Christianity 201

September 1, 2020

Keeping a Sense of God’s Holy Presence

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
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Far too often true, humble worship is lost in the shadow of giftedness.

With so much clamor and movement it is hard to sense the otherness and grandeur, the holiness and authority, of God, His voice and His Spirit – the Divine Presence

 ~ Arnold Reimer


Today we return to the writing of Arnold Reimer, for many years the pastor of Bayview Glen Alliance Church in Toronto, and his blog titled Finishing Well.

The Divine Presence

One of the most amazing promises of God to His people is: “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” To His threatened prophet, Isaiah, God declared: “You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

In spite of His people’s oft waywardness, God led them through forty years of wilderness, with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, assurances of His presence with them, His protection of them, and His purpose for them.

When Jesus told His frightened disciples He was going to leave them, He also assured them, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. After a little while the world will behold me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you.

What could be more awesome and reassuring than to know the Creator of the universe, God Almighty, Sovereign over all, is with us, even in us? That is the reality for all who believe in, and receive, the saving work of Jesus Christ. What security and boldness that gives to our going out and coming in! What comfort in the face of trial and hardship! What meaning that brings to each new day! The eternal, all-wise God is with us. His Spirit indwells us, teaches us, leads us, enables us, provides for us, protects us. It is as He promised, “Lo, I am with you always.”

I cannot think of many things more important than this truth. It is vital to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being that we do not forget or belittle this reality. Our need and sense of the Divine Presence puts purpose and urgency into our daily reading of the Bible. It motivates and focuses prayer. It emboldens godly living and witness. It encourages fellowship with the saints. It directs worship and stimulates desire to serve God and others.

Few things are more important to the gathering of the saints than the preparation for, the hope and sense of, the presence of the Lord. Jesus declared, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” Knowing human nature, its tendency to neglect, and its prone-ness to fear, God gave to Israel clear signs of His presence: the cloud, the fire, the tabernacle/temple, the ark, the altar, the bread and wine, the priesthood, the prophets, the apostles, elders, and His Word full of promises. All of it speaks of Him and His holy presence.

It is a sad loss to the church today that for the most part we have put aside the few visuals that once served to remind us of the Divine Presence – the familiarity, instruction and beauty of hymns, the reading of Scripture, the communion table, the pulpit, and the stark simplicity of a wooden cross. Of course, God is bigger than all of that, but each of those symbols spoke volumes to gathered saints. Their absence tends to exaggerate/glorify the role of persons and gifts rather than the Spirit and truth. Sadly, we rarely sense or experience the awe-inspiring Divine Presence. Far too often true, humble worship is lost in the shadow of giftedness.

The emotion and movement of creativity, commonality, noise, immodesty, darkness and technology have replaced the support of melody, harmony, humility, light, familiarity and quietness. With so much clamor and movement it is hard to sense the otherness and grandeur, the holiness and authority, of God, His voice and His Spirit – the Divine Presence. Perhaps, during this time of upheaval, we need to re-think many things.

Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. . . . Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.

 

December 14, 2011

He’s Calling Us

This is a poem by Lauren Hunter that appeared over a year ago on the blog where she regularly writes things that are quite different, Church Tech Today. A lot of the Christian internet deals with technology, but it’s encouraging to see writers who have much more depth than you might see in writing intended to deal with more mundane issues. 

I wrote this poem several years back for my church’s Women’s Retreat. It was inspired by the hymn, Softly and Tenderly. I hope it touches you and encourages your ministry efforts!

Gently, softly, sweetly,
Our Jesus is calling us.
Are we heeding His Word?
Are we listening to His call?

Often, His voice comes to us
In the depths of the night
Or in brief moments of stillness
When we aren’t looking,
When we don’t think He’s there.

Little nuggets of clarity,
God’s vision for our lives,
Descend like doves
Bringing peace, comfort
And the stillness we need to worship Him
In every area of our lives.

Are we listening?
Are we tuned in to who we are in Christ?
Can we feel His pull?
As the earth revolves around the sun,
We must revolve around Him.
Our every move,
Our every breath—
Breathe in His grace,
Smell His mercy
Feel His touch.

When we are gathered together,
He is among us,
Leading and guiding,
Directing and counseling.
Sense His wisdom,
Know His presence.

He is moving and working
In each of our lives,
All in different ways
And at dissimilar times,
Yet He brings us together
Through a common love.

This love guides us.
It directs us and leads the way.
Before the planning—
God’s love moves us all.
It motivates us,
Inspires us to give
and leads us all the way.
God is taking us there.
Let’s follow Him.

Hoping God touches your heart today and leads you to fulfill your life’s purpose!