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Posts Tagged ‘Presence’

It’s ‘The Business’ !

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The business of the gospel is what? We know it’s ‘the business’, but, really what does that entail? How does it feel living or doing the business in everyday life, moment to moment?

“The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” http://bible.us/Ps116.6.NKJV

In this Psalm the person realises he is close to death and calls out to The Lord to save him. In verse 13 we read of the ‘cup of salvation’, the Psalmist knows that God offers salvation. Those of us who are saved know that he offers salvation. Salvation from the Hebrew means full and whole salvation, ie deliverance, health, aid, saved. We live in New Testament times so we know that God offers salvation.Do we know that this is not just from our sins, ie sins we have committed? It is for any sin, because God operates outside of time, it is also for any future sin. It is sin that has caused sickness so the offer of salvation is also to redeem our emotions, our hurts, our physical bodies. So why is God in ‘the business’ of saving us?
Our Father is in the business of saving us because we are his greatest pleasure! Ephesians 1:5
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” http://bible.us/Eph1.5.NLT
And we were created to be in relationship with Him and for Him to be our greatest pleasure!
So, in our daily lives we should be experiencing, by the Holy Spirit, a great deal of pleasure, joy! There is nothing wrong with, as a first priority, seeking the joy of being in His presence every moment. We need to have our whole beings (body, soul and spirit) ever tuned toward our Father. So that, being ever more in His presence, we receive joy and our Father receives joy! So, ‘the business’, of the Gospel is first and foremost for us to enjoy God and Him to enjoy us, forever!
Everything else flows from this; enjoying God by His Holy Spirit. Just like Jesus did, when we have such a relationship, we hear the Fathers voice and seek to do what is on the Father’s heart. So then, why is it many Christians either fall asleep or enter a world of busyness? These are the two temptations, fall asleep, ie become a seeker after comfort, put our money on the plate, help out with church activities and expect that the vicar/pastor and/or his pastoral team will look after us in times of trouble. It’s what you might call the ‘comfort contract’! Or starting with and continuing with a right heart we seek to do God’s work . . for Him! ‘Don’t worry Lord’, we say, ‘I’ll get this one’ . . . and the next one and the next one . . ! What God is asking for is not our ‘doing’, nor a relationship where we treat Him as a recalcitrant genie in a bottle, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t! No, He is simply looking for relationship, we don’t need to earn it! Simple, He wants to spend time in our company, he misses us when we are busy, even if we are busy doing things for Him!
For example, last Thursday, I was walking toward Salford Central station, I had had a migraine all day. Unusually, I just prayed that I would meet someone on the train I could talk to about Jesus. And I did, It was brilliant, an 82 year old chap from Wigan wanted to know what life was all about, why was he here, etc. So I witnessed to him all the way to Bolton. As we were approaching Bolton a lady in front of us turned round and said, ‘that was amazing, I couldn’t help overhearing everything you said! And you know what? My migraine was gone.Relationship, lets pray we can get focussed on that, so that our whole desire, our longing is always for more of Him. Like the pearl of great price*, do whatever you have to do to have it! Because “Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Rest means, not having a rest, but, ‘resting’ in God

Dear Father, may our desire always be for more of you, more of your presence in our lives.May we always be seeking that deeper relationship and the joy it brings, through a greater infilling of your Holy Spirit. This day we invite you, Holy Spirit to fill us afresh. Amen

* http://bible.cc/matthew/13-46.htm

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Plan A

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Click the picture above to listen to ‘I love Your Presence‘ from Bethel Live Album, ‘Here is Love’, buy here

‘God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.’ (Ephesians 3:10-12 NLT) It’s worth reading all of Ephesians 3, it’s a wonderful passage!

I got a great iPhone app called ‘Accordance’ which comes free with the ESV version of the bible and when you touch and hold a word it gives the Greek (or Hebrew). When I did this for the word ‘purpose’ in the verses above I got the below . .

purpose:
4286. πρόθεσις prothesis; from 4388; a setting forth, i.e. (figuratively) proposal (intention); specially, the show-bread (in the Temple) as exposed before God: — purpose, shew(-bread).

This led me to do some research on the show bread:

The 12 loaves of baked bread symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel as they stand in the presence of God. In Exodus 25:30, they are called “the bread of the Presence.” From http://leviticus-the-law.blogspot.co.uk/ This bread was always fresh ie it was swapped regularly and the word perpetual also features in the Hebrew from Exodus 25:30

I got from this that the fresh, perpetual, presence of God in our lives, through the work of Jesus Christ and the continual working of the Holy Spirit, was always God’s plan for our lives! It was His ‘Plan A’ and there is no ‘Plan B’ !

Why ‘display his wisdom’ v10 ? I took this to mean to show the way things are going to be. The evil one’s intention is deceive people and show them things are different to that, ie they don’t deserve God’s presence or they wouldn’t want it because God is cruel or indifferent or uncaring. So for us as believers and for those who do not believe yet, this battle goes on . . As believers we need to be aware that our enjoying the presence of God is not just some self satisfying endeavor or selfish indulgence, it is core to God’s purposes for the world. In other words our enjoying being in God’s presence is the plan. It’s a wonderful freedom once we get hold of this! It’s ok to chase hard after God and want the joy and peace that comes from being ever more intimate with a Father whose whole plan was precisely this! Everything else flows out from our being in his presence . . or as someone has said all our doing must come from being . . and because it says ‘through the church’, then we can know we are supposed to be doing this!

We can also know that this does not just refer to our final state in heaven . . because later in Ephesians 3 we see Paul’s prayer that we would have the power to know God’s love in all its width, depth, height, etc. Why would Paul be praying this if it wasn’t for now? After all we know that is definitely going to happen when we get to heaven. No, Paul is praying they know it now. And to further point out just what this means Paul says, ‘to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God’, Ephesians 3:19 NKJV So knowing the love of Christ means we can be filled with all the fullness of God. Who is the other person we know of in the bible who was filled with the fullness of God? Jesus! And Jesus himself said we could do all the things he did and greater . . so the more we are in the presence of our Father, the more we are filled with His presence, the more we are ‘knowing’ the love of Christ in our lives, the more we become like Jesus . . who we are called to follow and ‘be like’ ie His disciples

So I pray we can really get hold of this and ‘spiritually learn’ to experience more and more of His presence where ever we are, at any time

Thanks for reading
Andy