July 04, 2014
How much do you really want the presence of God? There is a simple way to measure your true desire.
There is a difference between God's omnipresence (everywhere all the time), His cultivated presence (""draw near to God and He will draw near to you""), and His manifest presence (the undeniable, visible, clearly-seen presence of God). The great works of revival and spiritual awakening that history records are the latter. ""O, that You would rend the heavens and come down,"" Isaiah said as he proclaimed what all of us desire.
God chooses to manifest Himself where He chooses, but there is a vital part we play in this. We can, in obedience to the Lord, create an environment where God is pleased to dwell. King David knew this and Psalm 101 is an expression of what he was doing to invite God's presence.
I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me. (Psalm 101:1-3)
Although, as a believer, Christ comes to live in us and will ""never leave us nor forsake us"" we all know that there are greater and lesser times of intimacy. Seasons when we sense the nearness of God in extraordinary ways and those in which God seems distant. Greater intimacy should and can be the normal experience for our lives. But how can this be cultivated?
I WILL SING
Praise uniquely invites God. It is the highest form of trust to rejoice and give thanks in all things. It is the acknowledgement that—no matter how the circumstances appear—we believe in the One who loves us and gave His life for us. Do you want God’s presence? Give thanks and sing!
I WILL GIVE HEED TO THE BLAMELESS WAY
This means to pay attention, to acknowledge, to turn our mind in God's direction, not the world's. This is a deliberate, daily exercise. If we are not careful, we can give our attention to that which is sinful and displeasing to the Lord. Why would He dwell where He is not even acknowledged or honored?
I WILL WALK WITHIN MY HOUSE IN THE INTEGRITY OF MY HEART
We must not only give attention, but give obedience to God's way. It's not enough to gaze there--we must follow. And we must do this, not just in public, but in private. Real integrity means there is no double-standard. No hypocrisy. The room you’re in does not determine your holiness.
I WILL SET NO WORTHLESS THING BEFORE MY EYES
This is a huge problem in our visual, media-driven world. It may be the main reason we are not encountering God more fully. Hours and hours are consumed by putting worthless things before our eyes. Notice, this doesn’t have to be overtly evil, but simply “worthless.” Things that have no eternal value. You may rationalize all of this, but God doesn't. He will not inhabit a room where his archenemy's diversions are the main attraction.
David reminds us of the bondage of this practice. ""It shall not fasten its grip on me,"" is a powerful statement of reality. If you don't think so, just try to walk away from all the ""entertainment"" components on your cell phone, television, and computer for a month. Have they ""fastened their grip"" on you?
David was so strong in this thought that he had come to “hate the work of those who fall away.” He didn’t just ignore it, he loathed it because he realized how deeply it could affect him and others. He knew it could be that which aborted the presence of God and this mattered to him more than anything.
HOW MUCH DOES IT MATTER TO US?
Do you long for God's greater, more recognizable presence? In your life, your home, your church, your community, our nation? There are very deliberate things you can do to create environments where God is pleased to dwell. Our response to God’s directions indicates our desires. Every hour of the common day illustrates what we really want.
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June 08, 2019
June 07, 2019
… with most of us modern Christians is that we are stoppable. A little discomfort, a turn from our desired daily routine, or a little resistance from those to whom we’re witnessing throws us off. We have not settled the issue that our greatest joy and highest purpose comes from our witness, and so we are unwilling to push through in sharing Christ with others every day, even in the mildest environments. Even when persecution is not present.
June 03, 2019
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14)
Prayer is the foundation for all of life. Imagine the emotions and sense of fear and expectancy when Christ had been resurrected, appeared to His disciples, and then ascended. They were instructed to merely wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit who would endue them with power to be witnesses to Christ all across the world (Acts 1:8).
So, what did they do?