. To move deeper. To live in His Presence day by day.
Colossians 1:21-23 (NLT) This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.
I know what you are thinking, I feel the same way too sometimes. I know me. I know every fault and failure. I remember my shortcomings. The times I was disobedient. The thoughts that sometimes overtake me. Let me assure you as the Holy Spirit must insure me. It is not about me. It is all about Christ crucified and honoring His Gift with my life. No matter how messed up I am or how many times I mess up, God desires my presence in His Presence. He loves me because compassion is His Character. His Grace is enough for me to be washed white and admitted entrance to the refuge of His Love. My selfish consideration that there is anything I have done to keep from accessing His Presence is my own lack of faith because His Grace is enough for me and every sin that I have committed or am yet to commit.
You must believe that God’s Presence is for you today. Come to the Lord and lay every burden and sin at His Feet. Step into His Presence with the boldness and confidence that comes from faith that chooses to trust the Lord rather than anyone else’s report. The Presence of God in you is absolutely essential to the next Great Move of God in the church. Will you stay present in His Presence today? The world needs you to be there. You cannot lead where you have not been. You cannot share something you do not have. You cannot share a Gospel that is not in you.
Hebrews 10:21-23 (NLT) And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.