November 15, 2022
There is nothing more precious nor important than the presence of Christ. Everything flows from the presence of the Lord. If you have Him, you have everything you need. Without Him, you have nothing that matters or lasts. Look through Scripture and human history. When Christ shows up, everything changes.
There is one sense in which He is always present. The “omnipresence of God” is a big theological word that means that He is everywhere all the time. There is no place that He cannot be.
Further, every true, born-again follower of Christ has the Holy Spirit living inside of them. In this sense, they have Him, and He has them, but they may not be consciously aware of His presence. They may choose at times to ignore Him and live a self-governed life, and the results are disastrous.
But there are times when Christ chooses to manifest Himself. The word “manifest” means “clear, visible, unmistakable.” He reveals Himself in the moment, and everything changes.
A RESURRECTED REVEALING
After the resurrection, Christ made His presence known to His disciples on multiple occasions. John records a clear moment in John 21.
After these things, Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. (John 21:1)
John, (who was there) relays the account of Christ calling out to them as they were fishing about 100 yards from the land. They had caught nothing all night. And, in a replay of an earlier experience, Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side. As they did, the net filled with 153 large fish. It was a miracle accomplished by the One who created every fish in the sea.
At first, they did not know it was Christ. But John’s eyes were opened, and he realized that the One on land was Jesus, and they went to Him and enjoyed His presence. John records, “This is the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples after He was raised from the dead” (John 21:14).
When Christ manifests Himself, extraordinary things happen. Lives are changed, miracles occur, and nothing is the same. His presence marks the difference between an ordinary day and an extraordinary, miraculous day. When He manifests Himself in our lives on a common day, we are aware of the stunning presence of Christ. We are humbled. We see things we would not see otherwise and events occur that could not be accomplished any other way.
Times of revival and spiritual awakening in human history—both personally and corporately—are moments of the manifest presence of Christ. Nationwide movements of such spiritual awakenings have occurred at least five times in our nation's history. When He has chosen to “rend the heavens and come down” with His manifest presence, the work of God has been incredibly accelerated.
During the First Great Awakening, 15% of the population came to Christ in two years. In the 1857-58 revival, 80,00 people came to faith in Christ every week for 24 months. Over 2 million people were saved rapidly in a population of 30 million. What was that? The manifest presence of Christ. These are necessary moments in the sovereign plan of God to bring course corrections to nations and to more rapidly advance His kingdom towards its ultimate end. They are glorious times, propelled by the manifest presence of the King.
We should pray for and seek the manifest presence of Christ. For when He chooses to display Himself, we behold His glory … and we are never the same.
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