Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Abiding in His Presence

Has it really been three months that Micca Campbell and God have been speaking to us about our hearts and His desire for our hearts to be untroubled? Yes, we are on chapter 11, "Practicing His Presence" of An Untroubled Heart.

Practicing His Presence. That's harder than it sounds, I believe, for most of us. Practicing His presence and living free from fear comes from fellowship with God. Fellowship means time. T.I.M.E. Isn't that one of our biggest complaints...not enough time to do all we need to do. How much, however, is it that we need to do and we just want to do. Maybe it's a matter of examining our priorities. I know it is for me.

Created BY God FOR God. I just love that. I love how the words flow. I love how it gives purpose. If ever we question our existence and purpose, we can find it in those five words.

God is no different than any other person. Hold on. Stay with me. He is no different in that He desires our time. Just as we must invest time in any relationship, we must do the same with our relationship with God. Actually, our relationship with God requires more time than other relationships. The more we commune with God, the more we know Him personally and intimately, the better our entire life will be.

Have you ever wondered that the things that make our lives more convenient make our time with God less convenient? We have instant messages, voice mail, cell phones now with cameras, text, and internet applications. These are wonderful gadgets that require less time (instant information) yet they take more time...time away from God. We can be consumed by continual email checking, continual texting, continual web surfing. "If you and I were made to fellowship with God and we don't take the time to do so, our lives suddenly become downright unpleasant and filled with anxiety."

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4 Webster's defines abide as: to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection,to remain stable or fixed in a state.

"Have you ever experienced God's presence at church or during prayer in such a way that you want to stay and not leave?" Oh my, yes. So many times in church during worship music. I have even said to myself and God, "Please keep me here. Keep this song going." Recently, I've felt His presence so strong when watching a certain youtube video. I've watched it over and over to capture that indescribable feeling. (I'll post it on my sidebar soon.) Since we obviously can't stay in those specific moments, we must learn to abide in His presence always so as to always have "that" feeling, His presence, with us. "Abiding is not about doing more. Abiding is about seeking God for as long as it takes for us to connect with Him." [my emphasis]

"Is it possible to live a life where we are in constant contact with God all day long? It was for Jesus. So it must be possible for us too. Actually, it's a necessity if we are going to be successful at fearless living." [my emphasis] I find it no coincidence that Jesus Himself encountered distractions and interruptions. Yet, Jesus knew when interruptions were not interruptions but divine assignments. Very often Christ stopped what He was doing to give healing, give sight, and give freedom from sin. As with Micca, I too wonder, "how did Christ know the difference between distraction and divine appointment with God?"

So, if Jesus had the same issues with distractions and interruptions, what was His magical secret? Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Mark 1:35 I've heard it said many times and many ways that the time of day we spend with God doesn't matter just as long as we spend time with Him. Some have said yes, we need to start the day. Some have said, no, any time that is the best time for us. I still agree that any time is fine. Yet, I also see the value and the biblical statements of rising in the morn and being with God first thing. We are to give Him our firsts--first fruits, first 10%, first place in our hearts. What makes the time of day any different and deemed not necessary to be first?

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. Isaiah 50:4-5
Beth Moore shared this scripture during her 2008 Simulcast. She told us when we read "I have not drawn back" to think of not drawing back our bed covers but getting out of bed and being with God.

"Jesus' time with God wasn't something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It was His highest priority...And He stayed as long as it took to connect with God. This is precisely where we so often miss out." In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

Our time with God is not just quantity but quality. That is, it should be fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 "If we stay in prayer long enough, God's presence shows up, and the benefits are extraordinary." Such as: Guards against temptation. Fills with fruits. Refreshes our spirit. Smooths away fears. Fellowship with God. Opportunity to witness. Reveals His plan. Empowers for living.

"When you and I choose to begin our day at the feet of Jesus, we will be more conscious of His presence through the day." But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:13 When we go to the Lord, we must go with petition and expectation. Expecting Him to answer. Confidently believing. Strongly hoping. "We should anticipate great things from our great God."

"He may seem slow at responding, but His answers are always right on time." What makes the waiting bearable? One thing is peace. Is not anything endurable when we have peace? "Peace is a state of tranquility or quiet amidst anxious thoughts and emotions." Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 "It's [peace] contentment in knowing that no matter what happens, we are in the care of the Almighty."

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 I want to keep in perfect peace. I don't know if it's as Micca says or maybe I've just not experienced it as she says. "Peace is not something that should come and go. No, it should govern our lives. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we will encounter circumstances that are beyond our control. As long as we try to remain in control, peace is absent. When we simply remain connected to our source, God's peace is available at every turn. Once our peace is secured, the things that worried us will become small, and we'll be able to rest in God's care, free from torment."

I want that 100% of the time. Maybe I have overall peace but it can be questioned in some situations. I've always been told and believe that God also uses the absence of peace to speak to us. That uneasy feeling. That doubt of something. That slight hesitancy. It's a fine line. It takes discernment. Those could be satan's lies but they could also be God's warnings: don't attend that, don't send this, don't say that, don't go there, don't stay here.

"The greatest reward of abiding is having more of God." To have more we must spend more time in His presence. Have more--spend more. We do it with money. We must do it with God.

Let's commit and make it priority to be in His presence and not in His shadow.

Abiding in Him,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.


Laura said...

I heard a caller on K-love say this morning that we are the "most disconnected connected" people. We are all plugged in but never to intimacy.

That's what He requires of me. That's what I long for with Him. Nothing else will satisfy.

Beth in NC said...

That is a beautiful post Paula. Yes, I love to be in God's presence and it is so hard to leave that sweet place. I totally understand. And you're right, we need to invest our time with our Love and King.


Sharon said...

Thankkkk Youuuu!! Time that ohhh so precious time, I too take to much time for things that can and should wait. He waits on me more than I wait on him, sad! To much thinking about myself and my pleasures than him and his word.
I too have those moments though where I wish is songs would not end, let them play over and over and never stop, I get so absorbed.
I found it in that one video as well that you are speaking about,
(I believe it's the same one), it so absorbed me, I would like to absorbed like that always.

A very thought provoking post my friend, one that I will keep for awhile.
More time today I shall spend with him.

Thanks for the Paula fix :)
Have a beautiful and blessed day

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

This was just an awesome post. I have written many times about being in His Presence and how I long to feel it more often! I realized that I can be in His presence daily! I just need to be seeking Him.

Enjoy your blog very much!

valerie said...

This is a beautiful post Paula.

In response to the comment you left...yes, where have you been? It's been too long since I've heard from you. How are you? How's the new house coming along?

The header on my blog is a picture of a sunrise I took a few weeks ago when we went on a weekend fishin trip with friends. I'm not usually up early enough to see a sunrise, plus, in our neighborhood there are trees obstructing my morning view. I thought it was just beautiful.

Talk to you soon!
I leave for camp with our youth Mon. Please keep our group of 48 kids and 10 sponsors in your prayers.


krista lee said...

I grew up singing a song in church about "Falling in love with Jesus." The words say "I just keep falling in love with Him over and over and over and over again..." As a single woman longing for a mate, I have thought a lot about that song. I want to be so in love with Jesus that I truly don't long for an earthly mate! So one day I was thinking, how do you fall in love with someone. You spend time with them and by spending time with them you get to know them better and better. Do I really spend enough time with Jesus to fall in love? I need to spend more time in His word and in prayer. Thanks for the post and the reminder!

Robin's New Song said...

I am so hungry for the sweet, satisfying Presence of the Lord. Morning, noon and night, when given my time, rewards me with amazing fruit. So blessed to have "stumbled" upon you. Just started blogging myself for the purpose encouraging and being encouraged! Blessing and Favor!

Pat said...

Again, a beautiful post. Your words stir my heart in God's Word!
Keep writing!!