Presence…being there…


There are ways to communicate without being present, but being present is always better. Especially when you love someone you would rather be with them than be sending text messages, sending emails, chatting with or without video using FaceTime or Skype or Zoom, they are ways to be able to communicate when you are apart, but the best way is to be present! I’ve heard people call it the ministry of presence when you are just there during a tough or rough time in someone else’s life – you may not have the words or the answers, but being there helps.

With God, He created Adam and Eve to live in His presence, but sin then separated them. But with Jesus, Emmanuel God with us we are able to be in His presence thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice because we have receive His gift of grace. We don’t have to go it alone! God is omnipresent so He is able to be with us all wherever we go. We don’t need to worry where He is, we just need to be in communication with Him (pray without ceasing). We can walk away – it’s a choice, but I would recommend walking out each day with Him instead!

We have the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! He is available to us 24×7 everyday! It’s our choice to plug in and appreciate the presence of God! He will never leave us and never abandon us!


His Presence — Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 46, Luke 17:11-37, Deuteronomy 26, Deuteronomy 27, Deuteronomy 28:1-14

1. ‘The Lord Almighty is with us’ … Psalm 46:1-11

1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields 10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. –from Psalm 46

which is continued in additional scripture called out in today’s devotional

19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. –from John 2

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the LORD. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. –from Ephesians 2

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

If you take time to be still and to listen to him, you see in this psalm some of the blessings that come from knowing his presence with you.

Peace

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear’ (vv.1–2a).

Joy

‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God’ (v.4a). Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit bringing ‘streams of living water’ (John 7:38). This river is now not in a physical city but in your heart.

Security

‘God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day’ (Psalm 46:5).

Protection

‘The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress’ (vv.7,11). ‘God fights for us’ and ‘protects us’ (v.11, MSG).

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

2. ‘The kingdom of God is among you’ … Luke 17:11-37

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

20Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.
22Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32Remember Lot’s wife! 33Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” 36Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
37“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.

–from Luke 17

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

With the coming of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom of God, God has come to dwell among his people. Jesus is ‘Immanuel… God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is both ‘now’ and ‘not yet’:

God’s presence: ‘Now’

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus answered, ‘The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, “Look here!” or, “There it is!” And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you’ (Luke 17:20–21, MSG).

The kingdom of God is God’s rule and reign. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing the sick (for example, vv.15–18), and through his death and resurrection. With the coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God is present among his people. However, his presence is not always visible. People today will not always be able to say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is’ (v.21), but a time is coming when his presence will be visible.

God’s presence: ‘Not yet’

One day Jesus will return. This will be the day of consummation for the kingdom of God. Then everyone will see, ‘For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other’ (v.24).

This will be the day when the Son of Man is revealed in all his glory (v.30), then we will see him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12); and ‘we will be with the Lord forever’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We will experience the visible presence of God forever.

Right now God’s presence is not visible. People focus on eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building (see Luke 17:27–28). None of these things is wrong in itself. They are part of regular, ordinary life. The problem in both Noah’s time and Lot’s time was that most people did not listen to the warnings. Jesus urges you to be ready.

Paradoxically, whoever tries to keep their life will lose it and whoever loses their life will preserve it (v.33). If you are always trying to find ways of getting the most out of life for yourself – the most money, highest position, best reputation, most popular – you will miss out. If you lose your life in denying yourself and serving Jesus, you will actually find life in all its fullness.

As you live in this time between the first and second coming of Jesus, don’t forget to thank God for all his blessings. Of the ten lepers whom Jesus cured, only one came back ‘praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him’ (Luke 17:15–16).

It is easy to be like the nine lepers who forgot to thank Jesus. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude – taking time to thank Jesus for answers to prayer, his constant love, his forgiveness, his kindness and especially for the promise of God’s presence with you. Recently, while praying in Hyde Park, I decided to try and think of a hundred things for which to thank God. I got there very quickly and realised that I’d hardly begun to list all the things for which to give thanks.

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

3. ‘The presence of the Lord’ … Deuteronomy 26:1-28:14

Firstfruits and Tithes

1When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. 5Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.
12When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Follow the Lord’s Commands

16The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.

–from Deuteronomy 26

The Altar on Mount Ebal

1Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people: “Keep all these commands that I give you today. 2When you have crossed the Jordan into the land the Lord your God is giving you, set up some large stones and coat them with plaster. 3Write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 4And when you have crossed the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. 5Build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. Do not use any iron tool on them. 6Build the altar of the Lord your God with fieldstones and offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God. 7Sacrifice fellowship offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. 8And you shall write very clearly all the words of this law on these stones you have set up.”

Curses From Mount Ebal

9Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the Lord your God. 10Obey the Lord your God and follow his commands and decrees that I give you today.”
11On the same day Moses commanded the people:
12When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.
14The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:
15“Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
16“Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
17“Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
18“Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
19“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
20“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
21“Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
22“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
23“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
24“Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
25“Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
26“Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”
Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

–from Deuteronomy 27

1If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
3You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
12The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

–from Deuteronomy 28

Here are some pointers from today’s devotional…

In this passage we see part of the Old Testament background to the understanding of ‘the presence of the Lord’. The land that God had given as an inheritance was the place that he chose as ‘a dwelling for his Name’ (26:2).

They were to recite their history ‘in the Presence of God’ (v.5, MSG). They were to prostrate themselves ‘in the Presence of God’ (v.10, MSG). In the ‘Presence of God’ they were to pray for God’s blessing on his people (vv.9–16, MSG). They were to rejoice in ‘the Presence of God’ (27:7, MSG).

God had rescued his people from ‘misery, toil and oppression’ (26:7). This is a good description of life without the presence of God. He called his people to be ‘his treasured possession’ (v.18). He tells them to build a place of worship where they can rejoice ‘in the presence of the Lord your God’ (27:7).

Sin is what takes us away from the presence of God. Therefore, God warns his people to avoid idol worship, dishonouring families, theft, leading the blind astray, injustice, sexual immorality, murder and bribery (vv.14–26).

By contrast, if his people fully obey they will enjoy all his blessings (28:1–14). God promises to bless their homes, families, work and other activities. As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘Obedience is not to be an occasional event; it is to be a way of life. There is a big difference between people who are willing to obey God daily and those who are willing to obey only in order to get out of trouble. God certainly shows people how to get out of trouble, but He showers blessings on those who decide to live wholeheartedly for Him and make obedience to Him their lifestyle.’

Of course, none of us have fully obeyed the Lord, except Jesus. His death and resurrection have made it possible for you to be forgiven and to enjoy the presence of God and a foretaste of all the blessings that are promised in this passage. And one day, when Jesus returns, you will experience them in all their fullness in the visible presence of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

–from Day 106: Bible In One Year 2017

 

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