June 16, 2020
Everything flows from the presence of the Lord. Everything. If you have Him, you have everything that matters and lasts. Without Him, you have nothing of value.
We can experience His presence in conscious awareness only as we come to Him in faith and dependency. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:4). Faith begins with looking to God in our need. The unbelieving think they can make it on their own. The dependent begin with the humbling realization that they are nothing without Him. Lost without His presence.
A KING WHO DIDN’T CARE
In the cycle of Kings that came through after David in Israel’s history, we read of a few who understood this. Most did not. Zedekiah was in the sad line of those who forsook God.
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord like all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the Lord this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. (Jeremiah 52:1-3)
The result of this King’s disobedience? He lost the presence of God. Tragically, all of those around him were affected too and before long they were in bondage to the Babylonians. The loss of God’s presence brought the loss of His power, and the loss of His power meant the loss of their freedom.
This is always the case. For everything of value flows from God’s presence.
WHERE ARE YOU?
This was the question God asked Adam in the Garden when our First Father walked away from God. God knew where Adam was, but Adam didn’t realize the connection between his obedient dependency and God’s presence. They had walked together, but now Adam would be cast from the Garden of God’s presence into a world of his own making. And, the results were disastrous.
So, where are YOU? If you are a true follower of Christ, you cannot lose Him, but you can lose the awareness and intimacy of His presence. Are you coming daily, hourly in humble dependency upon God? Or have you fallen into the trap of thinking you can make it on your own? Here’s one telltale sign: Are you praying? If your prayer life has become dull, routine, or even non-existent it is a clear indication that you have embraced the sad idea that you can make it without God.
Your life will soon show the loss. For everything flows from the presence of the Lord. Everything.
Father, thank You that You have made Yourself so accessible to me. You have gone to extraordinary lengths—even the death of Your Son—so that I might know you personally and intimately. Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting this. Help me draw near. Remind me of everything I have substituted for You and let me repent and return. I know that the “Nearness of God is my good” as David said and I long for You more than anything.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023