Together (Photo credit: ~FreeBirD®~)
Gills comment from yesterday made me think about what we mean by the presence of God? It may seem obvious but I would like to ponder it a while with you.
Immediately my thoughts go to the name Emmanuel – God is with us. This is the name that points to the purposes of God. The plan that God would do whatever was necessary to presence himself with us. This was shown in the life of Jesus. God’s desire for relationship was so highly valued that he was even prepared to sacrifice His Son to gain it.
This blueprint of his plan was first revealed in the garden of Eden where God is clearly enjoying the presence/company of Adam and Eve. As soon as sin enters the world the enemy knew he had managed to attack the core intent of God. Adam was now found hiding from the presence of God in the cool of the day. Adam is banished from the presence of God (Genesis 4:14) and God’s enemy thought he had won. He had broken connection between mankind and God. But God had an idea already how to restore mankind to himself -but it would cost him everything.
God began with calling Abraham. He was a man, the bible says, stood and lived in God’s presence (Gen 24:40). It wasn’t enough for God that one man at a time lived with him in His presence so he calls a nation and gives them the honour of building a tabernacle to host his presence. Exodus 23 onwards speaks again and again about being in God’s presence. Then we find Moses who had an incredibly high regard for God’s presence and whose hunger for God’s presence is astounding.
16 How will anyone know that you look favourably 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.” Exodus 33:16 (NLT)
18 Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence” Exodus 33:18 (NLT). What an amazing prayer. Moses has seen thunder, lightening, smoke, breath taking miracles come from the presence of God and yet bravely stands and asks to see God’s glorious presence. I am sure he knew it could kill him or overwhelm him yet he doesn’t cower with the rest of the Israelites. He knows that it will cost him obedience and life change but he still is prepared to ask and encounter.
Was the key to the revelation Moses received of God something to do with how much he valued God’s presence? That he was prepared to lay his life on the line for it?
There is always a tension in the bible talking about God’s presence. The Psalms say ‘I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence’ (Psalm 139:7). This verse suggests that we are always in God’s presence. The Psalms also say ‘ I love your sanctuary, Lord, the place where your glorious presence dwells.’ (Psalm 139:7) and this verse implies there is a special encounter with God’s in His presence where He dwells. Perhaps it is both.
When Jesus came it was all about His presence -Emmanuel. It wasn’t enough for God to send another He came himself. Nor was it enough to presence himself with one nation he wanted to redeem all nations to Himself. He wanted all of mankind to enjoy His company and He have time to enjoy there company. This was the joy set before Jesus on the cross. Mine and your company forever.
We find in the New Testament talk of living and moving in God’s presence (Acts 17:28), an indwelling of presence of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 3:16) and being asked to clothe ourselves with the presence of God (Romans 13:14). We still find something special mentioned concerning an encounter with God in the fullness of the heavenlies in a verse from Ephesians ‘Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.’ (Ephesians 3:12)
The presence of God is where we live. We can never run away from His presence and for those who are born again we have the Presence of God dwelling in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. We can, however, not get away from the fact there is something special about meeting God on His home turf. When we enter the heavenlies and experience God’s attention something powerful happens. Perhaps it is like walking into someone’s home – you can meet that person on the street and say hello but when you enter their home you really get to know them. You get to understand their tastes, their identity, their interests and perhaps their skills. The whole atmosphere in the home speaks of their values, their character and their understanding of life. Their hospitality helps strengthen friendship, trust and love. God wants us to enter the room He is in and spend time with him out of choice and intent. To do this we need to be prepared for the impact and power of the atmosphere of His home touching earth. We need to be prepared to lay everything down and be changed. Are you ready?
Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:10-12 (NIV)
God would speak to Moses face to face, as a friend. Moses was so accustomed and used to the presence of God that it didn’t blow him off his feet, he didn’t cower but stood up, looked God in the eye and shared his heart: just like a friend. Wow!
Joshua would enter the place of worship just like Moses. He would be there as God showed up. He was present when God spoke and chatted with Moses – so the question I have is why was it never said of Joshua that he spoke with God face to face as a friend? Was it trust? Was it lack of something? We do know it certainly wasn’t lack of being in the religious tent. He was there waiting longer than Moses. He knew that to see the presence of God he should follow someone who has experienced conversation with God face to face and keep close to them. Yet he still couldn’t see.
Joshua was mighty man. He led the people. He entered the promise land. He led well. But no-where in the bible does it say that the intimacy with God that Moses had was ever Joshua’s experienced. We will never know what was in Joshua’s heart. There is no telling what went on in the secret place between Joshua and God.
We can be in the same place where some experience the presence of God heavily and not feel a thing. We could be next to someone who is having a vision of the heavenlies and yet not see a thing. We could be standing next to someone being bathed in the love of God and still be lonely. It isn’t where or how we wait that brings intimacy – the key is our response to God during our secret interactions.
What conversations you have in your heart with God that builds trust and friendship so God loves spending time with you?
We can be like the place of Bethany. The town where Jesus was drawn to. The place where he loved to spend time with his friends. The place where Jesus face was commonplace. Bethany was a place of intimacy but it cost (see picture above). It meant brokenness, repentance, humility, sacrifice, adoration, passion………
Today: Soften your heart toward God and positioning yourself to see God’s face to face
Worship (Photo credit: Josa Jr)
I often find myself standing as close as I can to those whose hearts are to lead me deeper into the presence of God and my desire is to follow their lead. These are the anointed worship leaders of the church. My heart is to be responsive to their spirit and join in with their intimacy with God. As they hold the door open for me into the throne room my desire is to press through into the fullness of an awareness of heaven.
I always thought that to be hungry for him was enough, but I have reconsidered my thoughts. It isn’t hunger that brings change and encounter with God, but expectation. It is the understanding that God’s desire is to meet us with revelation, love and intimacy. If we seek God we can expect him to turn up.
As a youth I remember walking through a camp one summer crying out in hunger to God, but I didn’t expect him to come down and meet me as I wandered through the damp evening grass. I thought he would listen, but wasn’t sure if He would be persuaded to act. I now have a revelation of his passion for me. Someone once prophesied into my life God was more passionate for me than I was for him. I now expect him not only to listen but also to come in fullness and be there for me.
So now I ask myself what do I expect his presence to be like? How is he going to meet me? In fullness of power, with overwhelming emotion, with signs and wonders, with visions and new spiritual gifts, with heart to heart intimacy, with amazing signs and revelation, with fire and rushing waters, with the roar of a lion? What do I expect each time I move toward God to know him? Are my expectations high enough? Do I really expect the heavenly places to be opened to me so I can see the angels, the heart of God and the beauty of the spiritual realm. Knowing all God could/ can/ will do stirs my hunger to exponential levels.
There is so much more to know and experience in God’s presence and I can expect God to meet me in power and intimacy every time.
Today: What are you expecting?
If you take a camera out you get a crowd!! 😛
The House of Grace children sing for Mother’s Day
Yesterday we flew back on the plane from Palawan to Manila. We were delayed by 2 hours so arrived just gone 3pm after having left the hotel at 9.30am. We were scheduled to meet with groups in the afternoon and evening. I met with the New Day and we talked about being loved, walking with God and leaning into his presence. We spent some time hearing his voice and practically learning how to prophecy. I then wanted them to just relax in God’s love and learn to lean in to hear him and feel his presence. As I sung and we started to worship the presence of God came down very heavily. We sang in the Spirit but a lot of the time we just sat. It was a precious time together. Trevor spent time with a leadership discipleship group sharing heart on being intimate with God. He says he had a good time with them. In the evening I had the privilege to spend time with the worship group for a meal. I shared heart on what God was doing in the church at the moment. The importance of learning to rest in God presence and soak him up. It was a beneficial time. I gave Eden and Fe the book ‘Culture of Honour’ after we first arrived in Manila and she said she can’t put it down it is blowing her mind. It is all she dreamt the church should be like. Trevor wasn’t with me that night as his stomach is not good – so please pray for him. This morning we met with the church in Manila. It was lovely seeing everyone again and I was very excited as to what God would do. Fe lead a great time of praise and worship, Trevor preached a good word about meeting God face to face. It isn’t enough to hear his voice we need to press in until we meet with Him face to face like Moses did. I then sang ‘I see your face its beautiful’ and again the spirit came and started to touch lives. We prayed and ministered to those who wanted to press in further. God is so good and loving. After all this we had a media presentation and song by the children as it is mother’s day here. We all got a fold away fan and chocolate!! It was lovely and very touching. Then came the photos!! How New Day love having their photo taken!