The Presence of God

on 6/09/2014

If you go to church then you have probably heard people talk about the presence of God.  People talk about God being in the church (especially when the music is good) or God being in various places at various times.  They might say things like, "the presence of God was so strong" or "you can feel the presence of God here" or something like that.  While there is no question that God does show up physically in various places (especially in the Old Testament) this can become a fuzzy, goofy question for the flesh that ends up removing the actual benefits and possibilities of God's presence.

Let's try to get rid of some of the mystery about God's presence and learn how we can be constantly in God's presence with its resulting benefits.  That's right, you aren't just in God's presence when you feel goose bumps during a good worship song, as a Christian you can (and do) live in God's presence.  When we understand the reality of God's presence we can quickly grow closer to God, improve our communication with Him, and begin experiencing the benefits of His presence immediately. 

It's true that many years ago God's presence was to be respected with a reverent fear.  You've probably heard that if a priest approached God's presence (in the temple) and the priest had sin then the priest would die instantly.  You may also remember the guy who touched the Ark (trying to keep it from falling) and he died.  The Ark was the place for God's presence in the Old Testament, like the temple was.  God would also show up from time to time and speak with people (Moses, for example) and they had to respect God's holiness or risk death.  Finally, God told the Israelites that none of them should touch His holy mountain because they would die, and His voice scared them all so bad they didn't want to hear it anymore.  

So, yes, when we read the Old Testament, we can be a bit scared of God's presence.  We might wonder if we are worthy, and we might fear His presence if we doubt our redemption in Christ.  But that precious redemption, including the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins that comes from the blood of Christ, gives us full access to God's presence without fear of rejection, punishment or anything negative.  In fact, when we are "perfected forever" by the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:14), God makes our bodies an actual temple for Himself, and He then dwells inside of us.  I realize that sounds pretty crazy, but I will show you this from the Scripture.  

Furthermore, now that God is literally inside of us all the time, and His very presence is within us, we don't need to wait for the right song or the right prayer meeting to feel like we are in God's presence.  We know that we are constantly in God's presence, even physically.  We have direct access to God 24/7, and Christians, it's time we start using it.

"Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.  What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own."  (1 Corinthians 6:18-19)

"For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."  (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Praise God!  The Bible makes it crystal clear, God has made our bodies into the literal temple of the Holy Ghost.  We are the temples of God and God is inside of us right now.  I'm sitting at my desk in Tampa, FL, and I am right in the presence of God.  There is no worship music and no prayer leaders, just me and God sitting together at this computer.

Again, we want to remove doubt, mystery and spookiness from this reality so you can benefit from it.  The Bible even tells us specifically that God's Spirit dwells in our belly.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive."  (John 7:38-39)

"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly."  (Proverbs 20:27)

Let's not get too crazy about this point either with arguments about the literal Greek and Hebrew of "belly" - the point is that God is in our flesh, and our spirit is right there with Him.  Our spirit man, the true man inside of you that will live forever, is inside of you and is right there with God's Spirit.  Don't you see, you are literally and physically in God's presence all the time.

Now that we know we actually are always in God's presence.  It's time to think about it and enjoy it.  We are always in His presence physically and spiritually, but we aren't always in His presence mentally.  Even though God is right inside of me, wanting fellowship and communication, my mind is usually a million miles away.  I need to focus on Him.

I heard a great speaker say that God whispers because He wants us close to Him.  If you want to hear from God, you must focus on Him and listen closely.  Church and prayer meetings help to focus our senses and concentrate our minds on God, but we must learn to do this in our everyday lives.  Sure, God may do something that arrests you spirit, soul and body so that you will focus on Him and hear Him clearly.  But that's not the norm.  I believe God is a fountain of blessing, information and revelation, and He wants us to drink freely.  But we drink by communication and fellowship with His Spirit.  This just doesn't happen if you aren't focused on Him.

Remember that we have boldness and access to God with confidence by our faith in Christ (Ephesians 3:12).  Remember that God tells us to "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."  (Hebrews 4:16)

What an awesome God we serve!  God sits on a throne of grace!  All of God's grace, wisdom, blessing and every other wonderful aspect of God are right there inside of us in Him.  We don't need to shrink back in fear, we can be "having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus."  (Hebrews 10:19).  We should "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith."  (Hebrews 10:22) Let's do it right now, individually and together.

Close your eyes (after reading this of course).  Focus your mind.  Picture God on His throne right inside your belly.  Picture your spirit man walking right up to the throne.  No matter what you have done, God greets you with a look of love and acceptance.  Now put yourself there.  You are there.  You are right with God and you can speak freely.  Let Him speak.  Where does He lead your mind?  Yes, some of this will be your mind, but you are with God and now you are in His presence mentally.  Focus, concentrate on God and the things of God.  Give it time.  Soon you will recognize something that did not come from your mind.  Again, be patient.  Perhaps it's a voice, perhaps an image, perhaps you just instantly know something (this is what I describe below).

As I was doing this (which led me to write this) I thought about the verse - "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (with Him)."  (1 Corinthians 6:17)  I thought about what a wonderful verse this was.  I marveled that God would unite Himself to me.  As I considered these things with my mind, I heard God's Spirit.   I didn't hear God in a voice, but He spoke and revealed something directly to me, like He imparted something directly to mind.  You see, I have real problems with worrying about my day to day needs.  In an instant He showed me that He has joined Himself to me and that He has wonderful intentions for our relationship.  He said that my day to day needs will absolutely be provided for and that this is no effort at all, not even a consideration for Him.  For He has these great intentions for our union, and He wants me to focus on that.  It was like He said, how can you even worry about such things, seeing all that I have done and all I have planned. (I know He is saying that same thing to you all too!)

My friends, "in (God's) presence is fulness of Joy; at (His) right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  (Psalms 16:11)  It's time to focus on God.  It's time to understand His presence and remember that He is always with us.  It's time to come boldly into His presence with every aspect of our being, so that we can receive Him and all He has for us.  Practice the presence of God.  Spend time with Him.  Cut out every distraction and be with Him.  He will speak, He will reveal, and He will bless.

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