Some days the hurts of the world–and the sin that causes those hurts–darkens my view of God. This morning was one of those days. That is always a time to chase God hard.
There is so much joy in simply taking the time to seek the face of God. He faithfully reveals what blocks our view–if we seek Him. The truth for me is that I get in the way…or rather, sin in me gets in the way. Seeking Him means humbling accepting my failings. It isn’t about the sin I am seeing in others.
The sweet admonition the Father led me to this morning is in Malachi:
Set your heart to honor my name.
When I fix my eyes on the stuff of this world and allow it to interfere with giving holy awe to the King of Kings, I dishonor His Name. God is not uncaring or inattentive. He is on the throne and working out great good. Malachi reminded the children of God that the covenant of life and peace calls for reverence.
There is a companion admonition to this that God gave me this morning:
Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. Zechariah 7:10b
We are all impure in this world. None are righteous. Christ gave Himself for the Church and is busy bringing it to maturity. At the last supper, Christ said he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drank it new in the Kingdom. We can and need to fellowship with Him as individuals all the time, but there is a glorious fulfillment of the Kingdom coming. He is the vine; our lives produce fruit. He is waiting until the fruit is ripe; who am I to do less. As we drink of the fruit in this life, we are to remember Him. His purposes.
My prayer is that this restores YOUR view of the Lord as it did mine. As I wrap out and head out to enjoy the day, I leave you with this promise and a video to encourage you to leap and frolic for the King is on the throne!
2 “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. 3 On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The presence of God transforms! Do you drink it in or wonder where it is? Is the presence of God a moment-by-moment awareness for you—or an illusionary concept? Would you be surprised to know His presence is not always in a Church…or that the Living Word can be void of vitality? In Acts 17, Paul spoke to those who worshiped without life:
“…so that they might look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. Of course, he is never far from any one of us. For we live, move, and exist because of him, as some of your own poets have said: ‘For we are his children, too.’” (verses 27 and 28)
It is not the heartbeat of God to have lifeless worship. He longs for you to enjoy His presence because He wants to enjoy yours. Are you weary of life? If you are, spend time with LIFE and enjoy the abundance. Without His presence, life drains the strongest. That is right and good, for God never intended that we would live this life on our own!
His Word and the Church are tools the Spirit uses to help us know what God is like…so that we can recognize His
presence. Like those in Athens, though, sometimes we mistake the tools for the Truth. Time in the Word and time with believers are necessities in the life of a Christian…but they are not Life itself.
The echo of hearts crying, “Is this all there is?” beats at the doors of heaven. “There is so much more!” calls the Father. “Come, walk in the light.” And to those of us who walk in His light, the great commission still stands: “Go, make disciples.” Our grand purpose in life is to live in the Light of the love of the Father and help others do the same. He longs for us to bring his light to a world covered in shadows so others may know He lives!
Those shadows conceal treasures…treasures of darkness only children of the Light can unearth. Without the Light, the shadows terrify. The shadows cause those in the dark to trip and fall prey to the lies of the enemy. Jesus, the Light of the World, reveals the snares and the beauties shrouded in darkness. When we spend time in the light, we absorb light and can be a lamp for others. We are called to be servants! Let’s take light into the shadows, light that exposes the pits, expels the evil and unearths precious gems!
What shadows will you illuminate today? Can we stand with you in prayer?
If you struggle to enter the presence of God, some thoughts and tips can be found here.
My heart aches to understand that there are those who seldom enjoy time with God; those who feel puzzled when others speak of ‘feeling His touch’ or ‘hearing His voice.’ God is a personal God, desperately desiring to connect with us. My greatest sadness is not for those who reject God but for those striving to “DO” something to get closer to Him. Just as Paul said to the crowds in Rome, “He is never far from you.” Entering into His presence is a possibility any time!
Made in the image of God–body, soul and spirit–seeking Him involves all aspects of us. Frankly, we are the barrier to enjoying God. On the physical level, busy-ness is the biggest blockade. Even if the activities are God-oriented, busyness prevents real interaction the Father. Vigilance that prioritizes private God-time is critical. Fellowship with Christians, “church,” is part of the plan of God as well. We must enjoy His presence individually and corporately. If your church orchestrates details of every service, make it your personal ambition to enter the presence of God in those details. He is still there; help others find Him by letting His light flood you!
Other physical world things that can keep from God are seeking pleasures from the world instead of him. Over-eating is an easy example for many of us. Stress and fatigue drive me to comfort foods on a regular basis. God asks to be my Bread of Life. Each of us will have areas of weakness the Spirit can reveal. Ask God what in the physical world separates you from Him. Any physical sin (any sin for that matter) will separate us from God. They are idolatry; things we prefer to the presence of God. Refuse to let your body keep you from the Creator!
Then there is that soul part of us: our mind, will and emotions. Much of the battle of life takes place in the mind. We are to renew our minds with the Word. That is not a dry, wearisome task—even if you never liked reading anything! Technology gives you amazing options to listen or watch the Word. Find a way to get Truth from the Word into your mind because that changes everything! Emotions flow from our thoughts, and actions come out of our emotions. Spending time in the Word is not optional, nor is it an item to check off from a ‘to do’ list.
Engage your heart and your mind with His words and you will feel His presence—and He will empower you to exercise your will and obey Him. It is different than just ‘spending time in the Word’; it must be time with God! For
me, an avid ‘student’—and self-professed geek, enjoying God through reading and writing is easy—it is my design. Thoughts serve as propulsion jets shooting me toward the Father. I may pause to gaze in awe at His beauty; I may ask a question for clarification from Him or dig into a word study for more thought jets. Seek His heart as you read and even if it is not your default design, He will meet you!
Don’t stop there! Keep seeking. Find new ways to enter His glory, unique ways based on how He created you! Find a mentor who can listen to your heart and help you hear the things God is speaking into your life.
Consider using music. Scripture-based music helps me lay down the ‘soulish’ parts of self and enjoy Him. It quiets my busy mind and lets me focus on feeling God. On the other hand, some find their soul so engaged in music, they fail to connect with God. Make Him the priority. Continually seek His presence. Be attentive for Him. He promises to be found. Do not give up. God is not distant but imminently, impressively real!
I’ll leave you with one final tool that works for me when the press of life feels too weighty. I go for a walk. It helps me synchronize my overused mind and underused body. The magnitude of creation, the details and activity of nature quietly working mostly unnoticed by busting humanity resets my spirit. To my harm and shame, the stuff of life, the cares of this world, easily stifle the still, small voice of my humble, majestic God. He is ever-present, yet I am blind to Him. A walk—whether on a street or in the windows—engages me with a world bigger than my own. It reminds me of my smallness and floods me with thanksgiving for His love and wisdom.
What works for you to enter the presence of God. Share here, share with others: has there been a song, a book or a worship experience that stands out?
We are to live this life of faith together. God blesses that we can in turn bless another.
If you struggle to find or feel God, zap a note. Let’s talk it through. He loves you beyond measure. He is waiting for you to enjoy being with Him. There is nothing more you need to do to be loved by Him…