God’s Presence – A tale of two Kings

King Saul vs King David

two kings

 

Two kings, Saul and David.  Both were called by God.  Both kings were anointed by prophet Samuel.  But during their reign, there was an important difference between them which effected their decisions, attitudes, actions and had a drastic effect in their final years.

Neither Saul nor David was perfect.  Both kings made poor decisions.  David even committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband to cover up his disgrace.  Saul made poor decisions.  He had outbursts of jealousy and tried to murder David several times.

Importance of God’s presence

One major difference between Saul and David was their dependence on God’s Presence.  The presence of God made a difference in how they reacted to life.  The Presence of God makes a difference in how you respond to corrections and repentance.  The Presence of God helps one to seek God when in need and to glorify Him for His mercies.

It was during Saul’s reign that the Ark of God was captured by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4.)  Saul did not go after the Ark of God.  He relied on his own efforts rather than seeking the presence of God.

When David became king, the first thing he did was go after the Ark of God (2 Samuel 6.)  Even getting the Ark back to the kingdom was difficult.  But when the Ark was entering the kingdom David danced before the Lord with all his might.

Effect of God’s presence

When David was confronted by God’s prophet concerning his sin over Bathsheba and Uriah,  he repented crying out to God for forgiveness ( 2 Samuel 12).  David said, “against You only have I sinned”  (Psalms 51).  Saul made excuses and lied to God’s prophet about his sin (1 Samuel 15).

Our pride and selfish desires can keep us away from the presence of God.  Without God’s presence, we will become more self-righteous and begin sliding down a slippery slope of darkness.  I will confess the presence of God is not always pleasant,  especially if the Holy Spirit is putting a spotlight on your sin.  However, if you repent you will find God’s grace and mercy flooding your heart.  Your life becomes aligned again with God’s covering and the blessings of Psalms 91 (last week’s blog).

David’s life had its ups and downs but he lived a long life full of God’s presence.  Saul, on the other hand, suffered from depression, rage, and emptiness.  Saul even sought the demonic presence of a witch for direction.  Saul died in battle lost from God.

How to keep God’s presence

The main difference between Saul and David…the desire for the Presence of God. Many days I pray over Psalms 51:10-11 

[10] Create in me a pure heart, O God, [I look over my actions of the previous day and confess if I had said or did something wrong. I ask God to forgive me and fix my heart]

and renew a steadfast spirit within me. [I ask God to restore a constant reliance on God. To keep my emotions in balance]

[11] Do not cast me from your presence [I must have God’s presence.  I must feel God and be able to talk with God.]

or take your Holy Spirit from me. [ I need the direction of the Holy Spirit in my life. I need to be able to hear His voice even if it is telling me I’m wrong.]

Moses said I will not leave your presence.  David said do not send me away from Your Presence.  Today in a troubled world YOU need His Presence. Seek it today and every day and you will find a continuous lightnside.

God’s Presence – Benefits in a troubled world

The benefits of living in God’s presence are listed in Psalms 91.

This is the third message on God’s presence.  This message reveals the practical benefits of living in God’s presence in a troubled world.  I believe the time is running out for Satan and his demonic dominion.  He is working overtime to destroy as many people as possible before Jesus comes back to earth.  There are many signs that we are living in the last days.  It is important for us to be aware of satan’s traps and attempts to destroy our souls.

 Psalms 91. (New Living Translation)

V1-2 (Describes our focus on God’ presence daily)

“[1] Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [2] This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.

V 3-God’s presence makes you aware of satan’s traps.  (Anger, Lust, Unforgiveness, Rebellion, Pride, etc)

[3] For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease (of the heart).  [4] He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

V5-8  Protection from fears in the night.  Confidence in God’s power and protection.

[5] Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. [6] Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. [7] Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. [8] Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.

V9-13  God sends angels to help protect and guide you.

[9] If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, [10] no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. [11] For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. [12] They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. [13] You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!  (I would not run to a Zoo to see if you could literally crush a lion! God is speaking of the strength and deadly intent of our supernatural enemies. You have power in God to overcome them with boldness with God’s presence in your life.)

 

V14-16  God’s commitment and love to those who are living in His presence

 

[14] The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. [15] When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. [16] I will reward them with long life and give them my salvation.”

 

What a wonderful description of the benefits of God’s presence.  Even though we live in a dark world,  with God there will always be a strong lightnside.

God’s Presence – What is it?

Acts 2:28  You have made known to me the paths of life;   you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

 

What is God’s Presence?

Have you ever been in the presence of someone with great authority?  How did you feel? Have you been in the presence of someone who is very kind?  Or very scary?  How did you feel?

Their presence affected you.  There was some influence over you as you were in their presence.  You might have experienced joy or happiness In their presence you may also feel nervous or uncomfortable.

The presence of the Lord is no different.  While God is everywhere at the same time,  there is also a  part of God that desires to bring a concentrated presence of Himself to you.  A presence that can communicate with your spirit and share with you His spirit.  When this begins to take place you can understand Moses when He says “I am not leaving Your presence” (Exodus 33:15).  David said in Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God,  and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

God’s desire is to be with us all,  He is waiting for you to want Him.  God is waiting to be invited and sought after.  He wants your heart’s attention.  The blessings of His presence require a focused desire to know Him.

My personal experience. (1996)

I had been pastoring for many years.  The ministry was doing ok but I heard of a revival going on in Pensacola at the Brownville Church.  The pastor came up to Indiana to describe what was happening.  As he spoke something in my heart began to want more from God.  I began to hunger after this revival experience.  God was placing interest in my heart to know Him more.  God was waiting to see what I would do with that hunger.

I planned a trip to Brownsville at a pastors conference.  During the month of waiting, I began to read books on revival.  All the reading made me hungry for a deeper connection to God.  As the day approached, my hunger deepened.  I did not know what to expect but I had a hollow place in my heart for more of God.  The service started and I did not feel any different than I did in Indiana.  Then,  the drums began to play and the choir began to sing “We Come To Praise Him”.  Then…His Presence came!! The only way  I can describe what happened next is it felt like several grenades of God Presence exploded in that place.  I felt a deep presence of God.  I could feel it flowing in me.  Feeling up the hollow place in my heart.  Time slowed down.  Nothing mattered except being in God’s presence.  I still feel that presence today.  In my devotions and in my car.  I can call on Him and we talk. He brings hope, healing, protection, peace, rest.  All because of His presence.

Salvation, church, bible reading are all very important.  But there is nothing like experiencing a deep presence of the Lord.  In His presence, you will find rest, hope, faith, peace.  God helps you deal with life’s issues.  His presence makes life’s pressures easier.  His presence helps me respond to others in a more righteous way.

HOW TO FIND GOD’s PRESENCE.

It takes hunger and time seeking Him.  Jeremiah 29:13  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Revelation 3:20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

If you take time daily to speak to Him in prayer and bible reading and pour out your heart to Him,  you will God and His presence will grow and you will have a brighter lightnside.

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Be- Attitudes – Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

poor-in-spirit

This is the first truth Jesus spoke to the crowd of people seeking hope.  Christ’s words seem confusing and conflicting in today’s world. Blessed are the poor?? Does that sound right?  Let us look at the definitions of the words used then we will put them together to understand the truth Jesus shared.

Blessed is another word for “happiness”or “fortunate”.

We see someone who seems to be above all the pressures of life and is at peace we would say that person is “blessed”. Arn’t we all looking to be that person in this life.  To find the answer to worry, fear and insecurity?  To be blessed is seemingly a quality of existence and outlook on life that finds joy and satisfaction in any situation.

Poor – the Greek word  ptōchos (po-huas) – beggary, asking of alms, palper, poor.

 The image is of a beggar who has nothing and his only means of survival is at the mercy of others. Image these two words together in one sentence. Talk about an oxymoron!  It belongs with other combinations like  “jumbo shrimp”, “good grief”, or “the silence was deafening”. These two words do not seem to make since on the surface but there is a truth involved here that is profound and a sign of God at work.

Since Adam’s sin darkness has ruled the hearts of men. It has ruled the spirit of a man.  the spirit part of you is the reasoning, thinking, and feeling part of you.  It is the part that justifies your actions and determines your self worth.  Sin always builds it’s self up.  We become self righteous and proud of our achievements and abilities. However in this pool of self righteousness sin sets up addictions, anger, jealousy and other dark thoughts and emotions which lead to sinful actions.

When Jesus spoke – His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) spread through that whole crowd and the hearts of men were awakened.

 

A sudden awareness of the presence of Holiness laid bare the lack of holiness in man’s heart.  Just like in Luke 5:1-10 Jesus spoke to a crowd using Simon’s boat.  After the message Jesus asked him to go back out into the lake and fish.  Simon said “we have fished all night and caught nothing” (which is an illustration of an empty life without Christ), “but at your command we will go”. They went out and suddenly an abundance of fish were caught. Notice the effect this realization of Holiness had on Simon in Luke 5:8 “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”  Jesus said your life is about to change course for the better.

When Jesus began to speak the very first sign of awakening to the new life in Christ is an awareness of our own need.

poor-in-spirit

An awareness of our own emptiness of righteous.  It is that poor in spirit that brings us to the cross in need of Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing.

It is good to be poor spirit.  It is blessed to be poor in spirit.  It is wonderful to know Christ is a river of Holiness that will poor into our empty hearts the life and light of God and truth. Come to a place in His presence where you say “I am a sinful man and do not desire your mercy” and watch Christ reach out to you and put His light-n-side.

 

 

God’s Presence – Moses

If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here

 

Exodus 33:12-18

 

12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

 

What is God’s Presence?

The presence of the Lord is different from salvation.  It is different from truth.  The Presence of the Lord  we are talking about is a relational connection with God that is developed through prayer, time seeking, faith and hunger to know Him more.  The Presence of the Lord is the Lord God Almighty actively present in your spirit.  God’s presence makes you different from the rest of the world.

How Does God’s Presence help us?

God’s presence in your life is a real connection with God  as you move though life, work, family, and any other situation you find yourself in.  Salvation is necessary.  Education through God’s word is also needed.  But without the presence of God, salvation and Biblical truth become something of the past and more mental reminders of God’s teaching. However when you have an active God residing with you, He takes His truth and gives new revelation and meaning.  Salvation comes daily as God leads you in your day.

 

Moses knew even though God saved Israel out of bondage and was instructing them on how they should live,  he needed the Holy, Almighty, Glorious, Presence of God to make salvation and truth alive in a daily walk.

Do you want to be better off then the world?  You need God’s Presence

If your presence does not go with us…I will stay.  It’s God’s presence that separates us from the troubles of the world. God’s presence is a guiding lightnside.

Take extra time today, tomorrow and from now on to seek God.  To talk with God,  to know Him.   Be still and KNOW…

Psalms 104 God is wrapped in light…

Read this Psalm slowly

The amazing, wonderful creator.

  1. Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.

He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
    oil to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests;
    the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
    the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
    and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
    and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then people go out to their work,
    to their labor until evening.

24 How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 All creatures look to you
    to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
    they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
    they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
    they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Praise the Lord.

wow.  This chapter puts a lightnside me!

 

 

 

Jonah – Storms & Whales

The word of the Lord came to Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a revival, but Jonah ran from God and got on a boat…

These two facts set the stage of today’s truths.

Jonah 1:4 NIV  Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.

Jonah 1:12 NIV “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

Jonah 1:15-17 NIV  [15] Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. [16] At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. [17] Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

God sent a great storm.

Is not God’s greatest attribute His love?  If you ask most people to finish the sentence “God is ____”, most will say love or good.  But in scripture,  God’s greatest attribute is not love or goodness, but rather it’s God’s HOLINESS.  God is first and completely holy.  He cannot tolerate sin or rebellion.  God reacts to these actions.

 

Romans 1:18 says “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

 

God’s reaction to sin today is to allow the storms caused by rebellion to come into our lives.  God can do all things but He stands back and allows judgment and destruction to rain down on rebellion and sin.   This is a part of God that is rarely preached.  The Bible says one day we will all stand before a HOLY GOD and give an account for our lives and spend eternity in heaven or hell.

 

Does this mess up your image of God?

Good.  It is a good thing to have a fear of God and His Holiness.  Our world would be more peaceful with a fear of God.

Psalm 2:11 NIV  Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.

Psalm 33:8 NIV  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.

Luke 12:4-5 NIV  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. [5] But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

God sent a rescue Whale

 

God is also love.  He is both Wrathful and Loving. God is great enough to fully contain both emotions.  Wrath against sin but love for the people He created.  God sent a whale to pick up Jonah from the bottom of the sea.  The whale was a type of Christ on the cross.  The whale offered to Jonah an opportunity to repent and be saved.   If Jonah had not repented,  he would have died in God’s wrath.  But Jonah repented to God.  God told to fish to spit Jonah on dry ground.

 

Jonah 2:2,9-10 NIV  [2]He said “In my distress, I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. [9] But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ” [10] And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Are you in a storm?

Are you in a storm because of rebellion to God’s word?  Are you living in sin?  You are probably experiencing a storm of some kind.  God stands back and allows it to happen or He may even cause the storm.  His Holiness requires a reaction to sin and rebellion.

Christ is our rescue.

But God also sent a savior.  Jesus Christ, who died for your sins and can offer a cleansing for your heart.

John 3:16 “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”

Christ’s sacrifice for your sins allows God to place HIS righteousness over you and the wrath stops.  All you need to do is, as Jonah did, repent to God.  Accept the prepared rescue God sent through His son Jesus Christ.

Your life in Christ will be blessed with His promises.  Get in a good bible preaching church that believes in fearing God and following Christ.  If you are in a storm,  ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Acknowledge your sin and rebellion.  Tell God you need a savior and your life will have a lightnside.

The Word of the Lord came to Jonah…and to you.

Jonah 1:1 NIV
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai.

Notice, the Bible does not say ‘The Word of the Lord was SPOKEN to Jonah’ but rather the Word came to Jonah. It is an amazing fact to ponder. The Almighty God, the creator of all things, takes time to intentionally sends His word to you and me.

Have you heard a word from the Lord? I bet you have.

God does not speak in a physical voice. It is that thought that comes alive during a sermon or song. It is the personal revelation that jumps out to you from a verse you are reading. The word of the Lord is coming to you to help you in your walk or through a difficult time.

Even those who do not know God hear from Him through their conscious. In Romans 2:12-16 God says His laws are written on our hearts so even our conscious speaks His word to us.

God’s word to you today may be to have faith in His promises. His words may direct you to an act of service or to minister to someone with encouragement and hope. God’s word also warns and slices deep into our heart and soul healing us and pointing to Christ. God’s word may be to forgive someone. To be kind to those who are difficult to be around. God’s word may challenge your own desires. You may be directed to repent and ask Christ to forgive you and to cleanse your heart.

Is that thought from me or God?

Sometimes you may wonder if that thought is from God or your own thoughts. If the thought lingers in your heart and draws you to think about God and His word or challenges you to act according to Biblical principles…it’s God’s word coming to you.

Take time to listen today to your heart.

The Lord is sending out His words each day to call you to a relationship with Him. Take heed and no matter what your day or week looks like, THe Word of God brings life, light, hope, direction, conviction, strength. Listening to God’s word will place a Light-n-side you.

Unusual things to be Thankful for

 

Most people find themselves giving thanks for the blessings, and happiness of family and friends.  However, there are some very important but not so easy things to be thankful for.

First, we use Jesus’s example Luke 22: 17-20 – Jesus gave thanks for the suffering He will do on the cross.  Heb 12:2 – Jesus counted the cross as a joy even though He had to endure the pain, suffering, and humiliation.

Consider these things unpopular things to thankful for.

Afflictions

Psalm 119:71 NIV  It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. Many truths of God cannot be learned by reading or hearing but by experience.  Faith, patience, trust do not develop in the easy fun time of life but the difficult and painful times.  

 

In the tough times, God is at work IN YOU. 

It is the tough times that produce qualities

that cannot be gained in easy times.

James 1:2-4 Consider it (not actual feelings but you accept it as) pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Tribulations

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Persecution for your faith is not easy, but with God’s presence, you will find His peace.

Stress

  Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Learning to have faith in God’s power and trusting Him in all situations. 

Confusion 

Romans 8:28   And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

When you don’t have an answer.  Wait and trust in the Lord.

In my life I did not know what to do in a situation for four months…then God began to put the answers together.  Trust Him.

My newest favorite verse!

  John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalms 103 – Benefits

Praise the Lord , my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord , my soul, and

forget not all his benefits

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

Psalm 103:1‭-‬5 NIV

We all are looking for benefits.

Benefits of eating right.  Benefits of a good marriage.  Benefits of health, freedom, learning, and loving.  However the benefits listed in the first few verses in this chapter are blessings we cannot achieve on our own.

 

The benefits of believing and following God.

 

  1. Forgives all your sins – and the effects of those sins on our life.
  2. Heals all our diseases – God is the healer.  Even in the hospital – God heals.
  3. Redeems your life from the pit.  From lost and hopeless to firm ground.
  4. Crowns your life with love and compassion.  God makes us smile inside.
  5. Satisfies our desires with good things.
  6. A youthful spirit renewed like the soaring of an eagle…at any age.

 

No wonder David starts and ends this psalm with “Praise the Lord, Oh my soul“.

 

Enjoy God’s benefits and let your lightnside rejoice.