Presence – what is it about?

Together

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?

Treasure in Jars of Clay

picture030Hello everyone,

Sorry for such a long unintended break folks. I have been to a conference in Bethel, Redding, California. After recovering from jet lag I then sustained an injury. I am  fine now but I lost blogging momentum. 🙂

Whilst I prepare my next few blogs I thought I would share with you this picture I painted a few months ago. It is based on the verse from 2 Corinthians 4:7.

We have the treasure of the kingdom of heaven in these jars of clay, these frail bodies. In our human frame we host the Holy Spirit. In our lives we hold the fullness of Jesus’ restorative power. In our hearts we receive the fullness of the Father’s love. If we hide our weaknesses and failures we plaster over the cracks of our brokenness. What if God has chosen to  make us out of clay so we do break. Our cracks show his heavenly glory through them, they are part of his plan. We spend so  much time covering our faults over where perhaps it is time to uncover them, face them and let the glory of heaven stream through our flaws.

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 The Voice

This means that we have to allow others to reveal their imperfections to us. We need to make it safe enough to do so. To fill the whole atmosphere around us with grace and love so that everyone feels secure enough to be honest, however weak they feel.

We sing about seeing the glory of God coming down, but what if this glory can only be revealed alongside mankind’s weaknesses. His power released through the cracks of the clay.

The rock with a tap?

Who on earth would have expected this? – it is like a Harry Potter film. How did flowing

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert

Old Razorback Mountain at the Black Rock Desert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

water suddenly appear out of a dry rock. Not just a little dribble but enough for a whole nation to drink, bathe, cook with. In other words a gushing stream.

 Ex 17 :6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on.

 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

On this adventure we are going to see some strange sights. Sights that will make our eyes pop out of our heads. Things that will make no sense our your brain but every sense to our hearts.

We know there is one that travels with us. He is a rock. He is Christ. This rock not only has the normal characteristics of a rock being solid and dependable, a sure foundation but also has heavenly surprises   Even in the hardest, driest place this rock travels with us so we know we are safe and then the rock overflows with water to refresh our thirsty souls.

Today: In the heat of today, in the hard parts of this week turn to the rock and know you are secure. Then drink deeply refreshing waters that flow out of Christ